Marshall running back Steward Butler dismissed after battery charge

Story highlights

  • Marshall University running back Steward Butler faces two counts of battery
  • Butler was kicked off team after being accused of assaulting a same-sex couple in West Virginia

(CNN)Marshall University running back Steward Butler rushed for 765 yards on 87 carries with eight touchdowns his sophomore season. His 8.8 yards-per-carry average ranked third nationally.

On Wednesday, Butler was dismissed from the team after being arrested on accusations he assaulted a same-sex couple in Huntington, West Virginia, the home of Marshall.
The 23-year-old from Lakeland, Florida, was booked on two counts of battery. According to a Huntington, West Virginia, police report, Butler punched two men who exchanged a kiss on a downtown Huntington street on April 5.
    The victims, Casey Williams and Zackery Johnson, told police Butler stepped out of a car after seeing the men kiss.
    Butler "approached the two (men) shouting derogatory words" before punching each of the men in the face, the police report said. The victims captured part of the assault on camera and photographed the vehicle.
    Butler, who was released on $10,000 bond, declined to comment to reporters after his release.
    "The type of violent, bigoted behavior reported to have been perpetrated by this student is not tolerated at Marshall University. Period," university interim President Gary White said in a statement. "This is an extremely serious matter."
    Athletic Director Mike Hamrick initially said in a statement that Butler had been "suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities" but later added that he had been dismissed.
    "We take all accusations against our student-athletes seriously, especially those of such a sensitive nature," Hamrick said in a statement. "We hold all of our 350+ student-athletes to a high standard, on and off the playing surface, as ambassadors of Marshall University."
    Huntington Police have turned over the case to the local FBI office to investigate whether any federal charges should be sought, according to police Detective Chris Sperry.