At this point in the wake of the Friday morning bar fight in Knoxville, nearly all the media attention has shifted to the Tennessee Volunteers targeted in the investigation, and also new coach Vince Dooley's response to the incident. There are also questions about whether the players' "VIP" status with the bar was a violation of NCAA rules.
It's worth remembering, though, that this isn't just about responses to immature behavior; there is an actual victim in this case, and according to GoVolsXtra.com, he's still in serious condition after the attack:
Knoxville Police Department Officer Robert Capouellez, 24, remained in serious condition Saturday at University of Tennessee Medical Center after a Friday morning bar fight involving several University of Tennessee football players.
Due to an "honest mistake," a nursing administrator had incorrectly told some media that Capouellez had been released from the hospital late Friday night, a hospital spokesperson said Saturday.
Witnesses said Capouellez was hit in the head and knocked to the ground, where a suspect "kicked the officer several times before fleeing the scene," a police spokesman said.
Now, Capouellez seems to have escaped any life- or career-threatening injuries, as there's never been any talk of the worst symptoms of brain injury; no swelling or seizures or any of that. But we're clearly past the concussion threshold, and those types of injuries can keep otherwise healthy men laid low for weeks upon weeks. Capouellez may have escaped severe brain trauma, but that doesn't mean he's automatically going to be okay very soon.
In the above-linked article, some Vols fans have wondered in the comments why Capouellez isn't facing punishment for his role in the fight. Sure, that's dangerous territory, and the vast majority of respondents have condemned that sort of talk, but one in particular, using the screen name jtolliver, says Capouellez's "role" in the melee was as far from an instigator as possible:
Officer Rob is technically "on duty" when he is off duty at Bar Knoxville. As a bartender at Bar of Knoxville [editor's note: based on the full comment, we take this to mean that this writer is the bartender, not the off-duty policeman], he comes in on a regular basis to make sure everything is running smooth and we have no problems. It just so happened that when he did come in to check on us bartenders a fight broke out. He is known by every bartender on the strip just because he will pop in for a few minutes, ask if everything is alright, and then leave. He is going above and beyond to make sure everyone in the strip area is safe.
More on Capouellez's condition as it becomes known.