Online public court records have revealed that charges against Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton for domestic assault and public intoxication have been dropped. The charges were originally triggered by an event in February, when Middleton engaged in a physical altercation with his girlfriend and one of her male friends in an alley on Cumberland Avenue behind a Walgreens Pharmacy.
Middleton became increasingly jealous and upset with his girlfriend’s male friend, which triggered him to take his anger out on a different individual — his own friend, who was also a male, according to an arrest warrant from the Knoxville Police Department. His girlfriend then attempted to bring the fight to a halt by physically attempting to get into the middle of the fight, which prompted Middleton to push her down to the ground; causing her to scrape her knee badly on the concrete. Middleton immediately helped her and apologized, but would then push her down again. She received treatment for her injuries at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
The warrant went on to claim that when police found Middleton at a student housing center, he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and smelled like alcohol. He also had trouble standing, as he was “unsteady on his feet.” The officers were originally unable to locate Middleton, but a civilian informed them of the suspect’s whereabouts. The report went on to claim that Middleton’s girlfriend appeared to be in fear, as she was in tears when she spoke to the Knoxville Police Department regarding the incident.
Following the arrest, Middleton issued an apology on Twitter, writing: “(I’m) not looking for sympathy. I’m looking for those who know me deep inside to know that wasn’t me and I owned up to my mistakes.” The Tennessee defensive lineman went on to add, “I want to apologize to the university and our football program as we continue to rise.”
Middleton would later send another tweet, which read: “I am learning to take responsibility for my actions. No matter (what) my intent may have been, I was wrong in my actions. I have come to realize that alcohol was an influence on my actions. Alcohol is not a problem for me in regards of how much, how often, etc. I realize it is a problem if it can cause me to act in a way not in my best interest. For that, I am seeking alcohol counseling.”
Despite the charges, the University of Tennessee’s football program never chose to dismiss the defensive lineman from the team — as he has participated in practice, and is currently on campus preparing for the Vols’ season-opener against Florida. As a player, Middleton is viewed as a rising star and one of the best stories in the nation. The Oak Ridge native was able to develop himself into one of the nation’s top prospects over two seasons at the JUCO ranks prior to transferring to Tennessee. He was an immediate impact, and he appeared in all 13 games for the Vols during his first year in Knoxville last season.