University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones allegedly said one of his players turned his back on the team by helping a woman who claims two other players on the Volunteers roster raped her.
Jones allegedly told sophomore wide receiver Drae Bowles he "betrayed the team," according to a new legal filing in the lawsuit against the school from six women, per a Wednesday report by Nate Rau and Matt Slovin of the Tennessean.
The report from Rau and Slovin added that the lawsuit says Bowles "broke down and cried” after talking with Jones, though the coach did call Bowles back to "apologize for calling him 'a traitor to the team.'"
Jones released a statement on the allegations, per Michael Spencer of WATE in Knoxville:
Per Slovin and Anita Wadhwani, also of the Tennessean, Jones, speaking at a joint press conference with all the athletic head coaches at Tennessee, said the lawsuit's allegations are "not who we are. We have great players in our football program. We have a very good culture in place. That's why I say we're going to defend our culture."
Rau and Wadhwani reported on Feb. 9 that six female plaintiffs identified as "Jane Does" filed a lawsuit claiming the University of Tennessee created "a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student-athletes, especially football players, and then uses an unusual, legalistic adjudication process that is biased against victims who step forward."
The lawsuit alleges the school violated Title IX laws designed to protect students from gender discrimination and accuses four former and one current student-athlete at the university of sexual assault.
The lawsuit also alleges key members of the school's administration, including Jones, vice chancellor and athletics director Dave Hart and school chancellor Jimmy Cheek, "acted with deliberate indifference to the serious risks of sexual assaults and failed to take corrective actions."
Bowles was allegedly beaten up twice by teammates in 2014 for "assisting the woman who accused linebacker A.J. Johnson and defensive back Michael Williams of rape," according to Dustin Dopirak of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Bowles provided his account of the events involving Jones in a sworn declaration filed in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee, per Rau and Slovin.