Ex-Penn State player claims James Franklin said to not tell police that the player pulled knife on Micah Parsons

Nick Bromberg
·3 min read

A former Penn State player alleges that coach James Franklin told him not to tell police about an alleged fight to help protect linebacker Micah Parsons.

Isaiah Humphries sued the school in January after he transferred to Cal. In his suit, he claims that multiple allegations of hazing were reported to Penn State’s coaches and nothing happened. In a report published Friday by ESPN, Humphries also said that Franklin wanted him to keep quiet about an alleged conflict with Parsons that involved Humphries pulling a knife.

Like with his lawsuit, Penn State said that the claims made by Humphries are baseless.

According to ESPN, Humphries’ hard to decipher tale of the conversation with Franklin is contained in a draft Title IX report from 2019 associated with Humphries’ accusations of hazing.

Humphries told investigators that, after his fight with linebacker Micah Parsons 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."

The report makes it clear later on that the player who pulled the knife in the alleged altercation was Humphries. It is unclear from Humphries’ statement to investigators and the report how a refusal to tell the police that he was the one who pulled the knife would be to protect Parsons specifically.

Humphries said his 2018 fight with Parsons began when Parsons poured water on him while he was asleep in the academic center, and that some of the water got on his laptop and phone, according to the report. Humphries said he then poured Gatorade on Parsons, who then punched him.

Humphries told a school investigator that Parsons was choking him and wouldn't stop, so Humphries pulled out a pocket knife, which he said led Parsons to stop choking him and put an end to the fight, according to the report.

Humphries said in an amended complaint that Franklin told him two days after the fight that "you should have just gotten your ass beat and not pulled a knife.”

Parsons is a potential top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL draft. He elected to sit out the 2020 football season to prepare for the draft. Penn State is currently 0-4.

Penn State head coach James Franklin talks with an offical against Ohio State during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Ohio State defeated Penn State 38-25. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Penn State and James Franklin are 0-4 in 2020. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Humphries was part of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class

Humphries transferred away from Penn State at the end of the 2018 season. His lawsuit was filed in January and named Franklin and former teammate Damion Barber as defendants in the suit.

In the suit, Humphries said that players including Parsons and Carolina Panthers DE Yetur Gross-Matos “electively orchestrated, participated in, directed and or facilitated a campaign to harass and haze lower classmen members of the Penn State football team including the plaintiff.”

Penn State said it was unable to substantiate any of the allegations in an investigation in a response to the suit. Humphries alleged that players would even say “I am going to Sandusky you” in hazing incidents. As you know, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is serving a life prison sentence on child sexual abuse charges.

Humphries’ attorney in the suit is the same attorney representing a team doctor that also filed a suit against the school that names Franklin as a defendant. The doctor alleges that Franklin pushed him to medically clear players who weren’t ready to play.

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