New Mexico redshirt senior linebacker Evahelotu Tohi has been suspended for his role in a fight that left a teammate hospitalized Saturday night, head coach Bob Davie confirmed to reporters on Wednesday.
According to a police report obtained by KOB TV, Tohi was involved in an altercation with David Brown, a former Eldorado High School football player who is redshirting this season with the Lobos. The two players were at a party when Tohi allegedly insulted Brown, triggering the fight. Brown chest bumped Tohi, who allegedly punched Brown in the face and chest before knocking him unconcious.
Brown's mother told police that her son had bleeding on the right side of his brain. He was taken to the hospital by a group of friends who were also at the party.
Davie, who first heard about the situation on Sunday, said Tohi was allowed to practice Monday and Tuesday morning as more information surrounding the incident was still being gathered. Davie then suspended Tohi on Tuesday.
"When I first heard about it Sunday, I look at the situation that are two friends, that are teammates, play the same position, you don’t know the severity of it," Davie told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Albuquerque Journal. "I immediately gave the information to Eddie Nuñez, our athletic director, who immediately gave the information to (the UNM Office of Equal Opportunity). I don’t know that the critical time of when it happened is the most important thing. I think the most important thing is to have enough information to make a decision because I know the magnitude of this decision.”
Davie said he has not spoken to the two athletes and that Brown would be released from the hospital "in the next day or so."
Tohi leads the team-high 57 tackles this year. He also has two interceptions on the season and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery during the Lobos' 61–19 loss to Utah State on Saturday.
New Mexico is 3–5 and is on a three-game losing streak. The team will host San Diego State on Saturday at 10:15 p.m. ET.