Tennessee LB Banks apologizes for his conduct during arrest
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee linebacker Jeremy Banks has issued an apology through the school after video was released showing him cursing and saying that “where I’m from, we shoot at cops” during his arrest last month following a traffic stop.
Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt said Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference that the team has “addressed the matter internally.” Pruitt added that “Jeremy’s comments and behavior were unacceptable.”
“The one thing that guys need to know is that there’s consequences with all actions, and that’s something that obviously he’s got to learn from,” Pruitt said later Wednesday on his “Vol Calls” radio show. “One thing about it is it’s like I told him, this is something that can define the rest of his life, or this is an opportunity for him to use it as a learning lesson to grow and become a better man.’’
Banks participated in the portion of Tennessee’s Wednesday practice that was open to the media.
Banks was arrested Sept. 15 after a records check during a traffic stop just before 4 a.m. revealed he had an active warrant for failure to appear on an earlier charge of driving with a suspended license.
In video footage of the arrest released Tuesday, Banks at one point says, “where I’m from, we shoot at cops.” At another point, Banks says he should have run and tested “you all’s speed.” Knoxville television station WBIR first broadcast the footage of Banks’ arrest.
After the video was made public, Banks said in a statement Tuesday night that “I am embarrassed by my actions that night.” The sophomore from Cordova, Tennessee added that “I promise to be a better representative for the University of Tennessee moving forward.”
Also in the video footage, Banks calls Pruitt, who speaks to an officer and asks why the player is getting arrested. When the reason is explained, Pruitt says “this is the silliest (thing) I’ve ever seen in my life.” Pruitt also says that “I’ve worked at four places and never had no crap like this except for here.”
“To be honest, when I got the phone call, I had no idea who I was talking to probably for the first two minutes,” Pruitt said Wednesday. “By the time I got it figured out, there was obviously some confusion because it was late, but I appreciate the officer talking to me and doing his job.”
Pruitt said Wednesday he “absolutely” didn’t mean to make it seem as though police were more willing to cut players a break when they ran afoul of the law at his previous stops. Pruitt was a defensive coordinator at Florida State, Georgia and Alabama before Tennessee hired him.
“There’s no place I’ve ever coached that anybody’s cut anybody a break,” Pruitt said. “The point was the warrant was issued and it had been issued for five weeks or four weeks there, and I wasn’t aware of it. That’s something we’ve got to do a better job, to focus on our players so you don’t have a speeding ticket or anything that turns into something like this. We’ve got to do a better job as a staff to know what’s going on.”
Banks has played a reserve role in each of Tennessee’s first four games this season. He has seven tackles and two interceptions.
Tennessee (1-3, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) hosts No. 3 Georgia (4-0, 1-0) on Saturday.