published Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Belligerence led to Vol Austin Johnson's arrest

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KNOXVILLE -- Austin Johnson tried to start a fight and fit the description of a suspect who was hitting parked vehicles in the parking lot behind a Knoxville bar when he was arrested early Sunday morning.

The University of Tennessee senior linebacker, who was taken into custody at 3:06 a.m. Sunday on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct, shoved a white male and attempted to fight him, according to the Knoxville Police Department report the Times Free Press obtained Monday.

The 22-year-old Johnson had "red blood-shot eyes, slurred speech and a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath," the report said.

Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 240-pounder who was listed in UT's media guide as the Volunteers' starter at weakside linebacker, also might have been hitting cars parked in a lot behind Tin Roof, a popular bar on Knoxville's Cumberland Avenue strip.

One of just a dozen seniors on the Vols' roster, Johnson made 44 tackles as a reserve middle linebacker last season after two seasons as a fullback. In addition to earning All-Southeastern Conference academic honors in each of his three seasons, Johnson is considered a leader by his teammates.

"We're aware of an incident with Austin, and we are investigating it," UT associate athletic director for communications Jimmy Stanton said Sunday.

The graduations of Nick Reveiz and LaMarcus Thompson and the fractured ankle that could sideline Herman Lathers into September have the Vols searching for new starters at all three linebacker spots, and Johnson is UT's most experienced player at the position.

Johnson's court date is set for Aug. 4, three days after the Vols report for preseason camp. UT coach Derek Dooley has yet to determine Johnson's punishment.

Contact Patrick Brown at or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
hcirehttae said...

"johnnyhurst: we dont care how many bloods or crips we hire to bring us our Championships" / "He was drunk and disordely East Ridge8, hardly criminal. Youngster behavior."

"hambone: Cops should look the other way instead of doing their job!"

"eastridge8: I figured it was something like that and I knew the guys did too...I raised two boys and a (now ex) husband...seen it all..."

"Leaf: Drunk and disorderly is a college student's natural state, isn't it?"

"bookieturnersghost: Ahh the good ole days when star college athletes could get away with murder. Well, almost. Public intoxication and disorderly conduct are the "rights of passage" with yesteryear's gridiron heros."

Above are comments from the previous article about this arrest. I have a couple of questions for you all: First, were you serious when you wrote that? If not, now's the time to say so. Second: I don't think it's really a laughing matter for a healthy, strong athlete who should be taking care of himself to be dead drunk at 3:00 a.m., pounding on cars and trying to start a fight. Would you think it was funny if, in his irrational drunken state, he picked a fight with a couple of cops and got beaten up, or worse? Third: At 6'4" and 230 lbs., he could do a lot of damage to a regular size college student, male or female, before someone intervened -- if there was anyone around to intervene. Would you be cracking jokes if it were your son or daughter who ran into him when he was totally out of control?

I'm trying not to pick on him because he's a college football star -- member of a privileged elite who have their education paid for and doors opened for them -- but just to hold him to a decent standard. If you receive much, then also much is expected from you. I think it's reasonable to expect that, even if he's going to get drunk, as college students do (illegally) from time to time, he must set limits (or have them set for him) so that he won't hurt anyone else or damage their property. That standard applies to everyone. Don't set him up for differentiated treatment because he plays football.

July 26, 2011 at 4:43 p.m.
Livn4life said...

It is beyond my understanding how one of a few seniors on the team could fail so badly at being an example for younger players. That it is Austin Johnson just baffles me even more. He will face the music and we know not at this point either what the full story is or what that music will be. Disappointment on a high level is my feeling. I hope he turns it around and can see this as something from which he can grow and do better.

July 26, 2011 at 10:37 p.m.
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