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Cowboys Players Sued Over Near Drowning At Football Camp

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -  The parents of a North Texas teen have sued three current Dallas Cowboys and a former player, blaming their son’s near drowning at a football camp on the players’ negligence.

James Jackson Sr. and Paula Jackson are suing Anthony Spencer, Miles Austin, Brandon Carr, and Sterling Moore, the four players who participated in the camp.  Moore has since been cut from the Cowboys.  The Jacksons also name Sports International Inc., the company that facilitated the camp, in the suit.

The Jacksons claim they found the “Sports International Anthony Spencer football camp” online for their 13-year-old son James Jr.  They say they chose it because the website guaranteed Dallas Cowboys football players would attend.

The camp was held at the University of North Texas campus in Denton beginning on July 11, 2103.  That evening, James Jr. and several other campers went swimming and he almost drowned, according to the suit.

I’m hoping my brother can live his life like everybody else. Because I don’t know what, but something has been taken away from my brother,” said Octavius Blackshire.  Following the incident, Blackshire said James Jr. was in a coma and has a long road to recovery ahead of him.

UNT rented its facilities for the camp, but is not named in the lawsuit.  A university spokesperson says there were five lifeguards on hand at the pool.  But the boy’s parents claim there should have been more lifeguards for the 125 kids who were in the water.  The Jacksons say the Dallas Cowboys players did not hire competent and qualified staff to care for and supervise the children at the camp and in the pool, and are therefore responsible for the near drowning.

“I would want them to be held accountable for what happened,” said Blackshire.  “Once you put a child in somebody else supervision, I would expect what happens to the child be held accountable for and take responsibility for what has taken place.”

The Jacksons are asking for a jury trial and damages of more than a million dollars in their lawsuit.  They claim their son has suffered physical and mental pain and suffering, disfigurement, impairment, and future loss of earning capacity.  They are also suing for past and future medical bills.

Attorneys representing Sports International, Inc., Spencer, Carr and Moore released the following statement:

“The accident at issue – while extremely unfortunate – was not the result of any alleged negligence on the part of Sports International, Inc., Anthony Spencer, Miles Austin, Brandon Carr, or Sterling Moore. These players had nothing to do with the voluntary swimming activity. Two of these players did not attend the football camp until the day after the accident happened, and one of these players did not attend the football camp until two (2) days after the accident happened. Simply stated, the decision of Plaintiffs’ counsel to name the players as Defendants in this case is nothing more than an improper, bad faith attempt to gain publicity and forum shop.” -Thomas W. Fee & Howard J. Klatsky

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