The bad news is piling up for Ole Miss football. A civil suit seeking $2 million in damages was filed Friday in Lafayette County Circuit Court by a plaintiff alleging Denzel Nkemdiche, Robert Nkemdiche and five unnamed football players beat him unconscious about a year ago. The news broke Tuesday, a day after Denzel Nkemdiche and teammate Serderius Bryant were suspended for weekend arrests. Nkemdiche was cited with disorderly conduct (failure to comply with a police officer) and disturbing the peace. Ole Miss took a proactive approach in suspending the two standout defensive players while they gather facts about the cases. But the school was protective of the Nkemdiche brothers and the unnamed athletes Tuesday. “When this alleged incident occurred, the proper authorities investigated the matter and could find no evidence of wrong-doing related to Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche or any other members of our football program,” athletics director Ross Bjork said in a statement. “This is a personal matter for them and we will support Denzel and Robert while they defend themselves in this civil case.” Coach Hugh Freeze, when reached by text message, referred all comment to Bjork. Freeze is currently in Hawaii on a Nike coaches’ trip. The suit (filed late last week before the statute of limitations had run out) states that on Feb. 17, 2013, the plaintiff, Matthew Baird, his girlfriend and friend Ford Everett visited the Kappa Alpha fraternity house. Shortly thereafter, Denzel, Robert (11 days removed from signing with Ole Miss as the No. 1 recruit in the country) and five others believed to be football players (identified as John Does No. 1-5) arrived at the party. After an unrelated fight broke out, the fraternity asked everyone to leave. Baird alleges that as he was leaving when Denzel “came from behind and punched him” with an impact that rendered the plaintiff unconscious. The suit then states that the Nkemdiches and the five others “began to kick and stomp the plaintiff‘s head into the ground.” When Everett dived on top of his friend to protect him, the beating continued — “bursting (Everett’s) eardrum and injuring his middle ear.” A 911 call was made, but the players are alleged to have left before law enforcement arrived. The plaintiff was unconscious on the scene for 12 to 15 minutes and his body began to convulse in a seizure. He was treated for multiple injuries, including a closed head injury. Baird is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages, based on the alleged battery, emotional distress and loss of future earnings.
Mississippi's Nkemdiches, 5 others being sued for $2M after allegedly beating up man
The Clarion-Ledger | Feb 19