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Battery Charges Filed Against UF’s Leonard

On Wednesday, Will Muschamp allowed tight end AC Leonard to return to the practice field despite the player having been arrested in February for simple domestic battery.  Yesterday, the Gainesville State Attorney’s Office filed a misdemeanor battery charge against Leonard.

And that doesn’t make Muschamp’s action the day before look too good.  Here’s what the Gator coach said Wednesday regarding the tight end:


“After a six-week suspension from team activities, AC Leonard has been cleared to return to practice only.  He still has a lot of things to work through before his status for the fall is addressed.”


That after initially stating “this behavior will not be tolerated.”  What behavior, you ask?  The police report — the one the State Attorney’s Office is now acting on — was summarized by the folks at CollegeFootballTalk.com:


“(Leonard) reportedly ‘shoved (his girlfriend) forcibly with both hands in here chest/neck area.  The force of the shove knocked her down to the ground, causing here head to strike a dog cage that was behind her.’

Leonard then reportedly told the woman to leave and attempted to drag her by her hair out the door.  When she resisted, the police report states Leonard grabbed his girlfriend by her feet and pulled her out of the apartment before locking her out.”


That was the girlfriend’s story.  But the arresting officer said he did see bruises on the woman’s elbow and arm.  Leonard said he never hit her, “I just wanted her to leave.” 

The attorney for the sophomore tight end — who played in nine games for the Gators last year — said earlier this week that he and his client were “in plea negotiations with the state and we are hopeful that we’re going to work out a resolution to this case without a trial.”

Even with the decision by the State Attorney’s Office yesterday, a deal could still be struck and the case could still be settled.

But it’s another black eye for a Florida program that has had more than its share of run-ins with the law since Urban Meyer touched down in Gainesville back in 2006.  Leonard was the ninth Gator arrested since Muschamp took over the UF program in January of last year.

 


3 comments
MJWilliamson
MJWilliamson

I think I will let this whole thing play out before I judge whether Muschamp did the right thing or not. You should too, John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

MJWilliamson...

 

Did I judge in the story above whether or not Muschamp did the right thing?  You may want to re-read the piece.

 

All I said was that it doesn't "look too good" and that "it's another black eye" for the UF program.  Unless Florida fans like seeing their players make national news for dragging girls down halls by their hair and feet, I don't see how anything I wrote could be argued.  That story is bad press.

 

Further, if Coach X lets Player Y back onto the practice field and the very next day Player Y is charged by the State Attorney's Office, that's not a positive for the school that's home to both Coach X and Player Y.  Regardless of how it plays out in the end, it looks bad now.  There's no debating that.  And that's what we wrote.

 

Having said that, if you'd like to know whether or not I believe Muschamp did the right thing -- and I didn't write this view in the post above though you apparently thought you saw it -- no, I don't.  I think he'd have been better off keeping Leonard off the team until his legal issues were taken care of... just as Les Miles did with Jordan Jefferson last year.  If Muschamp had done that, he'd have been saved the embarrassment of hundreds of sports sites yesterday pointing out that a UF player had been charged for a crime exactly one day after Muschamp let him back on the practice field.

 

Thanks for reading,John 

MJWilliamson
MJWilliamson

 @John at MrSEC 

 

John, when you say

 

"All I said was that it doesn't "look too good" and that "it's another black eye" for the UF program."

 

right after claiming NOT to judge Muschamp, you  make a distinction without a difference.

 

You have already judged him, especially when you add

 

"Leonard was the ninth Gator arrested since Muschamp took over the UF program in January of last year."

 

Again, factually correct, but nowhere do you share how Muschamp handled those other eight cases (several players were dismissed from the team,) nor do you even bother to explore what the eventual outcome of those cases might have been.

 

John, I am not of the opinion that you favor one program over another.I have read you long enough to be pretty sure that is not the case. I have read you long enough to know that you have strong opinions about things, and sometimes you do not let the facts get in the way of those opinions.

 

In any case, I don't want to leave you with the opinion I don't like  your site. I appreciate your site a great deal, and love your mathematical analysis.

 

Regards

 

 

Mike



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