Lawyers subject to hazing at Northwestern?

« previous post | next post »

"Ben Crump retained by group of Northwestern athletes amidst hazing scandal", WGN News 7/17/2023:

EVANSTON, Ill. — A group of athletes from Northwestern University has retained a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney in the midst of the hazing scandal within the football program.

On Monday morning, Ben Crump along with co-counsel Steven M. Levin of Chicago-based Levin & Perconti announced that they’ve been retained by eight former student-athletes at the school.

In a news release, the lawyers say they were subject to the hazing and are also in conversations with others as well.

The obligatory screenshot:

A few other things in that article suggest rushed composition or careless editing. For example, this sentence seems to have something missing, though it's not clear what:

Crump and Levin say that the players were forced to participate in “humiliating acts and racial bias to punishments that inflicted severe physical discomfort and psychological trauma.”

And the following sentence pretty clearly has a missing "in" between "program" and "which":

On Monday afternoon, Fitzgerald was fired after 17 seasons as the head coach of the program which he was a two-time All-American as a player in the mid-1990s.

FWIW, the cited press release by Levin & Perconti seems to be here.


  1. mg said,

    July 18, 2023 @ 12:27 pm

    Then there's the punchline – "In a news release, the lawyers say they were subject to the hazing and are also in conversations with others as well."

    The lawyers were subject to the hazing?

  2. Mark Liberman said,

    July 18, 2023 @ 12:42 pm

    @mg: Then there's the punchline

    Yes, that was the point of the post — sorry for not making it clearer!

  3. mg said,

    July 18, 2023 @ 12:48 pm

    @Mark Liberman – it would have been clearer had I had my coffee and read the headline.

  4. Geoff McL. said,

    July 18, 2023 @ 2:08 pm

    I believe the "something missing" must be something like "everything from … "

  5. Peter Taylor said,

    July 19, 2023 @ 8:10 am

    Are we sure this is zeugma (reusing "they were" with different subject) rather than nerdview ("subject to" having some technical meaning along the lines of "hired to represent the victims of")?

  6. Xtifr said,

    July 19, 2023 @ 1:12 pm

    @Peter Taylor: while those are both possibilities, I don't think it's either one. I think the intended parsing is "the lawyers say [X] and are [Y]." The problem is that [X] starts with a misleading, garden-path pronoun.

  7. JPL said,

    July 19, 2023 @ 9:39 pm

    Even without the "paragraph" break, the process of editing critique should have changed "The lawyers say they were subject to the hazing and …" to "The lawyers say their clients were subject to the hazing, and …" (and btw dropped the "also", and maybe said "other possible victims" instead of just "others" as well). Mind the reference relation: language hooking on to the world. (The r.o.t. "coreference with the nearest NP" does not hook on to the world.)

  8. chris said,

    July 21, 2023 @ 8:41 am

    Are the lawyers in contact with other victims, or are the victims who first hired the lawyers in contact with other victims?

    Probably both, actually, if the contact is aimed at recruiting more co-plaintiffs and/or corroborating witnesses.

    But that's a relatively minor problem compared to the misleading anaphora.

RSS feed for comments on this post