(WBIR - Knoxville) University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones addressed an incident with authorities involving several current and former players earlier this year.
At a "Tipoff Club" luncheon, Butch Jones talked about the an incident where two current players, linebacker A.J. Johnson and Danny O'Brien, and former player Dontavis Sapp, and several other players were arrested or cited after an altercation with authorities at an off-campus party February 10.
In court this week, Johnson, O'Brien, Sapp, and another former player, Isaac Mobley reached a deal that would drop the charges in six months, in exchange for community service, counseling, and good behavior.
Jones said he will make sure to make it a positive moving forward.
"You know, I treat every one of our players like my sons. It's an educational opportunity, and I promise you this: the punishment will be swift, it will be fair, and they will understand and make the right choices, I can promise you that.
"Everything is about choices, and these were 21, 19-year-old individuals that got caught up and made some poor choices, so we'll deal with it appropriately inside," Jones said. "I will handle that myself and work through our athletic department. But also, everything is a teaching opportunity, and our players understand [that]."
Jones also said he has the ultimate respect for law enforcement and has a great relationship with the surrounding agencies.
"I grew up in a house as the son of a police chief, so we have a tremendous working relationship with all the agencies around here. So actually, growing up, my dad was my hero and I wanted to grow up to be a police officer."
He also said it will also be an important teaching lesson in a different way -- that one bad mistake can make the headlines.
"We have great character kids in our program, and that's the sad thing is, they make a bad choice and it's the talk in this town for a month, on the front pages of the papers," Jones said. "But what about us winning in the community with community service? That's the back page. Everyone wants to report the bad, no one wants to talk about the good."