Former Florida RB Rainey arrested for battery

Updated at 3 p.m.

OGGOA BREAKING: Steelers waive former Gators RB Chris Rainey

Former Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey, back in Gainesville, FL after completing his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for simple battery (dating violence) due to a touch or strike.

This latest arrest, which occurred after an altercation with a woman he has been dating for approximately nine months, was first reported by Matt Watts of The Miami Herald.

According to a release from the Gainesville Police Department:

Witnesses told officers that Rainey and the victim got into an argument over Rainey’s cellphone. The female victim entered the vehicle of Rainey’s roommate, and Rainey confronted her on the passenger side of the vehicle, and began pulling her out of the vehicle.

Witnesses then observed Rainey slap the victim across the face with an open hand. Both Rainey and the female victim then fell to the ground. The victim was able to run away, but Rainey chased after her because his cellphone was in a bag the victim was carrying. Rainey grabbed the bag again, and they both fell to the ground again.

Neither party suffered visible injuries from the encounter. Multiple witnesses confirmed the incident.

According to The Gainesville Sun, which obtained the arrest report, the incident began when his girlfriend questioned him about feeling a phone in his pocket while they were saying goodbye early in the morning. Rainey proceeded to discard the phone before returning to retrieve it and learning that his girlfriend had taken it into her possession.

When police responded to the victim’s phone call, Rainey denied accusations and witness accounts that he slapped his girlfriend. “Rainey admitted he argued over the phone, but denied slapping the victim and said they had no physical contact other than him grabbing at her bag to get the phone,” the paper reports.

Rainey was last arrested and charged with aggravated stalking in Sept. 2010. after threatening a woman he dated sporadically for approximately three years. The third-degree felony charge was reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor at the request of the victim and Rainey received six months of probation as a penalty for his actions. He fulfilled the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement on April 7, 2011, according to Alachua County Court records.

He is being held without bond and will remain in jail until he stands in front of a judge on Friday, when he will be represented in court by attorney Huntley Johnson.

Rainey will likely face an NFL suspension once the league office reviews the incident.

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.

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FOUR BITS: Nixon, Raymond, Akra, Tebow

1 » Alachua County Court records show that Florida Gators senior offensive tackle Xavier Nixon was cited on April 12 for unknowingly operating his vehicle with a suspended/revoked license for the second time in as many years. Nixon, first cited for the same traffic violation on March 24, 2011, elected to appear in court for the charge and had his hearing held on May 31. He agreed to a partial payment option for the $148 fine (including $86 in court costs) and paid $25 but did not continue making payments, building late fees and having the citation forwarded to a collection agency. Now represented by attorney Huntley Johnson after receiving a second citation on April 12, Nixon again elected to appear in court for the latest charges but has since paid his fines from the initial citation in full. He owes another $148 for his latest transgression. It will be determined how that is paid and how his case will be settled in a scheduled court appearance on June 13 at 9 a.m.

2 » Former Florida tennis player Lisa Raymond made the record books on Monday after she and partner Liezel Huber were anointed the new No. 1 doubles pairing in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association. Raymond, who has been ranked No. 1 at one time or another for 117 total weeks in her career (this will be the 118th), is now the oldest player ever to hold the top spot in the WTA rankings. “It’s definitely a lot more special this time than ever before,” he said. “I’m the fittest I’ve ever been in my career, and I found the right partner, too. Liezel and I always say it’s about the team – you win together and you lose together, and you work hard together. This is gratifying for both of us – and for me at 38, to be back to No. 1 after such a long road, it feels amazing.”

3 » In November, ESPN’s Erin Andrews was caught in the middle of a Gatorade shower as then-No. 22 Baylor celebrated a 45-38 upset of No. 5 Oklahoma. Andrews, who said afterward that it was the first time she had been caught in a Gatorade shower in her career, joked that it was an awesome experience even though her iPhone was not working well after the bath. Another former Gators dazzler, Kristina Akra, has apparently been hit with more Gatorade showers in the young 2012 Major League Baseball season than Andrews has in her career. According to the Washington Post, Akra was nailed with Gatorade for the third time already this season after the Washington Nationals (the team she covers as a sideline reporter for MASN) achieved a walk-off victory on Saturday. Akra previously worked with FOX Sports South helping out with coverage of Southeastern Conference football.

4 » Hip-hop artist Wale said on ESPN‘s First Take on Monday that he only expects New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow to start a maximum of one game this season, noting that he’s seen “ambidextrous ninth graders” throw better than Tebow. He even went as far as to wager cutting his hair on Tebow starting fewer than six games in 2012. In the same segment, Hugh Douglas (who promised to go to church if Tebow beat the Jets on Nov. 17) gave the former Heisman Trophy winner plenty of support and predicted that he will be starting full-time for New York by week four. As the New York Post reports, Tebow already has future Jets cheerleaders on his side.

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TE A.C. Leonard arrested for domestic battery

Updated at 7:45 p.m.

Florida Gators freshman tight end A.C. Leonard was arrested Wednesday night for misdemeanor domestic battery and suspended from the team indefinitely by head coach Will Muschamp Thursday evening.

Leonard, who had an altercation with his girlfriend of 17 months (the two have lived together for about one month), was booked into jail Wednesday night and appeared in court for the first time Thursday morning before being released on his own recognizance.

From The Gainesville Sun:

According to the report, the couple had been arguing around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday when Leonard, “shoved her forcibly with both hands in her chest/neck area. The force of the shove knocked her down to the ground, causing her head to strike a dog cage that was behind her.”

The woman told [Officer Amanda] Prince that Leonard told her to get her belongings and leave, then followed her into the bedroom where he grabbed her by her hair and tried to drag her out of the apartment. According to the arrest report, when the woman resisted, Leonard, “Grabbed her by both feet and pulled her out of the apartment,” then locked her out of the apartment.

Being represented by Gainesville, FL attorney Huntley Johnson, Leonard will not be allowed to have any contact with the woman by judge’s orders and must find a separate place to live at least until the court makes a judgment on his case.

Leonard, who is facing a first-degree misdemeanor for his actions, refused comment when he was arrested, only telling police: “I never hit her. I just wanted her to leave.”

It is Leonard’s first arrest as a Florida football player and the 10th since Muschamp took over the Gators in January 2011.

“This behavior will not be tolerated and A.C. has been suspended from team activities at this time,” Muschamp said. “I certainly don’t condone this type of behavior — it is not what we expect from the University of Florida football program.”

Of Florida’s other nine arrests since Muschamp arrived, eight were for either underage drinking or marijuana possession with one coming for driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest. Three of the eight players previously arrested are no longer with the Gators football program.

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Gators DT Dominique Easley accused of attacking former Crimson Tide CB Reggie Myles

Updated Oct. 4 at 5 p.m.

Florida Gators sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley has been accused by former Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Reggie Myles of attacking him outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday evening following Florida’s 38-10 loss to Alabama.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, Myles “filed a complaint with the University of Florida Police Department” alleging that, unprovoked, Easley “tackled [him] from behind…on a walkway outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium shortly after midnight.”

The paper reports that Myles was able to identify his alleged attacker as Easley because a cell phone was dropped at the scene that he took into his possession and handed over to police. “[Easley's] parents were asking me for the phone back,” Myles told the paper, explaining that is how he determined to whom it belonged.

Myles himself was detained following the incident for public intoxication and criminal mischief due to his actions and behavior following the alleged attack. His lawyer expects those charges to be dropped.

The University Police Department had not identified Easley as the attacker as of Monday, but Sgt. Steve Wilder and Maj. Brad Barber told the Tuscaloosa News and The Gaiensville Sun respectively that an investigation is ongoing.

The Sun reported Tuesday that the UPD has been unable to speak with Easley in order to get his side of the story because the player’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, declined an interview on behalf of his client.

Barber also told the Sun that the UPD “will continue the investigation with the information we have at this time,” which does not include any surveillance videos as none are believed to be available at this time.

He added that the investigation will likely conclude soon, and the Sun said the UPD is looking into whether or not “Myles’s behavior might have contributed to the incident.”

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TWO BITS: Jenkins’s plea, Parsons’s injury

1 » Gainesville, FL attorney Huntley Johnson entered a “not guilty” plea on behalf of Florida Gators junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession on Jan. 23. According to The Gainesville Sun, Johnson requested a jury trial and may do so again at the pre-trial conference on Feb. 28 at 9 a.m. Jenkins signed a notice to appear in court upon his arrest and was scheduled to do so on Feb. 17 prior to Johnson entering the plea.

2 » During his appearance on the Southeastern Conference’s weekly teleconference, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan updated the injury status of senior forward Chandler Parsons, who suffered a deep thigh bruise early in the first half of Saturday’s game against Tennessee. As he alluded to in his post-game press conference, Donovan does not expect Parsons to practice this week (Thursday at the earliest) and is hopeful but not certain he will have him for Sunday’s game at LSU. Apparently his bruise has begun to bleed and Parsons is currently walking on crutches in order to take pressure off the injury. He will be reevaluated throughout the week, and a decision on his playing status may not be made until the weekend.

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SIX BITS: Florida-Kentucky, Rainey, UT violations

1 » It has been more than 30 years and 15 games since the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Florida Gators in The Swamp, and while head coach Urban Meyer has been tempering expectations noting his upcoming opponent’s recently blossoming offense, Kentucky is looking to make a statement this year. “[People are going to be skeptical] until we start beating quality opponents,” Wildcats running back Derrick Locke said Monday. “Even if we do beat some, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to beat the teams we haven’t beat, and then we’ll get respect.” Head coach Joker Phillips agrees. “[Games like this are] what you come to Kentucky for,” he said. “This team will not be a team intimidated by The Swamp or playing in a game like this.”

2 » The last time Florida played Kentucky, the Gators dominated the contest 41-7 on the road in Lexington, KY. But the emotion most took away from that game was fright, not excitement, due to then-quarterback Tim Tebow being knocked out cold with a concussion. Wildcats defensive end Taylor Wyndham was responsible for the initial hit that knocked Tebow out but hopes he is not seen as a villain. “Hopefully [I get treated] just like anybody else,” Wyndham said of walking into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. “I’m sure I might get a couple boos, but it’s not a big deal.”

3 » Gainesville, FL, attorney Huntley Johnson, who is representing redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey for his aggravated stalking charge, told the Palm Beach Post that his client has been overcharged. He will likely have some idea of where Rainey stands by the end of the week. “It doesn’t fit the elements of the crime,” Johnson said. “This kid was never going to hurt her. She knew he wasn’t going to hurt her. The fact that he misspoke in the text is not something to crucify this kid for. […] He’s devastated. He cared and cares tremendously for this woman and he cares about being a student at the University of Florida and he cares about being on the football team. […] This is not the kid to draw the line on. I’ve represented a lot of kids over the years. It’s an easy statement to throw stones at, but this kid is a great kid. Period.”

4 » As the Gators offense continues to progress week-to-week, one important factor that must grow is redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley’s trust in his receivers. After Saturday’s game against Tennessee, Brantley says that is as high as ever. “I didn’t put the ball in the best spot, but they made me look good, that’s for sure,” he said at a media availability Monday. “I trusted them before the game and now I really trust them. If I don’t make a perfect throw or anything like that, they’re going to make up for it, they’re going to make some great catches.”

5 » Documents obtained by ESPN on Monday revealed that the Tennessee Volunteers have “self-reported several NCAA violations involving its men’s basketball team, including nearly 100 impermissible phone calls to various recruits” over a two-year period. Additionally, the documents revealed that assistant coach Jason Shay “approved lodging expenses for the parents of three recruits [who] were allowed visits that extended beyond the NCAA mandate of 48 hours.” Though the Volunteers are chocking these mistakes up to “poor record keeping or miscommunication,” Tennessee’s subsequent punishments while they await a NCAA ruling may prove otherwise.

6 » OGGOA’s thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of former South Carolina Gamecocks WR Kenny McKinley, who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound suicide late Monday evening. He was 23. Head coach Steve Spurrier spoke about McKinkely and recently meeting with him. “I saw him here – he came to the Georgia game,” Spurrier said. “He seemed in good spirits. Great smile like he always had. I don’t understand it if it happened the way they say. It’s hard to comprehend. Kenny was certainly one of my favorite all-time players. He was a wonderful guy. It’s hard to figure out why this happened. It’s a sad day.”

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Florida WR Chris Rainey arrested for stalking

Florida Gators redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking by Gainesville Police early Tuesday morning.

According to the police report, Rainey contacted a local woman he had been dating sporadically for approximately three years and allegedly visited her home when she did not answer a phone call. When she did not come to the door immediately, Rainey began calling and texting her, eventually allegedly saying, “I’m here and I will bust out the window.” After speaking to him for about 10 minutes, she asked him to leave, later receiving a text message from Rainey which read, “Time to die, b—h.”

Fearing for her sibling’s safety, the woman’s sister called the police, who instructed her to call Rainey to tell him that the officers wished to speak with him. Upon receiving that call, Rainey allegedly told the woman, “Wait and see what happens when they leave.” He was subsequently arrested when officers visited his on-campus residence.

Rainey, charged with a third-degree felony, admitted to sending the text message but not to making the latter statement. After spending the night in jail, he was released on his own recognizance by Alachua County Judge Denise R. Ferrero just before 11 a.m. with a warning not to contact the woman. Ferrero also ordered Rainey to maintain a curfew of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. with an exception for school or work.

“I don’t think this is a felony for sure,” Rainey’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday afternoon. “I think that we can come to a resolution that will minimize any long term consequences for Mr. Rainey. I don’t think the lady was ever in any danger, and I know Mr. Rainey and I think he’s a hell of a nice young man and I assure you that he would never hurt this woman.”

“It’s not near as bad as it looks,” Johnson said separately to the Palm Beach Post. “I think that this is going to end up being a minor bump in the road for Chris. In the long run, it would be appropriate, based on what I know, for him to be back on the team at some point this season. I’d be surprised if he’s not. I think it means an awful lot to him to be a student at Florida and it means a hell of a lot to be a player. He’s still a student at Florida, but he’s not on the team, so he has mixed feelings.”

Johnson also spoke to the Associated Press about Rainey, calling him a “terrific kid who works his rear end off” both academically and athletically. “My early sense is this will be something less than a third-degree felony,” he said. “I think this will turn out to be what I think this is, which is something minor. I don’t think that the statute was intended for this kind of thing. [...] I think this is something that will pass. He never intended for this to happen nor would he ever hurt this woman. He cares deeply about this woman. He didn’t handle it like he should have. He knows that. Hopefully this will end up being a bump in the road.”

In court on Tuesday, the woman said she neither feared for her safety nor intended to have Rainey arrested when she called the police. “We just needed someone to diffuse the situation. I did not want to have him arrested last night. When the police came, I signed papers to not press any charges,” she said. “I don’t fear for my safety. I think he should be released on his own recognizance. [...] People all over the country have been calling my cell phone. I’m not afraid of him. I’m more afraid of all the repercussions.”

Aggravated stalking, as defined by Florida state law, is charged to “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person, and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury of the person.”

Under the Florida statute, a third-degree felony aggravated battery charge carries with it a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine (plus court costs).

Tuesday afternoon, Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio spoke about the player’s status. “Chris Rainey is not a part of our team right now,” Addazio said.

OGGOA will continue updating this story. Last update: 7:45 p.m.

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Guilty plea forthcoming for Gators WR Hammond

Florida Gators redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. will plead guilty to driving under the influence after being arrested on June 13, according to Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel, who spoke with Hammond’s attorney, Huntley Johnson.

Johnson believes Hammond will serve a minimum sentence as he is a first-time offender and has admitted to his mistakes.

“I think [our plea] will be accepted,” Johnson told the Sentinel. “He’ll get the same treatment as somebody else [former defensive end Carlos Dunlap]. He’s accepting responsibility, and he’s going to be better for it.”

Dunlap got six months of probation and 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty to the same offense in January.

Hammond, after immediately being suspended from all team activities by University of Florida administration, returned to working out with the team this week. He was arrested for DUI and possession of alcohol by a minor just under a month ago.

As OGGOA exclusively reported on June 15, the Gators adopted an “if one falls, all fall” mentality that was taught in practical application immediately after an impassioned meeting the team held following Hammond’s arrest.

He is not expected to receive more than a one or two-game suspension.

From OGGOA‘s original story on Hammond’s arrest:

Hammond was allegedly “speeding, swerving and driving” with two open 750-ml bottles of Crown Royal whiskey in his car (one in the back seat, one in the trunk). He was traveling faster than 45 miles per hour on Gale Lemerand Drive at 2:09 a.m.; [UF] campus is a 20-mph zone.

The police report described Hammond as “uncoordinated” with “glassy” eyes and slurred speech. He failed his on-site sobriety tests and registered breath samples of more than double the legal limit (.08) at .188 and .191.

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