With the way the 2009 season went for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team was hoping to make the headlines this off-season for the right reasons. However, the teams image took a major blow Sunday morning, when veteran safety Jermaine Phillips was arrested according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office website. Phillips is being charged with “Domestic Battery by Strangulation”, which is a felony.
Phillips, 30, a 9-year veteran is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2010 after signing a one-year contract last year, he was a 2002 fifth-round pick, out of Georgia. Phillips spent most of the 2009 season on injured reserve after breaking his thumb in a week 2 contest against Buffalo.
According to Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 784 Crimes – Assault; Battery; Culpable Negligence, which outlines the definition of domestic battery by strangulation, states that anyone who commits domestic battery by strangulation commits a third degree felony in the State of Florida.
(2)(a) A person commits domestic battery by strangulation if the person knowingly and intentionally, against the will of another, impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a family or household member or of a person with whom he or she is in a dating relationship, so as to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person or by blocking the nose or mouth of the other person. This paragraph does not apply to any act of medical diagnosis, treatment, or prescription which is authorized under the laws of this state.
(3) A person who commits felony battery or domestic battery by strangulation commits a felony of the third degree.
If Phillips is convicted of the charges, he could face up to five years imprisonment. Currently he remains in a Hillsborough County jail and is being held without bond.
The team released the following statement and are believed to be conducting their own investigation into the alleged incident.
“The Buccaneers are aware of the serious charges against Jermaine Phillips and will monitor the situation closely.” Source: PewterReport.com
Phillips who was most likely not in the Bucs plans for 2010, do to age and injury concerns. Will face suspension by the NFL for breaking the leagues personnel conduct policy. But surely the team wont bring him back following such a heinous act of alleged violence, just the severity of this incident, if true is sure to be a public image nightmare if the team decides to resign him.
Of course, all the facts are not in. So no one should jump to absolute conclusions about Phillips guilt or innocents in a case like this.
St. Petersburg Times metro reporter Colleen Jenkins, has some details about the alleged fight between Phillips and his wife. Which started after his wife awoke him around 4:35 a.m. to questioned him about a woman’s phone number she found in his cell phone.
According to an incident report, Phillips’ wife of almost a year awoke him at about 4:35 a.m. Sunday to ask about the phone number. The couple argued. They were in the living room when Phillips grabbed his wife’s neck, impeding her breathing, the report states.
After being read his rights, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Phillips admitted to pushing his wife by her neck with his right hand, the report states. He was arrested at 4:50 a.m.