• Former UofM football player suing school for mishandling 2017 rape allegation against him

    By: Jonathan Marshall

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A former University of Memphis football player is suing the school for its handling of a rape allegation against him.

    This comes days after charges from that allegation were dismissed.

    Ernest Suttles told FOX13 when he signed a scholarship to play football at Memphis, he felt a bond. 

    “We used to use the slogan fit in family,” Suttles said. “I thought I was a part of that family and I believed in it.”

    That belief went away on October of 2017 when Suttles was arrested and charged with rape. 

    Suttles was immediately kicked off the football team and banned from the University of Memphis campus. 


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    Two years later, the charges were dropped. And now, Suttles is fighting back. 

    “I was then, and I am now, innocent of the crime that I was charged with almost two years ago,” Suttles said. 

    FOX13 looked at the lawsuit against Suttles recently filed against the school. Suttles and his attorneys claim the university did not thoroughly investigate this case. 

    The suit alleges that the school played a large part in damaging his reputation on and off the football field.

    “There’s a conveyor belt that once you’re on it it’s called the system,” Tom Shadyac said. “It wants to convict.”

    Suttles’ story hit home for Shadyac. He’s the director of the new film Brian Banks

    That movie, which was filmed in Memphis, tells the story of Banks whose NFL dreams were taken away after being wrongly convicted of rape. 

    “I hope I can be a small part of supporting innocence projects,” Shadyac said. “Which helps to free people like this who don’t have a voice.”

    Suttles is hoping to do the same. 

    “I believe that everyone should have the right to tell their side of the story and prove their innocence,” he said. “The University of Memphis didn’t give me that chance.”

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