Tom Carnifax at a Chicago news conference on July 19.

Two more lawsuits by former Northwestern University football players were filed Thursday, continuing the disturbing complaints that ritualized, sexually-oriented hazing was a rampant part of the team’s culture.

In yet two other suits, unnamed Black players said they were forced to participate in watermelon-eating contests and one alleged older players at the team’s camp in Kenosha, Wisconsin, cut off his Afro.

Those cases were filed late Wednesday by the law firms Hart McLaughlin and Eldridge and Romanucci and Blandin who say their clients experienced racial discrimination, hazing and sexual abuse.

Thursday’s suits, from civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and the firm of Levin & Perconti, include another named player, Tom Carnifax, and a new, unnamed player, who’s “John Doe #3” from this legal team.

In his complaint, Carnifax, a Wildcat defensive player from 2016-19, outlines practices involving physical and emotional intimidation, some with degrading sexual contact.

According to a release from the lawyers, Carnifax and teammates were forced to strip naked and walk through the middle of others “in order to get to the showers while being smothered and forced to walk penis to penis or penis to butt with the players in the line.”

Carnihan also alleges that when he was injured from playing football, coaches often said he was “faking” it and was a “waste of space.”

“According to the complaint,” the lawyers said, “coaches made Carnifax feel worthless during his entire time at Northwestern.”

“John Doe #3” was an NU football player from 2014 until Spring 2018 who allegedly faced similar hazing.

The suit stated that “incoming freshmen were groomed to believe the conduct they were about to endure during their time as a member of the Northwestern football program was normal.”

It also claims that those administering the hazing had been hazed themselves as freshmen, and that the “NU culture” led them to believe it was not only acceptable but was done “at the direction of the University football program and that the hazing would further the ends of the team.”

“Doe #3” also says he once “had to engage in a physical altercation” in order not to be subjected to a particularly humiliating and physical form of sexual-contact hazing called “running.”

“He escaped and fought and survived,” the suit stated.

The Crump/Perconti & Levin team has filed seven football lawsuits so far, four from named players and three from “John Does.”

The other legal team also suing NU, Patrick Salvi II and Parker Stinar, have filed three “John Doe” football cases and one from a named player.

The Salvi/Stinar team has also filed a “Jane Doe #1” lawsuit alleging improper disciplinary behavior in the volleyball program.

Northwestern is bringing in former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate culture, practices and player protection in NU athletics. The school has also instituted a number of anti-hazing reforms and oversight policies.

Former head football coach Pat Fitzgerald, who was fired in the wake of the allegations, has said he was not aware of the hazing. Fitzgerald’s attorney has suggested that the former coach may sue NU for breach of contract.

The hazing suits

FiledPlaintiff(s)Among the claimsAttorneysTeamYears
Aug. 3Tom Carnifaxdegrading sexual contactCrump, LevinFootball2016-2019
Aug. 3John Doe #3groomed to believe conduct was normalCrump, LevinFootball2014-2018
Aug. 2John Doe #2toxic culture, sexual abuse, racial discriminationHart, RomanucciFootball2004-2008
Aug. 2John Doe #1toxic culture, sexual abuse, racial discriminationHart, RomanucciFootball2004-2008
Aug. 2Ramon Diazforced to rub against other nude bodies in the showerSalvi, StinarFootball2005-2008
July 31Warren Miles-Longfought off players trying to dry hump himCrump, LevinFootball2013-2018
July 31John Doe #2Crump, LevinFootball2015-2019
July 28John Doe #1a minor at time of abuseCrump, LevinFootball2015-2018
July 27Simba Shortsexually and mentally abusedCrump, LevinFootball2015
July 24Lloyd Yates sexual violence and assaultCrump, LevinFootball2015-2017
July 24Jane Doe #1toxic cultureSalvi, StinarVolleyball
July ??John Doe #3Salvi, StinarFootball
July 19John Doe #2hazing, racial discriminationSalvi, StinarFootball
July 18John Doe #1sexualized hazing and physical abuseSalvi, StinarFootball

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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