Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has talked candidly about the role character will play in his football program.
We’re about to find out if he means what he says following an embarrassing early-morning bar brawl Friday allegedly involving several Tennessee football players.
Already, two players have been arrested and charged -- freshman receiver Da’Rick Rogers for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and sophomore safety Darren Myles Jr. for assaulting a UT police officer and resisting/fleeing arrest.
According to the incident report, Myles elbowed a UT police officer under the eye, then tried to run away through campus and was found hiding in the bushes.
Police are continuing to investigate, as two people were sent to the hospital as a result of the melee. One of those was an off-duty Knoxville Police Department officer who was at the bar and tried to break up the fight, according to police.
His reward was being knocked to the ground and kicked until he was unconscious by a group of people identified as Tennessee football players. He's being treated for a head wound.
I know what most Tennessee fans are thinking: Where has all this aggression been against Alabama and Florida the last few years?
Seriously, if these allegations are true, any of the players involved in the kicking of the off-duty officer while he lay in the street (or the beating of the patron inside the bar, for that matter) ought to be sent packing immediately.
If not, Dooley’s talk about having high-character players in his program and running a program built on character is nothing more than talk.
Cheap talk, at that.
Also, anybody want to bet that Bar Knoxville will be off limits to Tennessee athletes from now on, especially with the co-owner telling media outlets that football players received “VIP status” and didn’t have to pay a cover charge?
That’s an NCAA violation that even Lane Kiffin would recognize.
There still has yet to be any official comment from Tennessee. Dooley was out of town when all this went down.
He already had a tough enough job rebuilding the Vols’ program on the field.
Now we find out how much of a stickler he is when his players act like knuckleheads off the field.
Thanks to WBIR, Channel 10 in Knoxville, here are a couple of videos of Tennessee players being detained right after the brawl and Rogers and Myles running from the detention center after posting bond and being released from jail Friday.
Some of the other Tennessee players that were detained for questioning or may still be questioned in connection with the brawl, according to police, include defensive tackle Montori Hughes, defensive tackle John Brown, receiver Denarius Moore, safety Janzen Jackson and receiver Matt Milton. In particular, police are looking for more information on who was actually involved in the assaults.