Vols arrested in nightclub spat hit with suspensions
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer on Monday disciplined three players, including starting tailback Arian Foster, following their arrests for disorderly conduct and underage drinking at a nightclub after the Vols' loss to LSU.
"The three young men who were arrested let their teammates, coaches, administration and great fans down," Fulmer said. "Their behavior is an example ... [of] when immature male ego mixes with alcohol and stupidity."
Foster will be suspended for the first half of the Arkansas game on Saturday. Fullback David Holbert will be suspended for the entire game. And safety Antonio Wardlow will be suspended for the Arkansas game and the Vanderbilt game on Nov. 18.
About 70 people, including other football players, were gathered around Good Fellas nightclub when police were called because of a disturbance at about 3 a.m. Sunday.
After reviewing video from police cruisers and interviewing other people, officers realized there were several players, numbering less than 10, who left the scene when authorities asked people to leave, police spokesman Darrell DeBusk told The Associated Press.
"We can't be certain" how many players were there, DeBusk said. No one else was arrested.
Fulmer made no mention of team actions against any other players. He did say Foster, Holbert and Wardlow will also face internal discipline.
The three were charged with disorderly conduct and underage consumption of alcohol. Wardlow also was charged with public intoxication.
The incident happened several hours after Tennessee lost 28-24 to LSU, clinching the SEC East division title for Florida.
Police began clearing the establishment and saw Foster "pushing, yelling and cursing another male. Upon contact, the defendant had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and stated that he was drinking alcohol prior to entering the bar," according to an affidavit filed in Knox County General Sessions Court and obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
Foster was arrested, and about 10 minutes later, police found Holbert and Wardlow in an altercation with each other outside, DeBusk said.
"The defendant was yelling and attempting to fight in the parking lot and street. The defendant squared off with another male and began to throw punches," according to the affidavit.
Holbert was advised of his rights and "admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages inside of Good Fellas," according to the report.
Wardlow was charged with public intoxication because he had an odor of alcohol, "slurred speech and an unsteady walk," police said.
All three players are 20, a year too young to buy alcohol legally. They were released from jail later Sunday morning on $500 bond each. Their arraignments were scheduled for Nov. 14.
"The three young men did not leave when they should have, when asked by teammates or officers," Fulmer said. "Foster was trying to stop a silly and senseless argument between teammates, typical of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Holbert and Wardlow could have and should have avoided the confrontation."
Vols Turk McBride and Arron Sears supported their coach.
"The immature behavior of a couple of guys is certainly not representative of our team's focus and energy to do the right things on and off the field," said Sears, a senior offensive tackle.
"Coach will deal with this and we will move on to prepare for Arkansas," said McBride, a senior defensive tackle.
The Vols had four players arrested this summer and another player was dismissed from the team after he made an inappropriate comment to a woman and her daughter at a restaurant.
No. 11 Arkansas is host to Tennessee on Saturday.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press