UPDATE: A Penn State spokesperson provided the following comments on ESPN’s report:
“In response to a recent story by ESPN relating to the Penn State Football program and unsubstantiated claims from a former player, the University has issued the following statement:
Penn State diligently works to foster a community of safety and security for its students and student-athletes, so that they may participate freely in the academic and athletic opportunities the University offers. We’re disappointed that ESPN has chosen to rehash a series of allegations that have remained unsubstantiated despite being investigated thoroughly through the University’s established processes for responding to claims of misconduct and by the Penn State police.
Coach Franklin never instructed Mr. Humphries to avoid contacting authorities. The court has twice rejected Mr. Humphries’ complaints, and despite his continued revisions, previously dismissed the claims against Coach Franklin in their entirety. We believe the claims relating to Coach Franklin have no merit, and we will continue to defend him vigorously.”
According to an ESPN report, James Franklin told a former player not to report a fight with a star linebacker to police. According to documents filed by Isaiah Humphries, he and Micah Parsons fought involving punching, choking and a knife in March 2018.
ESPN reporter John Barr states in the report: “The accusation by now-former Nittany Lions defensive back Isaiah Humphries is contained in a draft report that was part of a 2019 Title IX inquiry into sexual assault allegations in the Penn State locker room. The document sheds new light on the allegations that became public when Humphries sued the school early this year. The report, which does not include conclusions by investigators, contains interviews with dozens of football players, coaches and staff.”
The report from ESPN says the fight began after Parsons poured water on Humphries in the academic center of the football practice facility.
According to the report obtained by ESPN, some of the water got on his laptop and phone, so Humphries said he poured Gatorade on Parsons, who then punched him. According to ESPN, the fight escalated to Parsons choking Humphries, who then pulled out a pocket knife so Parsons would stop. The fight ended after that, according to the report.
According to the report obtained by ESPN, the investigator wrote: “Mr. Humphries added that Coach Franklin came and said, ‘Don’t talk to the police because Micah is his start [sic] player and makes money, so if he gets in trouble, he’s gone,’ meaning Mr. Humphries would be gone.”
PSU told ESPN it believes claims again Franklin have no merit. abc27 has reached out to Penn State for official comment.