A season that started with such promising expectations for the Auburn Tigers football team just got a little bit worse, as the team, which started at No. 6 in the preseason AP Poll, just kicked leading receiver Duke Williams from the team after the kid went batshit crazy at a local bar following last weekend’s game against San Jose State.
According to a report on AL.com, Williams was, allegedly, seen by witnesses to have punched four people at a local bar because security kicked out a buddy of his after refusing to take his sunglasses off inside of the watering hole. Upon hearing that, Duke thought he’d duke it out with as many people as he could before cops could come—though local court records show no charges filed against the player.
According to the witness, the incident was sparked when a member of Williams’ party was kicked out of Skybar for wearing sunglasses inside, a violation of the bar’s dress code policy. Williams, who the witness said appeared intoxicated, attempted to get his friend back into the bar using his local celebrity status only to be denied.
Police arrived at the scene Saturday after the incident and returned Monday, according to the witness, who said one of the victims wanted to press charges against Williams unless he was disciplined by the team.
Following the news, Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn pulled the obvious move, kicking Williams off the team, though the coach didn’t give exact specifics at his press conference, per ESPN:
“Last night I dismissed Duke Williams from our team,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said during his media availability on Tuesday. “I gave him a chance to prove himself, and I’m disappointed it didn’t work out. Our team will be fine. We will move on.
“Any time you have to make a tough call and dismiss a player, it’s not easy,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “At the same time, this is a team sport, and you’re always going to think about the team first. You give people chances, you give opportunities for people to prove themselves, and the bottom line [is they] didn’t. It’s not easy, and it shouldn’t be easy for a coach, but you’ve got to do what’s best for your team.”
Arriving at Auburn in January 2014 as the nation’s No. 1 junior-college recruit, Williams’ career with the football team was tarnished by a number of off-the-field issues that stunted his growth.
Who knows where Williams goes from here, but he showed NFL talent when on the field, so the league might be his next stop now that he’s departing the university, according to Malzahn.