A federal lawsuit charging that New Mexico State University head football coach Hal Mumme discriminated against four Muslim players was settled for a total of $165,000, court records show.
The settlement was paid by the state’s risk management division.
The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of former players Mu’Ammar Ali, twin brothers Anthony and Vincent Thompson, and Jacob Wallace, was settled last year days before it was to go to trial in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces.
Ali and the Thompsons are also cousins.
Requests for comment from the ACLU of New Mexico and the university were not returned Monday.
The players alleged that Mumme and his coaching staff created a hostile environment and eventually pushed them off the team because they are Muslim. . .
In their lawsuit, the players alleged that during spring practice in 2005, Mumme initiated a practice of having players lead the Lord’s Prayer after each practice. The four Muslim players were seen off to the side, reciting passages from the Quran.
That’s when the players allege Mumme’s attitude toward them changed. They charged that they Mumme repeatedly questioned Ali about al-Qaida.
Mumme has denied the allegations, saying his line of questioning about al-Qaida was in the context of whether if was affecting his family in California. (MORE)