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Michigan State sued for expelling accused athlete after exonerating him, ruining NFL career

He was afraid of police because he’s black and she’s white

Michigan State University expelled a student after initially exonerating him, costing him a professional football career and a post-football career, and violating both the 14th Amendment and Title IX, according to a new federal lawsuit against the school.

Former MSU wide receiver Keith Mumphery said he was cut by the Houston Texans two days after the Detroit Free Press published an article about his 2016 expulsion, and a day after a local sportswriter asked how the Texans could have missed the Title IX investigation when the team drafted him in 2015.

These “specious charges and erroneous findings” against Mumphery are preventing him from finding “a job in his chosen profession” and from completing his graduate degree in communications, his intended post-football career, at MSU or any other school, it says.

The suit portrays MSU as more afraid of being sued by Mumphery’s accuser than ruling on the “concrete evidence,” saying that “Jane Roe” threatened to sue the school for mistreating her as she pursued an appeal of the not-responsible ruling. She finally sued last November.

Mumphery actually graduated in 2014 and was a “non-registered graduate student” when he met Roe on Tinder in November 2014, according to the suit. They had fallen out of touch when Mumphery went to the NFL Scouting Combine, but also because of “Roe’s tendency to stereotype athletes as having a sense of entitlement and thinking that they can have everything their way.”

They reconnected when he returned to campus for “Pro Day” at MSU, but Roe rejected Mumphery’s invitation to dinner and pressured him to join her alone in her dorm room, at one point texting him “a topless photograph of herself that showed that she had a nipple ring on one of her breasts,” the suit says.

Mumphery rebutted Roe’s claims that he shooed her away from his vehicle to “sell someone drugs” and that there was “pushing” or other “aggression” during their dorm-room foreplay. The suit portrays Roe, who was “clearly sober,” as taking the lead sexually at several points in their encounter.

MORE: Stanford opened Title IX inquiry against grad based on 8-year-old claims

The encounter abruptly stopped when Mumphery refused to have intercourse without a condom, at which point Roe “immediately jumped off” him and became “visibly upset,” according to the suit:

At this juncture, Plaintiff called a friend to discuss what had just happened and whether he had acted incorrectly in bringing up wearing a condom. Roe participated in this conversation, and at one point took Plaintiff’s cellphone from him and spoke with Plaintiff’s friend.

The timing of this telephone call is corroborated by Plaintiff’s cellphone bill.

After speaking with his friend, Plaintiff and Roe began to argue. As Roe began to raise her voice, it quickly became apparent to Plaintiff that he needed to extricate himself from the situation—leaving approximately 30 to 40 minutes after he arrived.

Mumphery later told MSU investigators that he was worried “the police might be called” if their argument continued, “and that he would be unfairly treated because he was black and Roe was white.”

The suit alleges MSU violated Mumphery’s constitutional due process rights, with “repeated failures” to give him “proper notice of the proceedings”:

There was no proper hearing, there was no cross-examination; there was no sworn testimony, and the evidence that supposedly supported Jane Roe’s false allegations was originally determined to exonerate Plaintiff.

In a statement provided to WLNS, Mumphery attorney Andrew Miltenberg said MSU was “trying to distract attention from its other misdeeds” by going after Mumphery, alluding to the university’s blind eye to sexual misdeeds against girls by its employee Larry Nassar.

Miltenberg cited his client’s “previously unblemished disciplinary record”:

In fact, Michigan State’s initial Tile IX investigation of the allegations, which absolved Mr. Mumphery, included statements from multiple witnesses, including the complainant, and was signed off by the school’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  Ultimately, Michigan State’s subsequent findings — that resulted in my client’s dismissal — were not based on any concrete evidence or facts, but rather an egregiously flawed disciplinary process motivated by an anti-male and anti-athlete discriminatory bias against Mumphery.

In order to arrive at their predetermined outcome of guilty, Michigan State conducted a sham investigation and blatantly ignored the due process rights of my client … The University repeatedly and systematically failing to give him notice of the appeal and the subsequent second investigation.

Read the lawsuit and WLNS report.

MORE: Liberty U expelled football player for rape hours before he was cleared

IMAGE: MSUSpartanAthletics/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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