Kansas star running back Pooka Williams will miss just one game for the Jayhawks this fall, after allegations that he punched and shoved a former girlfriend last winter. Williams was suspended from team activities in December, but has returned to the program.
The 18-year old woman that levied the allegations says that Williams punched her in the stomach and grabbed by the throat during the dispute. He has admitted to grabbing and shoving the woman.
After facing domestic battery charges, Williams signed a 12-month diversionary agreement, that, if completed, will drop the charge against him. Kansas has revealed some of the details of that program.
From The Kansas City Star:
As part of his terms with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, Williams also agreed in March to:
▪ undergo a domestic violence offender assessment, and if no other recommendations are made by that program, go through an anger management course by Nov. 30
▪ refrain from alcohol and drug use during the one-year diversion period
▪ have no contact with the victim
▪ complete 40 hours of community service by Nov. 30
▪ pay $158 in court costs
Pooka Williams returns to the Kansas football program this week, but will miss the team’s season opener against Indiana State on August 31.
Williams, new Kansas head coach Les Miles, and athletic director Jeff Long have all released statements following this decision.
Williams apologized for the incident, and says that he has learned from the suspension:
”My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m very sorry to those who were impacted by my poor choices,” Williams said in a release. “I am disappointed in myself, not just as a man, but as a student-athlete looked up to by younger kids. My suspension from football has been hard, but I have learned from it.”
Miles pledged support for the Jayhawks back:
“Pooka has taken responsibility for his actions and we are happy he is back with the team. This young man has learned much throughout this process and we will support him as he continues working through the required educational and accountability steps.”
Long called Williams’ actions “unacceptable,” but says he has fulfilled all of his obligations since the incident:
“Pooka’s behavior last December was unacceptable as a member of any community, especially our university community. As a result, Kansas Athletics suspended Pooka from the football program in December when serious allegations were first brought forward, and he has remained suspended until now. … While suspended, Pooka has done all that has been required of him by the courts, the university and Kansas Athletics, and most importantly, has accepted responsibility for his actions.”
I imagine there will be some serious criticism of KU for a pretty lenient penalty here, especially with the one game coming against an FCS program.
Hopefully Williams is truly contrite and finishes out the program, and has learned from this, as he says.