The girlfriend of a highly touted Arizona State University football recruit publicly recanted claims yesterday that her boyfriend assaulted her.
Davon Durant, a junior college transfer ranked by multiple recruiting services as the nation's top junior college linebacker, was suspended indefinitely from the team last month after his arrest on domestic violence charges.
However, Durant's accuser, 19-year-old Kelsi Langley, is no longer accusing Durant of assaulting her.
Langley publicly addressed the media yesterday afternoon, saying that she and Durant certainly argued outside her apartment on March 7, but claims she lied to police about Durant assaulting her.
"I'm not proud to say that at all, that I made that up," Langley says. "[I said it] out of anger, just to get him in trouble, and it was the wrong way to handle things."
ESPN had reported a few weeks ago that Langley actually went to Tempe police to tell them she had made up the story.
However, charges remain against Durant, as police said there was an independent witness who corroborated that an assault occurred.
Langley dismissed that witness, saying what the witness told police doesn't even match up with her initial story to police.
"I think [the witness] may have thought they were helping me," she says.
Langley says her anger against Durant got the best of her, and although many domestic-violence victims may later decide to change their story, this isn't the case, she says.
Langley bailed Durant out of jail, but due to conditions of his release, the two haven't had any contact since then.
Local Reverend Jarrett Maupin, who helped Langley get the media attention to tell her story, said he only arranged the press conference because he believes Langley is now telling the truth, that she wasn't abused by Durant. Given this, Maupin's upset by the negative attention toward Durant.
"It's very tiresome in the civil-rights community, the African-American community, to constantly have to defend our athletes when they are actually innocent," Maupin says. "I think there's certain examples like Ray Rice and others when clearly they were guilty, no doubt about it, and there's no excusing their behavior. But what about the times when they're not guilty? What about the times when they didn't commit acts of violence or harassment? What are we going to do about it as a society? We should be just as motivated to clear their names as we are to condemn and demonize them based on initial facts and reports."
Durant just committed to ASU in the off-season, and ASU's spring practices are now under way, without Durant.
Durant has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, and a felony charge of domestic violence by impeding breathing.
Langley, an ASU student who came with Durant out to Arizona from El Dorado, Kansas, confirmed that Durant's also facing expulsion from ASU. Langley has filed an appeal on Durant's behalf in that expulsion process.
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