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Trial Aftermath – Will Jordan Johnson Play Grizzly Football Again?

Kent Haslam
photo by Peter Christian

With Friday’s ‘not guilty’ verdict still ringing in the air, one question has been asked by thousands of Griz fans..will Jordan Johnson play football for the Grizzlies again?

That question was asked of University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam on Friday afternoon, just hours after the verdict. Haslam was in Bozeman for Saturday’s Griz-Cat basketball games.

Haslam said that under the official UM student code of conduct, a suspended athlete may apply in writing to be reinstated to a team, if he or she wishes to do so. He said Johnson must make that application himself, that no one else may apply on his behalf.

University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam

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Friday afternoon Grizzly head coach Mick Delaney said he would not speculate on what Johnson might do, and wanted to give Johnson and his family the weekend to reconnect and enjoy each other before answering any questions from the media.

As far as academics go, during a post-verdict interview, attorney David Paoli said, “Johnson won’t have that much time to celebrate since he has a math paper due,” which would infer that Johnson is still enrolled in school.

Peggy Kuhr
photo courtesy of University of Montana

Vice President for Integrated Communications at UM Peggy Kuhr said Johnson is still a student, and that providing any other information would be a violation of that student’s privacy. When asked about an official position by the university regarding the not guilty verdict, Kuhr said, “that has been a procedure that has been before a court of law, and we respect the legal process. What we have been doing is to focus on what we are in control of, and that is working with students to provide a safe living environment. So we really look at what we’re providing here on campus, a safe living environment ,and good student services… and that would be our comment regarding the verdict.”

When asked about the possible fallout after the not guilty verdict regarding whether or not any young woman would want to report a sexual assault, given the extraordinary events of the past year, seeing a young woman endure an ordeal such as the alleged victim in the Johnson case, Kuhr said, ”The university and the city have worked hard to make sure that all students have access to information, so that they feel like they can come forward if something has happened concerning a sexual assault, and that they feel their confidentiality is respected. Some people choose to move forward, some people choose not to; our focus is student safety, and that people feel they have good resources here, both on campus and with the city, so we look at what we can offer in the form of education.”

VP for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr

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