Tennessee head coach Butch Jones defended the program Friday amid ongoing controversy stemming from a Title IX lawsuit and allegations he called a player a “traitor” for helping a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by two teammates.
“Stay the course,” Jones said Friday, according to The Macon Telegraph. “You know you do things right. We’ve done everything the right way. We have great kids. We have a great culture – all the support we’ve had and the people who truly know and understand. Tennessee is a special place and a great place. It’s bonded by great players.”
Tennessee has been the subject of national scrutiny since a Title IX lawsuit was filed against the school earlier this month. Eight women are accusing the school of enabling a “hostile sexual environment” that allegedly favors athletes in particular. One case involves former player Drae Bowles, who called 911 to aid a woman who alleged players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams sexually assaulted her and allegedly was punched in the mouth by another teammate, Curt Maggitt, in retaliation.
Jones then allegedly called Bowles a traitor and accused him of betraying the team.
“The assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false,” Jones wrote in a statement this week. “To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question. During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man's own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong. I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed.”
Bowles transferred to Tennessee-Chattanooga following the incident. Johnson and Williams have been charged with aggravated rape and pleaded not guilty.