LSU players meet with police
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three of his teammates met with Baton Rouge police investigators on Tuesday morning about a bar fight last week.
Police have asked Jefferson, along with offensive lineman Chris Davenport, defensive lineman Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry, to offer their recollection of last Thursday night's fight.
Four people were injured in the scuffle, none of them players, and one person's injuries were serious enough that two players could face felony battery charges, Police Sgt. Don Stone said. He said two other players could be charged with misdemeanor simple battery.
Investigators initially asked the players to come to police headquarters Monday morning, but that was delayed after the players hired Nathan Fisher, who is known for representing LSU players in the past.
Stone said the meeting was moved to the police's violent crime unit headquarters and that Fisher attended as well.
Stone has stressed that Police Chief Dewayne White is not giving LSU players any special treatment and the investigation will continue regardless of the players' cooperation.
"These guys aren't going anywhere, they're not a flight risk. It's not like we don't know where they're at," Stone said. "It's not like we're sitting around waiting for them. We still have witnesses to interview. ... And if it reaches the point to where the evidence supports the allegations, we'll obtain arrest warrants for the persons responsible. And if it's these four football players, they'll be arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail."
Witnesses have described one of the victims being kicked in the head while lying on the ground, Stone said. He declined to specify who did the kicking or who got kicked.
LSU practiced Monday evening, but university officials said none of the players who have been named in the investigation would be made available to the media. Players who did talk to reporters were instructed not to answer any questions about their memories of what happened at the bar not far from campus.
The players were out after a curfew imposed by the coaching staff when the fight took place. However, LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said players traditionally conclude fall camp, which this year ended last Thursday, by socializing together after curfew. Bonnette said that tradition has spanned the tenures of a number of coaches.
Nonetheless, coach Les Miles has said the allegations surrounding the fight have made him "miserable," and the entire team has been punished with additional conditioning during practice, such as running. Miles also said more punishment would be forthcoming as more details of the investigation were revealed.
As of Monday night, though, no players had been suspended.
The fourth-ranked Tigers open the season against No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Jefferson was expected to be the starting quarterback, but if he cannot play, fellow senior Jarrett Lee would be the likely starter behind center, with junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger next in line.
Lee, who has been taking some snaps with the first team since before the alleged fracas, said there were not any substantial changes to the practice routine on Monday and Jefferson continued to also receive his regular work with the starters.
"Nothing changed. Practice was the same. We had a great practice today," Lee said. "All of us quarterbacks, we know to be good you have to prepare each and every day to be the starter, whether your opportunity comes or not, so we're going to continue to work hard."
"It's an unfortunate situation," Lee added. "You never want something like this to happen to your football team. We're family. We're a close-knit group. Things like this happen. ... All the great teams have their ups and downs. It's about how you bounce back and we're going to stay positive and keep working hard."
Lee has been teammates with Jefferson for the past three seasons, and said he did not see any noticeable difference in Jefferson's demeanor.
"He's a great guy, great friend," Lee said. "He's still working hard, still practicing hard, still laughing in the film room."
Stone said Jefferson, Davenport, Johns and Landry are currently the only people of interest in the case, but added that investigators are still interviewing witnesses and that more players could have been involved. Authorities have obtained security video from a business neighboring the bar, which is in a strip mall just south of campus. Stone declined to talk about what the video shows.
Fisher, meanwhile, said he did not want to discuss the facts of the case in the media. Fisher did say he believes Stone has made several inaccurate statements, but declined to specify.
Currently, police are aware of only four alleged victims whose names they have not released. The four were treated at a hospital and released. Three had minor injuries and a fourth had the more serious injury that would warrant the second-degree battery charges, Stone said.
The victims have hired an attorney, Michael Bienvenue, and have indicated they want to press charges, Stone said.
Bienvenue has not returned phone messages left at his office.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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