Alleged Volunteer brawlers feel punishment punch
Posted: Monday, July 12, 2010 1:37 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Two Tennessee players were charged during an early morning bar brawl that left an off-duty police officer who tried to break up the fight knocked unconscious, and more could be facing charges, police said Friday.
Incoming freshman receiver Da’Rick Rogers was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Knoxville police said. Rising sophomore defensive back Darren Myles Jr. was charged with assault, resisting arrest and evading arrest, University of Tennessee police said.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley dismissed Myles from the team Friday evening and indefinitely suspended sophomore linebacker Greg King and sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls, though it was not clear what their alleged roles were in the matter.
A campus police report said Myles tried to hide under a car and in some bushes as an officer tried to arrest him, then elbowed the officer in the face. It was the second offseason arrest for Myles, 19. He also was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on April 18 after a disturbance at a Knoxville restaurant and nightclub.
“It is a privilege, not a right, to be a member of the University of Tennessee football team,” Dooley said in a statement.
“The most important responsibility of that privilege is to properly represent this institution and our supporters on and off the field,” the statement added. “I am disappointed and in many ways embarrassed by the poor judgment displayed on many fronts by several members of our football team last night.”
Three other players — rising senior receiver Denarius Moore, junior college transfer defensive tackle John Brown and incoming freshman receiver Matt Milton — were detained and questioned but had not been charged as of Friday afternoon. Another player, rising sophomore defensive tackle Montori Hughes, was present but has not been questioned by police.
Police said their investigation was ongoing.
Robert Capouellez, an off-duty Knoxville officer who was a patron at Bar Knoxville and tried to break up the fight, was being treated for a head injury after being knocked unconscious, Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said.
Capouellez, 24, is in serious but stable condition at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Myles, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Atlanta native who was part of Lane Kiffin’s only recruiting class, showed promise during spring practice.
The 18-year-old Rogers, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound native of Calhoun, Ga., was among Dooley’s first signing class.
Both were released from the detention center Friday afternoon. It was not clear if either player had an attorney.
Several witnesses told police two patrons got into a fight inside Bar Knoxville around 1:50 a.m., and several others jumped into the melee.
Employees pushed the brawl out onto the street.
Knoxville attorney Greg Isaacs, who represents Hughes, said that his client was “the victim of an unprovoked assault” and that he has no knowledge of anything that took place outside the bar.
Isaacs said he did not expect Hughes to face charges.
Sandy Morton, who owns Bar Knoxville with her husband, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press they’ve never had any problems from Vols players. She said many of the players, who are treated as VIPs and don’t pay a cover charge, are on a first-name basis with her husband.
“I don’t know what happened, but several of the guys started beating up the other customer,” she told the newspaper. “I want to guess there was seven to 10 guys beating up this one gentleman.”
Dooley said he is working to change the culture at Tennessee, a program that has seen a number of player arrests in recent years under multiple coaches.
“As I have referenced on many occasions, a change in culture is achieved in time through a combination of education, discipline and support. We will aggressively continue to build on the many positive changes that have occurred over the last five months to ensure our program is represented with class and dignity,” he said.