Chris Ballard Comments On Bobby Okereke Sexual Assault Accusation

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Chris Ballard Comments On Bobby Okereke Sexual Assault Accusation

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Chris Ballard Comments On Bobby Okereke Sexual Assault Accusation

Colts rookie Bobby Okereke has had his name come out in a sexual assault accusation case from his collegiate days at Stanford. Here’s more information on the accusation and Chris Ballard’s comments on the situation.

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INDIANAPOLIS – The character of a 2019 Colts draft pick has been brought into question.

It’s why Chris Ballard held a spur of the moment conference call with members of the local media on Wednesday morning to explain the Colts drafting of Bobby Okereke, who was accused of sexual assault back in 2015.  

But Okereke was never charged or disciplined by Stanford University for the accusation and continued to play football for the Cardinal.

The story was originally published by the New York Times back in December 2016, in which Okereke’s name was kept anonymous. Okereke's name became public earlier this week when The Fountain Hopper (a Stanford student publication) got access to documents revealing him as the accused.

The Colts did not know about the incident until Okereke met with Indianapolis back at the Senior Bowl in late January.

Once Okereke informed them, the Colts vetted the situation and then felt comfortable taking him with the 89th oveall pick in 2019.

Here are Ballard’s comments on the incident involving Okereke and the vetting process from the Colts:

On Okereke first telling the Colts about the accusation at a Senior Bowl meeting:

“During the draft process when he met with us, he informed us about the event 4 years ago in 2015 and referenced the newspaper article. As we do with all players, we did extensive research on Bobby, we moved forward and selected him in the draft. As I’ve said many times, it’s a case-by-case basis and that’s kind of how we handle it.”

On why Ballard didn’t divulge this information earlier:

“I didn’t see it appropriate considering that he had never been charged or disciplined by the university. That’s the reason why we did not give you that information.”

On the vetting process the Colts did:

“We spoke with Bobby several times. We spoke with individuals who were associated with the university and people that were really close with him."

On if Ballard or the Colts spoke with the alleged victim or her lawyer:

“No we did not, because there were no charges and discipline, we didn’t feel the need to.”

On what made the Colts feel good about drafting Okereke:

“In looking at it and talking with the young man and an incident four years ago, no discipline by the university, he was never charged with a crime. Then you look at his track record from that point until now, team captain, Lott Impact Trophy quarterfinalist. He graduated with a degree in management and engineering. He’s working on his masters. From 2015 to 2019 and the draft, from everything we gathered and the high recommendations we got, we felt it appropriate to take him.”

On not knowing about the accusation until Okereke told the Colts during a meeting at the Senior Bowl:

“We always ask about our players when we interview them, one of the big questions we do to fish out anything we don’t know about, we always ask them, ‘Hey, is there anything in your background that we need to know about and research?’ Bobby was very honest. When we met with him (at the Senior Bowl) was the first time we knew about it.”

On what Okereke said to the Colts about the incident:

“He was very honest about his side of the story and what occurred and moving forward in life. It’s a very sensitive subject. I’ll let Bobby talk on that.”

On if Ballard talked with Jim Irsay about the incident before drafting Okereke:

“We talked it through. At the end of the day, it falls on me. I’ve been fortunate here that Frank (Reich) and Mr. Irsay have great trust in our processes and what we do. Ultimately, this falls on me, whether we are right or wrong at the end of the day.”

On where Ballard draws on the guilty/non-charge line in drafting players:

“It’s a case-by-case basis. I get it. Look, I have three daughters so this is sensitive. I was raised by my mom only. I get where the sensitivity is and we are sensitive to it. I don’t want anything to think we are not. But this incident occurred 4 years ago. There was no discipline by the university. There were no charges by the police.”

On the difficulty of sifting through such cases:

“They are very difficult. Not only from our perspective in getting the information, but from a university perspective and then you have a ‘he said, she said’ incident. I don’t want to sit here and act like we don’t have sympathy for both sides of it. As I’ve kind of said, it happened 4 years ago. Because there were no charges and because there was no disciplinary action from the university and then his track record, from everything we know, has been good.”

 

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