New audio shows just how contentious a March 21 meeting got between Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and defensive tackle DeSanto Rollins.
Rollins, who is suing Kiffin and Ole Miss in federal court for $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages, claims Kiffin “ignored” signs that the defensive tackle was suffering from depression and that the coach treated Rollins in a way that was “grossly reckless and indifferent.”
Rollins notified Kiffin that he would be taking a mental health break at the end of a meeting with the Ole Miss coach on Feb. 27, when Kiffin told the player that he would be “moved from his defensive tackle position to the scout team on the offensive line.”
Despite multiple attempts to sit down sooner, Kiffin and Rollins didn’t meet again until the end of March, when things appeared to get intense, which was then legally recorded by Rollins, according to ESPN.
“Ok, you have a f–king head coach. This is a job. Guess what? If I have mental issues — and I’m not diminishing them — I can’t not see my f–king boss,” Kiffin is heard saying in audio obtained by ESPN and Front Office Sports. “When you were told again and again the head coach needs to see you, [it] wasn’t to make you practice, [it] wasn’t to play a position you don’t f–king want to, OK? It was to talk to you and explain to you in the real world, OK? So I don’t give a f–k what your mom [says], OK, or what you think in the real f–king world, you show up to work. And then you say, ‘Hey, I have mental issues. I can’t do anything for two weeks. But if you change my position I won’t have mental issues.’
“I guarantee if we f–king called you in and said you’re playing defense, would you have mental issues?”
Rollins then brought up his mental health issues, and things continued to remain tense.
“I didn’t say they’re not real,” Kiffin said in response to Rollins bringing up his mental health issues. “You show up when your head — when your boss — wants to meet with you. It wouldn’t have been like this … if you would’ve come here when you kept getting messages [that] the head coach wants to talk to you. And you say, ‘I’m not ready to talk to him.’”
Rollins can then be heard saying: “I wasn’t,” in response.
“What f–king world do you live in?” Kiffin angrily answers back.
“I don’t see why you got to be disrespectful,” Rollins said.
That was when Kiffin got even angrier in the clip and allegedly kicked him off the team.
“Get out of here. Go, you’re off the team. You’re done,” Kiffin said. “And guess what, we can kick you off the team. So go read your f–king rights about mental health. We can kick you off the team for not showing up. When the head coach asks to meet with you and you don’t show up for weeks, we can remove you from the team.”
Kiffin can be heard saying at the end of the clip: “It’s called being a p—y. It’s called hiding behind s–t and not showing up to work.”
A motion to dismiss the case — filed Wednesday by Ole Miss and Kiffin’s attorneys — seeks to get the case tossed, claiming that Kiffin “is not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress,” per the Associated Press.
The school has also said that Rollins remains rostered on the team and on scholarship.
“We’ll be filing a response in due course,” attorney Carroll Rhodes, who is representing Rollins, said, per the AP.
Rollins, who has been marred by injuries in his career, has recorded three tackles across three games during his time at Ole Miss.