Mark Helfrich declines to discuss Pharaoh Brown’s alleged acts of violence
Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich did not publicly address any of Pharaoh Brown’s three alleged acts of violence when they occurred, and he declined to do so now that they’ve been reported by the Emerald.
At his weekly press conference Sunday evening, the Emerald asked Helfrich whether he read the story on Brown and if he thought it was fair. Helfrich responded:
“I did not read it. I heard about it, and there’s not anything there to really comment on.”
The Emerald asked Helfrich whether the team disciplined Brown internally for any of the three incidents.
“As I just said, I don’t think there’s anything there to comment on,” Helfrich said. “I guess the only comment I would have is that Matt Wogan and Pharaoh Brown are extremely close teammates, and, according to Matt Wogan, extremely close. So the rest of it — nothing else to get into.”
According to an investigation by the Emerald, Brown has been accused of committing three violent acts since October 2014: He allegedly punched Oregon kicker Wogan in the head in the Ducks’ locker room in October 2014, giving Wogan a concussion; Brown was investigated by Eugene Police for strangulation following a physical altercation with his girlfriend in October 2015; and he allegedly instigated a physical fight with former linebacker Paris Bostick in the locker room in summer 2016.
It will likely be months before Brown addresses the media again. The Oregon football team institutes a policy it calls the “Zivin Rule,” which prohibits players who missed or left a game due to injury from addressing the media until after he has returned and played in another game. Brown did not play in or travel to the Utah game Saturday; he indicated on Instagram that a hamstring injury prevented him from making the trip.
If Brown does not play in Oregon’s season finale Saturday at Oregon State, he may not publicly address the media again until Oregon’s Pro Day — when players with NFL potential showcase their skills in front of professional scouts — which usually happens in March.
Helfrich at his press conference named Wogan Oregon’s player of the week for his performance against Utah. Wogan declined to elaborate on his altercation with Brown when the Emerald asked him about it on Nov. 3, citing a team rule that prohibits him from discussing injuries with reporters.
The Emerald requested comment from Brown and Helfrich twice during its investigation of Brown. In an email to football sports information director Dave Williford on Nov. 7, the Emerald requested private interviews with Brown and Helfrich to discuss multiple serious allegations against Brown. After two days, Williford responded that Brown and Helfrich “declined the opportunity to contribute to whatever story you’re working on.”
The Emerald made a final request for comment through Williford on Nov. 16 — the day before publishing the story — specifically outlining each physical altercation, when each incident occurred and the parties involved. Williford said, “Neither Brown or Helfrich are changing their minds.”
On Nov. 18, the day after publishing the story, the Emerald contacted Oregon athletic department spokesman Craig Pintens via text message to provide an opportunity to comment on the allegations of violence, now that they’d surfaced. Pintens responded, “No.”
Brown refrained from posting on Twitter or Instagram until two days after the story was published. He did not address the allegations on either platform.
With Helfrich’s declination to comment Sunday evening, it has become clear that the athletic department will not address the allegations against Brown.
Follow Kenny Jacoby on Twitter @KennyJacoby
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