Steve Spurrier, the University of South Carolina’s head football coach, reiterated Tuesday his program's zero tolerance policy toward domestic violence incidents. His comments came just days after two Florida State University football players were separately accused of physical abuse of women.
“I’ve always had a rule as a coach that if you ever hit a girl, you’re finished,” Spurrier said at the Southeastern Conference’s media day in Hoover, Alabama, according to CBS Sports. “We’ve lost two [players] at South Carolina. Fortunately, they were not star players. If they were star players, it would have gone all over the country. So we quietly got them to transfer or leave or what have you. ... Our players know, if they ever hit a girl, they're not going to play at South Carolina. We enforce that rule."
Spurrier did not provide details of which South Carolina football players were dismissed from the program, but this isn’t the first time he’s spoken out against domestic violence. The 70-year-old coach made similar comments about his zero-tolerance policy in September 2014, shortly after surveillance footage of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice’s assault on wife Janay Palmer leaked to the public, the Washington Post reported.
Spurrier was asked about his domestic violence policy after two incidents involving Florida State Seminoles players were made public recently. The school dismissed backup quarterback De’Andre Johnson from the team on July 6, a week after he was caught on video punching an unnamed woman in the face at a Tallahassee bar. Johnson’s lawyer said the woman used the N-word immediately before Johnson struck her.
Days later, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was charged with misdemeanor battery and suspended from the team indefinitely after he purportedly struck a woman several times in a separate bar incident. Cook’s lawyer, Ricky Patel, said he left the scene before any such incident took place, ESPN reported.
The incidents led Florida State President John E. Thrasher to issue a stern warning to Seminoles players regarding their off-field behavior.
“In light of recent off-field incidents, I reiterated to our players that they simply cannot put themselves in situations that reflect poor behavior or cause harm to others," Thrasher said, according to ESPN.