Over the weekend, Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton was arrested on two charges, one of domestic assault and one of public intoxication. While the University of Tennessee has not issued an official statement other than that they are gathering information, Middleton himself has posted to social media to address the incident.
Middleton, a rising senior defensive lineman for the Vols, posted on his Twitter account a long note addressing his arrest on early Saturday morning. Middleton begins by saying he’s “not looking for sympathy,” adding that the incident “wasn’t me” and he is owning up to his mistakes, apologizing to the university and Tennessee’s football program.
“I would like to issue a formal apology for my actions this past week,” Middleton wrote. “Through my actions, I brought negative attention to my family, team, school, the Vol Nation and myself.”
Middleton would continue later in the note to state that he is seeking help with alcohol counseling after Saturday’s incident.
“In my growth, I am learning to take responsibility for my actions,” Middleton continued. “No matter what my intent may have been, I was wrong in my actions. I have come to realize that alcohol was an influence on my actions. Alcohol is not a problem for me in regards of how much, how often, etc. I realize it is a problem if it can cause me to act in a way the (sic) not in my best interest. For that, I am seeking Alcohol Counseling now. I am going to contact Ms. Juarez, with Center for Health Education and Wellness, to see if they could help with my counseling.”
Not looking for sympathy. I’m Looking for those who know me deep down inside to know. That wasn’t me and I owned up to my mistakes. I WANT TO APOLOGIZE TO THE UNIVERSITY AND OUR FOOTBALL PROGRAM AS WE CONTINUE TO RISE. For the embarrassment. #97 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/ZlgvRF6fFG
— D. Middleton9️⃣7️⃣ (@Darel__) March 2, 2020
According to the incident report, police responded to a simple assault behind Walgreen’s on Cumberland Avenue early Saturday morning. A witness informed the officers that Middleton was in the lobby of the nearby Standard Apartments. There, the officers found Middleton unsteady on his feet with slurred speech, and they could smell alcohol.
A witness and the alleged victim informed officers that Middleton was angry at the victim, who was his girlfriend, over one of her male friends.
Both the witness and victim said that Middleton got into a fight with one of his own friends. Middleton’s girlfriend allegedly tried to stop the fight, and Middleton pushed her to the ground. She told officers that Middleton helped her up, apologized, and hugged her.
The witness then said she attempted to make Middleton let go of his girlfriend, then he pushed his girlfriend down a second time.
Per the report, Middleton was taken into custody without incident. The male victim that Middleton allegedly got into a fight with was not located by the authorities.
The 6-foot-7, 311-pound lineman joined the Vols as a junior college signee in the 2019 class and was one of Tennessee’s top contributors along the defensive line last season. Middleton played in all 13 games for the Vols and started six contests, totaling 28 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick.
Prior to coming to Tennessee, Middleton played at East Mississippi Community College. Before that, Middleton played tight end at Oak Ridge High School in 2015 before enrolling in the JUCO ranks. Before transferring to Oak Ridge, Middleton played at Powell High School.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has not announced any punishment for Middleton as of yet. We will update as more information becomes available.