The University of Wisconsin Police Department responded to a small disturbance outside Union South Saturday involving several former and current UW football players, resulting in multiple charges.
Madison resident and former UW football player Michael Brandon White, 24, was charged with disorderly conduct, and current Badgers running back Dywon Rowan, 21, was listed as "involved" but was not formally charged by the police.
UW Chief of Police Susan Riseling said in a release the incident happened shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday morning when several people were reported as "creating a disturbance." When officers arrived, Riseling said they found a group of people trying to enter Union South from a back entrance and a fight was in progress.
Five of the suspects left Union South in a vehicle, but the release said they were quickly pulled over by more officers. Among the suspects in the car was former UW football player and Madison resident Levonne Rowan, 23, Dywon's brother, who was officially charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
Justin Doherty, assistant athletic director for UW Communications, declined comment on the charges against the former UW football players but maintained Dywon Rowan had nothing to do with the disturbance.
"It's been pretty clearly established that Dywon Rowan wasn't involved with anything, wasn't arrested for anything and just was not involved in the incident," Doherty said.
After the first disturbance, Riseling also said in the release, another fight broke out where officers had to deploy pepper spray and use a taser. During the fight, she added, a UWPD officer was punched.
Interim Dean of Students Lori Berquam said that from her understanding the "disturbance" was simply the group trying to enter Union South and partake in the evening's activities.
"[Athletes] are students too, and they are allowed to engage in student behavior as anyone else is," she said. "I think there is an extra burden on athletes, and they have an extra responsibility."
Berquam also said it was unfair for anyone — including the media, police or other students — to watch student athletes and track their every move because it only places them under additional pressure. Though Dywon Rowan was listed as a participant in the incident, Berquam said it is wrong to assume his involvement.
"I think [athletes] are placed under additional scrutiny because they … represent the University of Wisconsin — but in reality, everyone represents UW — athletes just do it under a brighter light," she added. "Who knows … maybe [Dywon Rowan] was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
UWPD did not return repeated phone calls for comment on the issue as of press time.