Former UNA student/athlete fights to get his life, scholarship back
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -
A former University of North Alabama athlete, cleared of a rape charge, talks about the accusations and his fight to get his life back.
After being cleared by a Lauderdale County grand jury with two others - Deandre Harrison and D'Anthony Byrd, Eddrick Harris said it was prayer and the support from his family that's helped him stay focused.
And now, he's ready to move forward and get his life back.
"I knew I was innocent," he said. "I knew I wouldn't do anything like that. My parents raised me better than that."
Harris said he was shocked when police took him into custody back in March, accusing him of rape.
"I didn't know what to think," he said. "I thought my life was over. They were trying to put me in jail for no reason."
Harris, a freshman, said his life turned into a nightmare.
"I went from the starting linebacker to not even having a scholarship any more, it just changed my whole life," he said. "Now, I have to deal with it."
Harris credits his family and friends for believing despite the allegations.
"I thought everybody was going to be mad at me and think … I was doing those things, but I'm just glad they stuck beside me," he said.
In addition to his family, Harris said his attorney helped motivate him to keep fighting.
"I know he's not my father but he will always be like my father in my heart," Harris said.
Pleased with the grand jury's decision, attorney Tony Hughes said this battle is far from over for Harris.
"Alabama does not have an expungement statute so, therefore, anytime Eddrick fills out a job application or applies for a school, among other things, he's going to have to put down, if the question asks, ‘have you ever been arrested?' the answer is yes," Hughes said. "Just the fact that he was arrested is going to cause him to answer yes to that question for the rest of his life."
Hughes said his client has the right tools to get him back on the right path.
Those false allegations made against him is going to make his life hard but he has his family's support and he's been working with them to get back into school," he said. "And, hopefully, he can get his scholarship back and speak with the coaching staff at UNA and move forward with this."