Football Capt. Suspended After Domestic Abuse

Thomas off team indefinitely; alchohol allegedly a factor

Joshua D. Samuelson

Matt Thomas ’06-’07, the captain of the Harvard football team (pictured here in white), was arrested on June 5 and charged with assault and battery.


The captain of the football team was suspended indefinitely after he was arrested and charged with domestic abuse earlier this month, making him the third member of the team to receive a suspension in two months.

Matt 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. [CLARIFICATION APPENDED]

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 graduated from the College this month, has not pressed charges in the case.

The case has been passed onto the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. Thomas did not respond to requests for comment, and 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 DA’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, Murphy said, though he 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 because he pushed Velissaris during the altercation.

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 G. 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.

—Staff writer Brad A. Hinshelwood can be reached at


The article entitled "Football Capt. Suspended After Domestic Abuse" in the Friday June 30, 2006 print edition of The Crimson omitted the middle initial of Matthew C. Thomas ’06-’07. Matthew D. Thomas ’09, who is also a membe of the football team, was not involved in the June 5 incident.