By Joe Whalen
A Rocky Mountain College football player accused of assault on a sports official during Saturday's game at Montana State University-Northern pleaded not guilty this morning at an arraignment in Havre.
Marlon Grier, a 24-year-old senior linebacker, was arrested by a Hill County sheriff's deputy immediately following Rocky's overtime loss to MSU-N. He is accused of attacking umpire Rick Deady moments after the game ended.
"I have no comment at this time," Grier said as he left the courtroom accompanied by Rocky athletic director Terry Corey.
Havre City Court Judge Joyce Perszyk, acting on behalf of Justice Court Judge Carol Chagnon, read Grier his rights before accepting the plea and setting further conditions of his release. He is charged with assault on a sports official.
Grier, 24, faces maximum penalties of six months in jail and $1,000 fine if convicted.
"The only reason he pleaded not guilty is to get some advice from an attorney," Corey said after the arraignment.
Grier must refrain from the use of alcohol and drugs, attend all court-ordered appearances and notify Justice Court of any address change or he will be in violation of the conditions of his release.
A pre-trial hearing will be set by Justice Court Judge Carol Chagnon, who was ill this morning and did not preside in court.
According to a memo written by Corey and released Monday by Frontier Conference Commissioner Ron Kenison, Grier must undergo an anger management evaluation to be conducted by the Billings school's counseling department before being allowed to graduate next month.
The memo referred to Grier as the "offending athlete" in the incident and stated that Grier will be banned from receiving any postseason awards or honors and will be dismissed from his work-study program in the school's athletic department.
Grier issued a written apology Monday to Corey that stated, "I am sorry for my actions at the end of the game. This is my fault and I hope that this does not reflect on the coaches, players, or the school. I also direct my apologies toward the official who I pushed."
A secretary in the office of Brad Nason, vice president of student affairs at Rocky, said Nason did not wish to comment on the matter.
Witnesses said that Grier, a 5-foot-11, 230-pound senior linebacker from Charlotte, N.C., sprinted about 60 yards to Deady, a Helena resident born and raised in Havre, and knocked the official to the ground from behind.
A team captain as a senior and an All-Conference selection as a junior, Grier played in his final game Saturday. Corey's memo stated that the stipulations for graduation and penalties instituted against Grier would be enforced regardless of the outcome of the arraignment.