Baylor associate AD charged with assault for allegedly choking media member
Heath Nielsen allegedly grabbed a media member by the throat on Nov. 5
Update: The attorney representing Baylor associate athletic director Heath Nielsen has issued a statement regarding the allegation of assault against Nielsen.
Statement from Baylor associate AD Heath Nielsen's attorney. She also represents former Bears DE Shawn Oakman in his sexual assault case pic.twitter.com/gU5Q7Ebvle— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) November 22, 2016
"Shortly after the Baylor vs. TCU football game on Nov. 5, Heath intervened when he noticed a man attempting to do an unauthorized interview of a student-athlete on the field," the statement read. "The one-sided version of events released by the complainant are not true or accurate. Mr. Nielsen maintains that he intervened to stop the interview, but he did not grab the complainant's throat. We look forward to vigorously defending Mr. Nielsen and presenting the facts involved in this situation."
Nielsen allegedly grabbed James McBride of the Blaze News by the throat after seeing McBride taking a picture with a player. McBride had gotten permission from the player to take the picture, but according to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by KWTX News, "Nielsen walked up to McBride on the right, grabbed McBride by the throat with his right hand, squeezed and pushed him away from the football player."
The affidavit also stated that Nielsen told McBride he was "abusing his privileges" and that McBride had "visible scratches and complained of pain around his throat."
Nielsen has been with Baylor for 17 years and took over as associate athletic director in 2012. McBride detailed his side of the story to KWTX on Monday.
"I had asked the player if I could take a photo with him, he said 'yes,'" McBride said Monday.
"I was leaning back to take the photo. I heard somebody who I didn't know at this point in time yell from my right-hand side, saying 'no interviews on the field,'" he said.
"About that time, they came in and tomahawk-chopped, trying to knock the phone that I had taken the picture with out of my hand. They were unsuccessful in trying to do that, and when they couldn't do that, they came up and they grabbed my throat, and I pulled back. Whenever I looked up I saw that it was Heath Nielsen," he said.
Right after the incident, McBride said, Nielsen told him, "You'll never f-------- work in this business again. You're abusing your privileges on the field."
Print or online media credentials will often prohibit photography and autographs, so this is a bit of an unusual incident, but should certainly not have resulted in any kind of physical altercation. Nielsen has not been present at football events since the incident, but Baylor had not released a statement on the matter until Tuesday.
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