HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – Marshall running back Steward Butler was charged in the beating of two gay men Wednesday and dismissed from the team.
Butler was arraigned before a Cabell County magistrate on two misdemeanor battery counts Wednesday and was released on $10,000 bond.
Huntington police Detective Chris Sperry said in criminal complaints that Butler got out of a car after seeing the men kissing on a street on April 5 in Huntington. Sperry said Butler allegedly then began shouting derogatory words about their sexual orientation and punched the men.
Sperry told media outlets that one of the men took a video of the incident on his cellphone. The detective said evidence in the case has been turned over to federal authorities for review of possible civil rights violations.
Sperry and an attorney for Butler didn’t immediately return telephone messages.
Butler had been suspended indefinitely from the team earlier Wednesday, and Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said he and coach Doc Holliday agreed to the dismissal after learning more about the case.
Fairness West Virginia, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in the state, praised the university’s swift actions.
“There is no place for violence or intolerance in any community in West Virginia,” group executive director Andrew Schneider said in a statement.
Butler was Marshall’s second-leading rusher last season with 798 yards and seven touchdowns.
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