Tennessee Football Bar Fight: HUGE Brawl Breaks Out In Knoxville (UPDATE)
Seven to ten Tennessee football players were involved in a massive bar fight on Friday morning, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. A police spokesman tells the paper that at least one player has been arrested: Da'Rick Rogers, an 18-year-old freshman receiver, who is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The News Sentinel reports that at least three other players are being questioned about the ugly incident, which left one police officer unconscious. According to a Knoxville police spokesman, the situation got out of hand during the early hours on Friday morning:
"According to witnesses, the officer was hit in the head and knocked to the ground. Once on the ground the suspect kicked the officer several times before fleeing the scene. Six individuals were identified as potential suspects. These individuals were located and detained for questioning. It appears several of these individuals may be associated with the University of Tennessee football program."
The incident is hardly the Tennessee football program's first brush with the law. Last year, three freshmen players were arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery.
UPDATE from the AP:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- 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.
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.
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 during the melee 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, was in serious condition at the University of Tennessee Medical Center on Friday afternoon. Police said he was hit in the head, knocked to the ground and then kicked several times.
Another patron at the 18-and-up bar, Gary Russell, 20, was treated at UT Medical Center and released.
A message for Tennessee athletic officials was not returned Friday. DeBusk said police notified Volunteers coach Derek Dooley, who was out of town.
This is 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. Dooley handled Myles' punishment for that arrest internally, though the criminal case is still pending.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Atlanta native who was part of Lane Kiffin's only recruiting class showed promise during spring practice. After the Vols' April 17 spring game, he was awarded the program's Fourth Quarter Award by coaches for dedication to the program.
The 18-year-old Rogers, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound native of Calhoun, Ga., was among Dooley's first signing class.
Both had been 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."