PISCATAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The family of a Rutgers University football player wants a coach fired after they say he verbally abused the player so badly, he was forced to quit the team.
It seems that the Scarlet Knights may be confronting yet another coaching controversy, this time, involving defensive coordinator Dave Cohen and former player Jevon Tyree.
Tyree and his parents claimed that Cohen bullied him and that during a study hall session last spring, Cohen was verbally abusive — jeering the young man and taunting him with names and threatening to head butt him.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Rutgers said: “This was an isolated incident. At no time was there any threat of physical violence. Cohen apologized the following day for his participation in the escalation of banter, which resulted in the use of inappropriate language.”
But Tyree’s parents said he was so miserable, that he withdrew from the football program.
“I know this kind of thing happens across the country but it doesn’t really affect you until it comes into your own home, your own family,” Tyree’s father told CBS 2’s Steve Langford.
Tyree’s family said that the problems continued after the study hall incident.
“The things continued in practice, keeping Jevon out of different things like getting reps in practice, not including him in meetss and stuff like that,” his parents said.
On campus, some students say aggressive language from the coaches shouldn’t be taken to heart.
“You have to be a coach that can fire up your teammates and your players and stuff,” one student said. “These guys are almost grown men, so you have to be able to live with what people say.”
The university says Tyree voluntarily left the program last week, but his family says he was forced to quit because of the alleged abuse.
On Saturday, Rutgers released a statement addressing the allegations.
“Cohen apologized the following day for his participation in the escalation of banter which resulted in the use of inappropriate language,” the statement said.
The statement added that Athletic Director Julie Hermann spoke with Tyree’s father following a meeting with Coach Flood “and confirmed that the matter was resolved to his satisfaction.”
Tyree’s family said that they have not yet met with the Athletic Director.
“The Athletic Director says he spoke to me twice and resolved the situation and I haven’t spoken to her at all,” Tyree’s father said.
Tyree’s allegations come on the heels of NFL player Jonathan Martin quitting the Miami Dolphins after he said he was bullied by fellow teammate Richie Incognito.
Martin said Incognito tormented him, sending him racist and vulgar messages.
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