DECEMBER 19, 2005 - Posted at 1:20 p.m. CST, updated at 3:06 p.m. CST, updated at 5:24 p.m. CST
LAFAYETTE, LA - Arkansas State linebacker Chris Littleton is expected to play in tonight's New Orleans Bowl after being arrested over the weekend on a pair of misdemeanors.
The 22-year-old Osceola native was arrested for resisting an officer and the battering of a police officer. Prosecutors say they have not filed formal charges yet, but as more information slowly filters out of Lafayette, Lousiana, it appears there are definitely two sides to this story.
Arkansas State faces Southern Mississippi in the New Orleans Bowl at Lafayette, Louisiana. Indians coach Steve Roberts said this morning that Littleton would likely play. "At this time, I have to do what's fair to every individual involved, and especially Chris Littleton," Roberts said. "So at this time, he is still on tap to play." The Sun Belt Conference's Coach of the Year, Roberts added, "We are aware of the situation with Chris Littleton and have conducted our own investigation and are continuing to do so."
Roberts later went on to elaborate, saying Littleton "did not act inappropriately." Roberts says he strictly disciplines his players, but says he does so fairly, and that his assessment of the incident does not merit a suspension for Littleton. "I have a very strong record of stern and strict discipline, but I am also fair and we're fair to our program and we want to be fair with Chris. In our assessment of the situation, Chris did not violate team policy," said Roberts.
ASU Athletic Director Dr. Dean Lee also spoke strongly of Littleton's character after he oversaw an internal investigation that was "conducted with student-athletes, ASU personnel, and other individuals associated with the incident." Lee said, "At this time, Chris will continue to be a part of our program. He is a valued member of our program and has proven himself to be a leader and a great competitor."
Littleton, a junior, started ASU's last five games.
Police said a fight broke out on a team bus in Lafayette late Saturday night and the driver pulled the vehicle over and summoned officers. There are indications that Littleton was actually trying to break up the fracas when police became involved.
Lafayette City Marshall Nickey Picard said a Lafayette police officer and a city marshall entered the bus and tried to break up the disturbance. Littleton allegedly pushed a law officer, and then walked away while the officer tried to calm him down, Picard said.
Picard said the officer detected alcohol on Littleton's breath, but to this point, police have released no information regarding any blood alcohol tests for Littleton. Picard said the push occured when the officer bent down to pick a Taser gun that he had dropped, with Littleton allegedly pushing the officer on the elbow.
Littleton was booked into the Lafayette Parish jail shortly after midnight Sunday and bonded out later Sunday. No one else was arrested.