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Northwestern Players Won’t Participate in Big Ten Media Days

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 31: Northwestern Wildcats helmet during the college football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Palo Alto, CA. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire)

Update (4:33 p.m.)—

**Northwestern coach David Braun confirmed that he will be attending the event and backs his players’ decisions not to.

Northwestern football won’t have any  player representatives at this year’s Big Ten Media Days.

The three players who were scheduled to speak— Bryce Gallagher, Rod Heard II and Bryce Kirtz— issued a joint statement announcing that the football program’s Twitter account published.

The statement said that, after talking with interim coach David Braun, the players decided not to participate due to the program’s ongoing hazing scandal.

“This was very difficult,” the statement read, “since we were excited about the opportunity to participate in this great Big Ten tradition, and to talk about the game we love and the season ahead. But given the recent events involving the Northwestern football program, we did not want our participation to be dominated by the hazing issue and the focus away from football and this upcoming season.”

This hazing scandal, which has led to multiple lawsuits that expand to some of Northwestern’s other athletic programs, led to the firing of longtime coach Pat Fitzgerald earlier this month.

As of now, there’s no indication that Braun, who was Fitzgerald’s defensive coordinator for four seasons before the scandal, won’t be addressing reporters.

The end of the statement said that Northwestern football wants its “on-field performance and on-field conduct to always reflect the value of our university and our fans.”

Assuming Braun still speaks, Northwestern will be one of seven Big Ten programs represented Wednesday, with the other half of the conference to follow Thursday. Nittany Sports Now will be on hand for Wednesday’s sessions which features Penn State as well as six of its nine conference opponents.

Myself and Austin Bechtold will be in Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium on behalf of NSN.

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