ESPN's Howard Bryant pleads not guilty to assault charges

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  February 28, 2011 08:31 AM

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Howard Bryant, a senior writer at ESPN, pleaded not guilty today to assault and resisting arrest charges stemming from his arrest in Buckland, Mass., on Saturday.

State police said Bryant was charged with domestic assault and battery, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest following an incident outside a pizza restaurant that involved his wife, Veronique. Bryant pleaded not guilty in Greenfield District Court.

According to ESPN.com, Bryant released the following statement:

"I am sad today because this attack on me by the Massachusetts State Police and the Buckland Police has made it necessary for me to defend untrue allegations and repair my reputation when one conversation with either Veronique or with me would have diffused the entire situation. Instead, the police chose aggression first over dialogue, threatened to taser me whenever I tried to speak, and all in front of my 6-year-old son.

"As a result, I have to defend a charge that I attacked both the woman I love and the police when nothing could be further from the truth."

Bryant's attorney, Buz Eisenberg, also made a statement in the ESPN.com story.

"I believe that witnesses saw things through the lens of race and if it were a caucasian male they wouldn't have blinked at what they saw," Eisenberg said.

In a story on the web site of the Boston Herald, where Bryant was once employed as a sports writer, state police spokesman David Procopio disputed Eisenberg's claim.

“Howard Bryant was arrested, first and foremost, because evidence indicates he physically assaulted a woman,” Procopio told the Herald. “He had additional charges filed against him because he was combative with arresting officers.”

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