Two New Mexico State University athletes and one of their parents filed a lawsuit against members of the men’s basketball team and the school’s board of regents over an alleged hazing incident in February.
Former head coach Greg Heiar, assistant coach Dominique Taylor and players Deshwandre Washington, Kim Aiken Jr. and Doctor Bradley were named in the suit.
The men’s basketball season was suspended, and the staff was placed on paid administrative leave indefinitely shortly after the alleged incident. Heiar was eventually fired.
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“The victims in this case seek to right the wrong and speak out not only for their own benefit, but to help put an end to such needless and harmful behavior in collegiate athletics,” the lawsuit states.
“While NMSU does not comment on pending litigation, we want to assure everyone that this issue is being taken seriously,” the school said in a statement to KFOX. “As we announced earlier this year, the university is working with Greenberg Traurig to look into these allegations. Their work is underway and running in parallel to our own internal investigation into this matter.”
The allegations came about as the school was gearing up to play California Baptist on the road. But when the news came to light, the game was canceled, the team traveled back home and the coaching staff was placed on paid administrative leave.
When the team arrived back to campus, Chancellor Dan Arvizu said players were “met and interviewed by university personnel specially trained to conduct investigations into these kinds of matters.”
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“Hazing is a despicable act. It humiliates and degrades someone and has the potential to cause physical and emotional harm, or even death,” Arvizu said. “Sadly, hazing can become part of an organization’s culture if left unchecked.”
The allegations came roughly two months after a shooting on the Albuquerque campus of rival University of New Mexico left Aggies player Mike Peake injured and 19-year-old UNM student Brandon Travis dead.
Surveillance footage released by New Mexico State Police in December showed three people approaching a basketball player from behind before hitting him in the legs with a baseball bat and shooting him in the left leg. Peake can then be seen pulling out a gun and firing several shots, which struck Travis and killed him.
The Aggies were 9-15 when their season was cut short, 3-15 in Western Athletic Conference play.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson and Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.
Source – https://www.foxnews.com/sports/new-mexico-state-basketball-players-former-head-coach-board-regents-named-hazing-lawsuit
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