Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison arrested for battery in nightclub incident

USA TODAY Sports

This is not the way to have a successful off-season.

Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested early Sunday morning after punching a bouncer at Kava Lounge in Gainesville, according to multiple reports from Gainesville Television Network reporters.

Here is Morrison's mugshot. Morrison was arrested for "battery: touch or strike," under Florida statute 783.04.1a1. That law reads as follows:

784.03 Battery; felony battery.

(1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:

1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or

2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who commits battery commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Morrison's charge is, thus, misdemeanor battery.

GTN reporter Joanna Wise provides more details on Morrison's arrest:

Update: The Gainesville Police Department's arrest report states that, at 2:15 a.m., Morrison had a conversation with the bouncer at Kava, and asked about a discount, then yelled "Don't you know who I am? I am a football player! I'm Antonio!" According to two witnesses, Morrison then hit the bouncer with a closed fist on the top of the head.

The victim told the arresting officer he looked up Morrison on the Florida website between the time of the incident and the officer's arrival. Morrison told the officer he had a "scuffle" with the bouncer, but said it wasn't a big deal, and that he was intoxicated at the time. (Morrison is 19, and thus not of legal age for alcohol consumption.)

Playing the "Do you know who I am?" card is always going to work poorly for you, no matter who you are. It should also be noted that Morrison receiving free admission could have been an NCAA violation if bouncers at Kava Lounge, a bar and hookah lounge at 1007 W University Avenue, do not otherwise provide discretionary free admission to members of the general public.

Morrison contributed extensively as a freshman in 2012, most memorably jarring the ball loose from EJ Manuel on a hit that swung Florida's win over Florida State, and is expected to be Florida's starting middle linebacker in the fall. His arrest on a misdemeanor charge, even one with details as ugly as this, is unlikely to produce more than an indefinite suspension from Will Muschamp, and Morrison is unlikely to miss games because of it. It is a safe bet that Morrison lawyers up (with Huntley Johnson) and gets a deferred prosecution arrangement from a court.

But it's still very disappointing when any Florida player has a run-in with the law, and Morrison's arrest ends a relatively long string of arrest-free off-the-field conduct from Gators football players. The last Gators football player arrested was Loucheiz Purifoy, in February, but his marijuana possession charge was dropped; the last Florida arrest that stuck was Jessamen Dunker's, for grand theft scooter, in January, and Dunker has since transferred from Florida.

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