New year, new football player trouble

Three players had run-ins with the law in separate incidents over winter break.

by Michael Rietmulder

The slew of off-field incidents involving University of Minnesota football players continued during the break, including charges filed against two players, one of whom is no longer with the program. Most recently, Gophers running back Shady Salamon and University of Notre Dame standout wide receiver Michael Floyd were cited for underage drinking by University police Jan. 8. According to a police report, officers were responding to a fight involving between six and 10 people at the intersection of 15th Avenue Southeast and Sixth Street Southeast. Salamon and Floyd, who were high school teammates at Cretin-Durham Hall, were passengers in a vehicle driven by a 20-year-old female stopped by police after the two had been spotted getting into the vehicle. Police discovered blood on FloydâÄôs hands, feet and shirt. Floyd admitted to getting into a scuffle with a Somali man. According to University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner, the Somali man was never identified and charges were not filed. âÄúThat night, officers were unable to locate the sort of other half of the fight … so we have no victims,âÄù he said. Both Salamon, 19, and Floyd, 20, admitted to drinking. Sophomore offensive lineman Ryan Wynn, who redshirted this season because of a back injury, was arrested New YearâÄôs Eve by police in Tempe, Ariz., for underage drinking. Wynn, 20, was charged with public consumption by a minor. The team had traveled to Tempe to compete in the Insight Bowl, which they lost earlier that day. As a non-resident of Arizona, Wynn spent the night in jail awaiting a court appearance the following morning. âÄúWe have student code of conduct issues, and both of those will be handled along those lines, and anything other than that would be handled internally within the program,âÄù Director of Athletic Communications Garry Bowman said of Wynn and SalamonâÄôs cases. The same night of WynnâÄôs arrest, running back Kevin Whaley was arrested and charged with assault at a Scottsdale nightclub. Whaley punched two security guards while being escorted out of the club after security observed him bothering female club-goers. After being suspended indefinitely from the team, Whaley asked to be released from his scholarship obligations. Head coach Tim Brewster granted his request. For Whaley, the incident marks the third time the redshirt freshmanâÄôs propensity for nightlife has led to violence. In March 2008, Whaley, who was still in high school at the time, was shot in the leg during a drive-by shooting outside of a nightclub in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va. Whaley found himself in trouble again Nov. 1, 2008 when police used a Taser to subdue Whaley in an incident outside a Minneapolis club. Whaley later pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault and obstructing the legal process in connection with the Minneapolis case. The cases involving Salamon, Wynn and Whaley are the most recent in a long list of events that have marred the football program in the past few months. Freshman linebacker Sam Maresh was accused of assaulting a male University student Nov. 9. The man was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and later identified Maresh as the assailant. Nathan Tow-Arnett, a 27-year-old sophomore defensive back, allegedly assaulted a 21-year-old woman at an off-campus party Oct. 31. The woman accused Tow-Arnett of throwing her into a wall several times and kicking her while she was on the ground. No charges have been filed as of yet in either case. Minneapolis police records indicate that both cases remain open, though they are not assigned to an investigator. In some cases, this can be a sign that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an active investigation or that the alleged victim is not pursuing charges with the city attorneyâÄôs office. Multiple calls to Minneapolis police for comment on both cases were not returned. On Nov. 2, defensive back Michael Carter was charged with underage consumption of alcohol and obstructing the legal process. Carter, a freshman, attempted to pick a fight outside of Mesa Pizza and was uncooperative with police. Sophomore linebacker Gary Tinsley was linked to a Dinkytown brawl Sept. 27. According to a police report, Tinsley was seen swinging a wood board before fleeing the scene. Tinsley was cited by University police for fleeing from police on foot and underage consumption of alcohol âÄî both misdemeanors. âÄúNo assault charges were filed, nor will be filedâÄù in connection with the fight, Miner said. Of the seven Gophers players named in this report, only Whaley was suspended from the team.