Former Penn State football player Chris Baker spoke openly yesterday about his recent scrapes with police and how the situation may push him to consider transferring from the university.
"My character has been trashed," he said.
Standing outside the Penn State Judicial Affairs office, where he testified at Knowledge Timmons's hearing, Baker said he's unsure what his future will hold.
The former defensive tackle was recently dismissed from the Penn State team along with Timmons and Navorro Bowman. The three players are facing charges in connection with an Oct. 7 fight at the HUB-Robeson Center. Baker additionally faces charges in connection with an April 1 fight at the Meridian II, 646 E. College Ave.
"If you didn't know me from football and you read the newspaper, you'd just think that he's the guy that's always beating up people," Baker said. "This has been a rough lesson for me. I'm looking to clear my name up from all this to prove my innocence. ... I'm not a bad guy. I'm a nice guy."
Baker, who along with Bowman will meet with Judicial Affairs next month, said he was wrongfully accused in the HUB incident. He said the truth will eventually emerge but declined to comment about who on the team might be implicated.
"I've been getting accused of something I had nothing to do with," he said. "They had a description of a big black male, and I happened to fit it. I happened to fit the description of a big black male. Walking to class every day, when [news stories] were on the front page, everybody thinks I'm a big thug."
He later added: "I don't feel I'm being singled out, but I don't feel I'm getting a fair shot. I know I didn't do anything and a lot of people in the football building know that I didn't do anything."
Baker also said Judicial Affairs's recommendation in his own case will be expulsion from the university until next January.
Baker and Bowman both have been charged with aggravated assault, harassment and stalking, simple assault and disorderly conduct in connection with the HUB fight. Timmons was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and defiant trespass.
Timmons's status is still unclear after yesterday's meeting with Judicial Affairs. He arrived at the office around 12:30 p.m. and didn't leave until about 5 p.m.
Wearing a gray suit and a neon orange backpack, he left the office and said to a group of reporters: "I'll be straight up. I'm not even gonna talk to ya'll."
Joan Flowers, a woman who helped raise Timmons, and team spokesmen Jeff Nelson and Guido D'Elia did not immediately return phone messages.
Baker, who lingered around the building for most of the afternoon in a sweatshirt and carrying headphones and an iPod, said he spoke for about 10 minutes as a witness in Timmons's case. He later said he didn't know the specifics of the case.
Baker emerged this season as one of the Nittany Lions' top defensive linemen, finishing with 8.5 sacks. But his future at the university likely will not be settled until his hearing next month.
"If things don't work out here at Penn State, then I'll have to go to another school or something and do what I have to do," Baker said. "I wouldn't want to go to another Division I school just because I'd have to sit out a year, so I'd look to like a Division I-AA school, but I don't know which school."
-- Collegian staff writers Brendan Shorts, Josh Langenbacher, Tom Brolley, Steve Maslowsky and Brian Eller contributed to this report.