A former Tennessee Vols football player admitted to police that the team had “a hit” out on a teammate for helping a victim who said she was the victim of a rape.
In public documents published by The Knoxville News Sentinel on Tuesday, a lawsuit levied against the University of Tennessee alleges that former Vols defensive back Mike Williams told police of the “hit” put out by teammate Geraldo Orta against Drae Bowles, a receiver who reportedly took one of lawsuit’s victims to the hospital and supported her decision to report the incident to authorities.
“The actions and intent of UT football players against Drae Bowles were disclosed by [Mike] Williams in his November 26, 2014, interview with the police, when he stated that his teammate, Geraldo Orta, had told Williams that the football team had ‘a hit’ out on Drae Bowles.”
“In his interviews with police, UT football player Geraldo Orta stated that he felt Bowles had betrayed the team and that where he (Orta) came from, people got shot for doing what Bowles did,” the lawsuit reads. “Orta also admitted having approached Drae Bowles in Smokey’s Cafe (the athletic dining facility), getting ‘in his face’ and saying ‘some threatening things.’ ”
Orta told police that Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt also confronted Bowles before the team was instructed by coach Butch Jones not to talk to the receiver. The lawsuit claims neither Orta nor Maggitt were disciplined by the team.
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of six women who claim the university fostered a culture that has enabled sexual assaults to be committed by student-athletes, with Orta’s intimidation of Bowles cited as an example.
Orta left the program after his redshirt junior season in 2014 and Bowles transferred to Chattanooga. Maggitt sustained a season-ending injury early in the 2015 season, but decided not to pursue a medical-redshirt for a sixth-year at Tennessee.