A Norfolk State football player alleged that he experiences hazing and was sexually assaulted by teammates while he was a member of the team.
Shawn Fahey, who was a freshman lineman on Norfolk State’s roster during the fall 2021 season, claimed during a press conference that the school failed in its response to the incidents.
“Instead of NSU handling these incidents with compassion for me after I reported them, I was baited by coaches to rejoin the next day as if nothing ever happened,” Fahey said. “I was told by coaches I was risking my career. Then NSU made my pain worse by sharing sensitive information about the situation to the whole team. What a terrible decision it was for me to put my faith and safety in Norfolk State University when I accepted that football scholarship over others.”
The allegations also involved players being allowed to grab other players’ genitals in front of coaches, and video footage existing of upperclassmen “dry humping” their younger teammates.
Diane Toscano, the lawyer for Fahey, suggested that other NSU athletes were subjected to similar abuse that the school had been made aware of but did not act on.
“There are coaches on the current staff that knew of the problems because the incidents happened right under their nose,” Toscano said. “NSU leaders must be questioned about what they did to ensure the safety of student-athletes, and they must be held accountable. As evidence shows, there were coaches on the current staff that were aware they inherited these problems from the previous staff.”
In response to the allegations, NSU released a statement on Thursday explaining officials are aware of the complaints and launched an investigation when the incidents were reported.
“Norfolk State University cares about the safety and well-being of every student, faculty, and staff member. We have a culture of care at the institution, and we work diligently to address the needs of our community, a portion of the statement said.
The school said it hired an independent consulting firm to investigate Title IX allegations that involve harassment, sexual misconduct and assault.