BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – John Haynes, a former Troy University football player who was allegedly abused and sexually harassed by ex-teammate Jack Dawson, has retained Cory Watson Attorneys — a nationally distinguished personal injury firm — and filed a lawsuit against Dawson along with three Troy football coaches.
While a freshman, Haynes alleges he endured serious forms of verbal and physical harassment by Dawson, including homophobic slurs and physical violence that continued throughout the 2020 football season.
Haynes allegedly made higher-ups aware of the abuse he was constantly receiving, but their response left him feeling even more isolated. Those who he confided in included Troy University football coaches Brian Blackmon, Jamaal Smith, and Dayne Brown.
Smith allegedly told Haynes to resort to violence in response, and that he should refrain from engaging in “gay” behavior if he wanted it to stop.
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“John came to Troy for an education and the chance to play Division 1 football—not to be needlessly tormented, harassed, and assaulted,” Cory Watson attorney Curt Tanner said. “Troy University football coaches were made aware of these serious accusations at the time, and they responded in a completely inappropriate and ineffective manner that did nothing to protect him from physical and verbal abuse. Troy University failed John Haynes.”
In response, Cory Watson Attorneys has filed a lawsuit (Case 2:22-cv-00431 filed to Judge Myron H. Thompson in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama) on behalf of Haynes and are currently waiting for all defendants to respond to the allegations.
The lawsuit filed by Cory Watson alleges that John Haynes was failed by Troy University football coaches. Haynes trusted them to properly respond, notify their authority figures, and defend him from his abuser, but there was a complete failure to protect a student-athlete.
“We believe this lawsuit will have a profound impact on people in college athletics—and anyone who reads about it—to take harassment and assault seriously and to support those who are wronged,” Cory Watson attorney Adam Pittman said.
Currently, Cory Watson is focusing on the support and well-being of John Haynes, and our legal team is providing all available resources and legal avenues to John Haynes as this lawsuit unfolds.