Nigel Bethel II was dismissed from the Texas Tech football team on June 29, a day after a scuffle with women's hoops leading scorer Amber Battle in a rec-center basketball game. Now he's been cleared of charges, and after viewing surveillance video that shows Battle punching Bethel first, the grand jury took the unusual step of recommending that Bethel be reinstated.
Update, 8:02 p.m. EDT: Bethel has been reinstated by Texas Tech, and will serve a three-game suspension.
The initial release from TTU was terse, only confirming reports that Bethel had punched Battle, and broke a bone in her jaw. The surveillance video shows the two tangling over a rebound, then Battle taking a swing at Bethel before he retaliates with a punch of his own.
Yesterday, a Lubbock County grand jury found no evidence to bring assault charges against Bethel, and all 12 members signed a letter to Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt that read, in part,
"We believe he was unduly and prematurely punished. This was an unfortunate incident in a pick-up basketball game. This is a matter that should not result in criminal charges for either party.
"Any assault does deserve immediate action, however, please ensure all testimonies, evidence and circumstances are reviewed prior to taking action which may forever alter a person's future.
"We desire to see Mr. Bethel's scholarship re-instated. If he is re-instated, it is our belief that his consequences should not be greater than those of Ms. Battle. If he is not re-instated, a public exoneration of his character on the part of Texas Tech University should be forthcoming, since Mr. Bethel's future opportunities for an education as well as an athletic career have been jeopardized."
Battle released a statement on July 4, apologizing for her actions and acknowledging that she "initiated the first contact." She has been suspended for one month by Texas Tech.