The optics on this one are beyond ugly, and Tennessee could very well have a decision to make in the coming days regarding a very talented football player.
Defensive back Bryce Thompson was arrested over the weekend on one count of misdemeanor domestic assault. Thompson, who allegedly threatened to “slap the s**t out of” the alleged victim as well as threatening to “shoot up the school,” was subsequently suspended by the UT football program.
Tuesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that this wasn’t the first disturbing incident involving Thompson. In January of 2018, another woman with whom Thompson was having a romantic relationship obtained a restraining order against him after the then-high schooler allegedly threatened to kill her and another male.
From the News Sentinel:
The woman who filed for a restraining order against Thompson wrote in her complaint that Thompson texted her stating that if she dated another man, he “would kill both me and that other guy.” She wrote that she believed Thompson’s threat because “he has a history of violence against me and others. He has physically slapped me, choked me, and thrown me around. I fear for my safety, and am constantly looking over my shoulder.”
The woman wrote that after several attempts to break up with Thompson and telling him not to contact her, he threatened to kill himself on multiple occasions. She wrote that Thompson made her believe she was at fault. Thompson created disguised phone numbers to contact her, she wrote.
In October 2017, Thompson contacted the woman who filed the restraining order and told her he was coming to her apartment to harm himself, according to a Columbia Police Department incident report. Columbia police and other agencies responded to the call. Thompson did not show up at the woman’s complex, and his mother later notified police that he returned home safely, according to the incident report.
The restraining order was obtained one month before Thompson signed with the Volunteers in February of 2018. It’s unclear if anyone involved with the UT football program was aware of that first incident, which happened in South Carolina, prior to Thompson’s signing.
“We hold our student-athletes to a high standard. The safety of all students is our first priority here at Tennessee,” head coach Jeremy Pruitt said in a statement in announcing the defensive back’s suspension.
Thompson started 10 games his first season in Knoxville, leading the Vols in interceptions with three and earning Freshman All-American honors.