Columbia police say they never told newspaper not to run University of South Carolina football player story

May 9, 2017 GMT

COLUMBIA — University of South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp has stirred up fans against Columbia’s daily newspaper, which he compared to the National Enquirer for reporting last week that two current players were accused in an assault in a college bar.

Police have since cleared the current players Skai Moore and Deebo Samuel, who were listed as “suspects” on a Columbia police incident report, but charged a former player who was also listed.

Muschamp told reporters Monday that USC athletics spokesman Steve Fink had told him that Columbia police warned The State newspaper not to run with the story.

“He had heard from a police spokesman from the Columbia Police Department that said you really don’t need to run this because this was the account of one person in the bar that night, one person’s opinion of what happened — it was totally incorrect,” Muschamp said during a three-minute rant against the paper.

Columbia police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said that Muschamp’s account is inaccurate.

“I mentioned to The State reporter that we had to verify whether the listed ‘suspects’ were actual ‘suspects,’” she says. “I spoke with [the] USC [spokesperson] and provided him with the same information. I did not ask The State not to run the story.”

Read more, including what one lawyer says about the news reporting on the accusations, at The Post and Courier’s sister paper, Free Times.