Two former Tennessee football players were found not guilty in a rape trial. The former Volunteers stood trial for an incident that dates back to 2014.
Tennessee football dismissed A.J. Johnson back in 2014 due to a rape accusation involving him and ex-teammate Michael Williams that came out in November that year. On Friday, the pair were found not guilty of rape, according to James Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Despite waiting three and a half years to stand trial, the jury only took 90 minutes to unanimously find them not guilty. This site will not delve into the details of the case or take a side. Rape is too serious of a charge, and nobody truly knows what went on between Johnson, Williams and the accuser outside of those three.
However, it did shed light on issues both ways. Allegations of then-head coach Butch Jones and a former teammate who joined the Knoxville Police Department separately tipping off the suspects about the trial are very serious. You can read about that here.
At the same time, it’s also problematic that such a case took three and a half years to draw to a close. That sheds light on the major issues in the American justice system of too many defendants not receiving the right to a speedy trial.
Simply put, as Wes Rucker tweeted, there were no winners in this case. It was an ugly situation all the way around and even became a major part of a sexual assault lawsuit against the university back in 2016, which was eventually settled.
Johnson was a four-year linebacker with Tennessee football and entering the final stretch of his senior season when the accusations came to light. He finished that year tied with Jalen Reeves-Maybin as the team leader in tackles after leading the team in 2013 and 2012 while coming in second his freshman year, 2011.
Williams, meanwhile, was a defensive back for Tennessee football at the time. He played in eight games for the Vols. This incident in question that led to the trial occurred on the morning of Nov. 16, 2014, the day after Tennessee football defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 50-16.