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When a college athlete faces a battery charge

Kansas Jayhawks sophomore basketball forward Carlton Bragg Jr. is charged with one count of misdemeanor battery after allegedly hitting his girlfriend and pushing her down the stairs.

The University is keeping Bragg out of competition for now as the facts are investigated. Bragg pleaded not guilty to the charge in his first court appearance, and his next is scheduled for December 27.

The alleged nineteen-year-old victim, also a KU student, does not seem to have sustained serious physical injuries, or at least they have not been reported as of this time. That is not to say that she has not been injured due to this alleged altercation.

There's no doubt that suddenly Bragg's prospects of having a successful collegiate season, or becoming a first-round NBA draft pick may have changed. Of course, this is not really about basketball. This charge and its fallout will cause ripples throughout not only his alleged victim's life, but that of Bragg's as well.

First an argument, and then...

In the heat of the moment, people say and do things that they don't mean to and often regret. Arguing, when it's limited to talking, can be upsetting but is not causing anyone physical harm. But when contact is initiated, that's crossing the line.

Kansas law defines battery as a class B person misdemeanor:

(1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person; or

(2) Knowingly causing physical contact with another person when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner

Why isn't it a domestic violence charge?

While the two students are in a relationship, the domestic battery charge cannot be used in this relationship because the alleged victim is not a "family or household member." That definition in Kansas law covers people 18 and older who are: spouses, former spouses, parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, expectant parents together, living together or have lived together in the past.

For now, Bragg's case serves as a very visible reminder that one poor, split-second decision can lead to a very unfortunate situation, affecting every area of two people's lives.

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