Feb 23, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT
Former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo spoke publicly for the first time about the death of Lizzy Seeberg, a former St. Mary’s student who committed suicide a week after accusing a Notre Dame football player of a sexual attack. While the player’s name had stayed anonymous in media reports, Shembo acknowledged that he was the player.
After staying quiet since the incident occurred in the first weeks of his freshman year, Shembo acknowledged in Indianapolis that he was the accused, something easily findable on the internet over the past four years.
He also defended himself, claiming no wrongdoing, while also acknowledging that he’s spent time talking to NFL teams candidly about the experience.
Andrew Owens of BlueandGold.com was in Indianapolis:
“I just tell [NFL team executives] the truth, I have nothing to hide,” said Shembo, who estimated that 26 teams have interviewed him. “No one’s heard from me one time. Do you go off of one person’s story?
“I’m still here, so I know I didn’t do anything. I tell them exactly what happened.”
Shembo said the questions teams have asked him did not come as a surprise because “it’s all over the internet. Everyone that does the background check can type my name in and you’ll see all the stuff that people have said about me and have never heard from my mouth.”
Irish coach Brian Kelly told Shembo he could not discuss the matter publicly, Shembo said.
“Yes, I wanted to talk about it, but they had to keep everything confidential,” said Shembo, who added that he did not lobby Kelly for the opportunity to speak about it. “Now that I’m out [of the university], I can talk about it.
“My name was going to flames and it just made my name look bad and I can’t even speak.”
The Seeberg tragedy was a lightning rod in the media. It is also a case that saw no winners, with a young woman taking her life within weeks of attending college, and a young man branded with an accusation that’ll stick for the rest of his life.
College football had sexual assaults come to the forefront of two major football programs this year. Florida State’s Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was accused of rape. Michigan’s Brandon Gibbons was expelled in December, the reaction to an incident that took place four years earlier.
Shembo was never charged with a crime. He’s a mid-round NFL prospect at outside linebacker.
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