Potato Chips Get Another UF Football Player in Trouble
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
He's the latest University of Florida football player in trouble with the law, arrested on a battery charge. But he wasn't alone.
It all started over a bag of potato chips.
A Jimmy John's restaurant employee says Cunningham and a former gator player, sophomore Jonathan Demps, threw empty cups and a sandwich at him. But a witness in line has quite a different story.
"I never saw Cunningham in the restaurant," says Mo Mitchell.
Mitchell is a former gator football standout lineman who had a front-row view of the incident.
"Battery?" says Mitchell. "Over a sandwich? Over a bag of chips and some cups being thrown? Battery? We got to be joking."
Mitchell says he came to the Grog House around midnight with a few friends, including Demps and Cunningham. He says they left about 1:45 A.M., coming two doors down to Jimmy John's. But that's where Mitchell's story and the arrest report diverge.
The employee told police that Demps needed to pay for a bag of chips. He says words were exchanged; then Cunningham threw some empty soda cups at him, and Demps hit him with a sandwich.
But Mitchell says Demps had bought the chips, but had never got them. Mitchell adds Cunningham was outside the entire time, talking to friends.
"The case continues to unfold and additional info may come out," says Sgt. Art Adkins with the Gainesville Police Department. "It absolutely may change the facts and circumstances, which happens in any police investigation."
As it is, Mitchell thinks police over-reacted and did it to send a message to the athletics department.
"In the end, the damage has already been done because you dirtied up the guy's name," says Mitchell.
But Adkins says absolutely not.
"All of our cases are handled the same," says Adkins. "You can't do that. We don't investigate cases or incidents based on who's involved."
Messages left with the Jimmy John's owners were not returned.
Cunningham and Demps have been charged with battery. If convicted they face up to a year behind bars and a fine.
A third man, Xavier Carter, a former LSU football player and the 2006 NCAA Men's Track Athlete of the Year was arrested because he ran from police when the other two were arrested. All three were released on their own recognizance Wednesday.
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