Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
The plot sickens.
De'Andre Johnson was kicked off the Florida State University football team yesterday after surveillance video surfaced that showed him punching a woman in the face at a bar, an altercation that resulted in a misdemeanor battery charge being filed against the now former college quarterback.
But while the shocking video does not include audio, Johnson's attorney said today that his client was provoked—not that that's an excuse for reacting violently.
"It wasn't until she struck him twice that he reacted," attorney Jose Baez told NBC News this morning. "But...[Johnson] is very regretful that he didn't turn around and walk away immediately. He makes no excused for what happened."
Baez said that Johnson, 19, is "owning this," but that the athlete only accidentally made contact with the woman at the crowded bar and then she "kneed him in the groin area," used "racial epithets" and "took another swing before he retaliated."
TMZ Sports reported today that Johnson's camp says that the woman used the N-word and there are witnesses who will attest to hearing the slur.
The criminal complaint, meanwhile, states that the woman—who has not responded to multiple media outlets' requests for comment—was trying to defend herself after Johnson pushed and grabbed her. She reportedly suffered bruising under her left eye, swelling to the left cheek and a small cut near the bridge of her nose.
"All [Johnson] wants to do is learn from this experience and move on and get an education," Baez said. "We certainly don't want him to pay for the rest of his life for an incident that occurred in a bar."
Johnson entered a not-guilty plea on the battery charge July 2 and is due back in court for a case management hearing on July 22.
Meanwhile, FSU President John Thrasher issued a statement today in support of football coach Jimbo Fisher's decision to dismiss Johnson, a redshirt freshman, from the team.
Per ESPN, he said, "While it is always important to adhere to due process, having now seen the physical altercation captured on video, there is no question in my mind that Coach Fisher made the correct decisions. I expect all students at Florida State University, including student-athletes, to adhere to the highest level of conduct. I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior exhibited in this case.
"Florida State University was forged from an outstanding college for women and has a long tradition of being a caring community that demands students be treated with dignity and respect."