Parents of Rutgers player who quit team following bullying incident call school's statement 'insane'

Parents of Rutgers player who quit team following bullying incident call school's statement 'insane'

The parents of a Rutgers player who quit the team following an alleged bullying incident involving Scarlet Knights defensive coordinator Dave Cohen have responded to a statement released by the school on the matter calling it “insane.”

Rutgers defensive coordinator Dave Cohen (Photo: Mel Evans, AP)

Rutgers defensive coordinator Dave Cohen (Photo: Mel Evans, AP)

On Friday, Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann released a statement responding to an NJ.com story about the alleged bullying that led cornerback Jevon Tyree to quit the team.

The Tyrees objected to several of the points outlined in Hermann’s statement, including the assertion that Mark Tyree, Jevon’s father, met with Hermann on two occasions following the incident.

The statement said Hermann spoke to Tyree’s father and “confirmed that the matter was resolved to his satisfaction.”

“I never talked to her. That is insane,” Mark Tyree told NJ.com. “My mother has passed and I would put my hand on a stack of Bibles in her goodness. That’s ridiculous that she would even say that. That’s scary.”

Jevon Tyree claims that Cohen got in his face during an April study hall session and called him a “pussy” and a “bitch” and threatened to head-butt him. Tyree said the incident, which was was witnessed approximately 10 teammates and a tutor, led to him being ostracized from the team and eventually quitting on Nov. 6.

Tyree and his parents have sought disciplinary action against Cohen.

In its statement, Rutgers said Cohen apologized “the following day for his participation in the escalation of the banter” and head coach Kyle Flood reprimanded him.

The statement also said that “at no time was there any threat of physical violence, which was verified by an academic counselor, who was present in the room,” but when asked to make the counselor available for questions, Rutgers refused.

Tyree’s parents told NJ.com that they had meetings with Cohen and Flood, but remain unsatisfied by what they consider an insufficient response by the athletic department. They said that they have “never” spoken with Hermann.

Mark Tyree said he first attempted to reach Hermann after Jevon quit the team on Nov. 6. Until then, Mark Tyree wanted to handle his concerns directly with Flood and Cohen.

“We didn’t even want this to escalate to the athletic director,” Mark Tyree said. “We were trying to keep this in-house, that we could make it so it wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t trying to go to the (university) president and the NCAA. I was like, ‘Hey, let’s try to resolve this.’ ”

News of the incident comes just seven months after men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for bullying his players.

The Rice scandal led to the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti and a housecleaning in the Rutgers athletic department.

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