Back in late October, backup Cincinnati quarterback Jarred Evans was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and suspended a short time later, even as head coach Tommy Tuberville said “there’s a good chance he’s not guilty.”
While Tuberville’s player is not denying there was a punch thrown, he is saying there was something that triggered it.
Testifying in court Friday in connection to the charge, Evans alleged that the victim, 20-year-old UC student Ryan Smith, was part of a group of males who began harassing him and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Jennifer Dunlap. According to Evans, the group, or someone in the group, was directing “n****r lover” comments at him and his girlfriend; Evans is black, his girlfriend is white. Evans said in his testimony that he tried to ignore the epithets, but the situation ultimately escalated.
From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Eventually, Evans responded: “I told them, ‘I will f**k all of you up if you come after me.”
Soon after, he testified, one of the men stood in front of them, blocking their path.
“He flinched at me with his hands up,” Evans testified, “and I just reacted with a punch, a jab.”
The individual who was on the receiving end of the jab was Smith, who sustained a concussion and lacerations that required stitches. Smith had previously testified that he wasn’t with the group of men who were harassing Evans and Dunlap. Oddly enough, Dunlap’s roommate, Courtney Gravett, backed up Smith’s account, testifying that the victim was not a part of the harassing group and that she tried to stop Evans from confronting them.
“For no obvious reason,” the Enquirer said Gravett testified, “Evans struck Smith, who had his head down and his hands in his pockets.”
According to the paper, closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected Monday.
Evans, incidentally, remains suspended from the football program.