By Harry Allison
ESPN is reporting that Penn State football coach James Franklin told a player not to talk to police following a fight with a star linebacker in a 2018 incident that involved punching, choking and a knife being pulled, according to allegations contained in a university 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.
Humphries told investigators that, after his fight with linebacker Micah Parsons (above) in March 2018, he met with Franklin in the coach’s car outside the Lasch football building, according to the report. 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.”
In a statement to ESPN, a university spokesperson said “Franklin has made it clear that he did not instruct Mr. Humphries to avoid contacting authorities.”
“We believe the claims relating to Coach Franklin have no merit, and we will continue to defend him vigorously,” the statement said.
Humphries, who transferred to Cal last year, has alleged sexual harassment by Parsons, defensive tackle Damion Barber and defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos, the report shows. Humphries repeated those allegations in a January lawsuit that names Barber, Franklin and the school as defendants.