Friday, October 5, 2007
Joiner with Gators for LSU game as felony charge dropped
By Chris Low ESPN.com
Florida head coach Urban Meyer said today that Tony Joiner will travel with the team for its game at LSU on Saturday.
All charges against Joiner were dropped this morning by state prosecutors after the senior safety was arrested earlier this week on a felony burglary charge for breaking into a Gainesville tow lot and trying to retrieve his girlfriend's impounded car. The owner of the lot called it a misunderstanding and didn't wish to pursue charges.
Meyer stripped Joiner of his captaincy. The Gators' head coach didn't specify how much Joiner would play, if he would be suspended for any part of the LSU game or if he would start. Florida co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said the Gators were preparing to go with Dorian Munroe at strong safety if Joiner couldn't play.
"Tony being out late on Monday is not consistent with the expectations of a leader and a team captain of our football program," Meyer said in a statement. "Tony is no longer a captain of the Gator football team and he will pay a heavy price for his behavior internally for the next four weeks. He will travel with the team for our game vs. LSU."
Spencer Mann, chief investigator for the State Attorney's
Office, said the charge was dropped because the towing company
"believes it's a big misunderstanding."
"The victim is adamant that he sustained no loss or damage and
does not wish to pursue criminal charges," Mann said. "Based on
that information, we cannot sustain a criminal charge. Without a
victim, I have no crime."
According to the Gainesville Police Department, Joiner pushed open an electric gate, got into the car and started to drive off. When Joiner stopped to close the gate, he was confronted by a witness who called police.
Shortly after Joiner's arrest, towing company owner Stan Forron
said the player had arranged to pay the bill and pick up the car.
But Forron said no one was around to take Joiner's money, so he
must have thought it was OK to take the car and settle up later.
The Associated Press contributed to this report