Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday that he has not decided what disciplinary action, if any, would be handed down to players involved in an altercation at a College Park bar early Tuesday morning.
"I think I've investigated this thing probably more than anybody else has and I'm still not ready to make any decisions on it," Friedgen said. "I think I have an obligation to my players and also to you people to be accurate, as opposed to just reacting to something and then being wrong."
The Prince George's County Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible assault, and a spokeswoman would give no additional details yesterday. Mike McDonald, an off-duty bouncer at the Cornerstone Grill and Loft, was taken to an area hospital after the fight. His mother, Joyce McDonald, said yesterday her son's nose was broken in two places during the fight.
She referred further questions to the family attorney, Dan Palumbo, who said that he would wait for the results of the police investigation before advising any further action.
School officials declined to identify the players who are part of Friedgen's probe. At practice yesterday, one player had a bandage on his head and another was absent for medical reasons, but it could not be confirmed if either circumstance was related to the incident.
Friedgen said he was awakened at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday by a phone call from the police. Friedgen said he rushed to the bar, at which point his players had already dispersed.
Friedgen said he was disappointed by his players. The coach said he is talking to players and patrons who were at the bar when the fight occurred. He also said that he thought some of his players would file charges in connection with the fight.
"I'd rather be patient and be correct," he said.
Several other Maryland players declined to comment and referred all questions to Friedgen.
Mark Srour, the bar's owner, said football players would not be permitted to come to the bar until the police investigation and his own investigation are completed. He said he met with his managers yesterday and is trying to schedule a similar meeting with his bouncers. McDonald offered to work his scheduled shift last night, but Srour told him to stay home.
"Like [Friedgen] said, we can't talk about it until the facts are in," Srour said. "I'm hoping guys on both sides will chalk it up to stupidity and let it go at that."