Former Northwestern football players Lloyd Yates, Warren Miles-Long, Simba Short and Tom Carnifax said they were the victims of "extreme ritualized sexual" hazing during their time with the program on Wednesday (July 19), NBC News reports.
"The university and the football program has let us down. That's why we're here today," Yates said, alongside Miles-Long, Short and Carnifax, while addressing reporters in Chicago. "We were thrown into a culture where physical, emotional and sexual abuse was normalized."
The players admission came one day after the first civil lawsuit was filed by an anonymous former Northwestern player providing excruciating details about hazing incidents that occurred during their time with the football program. The four players have not yet filed a lawsuit against the university, but their attorneys said they planned to speak with other former Wildcats players and civil action is pending.
Northwestern fired former head football coach Pat Fitzgerald on July 10, days after announcing that he would be suspended without pay for two weeks following an investigation into hazing allegations within the program, as well as an anonymous former player coming forward with allegations of sexual violations the following day.
Fitzgerald, 48, a former Northwestern linebacker, initially returned to his alma mater in 2001 as a defensive backs coach under late former head coach Randy Walker, who he later succeeded following Walker's unexpected death in 2006. The Illinois native went 110-101 during 17 seasons as head coach, which included two Big Ten West Division titles in 2018 and 2020.