Montee Ball, the Wisconsin star running back who was beaten by three men about two weeks ago, said, in his first statements about the attack, that it was an unprovoked assault.
Ball sustained a concussion in the attack. Reports have surfaced that it might have been a retaliation from an earlier fight involving Badger football players.
“I had nothing to do with it at all but with the police investigation still going on there’s not much I can say,” Ball said. “But I can 100 percent tell you that I had nothing to do with that first fight, honestly.”
The 21-year-old Ball said he does not recall a lot of what happened that night, other than going to a party and heading back to his dormitory.
“We weren’t getting rowdy or anything. I was just heading right back to my place a block away and I was attacked. That’s all I remember,” Ball said. “I’m very blessed because it obviously could have been a lot worse.”
That followed “another unfortunate incident” according to Ball when he attended the Mifflin Street block party in early May and was fined for trespassing.
Ball said the incident has no reflection on his character.
“It really shows me how much I do live my life in a fish bowl and how big a microscope that is on top of me. Everybody is watching to see what I do as soon as I step out of my apartment,” he said.
“But people who know me know who I am and what type of kid I am. It’s a learning experience. You live and you learn and I’m going to thank the Lord and count my blessings.”
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said Ball recently addressed the team to clear the air.
“You respect a person to get up and say what he was going to do from this day forward and apologize if he had been a distraction. He did vow to provide great leadership,” Bielema said
Ball first addressed the issue in a meeting with the team’s running backs.
“I apologized for the situation and what they’ve had to deal with. I also told them, ‘I’m all in to win with you guys.’ I just felt it was the time to say that just so everyone knows, `I’m all in.”
“I apologized for the distraction. Obviously, it’s another unfortunate situation for me, but I just want to make sure that you know that I don’t want to create a distraction for this team.”
Ball will be limited to non-contact drills in practice for at least the next week.
“Sitting out from practice is different for me. But I’m not worried about it,” he said. “Once I start up, I’m going to be 100 percent, full throttle.”