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Monday, July 18, 2011
Updated: July 20, 11:30 AM ET
USC suspends Marc Tyler

By Joe Schad
ESPN

USC announced Monday that it has suspended running back Marc Tyler for the season opener against Minnesota on Sept. 3 and from all team activities immediately for comments made to TMZ recently.

Tyler, who appeared intoxicated on video, said he was "joking" when he said he responded to a question about if athletes were paid more at USC or in the pros.

"USC," Tyler said. "They breaking bread."

Trojans coach Lane Kiffin wants Tyler to recognize that the punishment is a way to show the "high standard for player behavior."

"I was very disappointed when I learned of Marc Tyler's inappropriate comments that were captured by the media last week," Kiffin said in a statement. "That is not the way that we expect our players to represent USC and our team.

"I have consulted with athletic director Pat Haden and I am suspending Marc for our upcoming season opener and potentially further, and in the meantime I am also suspending him from all team activities."

Tyler also said USC stands for "University of Sexual Ballers" and also made a reference to reality star Kim Kardashian, who once dated former USC running back Reggie Bush.

Tyler was apologetic for embarrassing the school.

"I am disappointed that I let down all the people who have supported me as I have been working through some personal issues," he said in a statement. "After meeting today with Mr. Haden and Coach Kiffin, I realize how my behavior and my statements, even though I was joking, can reflect poorly on so many people. ... I accept my punishment and I regret that I will miss the opening game of my senior year. I am committed to doing everything the right way so that I can be reinstated to the team."

Tyler rushed for 913 yards and nine touchdowns last season and was USC's projected starter at running back. Dillon Baxter and Curtis McNeal are among the other running backs who will be expected to step forward for Tyler.

Tyler started eight games during a yearlong struggle for playing time in the Trojans' deep backfield. He struggled with injuries for much of his first three years at USC, and he missed much of spring practice after reporting overweight and injuring his hamstring on the first day of workouts.

Haden said Tyler "stepped way out of line."

"He did not represent himself, his university or his team the way we expect," Kiffin said in a statement. "Marc has a lot to do to prove he belongs on our team. We hope Marc learns from this and comes back a changed and better person."

Last month, Tyler said he had appeared before the school's Office of Student Judicial Affairs to discuss two complaints made against him in April. Tyler was accused of spitting on a female student while intoxicated, and later touching another female student inappropriately at a bar near USC's downtown campus.

Tyler acknowledged those problems could lead to student discipline, but he didn't expect to be dismissed from school with no prior history of problems. Tyler also said he sought counseling this summer.

Tyler is the son of famed running back Wendell Tyler, who attended UCLA before an NFL career with the Rams and the 49ers. Marc Tyler played high school football in the Los Angeles suburbs with Carolina quarterback Jimmy Clausen, his close friend.

Wendell Tyler supported USC's decision.

"The punishment does fit the crime," he said on 710 ESPN's Mason and Ireland show. "You cannot joke about any situation in life. SC is a good school. That's why I sent my son there and he chose to go there. SC is a family just like UCLA and you can't talk about your family. That's like him going and saying something about our family. You cannot talk about your family."

Joe Schad is a college football reporter for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.