- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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A week that hasn't exactly been pretty for Ole Miss got worse and a little stranger on Tuesday when news broke that Denzel Nkemdiche and Robert Nkemdiche are being sued for $2 million after allegedly beating a man at a fraternity party last year.
According to a complaint, which was filed in Lafayette County Circuit Court last Friday, plaintiff Matthew Baird claims Denzel Nkemdiche punched him from behind unprovoked and knocked him unconscious. It also states that Robert Nkemdiche and five other unnamed people started kicking and stomping Baird while he was on the ground.
Here's the statement released by Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, which indicates that he and the administration are standing by the Nkemdiche brothers:
"When this alleged incident occurred, the proper authorities investigated the matter and could find no evidence of wrong-doing related to Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche or any other members of our football program. This is a personal matter for them and we will support Denzel and Robert while they defend themselves in this civil case."
Not all of the facts are out on this one, but this isn't something the Nkemdiches or Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze want to deal with. It's another distraction in an offseason that is piling up with them in Oxford for this football program. It sounds like this matter was dealt with in the past, and that Ole Miss stands by the investigation, but the fact that it's now out in the open will draw plenty of unwanted attention to this team.
And if the Nkemdiches did in fact engage in such a horrific incident, there's no question Freeze will then have to deal with their futures with the football program. Forget how valuable both are to the Rebels, jumping someone at a party deserves severe punishment and Freeze has to know that. But he also first has to know all the facts.
For now, Freeze and the Nkemdiches have to wait for the legal process to unfold. Denzel Nkemdiche is already serving a suspension after being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace over the weekend. No punishment was ever given to Robert Nkemdiche for any role in the alleged fight at the fraternity house last year.
The investigation is ongoing, as is the drama surrounding this football team.