Football player pleads not guilty to assault, awaits trial

Two University athletes have been charged with third-degree felony assault.

David McCoy

Minnesota football player Marcel Jones pleaded not guilty to third-degree felony assault charges Wednesday in Hennepin County Criminal Court.

His trial is set for May 30.

Jones, along with wrestler Nate Matousek, was charged with punching and kicking a 20-year-old man in the face at a house party near 25th Avenue Southeast and

Como Avenue Southeast on Dec. 9. The victim suffered broken teeth and a black eye, according to the incident report.

Matousek made his second court appearance Monday, but after the defense presented new witnesses, the pretrial proceedings were ordered to be continued until March 13 to give the prosecution time to “check out” the witnesses, presiding Judge Warren Sagstuen said.

Jones and Matousek have been suspended indefinitely from “all athletic-related activity,” athletics department spokesman Shane Sandersfeld said.

Jones was arrested Dec. 19 in connection with the incident and subsequently released. He was charged Jan. 27. Matousek was charged Jan. 25.

Matousek and Jones told the Daily they are innocent but did not comment further.

Matthew Bell, a friend of the victim, said the confrontation began when the victim refused to put his shirt back on while dancing at the party. Those involved then went outside the house. After

Jones threw the first punch, Bell said, the victim tackled Jones and pinned him to the ground, asking if he was ready to stop and saying the argument was “stupid.”

Then four other men, including Matousek, pulled the victim off Jones and pushed him into a row of trees and then against a Suburban, at which point the men repeatedly kicked and punched the victim in the face, badly enough to require reconstructive dental surgery, Bell said.