Football Captain Suspended After Arrest

Matt Thomas '06-'07 cited for a number of offenses on June 5th

Just a few weeks after losing a pair of potential starters for the 2006 opener at Holy Cross, the Harvard football team had a third player suspended indefinitely by head coach Tim Murphy.

Matthew C. Thomas '06-'07, named team captain of the 2006 Crimson on Nov. 22nd, was arrested by Harvard University police on June 5th and charged with assault and battery domestic abuse, breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, and malicious destruction of property in connection with an incident in Currier House.

According to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) report, officers were "dispatched to a report of a possible assault that had just occurred" at 2:12am on the 5th. An individual who was unidentified in the report returned to her room that night to find Thomas asleep on her floor. After waking, Thomas "became confrontational, yelling and striking the individual," according to the report.

Two Currier House residents told The Crimson that they had spoken with close friends of Thomas who indicated that he was intoxicated at the time of the incident, although the brief summary of the incident included in the public police log makes no mention of Thomas being in such a state. It is HUPD policy not to release full incident reports to the public.

According to one Currier resident familiar with the situation, the female victim, who is a recent graduate of the College, has not pressed charges in the case.

Thomas did not respond to requests for comment. HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano declined to comment on the arrest, saying it is HUPD policy not to comment on cases that have been passed on to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.

"All I can say is that I'm deeply troubled by the allegations," Murphy said. "I don't know that much, but based on the allegations I have suspended Matt from the team indefinitely until we can ascertain the facts and when we do know the facts, then further discipline will be forthcoming."

Potential consequences could be as serious as dismissal from the team, though Murphy was quick to add that "until I can ascertain the facts I would hesitate to say what the discipline action would be at this point."

The incident was the second recent off-the-field altercation involving allegedly drunken football players. Danny P. Lane '07 and James R. Velissaris '07 were suspended for the Holy Cross game on Sept. 16 after their involvement in an Apr. 29 altercation with a shuttle driver in front of Currier House after the team's annual spring barbeque. Murphy suspended the pair, stating they had exercised "poor judgment." The shuttle driver was fired due to his role in instigating the event.

Offensive lineman Thomas Rodger '08 was also arrested in the spring after being accused of stealing gloves from an ambulance, but the charges were eventually dropped.

When asked about the pair of incidents leading to suspension, Murphy sounded a worried note.

"The only thing I'll say is that I am definitely concerned about drinking and binge drinking," he said. "I think historically our kids have had a remarkable record of citizenship on campus, but there have been just a couple things this spring. Both involved heavy drinking and obviously I'm very concerned."

Russ Schober '08 was suspended before the 2005 season after being arrested for public intoxication, eventually missing eight games, along with Desmond Bryant '08 who suffered the same punishment for an unidentified offense.