The Florida State Seminoles dismissed freshman quarterback De'Andre Johnson on July 6 following a charge of misdemeanor battery stemming from a June 24 incident in which he struck a woman in a bar.
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Johnson Discusses Bar Incident in 'Good Morning America' Interview
Tuesday, July 14
"There’s no explanation for that. I totally should have walked away,” Johnson said in an interview with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America (via Sports Illustrated). Johnson continued: “I am ashamed of that. I’m sorry. I apologize to the lady in the incident, to her family, to my family, to my mother. I know I wasn’t raised that way. ... If I could do it all over again, I would."
Johnson Dismissed from Florida State
Monday, July 6
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples obtained an official release from the Seminoles athletic department indicating Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher announced the decision to dismiss Johnson:
Jared Shanker of ESPN reported Fisher had been traveling and was unavailable prior to Monday and had not previously seen the video of the incident.
On July 9, Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat reported State Attorney Willie Meggs said five FSU football players have been issued subpoenas in the case and others will likely be summoned. Players Malique Jackson, Wilson Bell, Jacob Pugh, Mavin Saunders and Auden Tate are among the players who have been or will be questioned by Meggs, though those are not necessarily the players who will be summoned, according to Deen.
Florida State president John Thrasher released a statement supporting the decision on July 7, courtesy of Shanker:
ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported June 30 that Johnson faced the battery charge, and the Tallahassee Democrat subsequently released video footage of the incident. Johnson, 19, was suspended indefinitely just one day after the altercation occurred.
Schlabach reported Johnson's lawyer had entered a written not guilty plea on July 2 and had a case management hearing scheduled for July 22.
Cassandra Vinograd and Gabe Gutierrez of NBC News talked to lawyer Jose Baez, who described the alleged circumstances leading up to the incident:
The woman raised her fist and shouted "racial epithets" at Johnson when the player accidentally made contact when he was walking up to the bar, lawyer Jose Baez told NBC News.
Johnson "tried to deescalate the situation" but the woman "kneed him in the groin area" and "took another swing before he retaliated," the attorney added.
"It wasn't until she struck him twice that he reacted," Baez said. "But he is very...He is very regretful that he didn't turn around and walk away immediately."
"He makes no excuses for what happened," he added.
The true freshman enrolled early in January to get a jump on Florida State's complex pro-style offense. Although he would have been a long shot to push Everett Golson and Sean Maguire for the starting job, Johnson could have been the face of the Seminoles program in a couple of years.
That potentially bright future in Tallahassee has been wiped away in a flash. Johnson was bound to be dismissed once the disturbing video of his confrontation surfaced, especially with the off-field issues that plagued former FSU star quarterback Jameis Winston.
Johnson is enrolled in educational programs on domestic violence and has been apologetic about the incident, according to TMZ.com. It still may not be feasible, though, for the former 247Sports 3-star recruit to expect a second chance to play NCAA football at the highest level.