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Tennessee Football Players Involved in Rape Investigation

One newspaper says it has identified the names of the two players, but exercise caution

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Let's try to handle this very carefully, because it warrants being handled very carefully. What we know: Tennessee football players are facing allegations of sexual assault.

University of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones said Monday that the reported rape and sexual assault Sunday of two 19-year-old women at a South Knoxville apartment complex involves football players. ...

Neither Jones nor the Knoxville Police Department, which is investigating the allegations, would identify the players.

That's kind of a key part in this, because then we get to what one newspaper is reporting: The two players facing the accusations include a star on the defense and a player who has started five games. Again, use extreme caution with anonymous sources and such, but this is being reported by a mainstream media organization, so it's worth noting.

The suspects are Vols linebacker A.J. Johnson, a senior, and defensive back Michael Williams, a sophomore, a police source confirmed to The Tennessean.

Also worth noting: These are accusations until they become something more, and there's a single report naming Johnson and Williams as the suspects. I've been relatively open on giving accusers the benefit of the doubt, but an abundance of caution is required when it comes to anonymous sources naming specific players.