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October 22, 2011

2 Winthrop players charged with disorderly conduct

Nearly three hours before practice was supposed to start Friday morning, a pair of Winthrop men's basketball players were hit with stun guns and arrested by the Rock Hill Police Department.

Nearly three hours before practice was supposed to start Friday morning, a pair of Winthrop men's basketball players were hit with stun guns and arrested by the Rock Hill Police Department.

The incident took place at 2:45 a.m. Friday at the McDonald's adjacent to campus, when an officer responded to help disperse a crowd in the parking lot. While there, a fight broke out inside and three individuals were subdued after officers used Tasers on them. Senior guard Reggie Middleton, junior guard-forward Gideon Gamble and a third man, Tyvonne Dunham, were charged with disorderly conduct - fighting.

According to the arrest report, all three men were under the influence of alcohol at the time.

The Eagles had a scheduled practice beginning at 6 a.m. Gamble hasn't been practicing while he recovers from back surgery. Neither player was present for the practice, according to a source.

Sports information director Jack Frost said neither player would be at today's "Hoopin' with the Eagles" event at the Galleria Mall, but beyond that there was no word on any potential punishment from the team or school.

On his Twitter account, Gamble offered no apology.

"Unfortunate situation..." Gamble wrote. "But life is about decisions... And I can honestly say I can live with mine..."

Coach Randy Peele had no comment, but the school's public affairs office released the following statement: "This incident continues under review by the university on multiple levels. All Winthrop students are accountable for adhering to the respective local, state, and national laws of any jurisdiction in which they find themselves. In addition, they are accountable under the Winthrop student conduct code for their conduct both off and on campus. Alleged violations are addressed concurrently in both the court of jurisdiction and through the campus student judicial process, and any sanctions levied once due process is followed in each of those systems.

"Additionally, student-athletes also are subject to athletics sanctions, which can be levied on a separate timeline as the athletics program sees fit, since participating in collegiate athletics is a privilege that can be limited or revoked for cause. That is why athletics sanctions may be levied in advance of the other judicial processes outlined above, to which student-athletes also are subject."

According to the police report, an off-duty officer tried to disperse a crowd in the parking lot, and when he could not, called in an on-duty officer. While the two officers spoke outside, a fight broke out inside the restaurant. While a crowd surrounded the participants, Middleton and Dunham were Tased, while Gamble ran outside, where he was fighting with another unidentified person.

McDonald's employees referred questions to owner Bob Sweetman. A message left with Sweetman was returned by corporate offices, and spokesperson Leah Margulies referred reporters back to the local police.

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