Thomas Clayton Responds to Charge

Asked about the lesson learned from his Sept. 16 arrest on the Kansas State campus, that was the reply from Wildcat running back Thomas Clayton Tuesday afternoon.

Giving a disbelieving chuckle, Clayton repeated, "Anything can happen."

He added, "I wouldn't go as far as saying (I'm) upset, but things happened that I didn't have planned for my future."

Clayton called the arrest a "monumental set back," but then added, "... beyond that, it's not been too tough."

Clayton talked Tuesday for the first time since being arrested on an aggravated battery charge coming from an allegation that Clayton's car was in the process of having a wheel lock put on it. Leaving the scene of the incident, the vehicle reportedly came close to coming in contact with James Seymour, a member of the campus parking security staff.

After fleeing, Clayton was later arrested at the Vanier Football Complex and later released on a $1,000 bond.

Around 1:45 Tuesday afternoon, it was the media that informed Clayton that the charged had been reduced to misdemeanor battery.

When asked if he was surprised by the mid-morning ruling by Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson, Clayton answered, "With what?"

Told the charge was misdemeanor battery, Clayton said, "Oh did they? I wasn't aware of that. I didn't know."

Clayton, a native of Alexandria, Va., said he was "slightly embarrassed" by the incident "... for the simple fact I wasn't charged with what was put in the paper."

Clayton, however, declined to say what exactly happened.

He did admit, "I obviously should not have left the scene, but the accusation of aggravated battery, in my opinion, was inaccurate."

And he insisted, "I didn't hit anyone."

Did he come close to hitting anyone?

"I couldn't tell you," Clayton said. "I'm not sure if I came close or not. But I didn't hit them."

On the ruling, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said, ''The county attorney did what he had to do. I'm confident there was no intent on Thomas' part to bring harm to anyone. He made a bad choice, a bad decision, and outside of that, I don't have anything in particular to say.''

Clayton said the majority of the reaction he has received on the K-State campus has been supportive. And, he appreciated the fact that his parents made an unannounced flight to Manhattan to offer their support.

"Slightly," Clayton said when asked if it was a tough initial call to his parents to tell of his arrest. "But they are very supportive and they understood."

Of the hate mail that has been directed toward the arresting parking attendant and campus police force, Clayton said, "We have true Wildcat fans. When something like this happens, they are going to take the defense of the Wildcat player."

But he added, "I'm definitely not for promoting anything like that (hate mail)."

Snyder said that Clayton would definitely play in Saturday's game against Oklahoma, but was unsure who would start between Clayton and Parrish Fisher.

Last week, Clayton's Snyder-imposed penalty was sitting for the first quarter. But with Fisher playing well, Clayton told the coaches during the course of the game to let the Wildcat freshman continue to play.

"It's not really about me," Clayton said. "He was doing well and it was an opportunity for him to get experience."

Asked if he will be pleased when this incident is put to rest, Clayton smiled as he said, "Absolutely, aaaabsolutely ... absolutely. I'll be very happy when this is all over."

And is it over for Snyder?

"It is for me."

On Webb...

"I'll take him at his word. If he's excited, then I'm excited that he's excited. I'm pleased that he's excited about what he's doing." — KSU coach Bill Snyder on QB Allen Webb's comment that he was excited about going to Oklahoma.

On Simmons...

When Snyder was asked whether linebacker Marvin Simmons was still on the K-State team, he said, "I don't know, I'll have to check the register today. (Soft laugh) That's a whole different thing. (Pause) Uncertain. (Laugh)."

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