The widely-publicized accusations that dogged Micah Parsons in college have followed him to the NFL.
Predictably, given the disturbing nature of such accusations, Parsons was peppered with a particular question after the Dallas Cowboys used the No. 12 overall pick on the former Penn State linebacker: What about his hazing incidents?
Fake news, apparently.
“They did all their background checks, and I let them know the truth,” Parsons said in last Thursday night’s post-draft news conference, via the official team website. “There’s nothing pending against me. Everything was dropped and all that type of stuff. They were false allegations. I never got to speak on my name because it’s hard to say that while you’re in the process, but obviously, they did their background. They know I’m not a character concern at all. I think I’m a great person, and I’m going to keep becoming a better father and person every day, not only for myself but for my entire family. And Cowboys nation, now I got to represent them every day too.”
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Parsons’ checkered past at State College was a storyline throughout the pre-draft process, and its negative fanfare, while fortuitous for the Cowboys, contributed to the 21-year-old sliding out of the top-10.
The accusations against Parsons, and others within the Nittany Lions’ program, are particularly graphic. Details initially surfaced in a 2020 civil lawsuit filed by a former player:
“Players would allegedly regularly pin younger teammates to the floor and simulate ‘a humping action while on top’ or place their ‘genitals on the face of the lower classmen.’ One of the players would place a ‘penis on the buttocks of the lower classmen and stroke his genitalia, simulating the action of ejaculation.’”
Parsons’ problems preceded his collegiate tenure. In 2016, he was suspended by his high school for “inciting a riot” after yelling ‘gun!’ in a crowded cafeteria while police were present. These apparent red flags scared off more than a few NFL talent evaluators who weighed his troubling allegations versus his unignorable talent.
The Cowboys claim they did a “tremendous amount of homework” on Parsons prior to selecting him, a months-long background check that included several calls to coaches and mentors. Upon clearing his name, the organization felt convicted enough to pull the trigger.
“We felt good about it, backwards, forwards and every which way he can do it,” team vice president Stephen Jones said.
For his part, Parsons — the 2019 Butkus–Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and consensus All-American — wasn’t concerned whether the notoriety would precede him. His faith never wavered as the clock ticked away on Day One of the draft.
“Concerned? No. You only get concerned if it’s true,” Parsons said, via the official team website. “I knew it was false, and if I were to fall it’s because God wanted me to fall. I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m here for a reason. I put it in the air, and I spoke this into existence. Now, I got a great opportunity to do something great here.”
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Jersey Number Update
The Cowboys announced Wednesday that Parsons will wear No. 11, his digits at Penn State — now a valid number for linebackers after the league relaxed its historically strict jersey rules. Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who previously donned No. 11, will switch to No. 1.
Parsons becomes the 13th player in franchise history to rock repeating ones. The number is somewhat famous, having been worn by the likes of former quarterbacks Danny White and Drew Bledsoe and wide receivers Roy Williams and Cole Beasley.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL