ASHBURN — Around 15 family members mourning the death of Julia Crabbe, a woman who had an apparent drug overdose while spending time at Redskins safety Montae Nicholson’s home Nov. 14, held a quiet protest outside Redskins Park on Wednesday.
Trent Ellis, who identified himself as Crabbe’s third cousin, said the family feels the Redskins should not play Nicholson while he cooperates with an investigation into the 21-year-old woman’s death.
“The Washington Redskins have basically decided to back up their player, Montae Nicholson. So us as a family, we’re deeply rooted out in this Northern Virginia area. We’re coming together as a team as well,” Ellis said.
Standing in a gravel parking lot near the facility’s front gate, the family wore black T-shirts, some bearing Crabbe’s image, with phrases like #justiceforjulia and #35nevercalled911.
For now, the family wants to have a peaceful presence at the team’s facility. But if nothing changes, Ellis said, “then we’re gonna have to turn up and start making some noise” with cowbells or air horns while the Redskins practice nearby.
The Washington Post reported that Nicholson called Crabbe’s father, Herman “Butch” Crabbe, upon finding the woman overdosing in his home, instead of calling 911. Nicholson and another man drove her to a hospital in Ashburn and immediately left, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Soon she was pronounced dead.
But Mark Dycio, Nicholson’s lawyer, said Nicholson stayed at the hospital until Crabbe’s family arrived. Nicholson has cooperated with police and has not been charged with a crime.
The elder Crabbe said his daughter was dating Nicholson, yet he didn’t hear from Nicholson again after she died. On Wednesday, Ellis affirmed that the defensive back still hasn’t communicated with the family.
“It’s weird because if you can contact a family member to let her know that she’s overdosed, but then you can’t contact that same family member after it’s said and done to say ‘I’m sorry’ or just to show any sort of sympathy, it’s just a fake reaction. It’s just not real,” Ellis said.
Nicholson played three days after Crabbe’s death when the Redskins faced the New York Jets, and he suited up again last week against the Lions. At the Lions game, many of Crabbe’s relatives stood outside FedEx Field in a similar act of protest.
“This isn’t a finger pointing to exactly Montae Nicholson. We do know that there’s other people involved,” Ellis said. “But with him being one of the two people that actually transported (Crabbe), there’s no way that he cannot be a part of this conversation. And with that time, he could have done several different things, with living so close to the hospital, to have saved her life.”
Nicholson did not speak to reporters Wednesday. But in addressing the situation last week, he asked for privacy and mainly answered questions about he was handling Crabbe’s death.
“It’s been rough, to say the least,” Nicholson said. “But, you know, with my teammates and friends who aren’t in the state or just aren’t around here, the [Redskins] made it very well known that they have my back in everything that was going on and if I needed anything, just to talk or anything like that, they made that known that the door was wide open.”
Interim coach Bill Callahan said Nicholson is expected to play again Sunday at the Carolina Panthers. Asked about the protesters, Callahan reiterated his condolences for Crabbe’s family but otherwise declined to say anything more.
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