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Ex-football player says U of M ‘didn’t give me a chance’ after rape allegation

Ernest Suttles

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A former University of Memphis football player is suing the school, saying they treated him unfairly after a rape charge that was later dismissed, and now are keeping him from earning a decent living.

Ernest Suttles played in home games for the U of M until October 2017, when the university dismissed him from the football team before a game against Navy.

The dismissal stemmed from allegations of rape. Those charges were later dropped but now Suttles is saying the stigma and effects of what happened never went away.

He says the university never gave him back his scholarship, and he wasn’t allowed back on campus. He did get a masters degree in business administration but did that all online.

Even so, he says it’s been hard to get a job, and his lawyers contend in the lawsuit that he was treated differently than another white student accused of similar crimes.

“I believe everyone should have right to tell their side of the story and prove their innocence,” Suttles said Wednesday. The University of Memphis didn’t give me that chance. I can only hope that through this case, the U of M will come to understand that everyone accused of a crime isn’t automatically guilty.”

Attorney Florence Johnson said the case was rushed to a resolution without appropriate investigation, they believe.

They say the school didn’t follow NCAA rules for a proper investigation, and they still haven’t closed their case, even though the criminal charges were dropped.

That means Suttles has never been able to appeal and get his rights back as a student.

He’s asking for compensation for damages to his reputation, his career prospects and educational opportunities.

For the second day in a row, WREG contacted the University of Memphis asking for an explanation or response but we haven’t heard back.

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