Western Kentucky Hilltoppers tight end Tyler Higbee found his name in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons, when he was arrested for assault, evading police and public intoxication.
With the draft in just a couple of weeks, it was terrible timing for Higbee, but his defense is claiming self defense in the incident.
“He did strike the individual in an effort to defend himself as well as his girlfriend from physical force and the threat of physical force,” attorney Brian Lowder said, via WBKO-TV. “My understanding of the event are that Mr. Higbee and his girlfriend were waiting in line to purchase some food and [Nawaf] Alsaleh approached [Higbee’s] girlfriend from behind, there was some discussions. Some sort of an inappropriate behavior on Mr. Alsaleh’s part. Mr. Higbee asked Mr. Alsaleh to refrain from any other contact or conversation with his girlfriend.
“At that point, it’s my understanding that Mr. Alselah escalated the situation, confronted Mr. Higbee, put his head into his chest, began shouting in Arabic, in what Mr. Higbee [perceived] to be threatening remarks, he didn’t understand it but the tone and the nature of his actions indicated to Mr. Higbee that it was physical threats and then at that point, Mr. Alsaleh physically shoved Mr. Higbee’s girlfriend, which resulted in Mr. Higbee striking Mr. Alsaleh one time.”
Mr. Alsaleh has reportedly been booked five times in the past 19 months.
“Mr. Higbee entirely disputes that this was racially-motivated or that he made racial slurs of any kind,” Lowder said. “There were other people that were there, somebody else may have said something, Mr. Higbee did not. This had nothing to do with race. It had nothing to do with the characterization of this in any way as some sort of act of hate is completely inappropriate and couldn’t be further from the truth.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out and NFL teams will be watching closely.
Higbee is one of the top five players at his position in the 2016 NFL Draft class, but will he fall thanks to the legal issues? We will find out in a couple of weeks.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports