Family of suspended Gophers player speaks out

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For the first time during the months-long scandal involving the Gophers football program, the family of one of the suspended players is sitting down to tell their story.

The ten players will go before a university appeals panel on Thursday in a quest to clear their names and ultimately get back on the field.

The ten student-athletes and their attorneys get a total of 18 hours over the next couple days to make their case.

"I just know my son, Antonio Shenault, and I know he's not that type of person,” said Kenneth Shenault, a father of one of the suspended players.

Antonio Shenault's parents are ready for a fight.

"This is our name. I'm not associated with any sexual misconduct. Not my name. Not Shenault. Absolutely not,” he said.

Antonio, a sophomore, is one of 10 players who will go before a university administrative panel on Thursday. This comes from an investigation into an alleged sexual assault last September that was never criminally prosecuted.

The 10 players have all been suspended from the team, but face a range of more severe school discipline from outright expulsion to one-year bans down to Antonio's punishment - a year of probation.

His mom is disgusted by the process.

"I just feel this is a plot against African-American young men,” said Lisa Shenault. “I think it's racial profiling, especially for Antonio."

An internal university investigation into the alleged sexual assault found the woman's account of what happened "more credible" than the players.

According to Antonio and his parents, the 20-year-old isn't in trouble for having sexual contact with the accuser, but for lying about his whereabouts that night.

He insists he wasn't anywhere near the apartment.

Attorneys for the student-athletes worry that the closed-door appeals process that will play out over the next couple days is stacked against them.

"Number one, there is limited time to present a defense,” said Ryan Pacyga, an attorney on the case. “Second, there is no presumption of innocence. And third, each of the accused is lumped together and you risk the panel looking at all 10. And if one is guilty, then they all must be guilty of something."

"I truly feel this,” said Kenneth Shenault. “If Antonio was there, he would have said something. I think he would have prevented it from happening if it happened because this is how I raise my child. You will always tell the truth. No matter what."

The attorneys for the student-athletes had wanted to handle each case individually, but that won't happen.

It will be interesting because the arguments vary for each player from the alleged sex was consensual to Antonio's situation that the accuser may have identified the wrong person.