While acknowledging Oklahoma football coaches have been put in a difficult position throughout the ongoing Frank Shannon saga, the junior linebacker’s attorney scathingly criticized university officials, Bob Stoops and his staff during a news conference at her Oklahoma City office Friday afternoon.
“They teach our kids to fight hard on the field, never give up … and all of a sudden when it gets hot, they're gone,” said civil rights lawyer Aletia Timmons, who is representing Shannon in his court battle with the University of Oklahoma.
“I have a problem with that. You can't teach what you don't model.”
Timmons said Shannon will “stand on the sideline in silent protest” during the Sooners’ 2014 season opener, set for 6 p.m. Saturday on Owen Field.
Shannon was issued a one-year suspension from school and football activities June 18 after he was found guilty of violating the university’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy. A female OU student alleged that Shannon sexually assaulted her at his off-campus apartment in late January.
Although criminal charges were never filed in the case, the university is obligated by federal law to conduct its own independent investigation.
Six days after being suspended, Shannon went to Cleveland County District Court and received a stay, allowing him to remain enrolled as a student and continue working out with the team.
The university petitioned the Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier this month to remove the stay, calling the district court's action "an unconstitutional invasion of the University's powers" to self-govern. They also argued Shannon shouldn’t be able to contest his suspension in court because he wasn't expelled. Oklahoma's Administrative Procedures Act excludes OU and all public universities from its purview except in the case of expulsion.
Because the case is unsettled in court and the district judge’s stay remains in effect, Shannon is allowed to attend classes and participate fully in football activities. Timmons said that until the university filed its petition to the state Supreme Court, Shannon — OU’s leading tackler on last year’s Sugar Bowl champion squad — was practicing with the first-team defense.
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