FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Gary Patterson called suspended defensive end Mike Tuaua one of the most-liked players on the team and said the facts will come out in a case that has the senior and another player facing robbery charges.
While not elaborating on what those facts might be, Patterson on Tuesday defended Tuaua and his program, saying, "right or wrong, just like a parent, I've got his back."
Tuaua and freshman receiver Andre Petties-Wilson were arrested Monday on the same charge — one count each of robbery with bodily injury — for an incident Sept. 4, the day after both played for the third-ranked Horned Frogs in their season-opening victory at Minnesota. Neither has played since and both have been suspended from the team.
"Outside in our community and with kids, (Tuaua) is the most liked kid we have on team besides (quarterback) Trevone Boykin," Patterson said. "The facts will be fact, and those facts will someday come out."
According to a Fort Worth police report, Tuaua and Petties-Wilson were arrested following an investigation of allegations by another TCU student that the two players stole a case of beer after attacking him and his friends.
In a later interview with police, with his attorney present, Tuaua said he came outside to see Petties-Wilson surrounded by three males and that there was pushing and shoving. Tuaua said he ran to stop the fight, and admitted to punching one man to get him off his teammate. He said he saw the beer, but didn't know what happened to it.
"I'm just telling you as far as just a person, I'm not going to let you say, well, this kid is a bad person," Patterson said. "If he made a mistake, he made a mistake."
Tuaua and Petties-Wilson each posted $15,000 bail and were released from a Fort Worth jail Monday.
"It's not even close to what happened south of here," Patterson said, a clear reference to Big 12 rival Baylor.
Baylor has hired a Philadelphia law firm to independently investigate the university's handling of sexual assault complaints, including one against defensive end Sam Ukwuachu. A transfer from Boise State who never played for the Bears, Ukwuachu was sentenced last month to six months in jail and 10 years of probation after being convicted of sexually assaulting a former Baylor women's soccer player.
Patterson has had several off-field incidents to deal with in recent years.
Before last season, Devonte Fields, the preseason Big 12 defensive of the year, was barred from campus and all school activities after he surrendered to authorities on a misdemeanor assault warrant amid allegations that he threatened his ex-girlfriend and punched her. Fields enrolled at Louisville last month after the case against him was dismissed in June, following the completion of an anger management course.
Also last year, two players were arrested in separate incidents on marijuana charges.
Four games into the 2012 season, former quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. He left the team for the remainder of that season to enter substance abuse rehabilitation and returned in 2013. In February 2012, four TCU football players were among students arrested by Fort Worth police after a six-month drug sting. All four players were kicked off the team and received probation after pleading guilty to marijuana delivery charges.
"I've been through a lot of different situations here, and you've always seen how I handle it," Patterson said. "My job is also to be a father to my players, and if they screw up, they screw up. And in my lifetime here at TCU in 18 years, we've had a few of those, but not as many as others."