KNOXVILLE - A University of Tennessee football player who previously had not been connected to the weekend bar brawl involving a number of UT players is accused of starting the initial fight, according to a Knoxville police incident report released today.
Chase Nelson, 22, started a fight with 20-year-old bar patron Gary Russell inside Bar Knoxville, 1820 Cumberland Ave., just before 2 a.m. Friday, Russell alleges in a statement to the Knoxville Police Department.
But according to a UT Athletic Department official who declined to be identified because of an ongoing investigation, an internal review showed Nelson wasn’t even present the night of the brawl.
The fight quickly escalated as several more patrons became involved before it spilled outside onto the sidewalk, where an off-duty Knoxville police officer was knocked unconscious when he attempted to intervene.
No one has yet been arrested or charged in the attack on Russell or the subsequent assault against KPD Officer Robert Capouellez. The police investigation is continuing.
Nelson, a senior defensive tackle from Tulsa, Okla., has been serving an academic suspension since the end of the spring semester and has not taken part in any team activities, a UT Athletic Department spokesman said today.
More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.