Cumberland family statement to The Daily Texan

Lisa Nhan

The following is a statement provided to The Daily Texan by the family of Nicky Cumberland:

Since the tragic accident that took our son Nicky’s life in the early morning hours of September 30th, our family has met many beautiful and impressive young men in his fraternity and the Texas Cowboys.  We have been greatly moved by the extensive outpouring of sincere praise and love for Nicky shared by an overwhelming number of people.

As parents we’ve anguished over one troubling topic since the beginning.  We had no advance knowledge of the Cowboys offsite event, location or purpose.  Why was our son and a group of new Cowboy pledges permitted to depart on a 2 ½ hour drive from a ranch back to Austin around 4 am in the morning with zero sleep after a full day of initiation activities? 

Following some inquiries, we were saddened to learn of specific alleged hazing activities at the Cowboy offsite event.  We were under the naïve impression that hazing was long dead at Texas. 

Accordingly, we have shared information and documents with the proper authorities, who assure us they will conduct a thorough investigation, so we will know full details about the events that preceded Nicky’s death.

We are pleased that both Texas law and UT policy grants immunity to anyone who reports incidents of hazing activities.  The spirit behind the policy fits perfectly with the famous quote at the base of the UT Tower, which Nicky so dearly loved:  “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” 

Our family will have no sympathy for anyone who adopts or encourages a code of silence; however, based on the candid discussions and support we’ve had so far, we are confident that this will be an open, transparent and cathartic process.  We know that the men and women of great character are always striving to advance and improve our cherished Longhorn institution. #LoveLikeNicky