Aidan Howard, a former football player at the University of Virginia, is suing UVa for creating what he and his lawyers are calling a culture of “bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination” on its football team. Howard claims that in addition to being called “stupid” and “retarded,” he was forced to wrestle another recruit. Other times, he claims that upperclassmen forced freshmen into “ramming” which he describes as a UVa thing that involved wrestling either naked or partially naked.
Who Is Aidan Howard?
Aidan is a former wide receiver for the University of Virginia who is suing UVa for damages for willful violations of Title IX.
He transferred from UVa to Robert Morris this past year but was unable to play this year due to eligibility concerns stemming from a broken orbital bone he received in a team-sanctioned locker room fight.
Howard claims that almost immediately after he arrived at the University of Virginia, things started going downhill fast. Not only did his coaches and teammates start calling him “stupid” and “retarded” they began making fun of his learning disabilities. UVa is an exceptional school academically, so something like this, while upsetting, doesn’t really surprise me all that much.
But the name calling was far from the worst thing that Howard says he suffered.
Howard alleges that his wide receiver coach, Marques Hagan, forced Howard to fight another UVa wideout. From The Daily Mail:
The brawl, which allegedly took place on August 12, was part of an ‘initiation’ designed to prove his ‘toughness and manliness.’
Both players were allegedly forced to enter a make-shift ring in the team’s locker room to: ‘flashing lights, loud music, and announcements to simulate a “prize fight.”‘
Howard says in court documents he did not want to fight his teammate, but was scared about what would happen to him if he didn’t.
He suffered a concussion and a broken eye socket in the vicious brawl.
While the fight was going on, Famika Anae, a graduate assistant and son of the team’s offensive coordinator, yelled at everyone watching to not film it with their phones.
Howard decided to leave the school less than a week later.