Florida DT Caleb Brantley maintains innocence as accuser wants fast settlement

By Adam Silverstein
April 25, 2017
Florida DT Caleb Brantley maintains innocence as accuser wants fast settlement

Image Credit: UAA

The constant twists and turns following a physical incident between former Florida Gators defensive tackle Caleb Brantley and a woman continue with the 2017 NFL Draft approaching.

Just a day after maintaining his client’s innocence, attorney Huntley Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times that the accuser is seeking an exceedingly quick settlement with Brantley.

“I was approached by lawyers representing the alleged victim, both [Monday and Tuesday],” Johnson told the Times‘ Matt Baker. “They indicated to me they were meeting with the State Attorney’s Office [Wednesday] and that they want to settle the case [Tuesday]. I called Mr. Brantley and communicated what they said to me. He told me that under no circumstances were we to offer them money or give them any money. He said no.”

Brantley was charged with simple battery following an incident with a woman at 1:30 a.m. on April 13 in Gainesville, Florida. The initial police report listed Brantley as a victim who had been verbally berated and hit by a woman and responded by pushing her away. However, a new police report released last Friday switched the roles after two witnesses alleged Brantley responded to the accuser by punching her in the face with a closed fist, knocking her unconscious and jarring a tooth loose from her mouth.

The accuser’s lawyers called the Gainesville Police Department’s initial report a fabrication despite it including statements from multiple witnesses. The GPD has strongly countered that claim, and Brantley maintains that the initial report was accurate, not the one that came multiple days later.

Brantley’s lawyers released a statement Monday that explained multiple women approached Brantley and berated him with “incredibly foul” language before one of the women “stepped forward and punched him in the mouth with no warning.” Their client’s immediate reaction was to extend his right arm and push away the woman, making “contact with her face due to his reflex reaction.”

Furthermore, Brantley’s lawyers claim there is some video relating to the incident and note that Brantley had not been out drinking that night. He has claimed he arrived on the scene to pick up a friend only to run into the women.

“Mr. Brantley was not the aggressor,” explained Johnson’s partner Amy Osteryoung. “Mr. Brantley is the victim.”

The State Attorney’s Office has not yet formally charged Brantley with misdemeanor simple battery and stated that it will likely be unable to come to a decision on the matter before the 2017 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday. Brantley was projected to be a day-two selection, but his draft status is now completely up in the air as teams must weigh whether to spend a selection on someone currently in a murky legal situation.

“I thought the Oakland Raiders were going to take him in the second round. Obviously now, not only with the news but with the uncertainty of what’s going to happen, he’s probably going to fall to the third round. He could fall out of the second day of the draft and into the fourth round,” explained NFL Draft insider Tony Pauline in a conversation with OnlyGators.com.

“With Brantley, you remember La’el Collins a couple years ago; he was just being questioned for a murder — wasn’t being a suspect, was just being questioned. He went from being a second-round pick to falling out of the draft. When you have some of these uncertain things, it’s going to hurt him a lot.”

Brantley’s refusal to settle given the circumstances makes sense as he would not wish to appear guilty in the eyes of NFL teams, whether he is at fault in this alleged battery or not. However, settling the case quickly would have also potentially put it behind him with the draft looming.


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