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University of Mississippi football player sues school, head coach for disregarding mental health crisis

Ole Miss defensive tackle DeSanto Rollins says Coach Lane Kiffin kicked him off the team for requesting a mental health break.
Credit: AP
Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin leaves the field following the team's 24-22 loss to Mississippi State in an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

MISSISSIPPI, USA — Ole Miss football defensive tackle DeSanto Rollins is suing the University of Mississippi and Head Coach Lane Kiffin for kicking him off the team for requesting a mental health break.

Rollins is asking for $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages.

According to the lawsuit, Rollins suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon in July 2022. He also suffered an injury to his left knee on September 2020 and later aggravated that injury in August 2022. 

The injuries "substantially limited his ability to perform major life activities," which caused him severe depression and anxiety. 

The lawsuit claims Kiffin and the football coaching staff "forced him to participate in football practice" following his aggravated injury.

The lawsuit details a meeting between Rollins and Kiffin in February 2023, where Kiffin told him he would be moved to the offensive line.

When Rollins asked if his re-assignment was a choice or a demand, Kiffin began yelling "in a hostile and verbally threatening tone."

When Rollins told him he felt "worthless" within the football program, Kiffin continued yelling at him, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims Kiffin kicked Rollins off the football team because he requested a mental health break "due to the anxiety, depression, and mental stress he was suffering."

Additionally, Rollins is accusing Kiffin of racial and sexual discrimination, as no "adverse action" has been taken against white or female student-athletes who have requested mental health breaks.

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