A woman has accused football players and coaches at the University of California at Berkeley of sexual harassment in a social media post. (University of California at Berkeley)
A former student at the University of California at Berkeley alleged sexual harassment involving the school’s football team in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
The student – who worked for the team’s sports medicine unit – opened her post with a quote from an unnamed coach: “I will get you fired if you do not have sex with me.”
As for the players, they would look at me in practice and make lewd remarks, but I had been working so hard for my promotion from hydrotech to sports medicine intern, so I let myself feel like a piece of meat at practice, and then go home and try to forget about it until the next day. If I responded please leave me alone to a DM, I was answered back with Im going to treat you like the hoe that you are. This was a message sent to me by receiver Jordan Duncan, known among the sports medicine interns as a sexual harasser. He still starts. After an intense application process, I was interviewed for the promotion, by which I had a great interview and had the schedule they were looking for, and the desire to go to physical therapy school. In the end, I did not receive the position because they did not want me in the training room taking focus away from the players. Those that were hired were either men or unqualified applicants, but they all had in common is that they wouldn’t be distracting the players.
The university did not confirm if it has opened an investigation into the matter, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The paper did not name the woman because she may be the victim of sexual assault.
These harassments continued into the summer, when a new coach arrived. He somehow knew my name the next day at practice, and would corner me in the tunnel entrance to field, asking me deeply personal questions, like if I had a boyfriend and what my type is. He would not leave me alone at practice, following me around to each drill, making remarks on how I looked that day. To no surprise, he found me on Instagram, and starting messaging me, for which then I blocked him. One day after practice, I realized he was following me home, as he was supposed to be going in the opposite direction, but was keeping a close pace behind me before he caught up to me outside my front door. He asked me what I was doing that weekend, and that we should go to the pool, because I would look amazing in a bikini. This coach is still employed by Cal Football, just to make that clear.
“We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media,” a statement released by Cal Athletics said. “These allegations go against the very core of our values.
Paige Cornelius: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
The woman said she suffered verbal and physical harassment from coaches and players, according to her social media post. She said she received “creepy” messages on social media and invitations her to meet them at parties, campus offices and hotels.
I can already hear people saying its your fault, you brought it upon yourself. Why? Because I am a tall, attractive blonde girl who sticks out in a sea of sweaty, hyper masculine men on a football field. My first day at work I was excited, I love being in an athletic atmosphere, and I had always been a huge Cal fan. 6:30 AM rolls up, and I am already on the field as the players start to come out. Maybe because I am a new face in the sports medicine squad, but maybe for other reasons, I was being stared at up and down, by coaches and payers alike. Hours after practice my Instagram begins to blow up, DMs with creepy messages, asking me to come over, inviting me to parties. Im in college this is normal, or what has been normalized, and I expected to get this from the players.
Cal Football Players, Coaches Accused of Sexual Harassment by Student
She claimed one coach commented on photos of her wearing a bathing suit posted to Instagram that continued into text messages and a late-night invite to California Memorial Stadium.
Woman Accuses UC Berkeley Football Players, Coaches Of Sexual Harassment
“I was under the influence, and not legally in a state of mind to be consenting to sex,” she posted. “He snuck me into his office … and he immediately grabbed for my waist. I was terrified, my mind was fuzzy, and I do not remember much from that night. He kept kissing me, pushing me against the wall, and I left. The next day, he cornered me at practice and said: ‘If you do not have sex with me, I will get you fired.’”
She has medically withdrawn from the school and is seeking “intensive therapy and psychiatry for the post-traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety,” the paper reported.
Calls and emails to head football coach Justin Wilcox and Athletic Director Jim Knowlton have not been returned, she said.
“Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected,” the department said. “All of those associated with the department are expected to maintain ethical standards at all times. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or troubled to contact the PATH to Care Center for confidential support, and other campus resources.”
Woman accuses Cal football players, coaches of sexual harassment
Cornelius, whose post can be read in full here, first tells of a member of the Cal Football Coaching Staff who said to her, I will get you fired if you do not have sex with me, at a practice after sending her persistent texts. Cornelius told ESPN that this man was a volunteer assistant. Heres what she says about him in her post:
Thursdays Briefing: Woman alleges Cal football players, coaches of sexual harassment
Another day, another coach found my Instagram, and liked all the pictures where I was wearing a bathing suit, even from years past. A player had given him my name, snapchat, and basically all forms of contact. When I did not reply to his messages, he would try to humiliate me in front of the players, yelling at me to do a job I was already doing. He would get especially upset when a player would talk to me, like he had formed some sort of territory over me.
This coach was so persistent in his text messages, and one night invited me over to the stadium offices at midnight, because I had noted that I was struggling with an economics class he had taken at another college. I was under the influence, and not legally in a state of mind to be consenting to sex. He snuck me into his office, I put my backpack and binder down, and he immediately grabbed for my waist. I was terrified, my mind was fuzzy, and I do not remember much from that night. He kept kissing me, pushing me against the wall, and I left.
Female Cal student and sports intern accuses football coaches and players of sexual harassment
The next day, he cornered me at practice and said if you do not have sex with me, I will get you fired. I am a broke college student, I couldnt lose this job, and I was scared of him. Every night before a Cal home game, the team stays in the Claremont, luxury hotel nearby. I was staying there with my mom that night, as she was visiting me for the weekend. I get a text from the coach. Meet me in my room. I couldnt let my mom down, if I got fired she wouldnt be able to support me, so I said I was leaving for the night. When I got to his room, I was scared, so I just laid on the bed and tried to make small talk. He started taking his clothes off. I started crying uncontrollably. He yelled at me to get out of him room, and that he could fuck any girl he wanted.
ESPN says that this man is no longer with the program, but they could not confirm when or why he left.
However, Cornelius emphasizes, another unnamed coach who harassed her is still with the program. Heres her description of his actions:
(He) would corner me in the tunnel entrance to field, asking me deeply personal questions, like if I had a boyfriend and what my type is. He would not leave me alone at practice, following me around to each drill, making remarks on how I looked that day. To no surprise, he found me on Instagram, and starting messaging me, for which then I blocked him. One day after practice, I realized he was following me home, as he was supposed to be going in the opposite direction, but was keeping a close pace behind me before he caught up to me outside my front door. He asked me what I was doing that weekend, and that we should go to the pool, because I would look amazing in a bikini.
Cornelius also says that she was on the receiving end of inappropriate remarks and creepy DMs from Cal players, specifically singling out wide receiver Jordan Duncan for a message that said Im going to treat you like the hoe that you are after she told him to leave her alone. She also describes this harrowing experience at a party:
The other girls working for the team were allowed to wear jean shorts and tank tops, and I could not. Justin Wilcox, head coach made it a special rule that only I would have to wear shoulder covering shirts, clearly singling me out and humiliating me. When I wore shorts, they were staring at my legs, when I wore leggings they were staring at my butt. I have never felt more objectified in my life, and I still have nightmares, often it is a coach doing sexual things to me without my consent or following me home. I am not ok, I had to leave Berkeley. I have emailed Justin Wilcox, Jim Knowlton, our Athletic director, and called and emailed many other coaches and athletic administrators. No response. Why not? Because thats the business.
Ex-Cal student accuses football coaches, players of harrassment
One night, I was invited over to a football house, where I was given vast amounts of tequila, to which I later realized, no one else was drinking that much. That night is also a little fuzzy, but i clearly remember the players talking to another saying looks like we are gonna get lucky tonight. Thankfully my friends rescued me from the house, calling me an Uber. I slipped out the back door unnoticed.
Cornelius, who has medically withdrawn from the school and is seeking therapy, told ESPN that she had reached out to Cal head coach Justin Wilcox, and AD Jim Knowlton, among others in the program, and they had not responded to her. That was part of the reason why she decided to go public with her story.
Last year, Cal fired longtime athletic department employee Mohamed Muqtar, after a months-long investigation into a pattern of sexual harassment and assault first made public by WNBA player Layshia Clarendon. They had this to say in a statement when ESPN contacted them:
We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media. Allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment by campus employees are confidential unless officials determine policy is violated, and disciplinary action has been decided.
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