Originally published December 7, 2018 at 09:25a.m., updated December 7, 2018 at 03:29p.m.

KU football player Pooka Williams charged with domestic battery, suspended from team

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) runs the ball against Texas defensive back P.J. Locke III (11) during the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) runs the ball against Texas defensive back P.J. Locke III (11) during the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.


University of Kansas star football player Pooka Williams has been arrested and charged with domestic battery following an incident at a KU dorm this week.

KU police arrested Williams — whose full name is Anthony Ray Williams — at the KU Public Safety Office, 1501 Crestline Drive, and he was booked into jail at 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the Douglas County Jail's online booking log.

KU police provided the following details about the incident in a news release Friday: An 18-year-old female student on Thursday reported that early Wednesday morning she was in a physical altercation with a 19-year-old male student in Stouffer Place Apartments, 1835 Ousdahl Road. On the booking log, Williams' address is listed as Stouffer Place Apartments. On the publicly available portion of the police report, the woman is listed as also living on campus, but not in Stouffer Place Apartments.

The woman reported minor injuries, which did not require medical attention, according to the news release. The police report listed the type of weapon used as a "personal weapon," which indicates bodily force and not a separate weapon.

After the incident was reported Thursday, Williams was interviewed and subsequently arrested, police said.

Williams spent the night in jail and made his first court appearance Friday afternoon in Douglas County District Court. He was formally charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor.

His attorney, Hatem B. Chahine, entered a not guilty plea on Williams' behalf. A prosecutor said Williams did not have prior criminal history.

Judge James T. George set a $1,000 bond for Williams and ordered him to not make contact with the victim or return to her residence. George scheduled Williams' next appearance for 9 a.m. Jan. 9.

KU football coach Les Miles said Friday morning that he was aware of a reported incident involving Williams.

"We are taking these allegations very seriously," Miles said. "We have suspended Pooka from all team-related activities pending further investigation.”

Williams is a freshman running back from New Orleans who arguably became the face of the team during the 2018 season, winning several weekly and season-long awards for his performance on the field.

Anthony Ray Williams, Jr., also known as Pooka Williams

Anthony Ray Williams, Jr., also known as Pooka Williams


Bryson Stricker 3 years, 6 months ago

Kansas Football can not have nice things.

The football gods have not forgotten that they hate us

Dane Pratt 3 years, 6 months ago

What sort of sacrificial ritual do we need to perform to reverse the Curse of the Mangino?

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 6 months ago

You know what Doug you really are a jerk or just plain stupid. Violence against women is a cowardice thing to do but you try to make light of it by saying KU firing Mangino is a curse that won't go away. You are so ignorant. You really shouldn't post anymore.

Doug Wallace 3 years, 6 months ago

Dude seriously move on from that will you please?

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 6 months ago

Lets not put this in perspective Bryson by saying violence against women is a horrible thing no let's just focus on how this only affects the football team. Go back to not posting. You're so ignorant its pathetic.

Robert Brock 3 years, 6 months ago

Things have been looking up for KU football. Now this. Jeez...

Glen Miller 3 years, 6 months ago

Jesus........ Can KU football catch a break. I will hope that this is a misunderstanding, but prepare for a release from the team. These kids need to learn that they aren't God's and that the world is cracking down on violence. You can't just lose your cool and not suffer consequences.

Greg Ledom 3 years, 6 months ago

Can you NOT just see what happened to the NFLs top running back and get a FREAKING clue as what NOT to do. Ignorance, pure ignorance. Not hitting girls seems awful difficult for some.....

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

If he's guilty, then I agree. But don't forget how Vick got set up by that girl who claimed he pushed her down the stairs. Fortunately, video proved her a liar and Vick was exonerated. So let's not assume guilt until we hear more.

clint moran 3 years, 6 months ago

I believe that was Carlton Bragg, but that's a good point. Sometimes a scorn lady can try to hit these athletes where it will hurt the most. Let's hope for the best in this case.

Greg Ledom 3 years, 6 months ago

Fairs points gentlemen and certainly prefer innocent until proven guilty. I’m hoping it’s not as it appears and frankly also hoping he’s awarded a second chance if indeed it is as what’s reported. I also believe one deserves a second chance provided he walks the line going forward. John Randall comes to mind. A fantastic back with loads of potential that Mangino actually gave several chances before he had to cut him loose. What a waste of football talent. Hopefully he worked out his life issues on the other side.

Taylor Wright 3 years, 6 months ago

Greg, in no instance should KU give a football player a second chance if indeed found guilty of hitting a woman. That's unacceptable and sets a terrible precedent for the program.

Freddie Garza 3 years, 6 months ago

Who is this "Carlton Bragg" that you speak of? Doesn't ring a bell...

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

Clint Moran, you are correct. It was Carlton Bragg. In Pooka's case, the reports are saying the woman suffered minor injuries that did not require medical attention. That sounds like maybe he intercepted her arm in mid-slap or something like that and it ticked her off. But I'm just speculating with not a single bit of evidence to back it up. Hopefully if he is guilty he learns his lesson and his punishment fits the crime. I wonder if we'll ever hear any real details about this.

John Strayer 3 years, 6 months ago

It's getting very tiresome to see athlete's at all levels that are unable to be model citizens and keep their noses clean. Gotta be able to exercise self control...more so now days with cameras everywhere...

Tim Orel 3 years, 6 months ago

Having cameras everywhere was what saved Bragg, IIRC. Unfortunately, it's not just athletes with anger control problems - it's just that KU's players must realize they're in a public spotlight from the day they sign the letter through the day they're no longer on the team, unlike Joe or Jane Blow who aren't nearly so famous.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

Glen - Actually they are God's (possessive) as we all are, tho they are not gods as none of us are 😉

John - Ironically, it was a camera that exonerated Bragg.

Bragg's case should be a reasonably fresh reminder to us all not to jump to conclusions. The fact that the arrest was made at the campus police station would indicate that he was cooperating. My guess is that this will be a relatively minor incident with some punishment and hopefully even more lessons learned. Definitely a far cry from the KC Chiefs' string of misconduct and lies.

[''] 3 years, 6 months ago

What are you the message board librarian? Relax Francis we all know he meant.

Samer Adra 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't you mean message-board grammarian?


Glen Miller 3 years, 6 months ago

Better put me in the imaginary internet jail for my grammar mistake......

[''] 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know how you look at yourself in the mirror Glen. SMH!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if his missing the Nichols State game had anything to do with a similar type incident.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 6 months ago

It was not. Purely an eligibility matter is why he missed Nichols State.

Michael Sillman 3 years, 6 months ago

If Williams is truly culpable in this incident and there have been any earlier similar events, then I assume that he’s gone. If this is a first time occurrence, then it sure seems to me like the follow up should be some highly structured assistance with handling life’s challenges in an appropriate manner. Nothing is gained by ruining the future of an 18 year old kid.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

True story. Rational, too. He's a kid. But he's gotta do better than this.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 6 months ago

Not that it's okay for anyone to ever put there hands on another woman for any reason. But why is it always the big time players that do this crap. It's never scrubs on the team

Tim Orel 3 years, 6 months ago

The scrubs are sometimes doing it with the majors. I seem to recall some of Charlie Weis' team having a multi-person robbery where one was a "top player" and the other two were scrubs. There have been other players who had things handled under the radar of the LJW. I doubt the LJW wastes many, if any, pixels on scrubs who get into trouble, but when players are suspended for games or when scholarships aren't renewed, we often don't find out why. Could be this type of reason.

W Keith Swinehart II 3 years, 6 months ago

See Sam Mellinger's column about "bad behavior" in the NFL in today's KC Star. I hope, of course, that it shares no relevancy in the current Pooka incident. Nor is there any suggestion that there is any excuse for such behavior. However, it is an interesting column.

I'm looking forward to a forthcoming article proclaiming that this is just a misunderstanding, and Pooka is no longer suspended from the team.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 6 months ago

Seems like a lot of football players have anger issues. On the one hand that might be what makes them perform so well but the other side of the coin is when they are unable to channel that anger from any location other than the playing field.

Freddie Garza 3 years, 6 months ago

You JUST watched this whole episode with Kareem Hunt not one week prior. And just thought, "hey, let me put my hands on this girl like it's all good."

SMH...unbelievable how dumb some people can be.

Armen Kurdian 3 years, 6 months ago

I really, really, really, hope for his sake there's more to this and this doesn't hurt his future. But if it is what it is, then, well, he's going to have to live w/the consequences.

Welcome to KU Les Miles.

Gerry Butler 3 years, 6 months ago

All I can say is - -WHAT THE HELL? - -how hard is it to just , stay in line man holy crap. - - -what makes you feel it's ok to put your hands on a woman? - -you think you should get star treatment because your Pooka Williams? - Screwed yourself now huh? -I don't know about others - -but this scenario is getting pretty tiresome - -run in's with the law in one form or another - -football - - basketball - - getting quite the reputation of a thug/crap school - -what's it gonna take - I mean Dam

Tracey Graham 3 years, 6 months ago

Someone needs to explain to me why is seems so difficult for some people to keep from assaulting other people. What is so difficult about the idea of you cannot use violence towards another person? Outside of someone being a soldier taking part in an actual miltary conflict, or someone being a police officer who is forced to use violence as a LAST RESORT (NOT a police officer who abuses his position by beating up or killing suspects for no reason), the only excuse I can think of for using violence is self defense -- and in that case there needs to be a CLEAR IMMEDIATE threat to your safety. You can't just casually use self defense as a reason for assaulting someone -- there needs to be evidence that your safety was in real danger.

Pooka Williams had a promising future as a football player, but IF this charge is true, he may have just gone and thrown that future away.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 6 months ago

Have you been paying attention to the NFL? He hasn't thrown anything away, since there are very few longterm consequences for this type of behavior when it comes to the "No Fault League" (for stars).

As for the specifics of the incident, if he truly did this and it's the first time, I would say he deserves something like a year-long suspension and an order to get serious counseling to learn to control his temper. If it's happened before, he should be kicked off the team.

What a shame.

Allin Herring 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow I bet Miles and Long are talking to themselves about why did I take this job! The football team may loose their star player and the basketball coaches are surrounded with controversy that may implode the program. Fun time on the hill right now. Can we no longer recruit players with no issues and that are good for the team and school and lead by coaches who run programs clean of national controversy??

[''] 3 years, 6 months ago

Cmon. You think he never had these issues at Okie St and LSU. Don't be so naive dude. Pretty sure Les will be fine.

Allin Herring 3 years, 6 months ago

Yea he probably lost players for this kinda issues but never you best 4 star player DUDE.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Stop. Hitting. Girls.

DAMN, Pooka!!!

What's at stake is YOOOGE and you are a critical piece of the puzzle. Take your diversion. Do your community service. Issue a genuine public apology to the University and the young woman in question. Then apply some understanding relative to the task at hand and some humanity with respect to women.

When the smoke clears and you're reinstated you gotta FOCUS, bro! Kansas is dying to forgive this, but you have to do a 180. C'mon, maaaan!

[''] 3 years, 6 months ago

Sorry - those links were supposed to post under my comment just above Joe's comment here.

Titus Canby 3 years, 6 months ago

First, someone above mentioned the Carlton Bragg issue. Turns out he was innocent. I'm trying hard to withhold judgement until we know all the facts.

Second, whether it's Pooka Williams, Kareem Hunt, or anyone else, I'm finding it hard to cheer for thugs or even alleged thugs. Watching sports just isn't fun anymore. It sickens me.

Sorry to be a downer, but I'm a bit upset.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 6 months ago

Just glad it sounds like nobody was hurt (at least badly). That's good for everybody involved!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 6 months ago

There is so much more to this story we don't know but the police report states that there was a physical altercation and the woman did sustain injuries, albeit minor. I suppose there are circumstances in which a man could engage in an argument with a women that gets out of control and becomes physical and is not the fault of the man. But my gut and intuition tells me that in most altercations this is not the case. My knee jerk reaction to this story was, I hope we don't lose our star running back. But if it turns out he is guilty my hope is that we don't see him in a KU uniform again. He can transfer to Nebraska and stay in Lawrence Phillips old room.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 6 months ago

As you said, there is so much more to the story that we don't know. It could be just that she went to slap him and he intercepted her arm and her wrist was bruised as a result. That certainly would not qualify as assault unless he then tried to hurt her. I will wait for more information. Today's society is way too quick to assume guilt. Let's hear the evidence, then, and only then, decide.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 6 months ago

Very plausible explanation Dale and I hope you are right. As far as I can determine he has no history of this type of behavior so that bodes well for him. I would assume that if the scenario you described is similar to the facts then after the police sorted things out they would not have arrested him. That said, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Would like to see a quick resolution on this.

David Kelley-Wood 3 years, 6 months ago

At this point, I'm going to give Pooka the benefit of the doubt.

(1) She came to his place.

(2) She reported minor injuries, not requiring medical attention.

(3) Battery can be as little as touching in a 'hostile manner,' which can be interpreted as being in a manner she considered hostile, and that could even include forcefully holding her off.

Could her minor injuries be bruises from him preventing an assault on himself?

Maybe a lot more occurred, but as of right now, it's not clear that he's guilty of anything.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Your supporting points for giving the benefit of the doubt don't make sense. I'm not saying he shouldn't be given it, but your justifications don't wash. Coming to his place does not mean or imply anything with regard to her injuries. Minor injuries or major injuries can both still be prosecuted under DV statutes in Kansas. As far as what battery "can be": yes, it can be minor; however, it can be major. You ask whether her injuries could have been gotten from Pooka's defending himself. But the retort is that maybe they were gotten from defending herself against Pooka. Either way, the not knowing does not mean that we should be a "Pooka lean" on this issue. Finally, the public opinion is NOT a court of law, and we are not bound to the standards for criminal prosecution (which is beyond all reasonable doubt). Most people--you included--make probabilistic judgments every day that fall well short of the standard of proving things beyond doubt. We operate daily within reasonable doubt in our lives.

I strongly suspect, however, that the reason you are willing to give Pooka the benefit of the doubt is because he's a g̶o̶o̶d̶ great running back. He plays at Kansas. And because he is critical to our improvement next year, if the program moves in a positive direction.

C.J. Giles and Carlton Bragg got burnt at the stake by Kansas fans for doing something similar. But they were terrible. Vick, at the time of the MacKenzie Calvert ordeal, was much better and received the sympathies of the fans. Surprised?

No. Not surprising.

Keepin' it 100...

David Kelley-Wood 3 years, 6 months ago

Too many holes in your attempt at reasoning to bother debunking them all. Basically, you're full of that all too familiar barnyard substance.

Benefit of the doubt means just that. It's not leaning to go with presumption of innocence. Why would you presume otherwise? He's an athlete, male and/or black?

And, pointing out that she came to his place has nothing to do with the claimed injuries. When you get down to a 'he says-she says,' and it may ultimately come to that, you have to go with other determinants. If he'd gone over to her place, it might be a little harder for him to sell his side of it.

Your strong suspicions as to my motives for presuming him innocent until proven guilty are an insult, not to me, but to your own intelligence.

Joe Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Say what you will. I'm still correct. What you see in my comment above is solid reason.

You have no more reason to give Pooka the benefit of the doubt than you do the young woman in question.


Chris Bailey 3 years, 6 months ago

We’ve done it to ourselves. We’ve taken God out of the schools. We’ve allowed kids to say and do whatever they please. We’ve allowed them to act like fools. Is it any wonder that this crap happens? When I was this age if you hit a woman you got your @$$ handed to you. Not today. It’s pretty sad. If this were my daughter there would be hell to pay.

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 6 months ago

It's okay Pooka. Live and learn. You're a celeb now and that means you are under a microscope. I believe in you. Keep on and make yourself better and wiser every day. We all mess up sometime whether we realize it or not. Sometimes it takes time and we have to see events from a safe distance to make sense of them.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.