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Nkemdiche apologizes, denies synthetic drug use

The latest turn in the Robert Nkemdiche saga Tuesday resulted in his first comments since being hospitalized after his weekend fall from an Atlanta hotel room window and being charged with marijuana possession after Atlanta police said they found approximately seven marijuana cigarettes in the room from which he fell.

Nkemdiche, Ole Miss’ All-American defensive tackle, released a statement through the school, saying, “I want to apologize to Rebel Nation, my teammates and my coaches for my actions last weekend. I made a mistake and put myself in an environment that does not reflect who I am as a person.”

In part of his statement, Nkemdiche also refuted a report by Fox Sports that surfaced earlier in the day that Nkemdiche’s fall from room 422 of the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead late Saturday night was a result of the use of synthetic cannabinoids, better known as synthetic marijuana. According to the report, which cited multiple anonymous sources, Nkemdiche was paranoid and felt someone was chasing him before police said he apparently broke through a double-pane window onto a ledge and eventually fell to the ground in front of the hotel’s driveway area.

Because it doesn’t show up on drug tests, synthetic marijuana use is prevalent among college students and athletes.

“Contrary to a report by FOX Sports, I did not use synthetic drugs,” Nkemdiche said. “I realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol and regret the lapse in judgment.”

Nkemdiche was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and treated for minor injuries before police said he eventually met with investigators with the Atlanta Police Department.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said Monday the 6-foot-4, 296-pound Nkemdiche received stitches in his back and leg and also had a swollen ankle. Nkemdiche arrived back in Oxford on Monday.

Freeze also said he will wait to gather “all the facts” before determining Nkemdiche’s playing status for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Nkemdiche said he hopes to be on the field.

“As I move forward, I have learned a valuable lesson about the ramifications of a bad decision,” Nkemdiche said in his statement. “I have worked very hard to have this platform, and I want to use it in the right way and be a role model for young players. I am sorry for putting Coach Freeze in this position and will accept whatever consequences are necessary, but my hope is to finish this year’s journey with my brothers.”