Ben Crump, for many years now, has been viewed as one of the best civil rights lawyers in the nation. Following the horrific murder of George Floyd, when Crump represented the family and sued the Minneapolis Police Department, we saw Crump’s passion and effectiveness shine.
Crump helped bring the nationwide spotlight on police abuse in black and brown neighborhoods. He continues to fight on behalf of marginalized people against institutions that abuse power, which brings us to the hazing and racism scandal front and center at Northwestern.
15 former Northwestern football players reached out to Crump and attorney Steve Levin to take potential legal action against the university for hazing incidents that took place in the program. Crump spoke out in an interview with USA Today Sports that one of his goals isn’t just to hold the school accountable but put the entire sports world on notice.
Crump said in an interview with USA Today, “I want to try and set a precedent that will prevent this type of physical and psychological trauma from happening to any other player ever again. I want to end hazing in college sports.”
“The biggest thing is they suffered in silence,” he said. “They felt they needed to endure it in order to stay on the team. Or even to not lose their scholarship.”
“What also really struck me were their ages. Some of the athletes were so young. You’re talking about 18 or 19? It was appalling.”
In a July 10 letter, Northwestern President Michael Schill said a months-long investigation showed some of the hazing included “forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature, in clear violation of Northwestern policies and values.”
Lloyd Yates, a quarterback and wide receiver, said at a press conference on Wednesday:
“Today I am proud to come forward among my brave teammates here today to let the truth be known, the truth that has perpetuated for decades. We hope that with our public efforts, we will empower those affected by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to share their stories, and we’re letting you know that we are in those together and that we support you.”