Originally published August 17, 2017 at 12:47p.m., updated August 17, 2017 at 09:29p.m.

Server accuses KU’s Dedric Lawson of skipping out on bar tab; eatery’s manager issues statement supporting KU forward

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) pulls down a rebound while running drills with the post players during an open practice on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The Jayhawks are preparing for four early-August exhibition games in Italy.

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) pulls down a rebound while running drills with the post players during an open practice on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The Jayhawks are preparing for four early-August exhibition games in Italy.


Early Thursday morning, the name of Kansas forward Dedric Lawson appeared in a police report in his hometown of Memphis after a server at a local bar and grill alleged that Lawson skipped out on a tab worth $88.20.

But by Thursday night, the general manager of the Bar Louie restaurant had given The Commercial Appeal in Memphis a statement that was sympathetic to the Kansas sophomore.

“Mr. Lawson is a great patron of our restaurant and we appreciate his business,” Bar Louie general manager Sean Taylor told The Commercial Appeal. “We look forward to having him back as a valued guest.”

The Commercial Appeal reported that the restaurant did not comment on whether Lawson left without paying.

According to a report from FOX 13 in Memphis, which obtained a copy of the police report, Lawson was at Bar Louie around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday when the alleged incident happened.


Dedric Lawson puts up a shot during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.

The server told officers the Memphis transfer now in his first year at KU had a tab worth $88.20 in food and drinks, but he left without paying. She said he walked out of the restaurant, got into a black Nissan Maxima and then drove off.

Reached Thursday afternoon, KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World that he would have no comment on the matter because he had spoken to Lawson and was comfortable with what the Memphis native told him had happened.

It was not just Self to whom Lawson explained himself. During an afternoon appearance on 92.9 FM ESPN Radio in Memphis, Lawson gave his account of what happened.

“I woke up (Thursday) morning and my name was in the news for some stuff I didn't even do,” said Lawson on the radio show, noting that he paid the server a total of $12 for two drinks that cost $5.25 apiece. “I’m being accused of something I didn’t do. If I ordered the drinks, I would’ve paid for the drinks.”

Lawson's uncle, Chuck Lawson, posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon that his nephew was with his girlfriend and a cousin, both of whom were at least 21, at Bar Louie and that Lawson, 19, settled his part of the tab.

“Dedric did nothing wrong,” Chuck Lawson wrote. “He paid for... what he ordered, but because he is the name/figure that you know from high school because you used to date, that doesn't make him responsible for the drinks that you kept coming out with for people who were not with him.”

Lawson, who joined his older brother, K.J., in transferring to KU from Memphis this spring, missed the Jayhawks’ trip to Italy earlier this month because of a suspension stemming from how he handled an altercation in a July practice, Self said.

Self said Wednesday on a podcast with ESPN’s Seth Greenberg that he was pleased with the way Lawson handled his suspension and that the Lawson brothers had “been great since they’ve been here.”

Lawson and his brother will sit out the 2017-18 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. Lawson told 92.9 FM that he planned to return to Lawrence on Saturday and the rest of the Jayhawks are expected to report to campus for the start of the 2017-18 school year at least by Sunday evening.

LISTEN: Dedric Lawson's appearance on 92.9 FM ESPN Radio in Memphis


Tim Orel 4 years, 11 months ago

So it's guilty before being even put before a judge or jury. Glad I'm not counting on you for my wingman. Even Self is satisfied with his explanation, yet you side with a waitress. Good to know.

Ryan McAllister 4 years, 11 months ago

None by Peter Fleischer

He's innocent you idiot

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

Damn Dedric. Thought this opportunity would be a good thing for both KU and D Lawson. Time to rethink that premise.

Andrew Whitehead 4 years, 11 months ago

Guys, let's read the article and give a semblance of the benefit of the doubt. Look at his uncle's quote, he's clearly saying this waitress is an ex-girlfriend or something trying to cause drama: "He paid for... what he ordered, but because he is the name/figure that you know from high school because you used to date, that doesn't make him responsible for the drinks that you kept coming out with for people who were not with him."

Andrew Whitehead 4 years, 11 months ago

Notice how his uncle also says Dedric was with his current girlfriend. Match that with his claim that the waitress is an ex gf from high school, and it makes a lot of sense that this waitress may just be trying to hurt Dedric any petty way she can. Our society needs to start practicing a little restraint, we've been trained to jump to conclusions and judge/label people far too quickly.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

Andrew, appreciate the measured response and perhaps Dedric is completel innocent. It's too bad his name is often in the news cycle dating back long before he came to KU. Maybe staying out of Memphis isn't the worst idea.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 11 months ago

showing your common sense today huh! Dedric can't owe the bill, he is underage. Otherwise the waitress is guilty of serving a minor.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

What a great excuse! I lied about my age so I'm not paying the bar tab. I guess we differ on what is wrong or right.

Shannon Gustafson 4 years, 11 months ago

You missed the point by a mile...

Either they served around 15 drinks to a minor and he was able to walk out of the bar (not likely) or they didn't serve him 15 drinks, he doesn't owe for 15 drinks, he paid for what he was served (2 drinks) and this story is all a fabrication by his ex girlfriend/server.

The everybody involved including the bar manager says it was the second option, excluding the server/ex.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

Let's see.. Bar. Underage drinking. Ex-girlfriends. Unpaid tab. Dedric back in the news.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 11 months ago

I'll take Coach Self's word anytime over others.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 11 months ago

good grief, even if his story is true, this follows the altercation in practice. Sometimes trouble just seems to follow some of these kids. Hope we don't have another year of police reports and other off court problems. Not much good comes out of being out after midnight, with alcohol, when you are an athlete representing a major university.

Marcia Parsons 4 years, 11 months ago

Looks to me like the rest of the party tried to stick him with the whole bill.

Thomas Green 4 years, 11 months ago

I hope this doesn't answer the question of learning from ones mistakes. Not exactly enough information to pass judgement in my humble opinion. Based on Self's comments he must trust and believe him. That said, it seems to me there are two basic scenarios possible. 1). Lawson left unaware that someone thought he had a tab balance. 2). Lawson left aware someone thought he had a tab balance and chose to blow it off! If scenario 2, is accurate, that's obviously not good! If there was a disagreement on a tab and one cannot resolve it with a server, you would normally ask to get a manager involved to resolve the dispute...not just split! Let's hope its scenario number 1!

I know that all Jayhawks hate to see stories like this, it reflects poorly on our school, true or not. I know we would rather only have Frank Mason or Perry Ellis type stories, unfortunately that isn't always the case. The last year or so has seemingly produced a lifetime worth of negative stories and I know we would all like nothing more than a long respite from stories like these!

Clara Westphal 4 years, 11 months ago

I think Mr. Tait could have chosen a better headline. This isn't the National Inquirer.

Matt Tait 4 years, 11 months ago

Please tell me, if you will, what you find wrong with the original headline: "KU forward Dedric Lawson's name appears on Memphis police report"

Not trying to bring drama to anything, just reporting a fact.

Duane Buscher 4 years, 11 months ago

It's sensationalistic, the headline conveys that Dedric is in trouble with the law, but the text of the article is more focused on clearing up a misunderstanding rather than him being in any real trouble.

Come on, man, you're a journalist, I know online content has to be at least somewhat click-batey, but I've read your stuff and know you're a smart person; if people read the headline and nothing else--which you know they do--then it feeds into this greater narrative that Dedric is some sort of trouble-maker.

Matt Tait 4 years, 11 months ago

As a journalist, I was taught that the headline (and the lede of the story for that matter) is supposed to be written in a way that entices the reader to read the story and makes them interested in learning more.

This headline did that (at least I would think) and, as you noted, the article itself that followed thoroughly explained what was going on.

It's not my fault, nor my concern, that some people out there just read the headlines and move on.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, you should have used the title "Dedric Spends Time Visiting Kids in Hospital". Completely untrue but it would keep the Duane's and Clara's of the world happy.

Ryan McAllister 4 years, 11 months ago

None by Peter Fleischer

He's innocent, everyone who wanted him kicked off the team should never post again due to their stupidity of once again jumping to conclusions.

Bob Zielinski 4 years, 11 months ago

Or.....Bar Louie does not wish to alienate a person who could potentially end up in the NBA and bring his posse in or at least frequent Bar Louie again in the future over $88.10.

Bob Zielinski 4 years, 11 months ago

Possibly Bar Louie does not wish to draw more attention to the fact the waitress was serving a minor alcoholic drinks? Could that be the impetus for the restaurant's statement?

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree.. Mr. Tait should reduce his sensationalization. Facts please.

Matt Tait 4 years, 11 months ago

I'll ask the same of you, Ashwin. Can you please explain how the original headline is anything but factual:

"KU forward Dedric Lawson's name appears on Memphis police report"

Did that not happen?

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 11 months ago

Poor Matt Lol These trolls are eating you up. Nothing you did wrong, man. Just a bunch of angry couch potato turds that have nothing better to do. But at least they're reading your articles.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 11 months ago

@Matt, I grant you that it did happen. Even though the current title is a bit wordy, I like it better than the first because It tells me (a title-surfer) more information, so I have enough info to make a decision to read the article or not...

BUT: I acknowledge that it is a matter of style, so I take back my objection.... As you know, I truly appreciate your approach to writing about my Jayhawks! Thanks for all that you do!

Matt Tait 4 years, 11 months ago

Good deal, Ashwin. Thanks for engaging and expressing your opinion. Always appreciated, good, bad or indifferent.

Bob Zielinski 4 years, 11 months ago

Well, he's 19 and in a bar at 1:30. He had two drinks that were $5.25 each, obviously alcoholic drinks. He gave the waitress $12 for a $10.50 tab, so he's cheap but this is not culturally unheard of or unique to Dedric and his circle of friends.

It's not a huge deal but a trend is being established over a relatively short period of time. My suspicion is he has other transgressions that he was not caught for and hopefully he learns how to be a better citizen, let alone member of the Jayhawks.

My prediction is there will be ensuing issues with Dedric.

Travis Clementsmith 4 years, 11 months ago

Need some clarification, Bob. What do you mean by "so he's cheap but this is not culturally unheard of or unique to Dedric and his circle of friends"

Bob Zielinski 4 years, 11 months ago

I understand you want to get just downright indignant and charge ahead with some self-righteous display of your wonderful virtues so.......

go right ahead.

Travis Clementsmith 4 years, 11 months ago

So, you go straight to race instead of college student? Interesting.

Bob Zielinski 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, abundantly interesting, isn't it? I mean he was in Memphis where his dad still lives and was making $125,000 as an assistant coach at the Univ. of Memphis. He was at the bar with his girlfriend and cousin, do you typically go to nicer restaurants or upscale bars when you have little to no money? Do 'college students' who are short on cash tend to go to those places and buy $5.25 drinks?

I know you want so badly to catch me in something here and call me racist but I really don't care and you are dead wrong if that is your angle, so feel free to unleash.

Plus, look at the way he and his brother left Memphis. The way he and his brothers jumped former teammate Joe Jackson (himself a soon to be felon), how he was suspended by Coach Self for a fight in practice.

Use your head. Have you ever waited tables while growing up or had friends who worked in restaurants? He wasn't pinching pennies as a borderline destitute college kid just scraping by.

He's a doofus. He's a thug. He's cheap by going to a place where there are expectations for being waited on. Is he mandated to tip more than $1.50? No, he's not, but it reflects on him, don't you agree? Doesn't it kind of fit a pattern that everyone is seeing develop?

I will find it difficult to cheer him on once he is eligible to play, if that day does actually come.

Travis Clementsmith 4 years, 11 months ago

I remember how quickly people were to judge the Morris twins after a few questionable decisions as well. I just find it amazing how quickly, without prompts, YOU wanted to make it about race. I simply asked for clarification because the word "culturally" seemed redundant if it wasn't racial. But, go ahead, continue to build your hypothetical around the tidbits of information you have. Go ahead and use it as a springboard to link an article you've probably been dying to pull out.

I've known plenty of kids, from all sorts of "cultures" and economic backgrounds who were or did doofus things. Who were quick to reaction rather than reasoned responses. But your take isn't a maturity issue. For you, its a cultural issue. Since you gave me permission to unleash: its rather disgusting and shallow trying to masquerade as "just telling it like it is " realist. Thanks Archie Bunker.

Mike Greer 4 years, 11 months ago

Ok, I'm looking for the ". . . obviously alcoholic drinks." He had two $5.25 drinks in a bar that also serves food. The claim was he walked out on $88.20. Do you think it's possible his girlfriend and his cousin were already there drinking and eating and he just stopped by to chat and had a couple of soft drinks, bars don't usually supply unlimited soft drinks like most restaurants do in some parts of the country. There's a lot we don't know and a lot of really simple explanations for how a guy could think he covered his tab. I doubt Matt can get that level of detail from a police report generated by his ex-girlfriend/waitress. If coach is happy, I'm happy, at least until I see some facts, not just speculation and assumption.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 11 months ago

Read the full article. Again. And be careful with your racist accusations. You might offend the wrong people.

Bob Zielinski 4 years, 11 months ago

Here is a link to a radio discussion on sports radio in Memphis from a previous incident. Lawson brothers are in a game at Penny Hardaway's gym in Memphis. Fight breaks out between former Memphis players Joe Jackson, KJ and Dedric Lawson and two other Lawson brothers after the game.

There were comments about guns being pulled during the incident.

Joe Jackson was just arrested the other night for possession of marijuana, 100 pills of ecstasy (if I recall correctly), $4,500 in cash and two loaded weapons.

Sounds like Memphis was a team loaded with really great guys.

Please don't let these guys drag down the team.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 11 months ago

wow, its hard to listen to that podcast and not think Coach may have his hands full trying to control these Lawson brothers.

Yonatan Negash 4 years, 11 months ago

It's time to cut ties.

This relationship is not working out.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 11 months ago

My first reaction on seeing the headline - "Why did Bill Self bring this guy onto his roster again?"

My reaction on reading the full article - "Looks like someone's trying to screw this guy over."

That said, Dedric Lawson still has a long way to go to earn the trust of KU fans.

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 11 months ago

Matt, I know you didn't mean to portray Dedric as a negative individual as some might've thought. The result is what we are seeing here. That's what matters. This kind of article has bad effect. Dedric is the victim. I'd like to read more about the rest of the KUCMB team: Moore, Cunliff, Preston - their backgrounds, what do we fans expect them which position to play, their strengths and weaknesses. BTW, can we have KUCMB roster updated here? I also wonder what Wiggs has been doing these days. Why didn't he join scrimmages during the summer? See, there are a lot of stories worth to tell and they don't have to create negative effects on any of our boys. I'd love to watch Dedric to wear KU jersey. He is part of KUCMB. I am a Jayhawk fan and I support every player on the roster!

Matt Tait 4 years, 11 months ago

Good for you. That's what fans are supposed to do and KU has a ton of great fans like yourself.

As journalists, though, we have to report the good and the bad. There've been plenty of stories about the team, recruiting and former players all summer and will be plenty more in the days and weeks ahead. On Thursday, for better or worse, this deal with Lawson was the big news and I'm glad we were able to get it thoroughly reported so there's no confusion on what went down.

I thought we had updated the roster so I'll take a look and see if something went wrong there. Thanks for the heads up.... and for reading and commenting. Always appreciated!

Tim Orel 4 years, 11 months ago

My guess would be Kansas University College Men's Basketball, which sounds a little redundant, but CMB is used along with CWB (for women) so it's probably contracted to a single acronym instead of two.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 11 months ago

1) Guy goes into a popular bar with his girlfriend
2) Ex girlfriend is their server. 3) Guy leaves a bad tip for ex girlfriend.
4) Ex girlfriend gets mad.

Lesson learned: A) Don't have your ex girlfriend serve you and your current girlfriend. B) Leave a better tip.

Mike Riches 4 years, 11 months ago

But don't leave too big of a tip or your current girlfriend may get upset! Tough spot...

Danny Hernandez 4 years, 11 months ago

Dedric is being unfairly targeted in this incident. What's next? misses a game winning free throw and is accused of throwing the game! Chill ppl! Don't you have better things to do than rush to judgement?
Oh yeah, I'm popular, an athlete and going to walk into a bar and skip out on the tab? Yeah right! People can't you grab your heads around the fact that Dedric is unfairly being accused.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 11 months ago

Initially I was concerned, but this sounds like a fair explanation. Obviously with the punch incident it's bad timing, but it doesn't appear as bad as it sounded initially. I think this is more like Strike 1 1/4 rather than strike 2.

Now if another incident comes along, that's when we need to really worry, or an adjustment will be made. Makes me wonder if that does happen and he leaves the program, will KJ go with him. Hopefully not and he's learned from the first incident, which according to HCBS he has, and we can look forward to seeing him play next year.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 11 months ago

Matt, let me join with those who have come to your defense. You spoke the facts, and you dealt with the original article and the subsequent clarifications in a first class manner.

Unfortunately, we live in an age where jumping to conclusions seems to have run amok. As I said initially, I will take Bill Self's words ahead of anyone else's. He has earned that respect.

In short, the only "sensationalism" in this story is that of those who can't wait to get all the facts before jumping to conclusions. While it may be fashionable to jump to conclusions (and we all have done so from time to time, myself included), there should be no pride in doing so.

Yes, Dedric's behavior has raised some "red flags", but until and unless Coach Self loses his patience in the matter, I am perfectly willing to sit back and just observe.

Matt Tait 4 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, Harlan. Appreciate the comment and your continued engagement here. the more the merrier!!!

Freddie Garza 4 years, 11 months ago

Bill Self isn't a coach with a history of letting the inmates run the asylum, so to speak. There is an entire laundry list of players under coach self who have been in the doghouse and had to serve out some kind of punishment. Shoot, for 3 years it seemed like Tyshawn Taylor was a mainstay in the Bill Self Doghouse.

So if he's saying that he spoke with Dedric and is comfortable with the explanation, I've gotta take his word at face value.

Mike Greer 4 years, 11 months ago

It's just a shame all the facts don't come out in a timely fashion. None of us were there, so the lack of true facts get replaced by speculation. Statements like, its a bar so they must have been alcoholic drinks, or speculation as to why the bar manager absolved him of the charges. There are so many unanswered questions. If they were alcoholic drinks, then why isn't there a headline stating waitress arrested for serving alcohol to minor basketball player? Was it just his girlfriend and a cousin at the table and if so did they drink an additional $76 dollars worth while he only drank $10.50? According to his father from an article in the Memphis paper, he doesn't drink and both gave statements the drinks were for his girlfriend and (female) cousin.

Long article, short on what really happened. Not Matt's fault, you can't report information you don't have.

If Coach is happy with the explanation he got, then I'm happy with it.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 11 months ago

I totally believe in innocent until proved guilty but sometimes you have to admit that at least there is the possibility of "where there's smoke, there's fire". The suspension and the police report are signs not to be ignored.

However, since the brothers have to sit out the year, there should be plenty of opportunity for Dedrick to strengthen credibility with KU Nation. I for one have every confidence that he will do so.

Matt, the only person you need to please is yourself when you publish an article in which you feel that you have honestly and fairly portrayed the issues. You're not nicknamed Matt The Great Tait for nothing!

Humpy Helsel 4 years, 11 months ago

Coach, continue to recruit. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Time will tell. And all of those other cliches my staff at work get tired of hearing.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 11 months ago

I think in all honesty, that's all Coach Self can do. He needs to trust his gut which has a pretty solid track record.

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