SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he had the same feelings a parent would have when he heard six Fighting Irish football players had been arrested in two separate incidents over the weekend.
“Like any other father, my first one was disappointment. Then I think that disappointment kind of moved on to embarrassment for the university. Then I was mad as hell,” he said Wednesday in his first public comments since the arrests. “Those are the three stages I went through.”
Starting safety Max Redfield, running back Dexter Williams, linebacker Te’Von Coney, receiver Kevin Stepherson and cornerback Ashton White were in a car stopped Friday night for allegedly speeding in Fulton County, about 40 miles south of South Bend. A state trooper said he detected the odor of marijuana and with the help of a drug-sniffing dog, he found the marijuana and a handgun in the car.
The five face preliminary charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Redfield, Stepherson and Williams face an additional misdemeanor charge of possession of an unlicensed handgun. The Fulton County prosecutor has not yet filed formal charges.
In a separate incident, cornerback Devin Butler was accused of tackling a police officer and punching him during an altercation outside a bar near campus. He is charged with felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official.
A not guilty plea was entered on Butler’s behalf Wednesday by St. Joseph Superior Court Magistrate Elizabeth Hardtke during his initial court appearance. Butler told Hardtke he plans to hire a lawyer. He declined to comment to reporters afterward. He is scheduled for an initial hearing on Sept. 1.
On Sunday, Kelly kicked Redfield off the team and indefinitely suspended Butler, who already was out until October with a broken foot. Redfield had been sent home before the Fiesta Bowl for violating team rules.
Kelly said the other four players are practicing with the team and will be available to play in the opener against Texas unless the university takes action.
Asked about the different discipline, Kelly said each case is separate.
“A lot of these decisions are joint in there are other implications and the university is involved in these matters as well,” he said.
Kelly called the arrests “life lessons.”
“It’s more than just you,” he said. “So we talk about selfish decisions. We talk about representing more than just yourself; you represent the university, you represent the program, you represent an entire fan base. So that’s the thing we talk about more than anything else, it’s not just about you.”
Kelly said it will be a challenge to replace Redfield, a senior and former five-star recruit.
“Max was an outstanding player and he was having a great camp. He had a great spring. He’s athletic, fast. So you’re taking a really good player off your defense. But we’ll be able to plug in a guy there that I think will get the job done for us.”
He said among those who will vie for playing time are Avery Sebastian, a transfer from California who broke a bone in his foot in the opener against Texas last season, and freshman Devin Studstill.