UT's McNeil says incident a 'misunderstanding'; 3 charged

Josh McNeil

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Josh McNeil

Josh McNeil

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Josh McNeil

Terming an encounter with Knoxville police a misunderstanding, Tennessee football center Josh McNeil met with media this afternoon and explained his side of the incident that occurred early Sunday morning at his residence.

Several hours after the University of Tennessee football team thumped Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, McNeil was quizzed by police about a broken window at his apartment and the three intoxicated women in his bed.

McNeil, 20, a junior from Collins, Miss., was not charged by police investigating reports of a burglary at McNeil's apartment, but his three female visitors didn't fare as well. The three women were charged with underage consumption of an alcoholic beverage, said Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

DeBusk said the incident this weekend began at 1:36 a.m. when a resident of Woodmeade South Apartments in South Knoxville called E-911 to report a possible burglary. The resident said he heard the sound of glass breaking at a nearby apartment.

The first officer to arrive found a smashed rear window at 268 Highwood Court, where McNeil resides. Blood was visible around the frame of the broken window, DeBusk said.

"A potted plant had been thrown through the window," DeBusk said.

As the officer awaited for backup officers to arrive, voices of a man and a woman arguing were heard in the apartment, DeBusk said. When more officers arrived, they pounded on the front door of the apartment, but got no response.

DeBusk said the officers opted to enter the apartment through the broken window. Once inside, they found several rifles, shotguns and a handgun, but no one greeted them.

Police cleared the apartment with the exception of a locked bedroom, DeBusk said. No one responded to officers' knocks on the bedroom door or demands to open the door.

At that time, DeBusk said, UT Director of High School Relations Gerald Harrison appeared at the scene. DeBusk said Harrison, "in a normal speaking voice" asked that the bedroom door be opened and it was.

DeBusk said officers handcuffed McNeil and began questioning him and his three female friends.

"Everybody was uncooperative and everybody denied any knowledge of the broken window or of any arguing," DeBusk said.

Police noted the 6-foot-4, 280-pound McNeil had bleeding cuts on his arm, but the Vol denied anything to do with the broken window.

"He refused to cooperate," DeBusk said of McNeil.

DeBusk identified the three women cited on charges of underage consumption as Alexis Cohen, 19, who attends Virginia Tech; Allison Parker, 18, of Alexandria, Va., who also attends Virginia Tech; and Sarah Brown, 19, of Knoxville, who attends UT.

All said they had been sleeping.

At the media session today, McNeil explained that he had taken the drug Ambien, a sleep aid that was prescribed for him.

The three girls in the room were his girlfriend and two of her friends, who were sleeping on the floor of his room, coach Phillip Fulmer said.

McNeil said he had forgotten his keys and did use a flower pot to break the window.

Fulmer said that McNeil is an avid hunter, explaining why the guns were in the apartment.

After reading from the statement, McNeil expressed his displeasure with media coverage of the incident.

He said he understands the fact that he is a public figure makes him more in the public eye, but is primarily upset that his girlfriend was mentioned in stories.

McNeil had been suspended from five spring practices this year after being cited in March by police on charges of underage consumption of alcohol and public intoxication.

Citing that McNeil was not arrested, Tiffany Carpenter, UT athletic department public relations director, said UT is not planning any disciplinary measures against McNeil.

McNeil's encounter in March with police occurred during a birthday party for a teammate at Cube, a club at 1701 Cumberland Ave. A judge dismissed the public intoxication charge in June and ordered McNeil to perform 40 hours of community service and pay court costs in relation to the underage consumption charge. The underage consumption charge was to be dismissed if McNeil didn't get into further trouble for the next six months.

More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.

News Sentinel staff writer Don Jacobs contributed to this report

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Comments » 137

FLVol writes:

oh boy..this reeks

CrankE writes:

What broken window?, what arguing? I don't know anything about that, officer. Oh, glad to see you Mr. Harrison. How'd you get here so fast? Sigh.

I guess it's fair to say that McNeil doesn't control his own destiny at this point.

GreerVol22 writes:

Its at this point the university should tell McNeil your freedom is over. Pack you shi+ and move on campus in the athletic dorms. Were paying for you to go to school, play by our rules or lose the scholarship. The choice is yours bucko!
on the other hand.....

Man! Three? Not impressed by the stupidity but three?

juicetke#226846 writes:

Does he borrow Smokey's pimp suit?

drmike writes:

thank god , phil is our disciplinarian. lord knows we need josh on the field. my recommendation is to suspend him from 2, maybe 3, practices. that'll teach him a lesson. as far as arkansas goes, without josh, we'd be lost(kinda rhymes, huh?). go phil, we need josh for the ark. game-make the right decision & let him play!

JohnyLobo34 writes:

What's with the cops in Knoxville? don't they recognize the constitution? You can't enter an apartment without a warrant? And what about the University? What is this: The Soviet Republic of UT? I feel sorry for those kids; they can't sneeze up there without having some cop, apt. mgr,or university official all over them. Do you guys just make up the laws as you go in Tennessee?

drmike writes:

let him play (like he does in the bedroom), phil, let him play!!!

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

You're all missing the biggest point of the story. 3 women in his bed. That sir deserves a hat tip.

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

Also, underage college kids drinking???? No!!!! What has this world come to.

10ACVOL writes:

HA! THey found blood by the broken window and his arms were bleeding, "What broken window?" Obviously he was drunk

glbftb#206859 writes:

Mississippi Bubba!!

DennisVols writes:

This is just another continuing sign of this programs lack of discipline. Since the '2000 season this football program has had one case after another of players making bad decisions off the field. Multiple assrests and supensions due to drugs & alcohol. This lack of discipline off the field also shows up during the games on the field. The lack of respect for the university and the coaching staff is why we get blown out in the big games.
Here we are again with the opportunity to win the SEC east and the big stories the last couple of weeks are all focused on players making bad decisions off the field.
Who is in control of this team?

eschroeder#627726 writes:

How often does an offensive lineman get to score?

surfmaster writes:

"several rifles, shotguns and a handgun, but no one greeted them" ??? Is south knoxville getting that dangerous? One recipe for disaster: Ingredients - 2 rifles, 2 shotguns, 1 handgun, 3 drunk women, 1 drunk offensive lineman, 4 pints of alcohol, 1 pint visible blood, 4 tempers flaring. Stir pot until comes to a boil.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DenmarkVol_aka_Mbumburu writes:

Another Tennessee legend is born.

volunteerTY23 writes:

go josh it's your birthday........good to know he can handle a tripple team all by himself....

volunteerTY23 writes:

lazhilutdelt, that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard anyone say....yes i'm african american and yes i think your an idiot, lamarcus coker too many chances, james banks too many chances, ontario smith too many chances, major wingate too many chances I can go on and on.....you make no since stupid comment and really should be removed.

orangebloodgmc writes:

Um, Laz, Coker is not Caucasian ... you think he should have gotten MORE chances?

DSaVol writes:

Ah c'mon guys! Ole Josh was just practicin' his "shotgun snaps" an' gettin' his legs back!

FWBVol writes:

I'm not as concerned about McNeil and the weapons as I am the three drunk women, broken window and his not cooperating with the police.

McNeil likes to hunt, and living off campus, has every right to own and keep the firearms. Nowhere in the story does it say the weapons were illegal. In fact, I wonder what the mention of the weapons really has to do with the story.

A couple of generations ago students and athletes that hunted had guns and bows on campus so they could get in the woods on those rare occassions.

Fans, not only at UT, but across the country, are upset about the lack of control coaches have over athletes. I say it's time to place the blame where it belongs...on the NCAA. An athletic staff can only do so much monitoring a group of athletes when they are spread out all over Knoxville or any other college town.

Bring back the athletic dorm. The NCAA can shout all it wants to about letting the student/athlete have a typical college experience, but that's a bunch of garbage. Whether they live in an athletic dorm, some other dorm on campus or off campus, an athlete will never have a typical or normal student experience.

Coaches can better control players when they are living in the same location. Another advantage of having players live in the same location is the leaders on a team can be there to see what is happening and maybe use a little more peer influence.

I hope Phillip Fulmer takes the appropriate action with McNeil. As for now though he hasn't been charged with anything by the police. If stupidity was a crime though, they have enough for a felony in this case.

Orange4life writes:

Man people never seem to amaze me. This has nothing to do with race. Banks, Smith, Coker all where givin several oppurtunities to many in my book. To call my university racist? Come on. Underage drinking ok where does it not take place in college? Gimmie a break people

birminghamvol writes:

Schaeffer wasn't kicked off after "one incident" you freaking idiot. It was multiple incidents that included the fight and the grade infractions. Only a real idiot would bring race into this. Add Daniel "D-Block" Brooks to the list of AA's who got WAY more than their fair share of chances. The real decider when it comes to # of chances with this pitiful staff is how big a star they are (or how many Scout stars they had). If this was a second string long snapper or a freshman 1 star WR .. he would have been tossed last night. Get a clue Lazhil … educate yourself beyond your obvious 1st grade level of stupidity and mix in a little common sense and critical thinking ability.

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

Laz - UT had the first African American QB in the SEC ever. And Tony Robinson was as popular as Peyton Manning in his day.

Schaffer had other issues before the fight that got him dismissed. And Coker, an African American, got every chance the guidelines allowed before being cut loose. James Banks also got multiple chances.

Save your moronic comments for Alabama whom I don't recall ever having an AA QB.

MOOREVOLS writes:

trap2240, classless, without question.

LazhilUTDelt, you're wrong. Looks like you may be the racist. Isn't coker black? He had as many chances as anyone ever gets at Tennessee and I don't ever remember anyone ever being upset that Tee Martin or Brent Schaeffer were QB's at Tennessee. In fact, alot of people were unhappy or sad to see Schaeffer leave, although most people understood that he had to go since he had 3 or 4 chances after problems himself. lazhilUTdelt, you're so far off base it's pathetic. It's people like you that stirr up trouble or problems when there's nothing there. There's no reason at all for your post. You need to keep your ridiculous comments to yourself. If there's one thing our coaches are, it's fair. They're fair to everyone, regarless of race. They may not be the best "football" coaches, but without question they do not ever us race as a factor in a decision.

DroopyDrawers writes:

Go Josh! Three at once! I admire you. Josh THE STUD.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

If you knew what I knew you would know i wasn't kidding...it was a real question

MOOREVOLS writes:

trapp2240 -- Still classless. Why bring anything like that up. No reason for it. His daughter isn't even part of the story. Pitiful.

Basketball_Jones writes:

Lobo you don't need a warrant if their is probable cause. If the police are called and they have reason to believe something illegal or bad is going on (blood on the window) then they have the right to enter the building. As far as UT being racist, I have always thought the same thing. I tried to say they were racist in the late 80's when I was offered a football scholarship, had to be because I was white 5'8" and weighed 160lbs. UT racist? Whatever

GreerVol22 writes:

VolCR, I'll bet the arrow on his chart is pointing down today...contrary to last night...

by the way, the Knoxville Task Force on Flower Pot Terrorism seems to be tax money well spent. Who knows how many flower pots Josh could have shot if not apprehended.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

so it was a classless shot...sue me

vol4jesus writes:

I believe Alabama did have a Black Qb when Dubose or Stallings coached. Still race card in this matter has no connection. Hope this yungin gets the message. I do wish they still had athletic dorm for better control. Political correcters said was not fair to non-athletes. Oh well the elite police won that one. TRAP2240 GET A LIFE AND CLEAN UP YOUR TRASHY MIND!!! Greervol22 said it...CLASSLESS!!! Sounds like you need more help than McNeil in this one.

utvols18 writes:

This is ridiculous. This is just one of the instances involving these players that has come to light. I for one agree...what the hell are they doing allowed to live off campus if they can't be responsible. Is it not our money that pays their rent? I'm all for a little fun, but when you are privileged to be a member of the team you have a responsibility to live up to. Anyone on campus knows that the majority of the players party,drink etc. Surely the coaching staff knows as well. Possibly one of the reasons the team is so unfocused on the field is because they are concentrating on the after game partying.
Shameful.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

why's that? so i said a "rumormongering" statement about a 21 year old female. how's that worse then lying to the police and having three drunk underage girls in my bed?

mloaks#222092 writes:

Sounds like a privacy issue re consenting adults to me.

bmgvirgo#210233 writes:

Ok, I am still trying to figure out exactly why is this newsworthy? Is it because he bedded 3 women or what???? He wasn't charged with a crime, which is a shock since KPD seems to love doing that to UT athletes any chance they get. Why print it? If he is charged with a crime or is suspended then so be it, but otherwise please only publish the news and not stuff for a tabloid.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

vol4jesus-"it sounds like you need more help than mcneil on this one"...

He said what I did was worse than josh mcneil. Thats why my comment and his situation was compared. About that third party...which of mcneil's playmates were you reffering to?

MrBamSeydu writes:

Sounds like those cops were drinking heavy amounts of Hatorade. It's hard out here for a player! Huh Josh?

I've been in more than a few altercations with police on campus, as far as parties/drinking underage. Normally they are pretty cool, but it sounds like these douche bags are just mad that 3 girls would choose to be in a bed with a future NFL player and not the bed of a complete failure in life with a wife beater mustache on a power trip.

VolSwaff writes:

fulmer kicked nilo silvan from the team for just one underage girl. now Mcneil gets away with 3???

trap2240#1340138 writes:

For those that I have offended, I apologize.

CrankE writes:

Honestly officer, I went to sleep looking at my chart, checking off the different blocks on there (I'm trying to make sure I'm in bed on time, working a heckuva lot harder.) and then I just woke up and there were these three drunk, yet totally hot co-eds in my room who had chucked my petunia out the window. The nerve of some girls!!

No, I don't know how they got in. The door was locked wasn't it?
______________________

At least the kid didn't have a dog. Given recent history, KPD might have emptied the mag into Fido and sent him a bill for the bullets.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

I know none of that was metioned. IT WAS A JOKE...I do know things about her that r facts, have seen with my own 2 eyes. Maybe it was below the belt to bring her up. The video tape thing was a joke...are you dense? Quit being so naive. Do you really think Foolmer cares about what you or I thinks about him? Or what his reputation is to anyone in this forum. He could care less.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

I have a daughter too. The point is I apologized if I offended you. Take it or leave it alone. I made an off the cuff remark about something that happened in the past. I meant it in a joking manner thinking it would go without much discussion. For the record- Lets hope and pray our daughters have more class.

todd#529269 writes:

Josh....U R the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ThurmondEppy writes:

Underaged women? They were all over 18 you morons. Therefore, they can sleep with whomever they want. What?? Oh my gosh (gasp)!! There was drinking involved?? Say it isn't so. I guess this board is filled with people who never drank a drop before they turned 21 or who never drank in their lives. Get over your self righteous selves.

trap2240#1340138 writes:

True or False? This story gets mcneil more butt this weekend?

Hunter writes:

The African-American QB at Bama was Andrew Zow, about 6 years ago. One of the best players we ever had for Tennessee, just wearing a Bama uniform! Tee Martin was beloved by UT fans (note the wax statue next to Peyton in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex).

If ignorance is bliss, LazhilDelt must be exuberant (look it up - it means really happy).

letshave1more writes:

Two of the girls were students at VaTech! I think this smells of Coach Beamers specials teams! :-)

trap2240#1340138 writes:

The thing that kills me is these guys(tennessee trouble makers) that get into trouble are usually repeat offenders in some form or fashion, whether it be failing multiple drug tests or having multiple academic issues, or having multiple drinking or drug arrests. It's not the whole team, but a few bad apples hurting their teamates as well as themselves. Fulmer needs to try another way of "nipping things in the bud". It's the same few guys putting themselves in bad situations time and time again.

cjraney writes:

Schaeffer wasn't kicked out. He got in trouble for one incident, then when another one happened he met with Fulmer and he chose to leave. I would assume that he chose that over a lengthy suspension. I don't know if it was the 1st or 2d incident, but one was for assault/battery of another student.

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