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Amid lawsuit, Fennelly backed with support from players

Several former players have come out in support of ISU coach Bill Fennelly during news that former ISU guard Nikki Moody is suing Fennelly and the school. Moody claims that Fennelly showed a pattern of racist and hurtful acts towards her, former players say this is untrue. receives

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Ames, IA -- Former Iowa State point guard Nikki Moody is bringing a lawsuit against ISU coach Bill Fennelly and Iowa State University, alleging racial discrimination and retaliation.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Polk County District Court and announced Monday through an AP report, claims that Fennelly "called [Moody] names, criticized her, made negative comments about her and her family, and alienated her from fans, teammates, staff, and her own parents."

The lawsuit also claims that other black women's basketball players were treated differently than the white women's players on the team, citing a pattern in Fennelly's behavior.

Nate Borland, the attorney representing Moody in this lawsuit, claims there are other teammates who stand behind Moody's allegations, too.

"There are other players," Borland told the Des Moines Register. "There are other players that have signed affidavits or who have confirmed with us that similar things and some cases even more directly racist comments were made."

However, several former players have come out in support of Fennelly, even some who were named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that former ISU player Chassidy Cole, who played at Iowa State from 2009-2012, took verbal abuse from Fennelly during her time at Iowa State. The lawsuit even claims that Fennelly told Cole that she "will end up in prison, just like her mother."

Cole told the Iowa State Daily on Monday night that this never happened.

"I've never been treated with racism, and I've never seen any of his players be treated with racism," Cole said.

Cole went on to say that Fennelly is the same way with everyone, and that it's never been about race.

"It really was a shocker that Fennelly would be called racist because he's never shown me any type of that behavior," Cole told the Daily. "And we barely got playing time. It was never a topic of discussion."

There was definitely tension between Moody and Fennelly at Iowa State, though. Before her senior season, Moody was suspended indefinitely. Fennelly said then that, "Nikki's attitude in the team setting has become a distraction to our learning environment."

Moody ended up missing both of the team's exhibition games that season, and was reinstated for the season opener.

Through the end of the season, one could start to see more tension arise between the two. They seemed to be growing apart.

The Cyclones in their first game of the Big 12 Championship that season, and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament that season.

Almost immediately after, Moody returned home to Dallas, Texas. She started preparing for the WNBA Draft.

She was done with Iowa State.

The lawsuit claims that "[Nikki] and black athlete Brynn Williamson were told they were not welcome back to the basketball facility" days after the season had ended. It also claims that "Defendants removed [Nikki] and Brynn's name tags from their lockers and left [Nikki's] laying on the floor. Defendants placed [Nikki's] belongings in trash bags outside her locker."

However, many are still coming out in support of Fennelly. Lots of former players are sharing their support through the hashtag #StandByCoach.

Taught me more about life than basketball in general. Better person thanks to you! #StandbyCoach

— madison baier (@madisonbaier34) April 19, 2016


— Maggie McGraw (@mcgraw_maggie) April 19, 2016

— Brynn Williamson (@_brynnw) April 19, 2016

Lyndsey Fennelly-Medders, a former ISU player, and Fennelly's daughter-in-law, said she does not see any of what Moody is claiming.

"I know that the consistency and the character of him is displayed through the many, many, many former players who can't wait to give him a big hug the next time they see him," Fennelly-Medders told the Daily.

Nicole "Kidd" Blaskowsky said that she disagrees with claims her coach is a racist, too, even pledging her support on Twitter.

Walked into coaches office, gave him a hug, & told him I got his back just like he's always had mine #standByCoach

— K_Blaskowsky15 (@K_Blaskowsky15) April 18, 2016

She also doesn't think that Fennelly was the one who caused problems for the team.

"He treated me like any other of my teammates. He was a father figure to me," Blaskowsky told John Sears of WHOtv in Des Moines. "I don't think he made it miserable for us. I think she did.

"I love Nikki as a person. She is an awesome person... but this is not right, and I won't support her through this."

The lawsuit is expected to take 12-18 months before it sees court. Check back with SwishAppeal for more information as the story develops.