March 30th, 2012 11:28 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Florida
Tags: State Attorney Office, UF, Urban Meyer
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.
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