5 Missouri basketball players suspended after brawl

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | 4:21 p.m. CST; updated 10:54 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
MU basketball players (from top left) Marshall Brown, Stefhon Hannah, Darryl Butterfield, (from bottom left) Jason Horton and Leo Lyons have been indefinitely suspended from the team for violating team rules.

COLUMBIA — Missouri basketball head coach Mike Anderson has indefinitely suspended five basketball players, including Stefhon Hannah, for violating team rules.

A release from the athletics department on Tuesday said Anderson suspended guards Hannah and Jason Horton and forwards Marshall Brown, Darryl Butterfield and Leo Lyons for at least Wednesday night’s game against Nebraska. Their statuses will be determined at a later date, the release said.

Hannah has not been with the team since he had his jaw broken in a fight outside Athena Night Club in downtown Columbia early Sunday morning. Hannah was expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks due to the injury.

Columbia Police Sgt. Ken Hammond said he thought other players were present at the club but he did not know which players. At a press conference on Monday, Anderson would not say if he knew whether other players were with Hannah on Sunday morning. Guards Matt Lawrence and J.T. Tiller said they were not at Athena on Saturday night and Lawrence said guard Keon Lawrence was not there either.

Practice on Tuesday was closed to the media.

A team spokesman confirmed the details of the release but would not confirm if the other suspended players were at the nightclub.

Employees of Athena and surrounding businesses declined to comment about the incident. A man working in Nikai Mediterranean Grill, which is attached to Athena, said everything happened outside.

Hammond said he would like to speak with the four suspended players. “They may have witnessed an assault,” he said. “We would like to speak with those players to try to find a suspect.”

“I am very disappointed in the actions of these young men,” Anderson said in the statement. “We have defined team rules and when those rules aren’t followed, our guys must be held accountable for their actions.”

It is not certain if the players had violated Anderson’s “no tolerance” policy, which was instituted in July after a series of incidents involving Missouri players. Anderson created the policy after forward DeMarre Carroll was shot in the foot July 5 outside Club Tropicana in Columbia.

Two other players have been punished since Anderson’s new rules were put in place. Days after Carroll’s incident, Anderson dismissed last year’s starting center, Kalen Grimes, from the team after he was charged with striking a man with the butt end of a shot gun in St. Louis. In September, forward Darryl Butterfield was suspended for the intrasquad Black and Gold game and an exhibition game after he was arrested and charged with third-degree domestic assault. He pled guilty to peace disturbance.

The team resumes play tonight without three starters from its last game, a 66-62 win at Colorado, though all five of the suspended players were regulars. Only six scholarship players and eight total are available for tonight’s game against Big 12 Conference foe Nebraska.

Missourian reporter John Juettner contributed to this story.

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