OT: Philip Nelson officially dismissed from Rutgers

Submitted by Sports on May 13th, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Update from earlier this week:

Rutgers transfer QB Philip Nelson has been dismissed from the program following his assault on another football player, who has sustained permanent brain damage and is fighting for his life. Assault charges are pending.




May 13th, 2014 at 11:51 AM ^

The interesting thing is this guy has never even played for Rutgers yet, but he was a former starter on Minnesota's team who just put in a transfer request to go to Rutgers.  I guess Minnesota lucked out in having him leave at the right time.  It's quite a PR hit.

Arizona Blue

May 13th, 2014 at 11:46 AM ^

This is a no brainer. This whole story really bothers me, especially with a brother going off to college who will be drinking / joining a fraternity.

Fighting (especially with intoxicated people) is never the move. There is no good that can come of it.

Best case scenario is you kick some kids ass (don't hurt him permanintly) and look like an asshole. Worst case scenario, you screw up your entire life like Philipp Nelson

Its amazing how a 5 second bad decision can alter 50 years of life.



May 13th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

I don't want to get into a huge debate about this, but I wouldn't worry about your brother joining a fraternity.  This seems so crazy to most people, but being in a fraternity (or not) has little to no effect on how much a guy drinks in college.  There were guys in my fraternity who rarely drank, and never to excess, and I had plenty of friends and acquaintances outside of the fraternity who drank like fish.  

Point is - all college kids have access to lots of booze.  Their personality will determine how much of it they drink.

Arizona Blue

May 13th, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

I agree with you. I was in a fraternity at u of m. I am not worried about the fraternity thing one bit, i am worried about all the chirping, and occasional fighting that goes down between rival fraternities at skeeps, ricks, mudbowl etc.

I think booze muscles tend to be a bit inflated in the fraternity scene




May 13th, 2014 at 12:24 PM ^

Yeah, that could be.  I remember seeing lots of fights at our house, and they were always started by non-Greek guys.  Guys in other houses had some level of respect (though not without shit talking) but the actual fights seemed to be the guys with the "just because I'm not in a frat doesn't mean I'm not tough" attitude.  

The only fight I got into in college was when I came home from somewhere late and caught three guys pissing on our fraternity house.  I confronted them, and I got my clock cleaned.  But just as I was getting socked in the face, about 25 SigEps poured out of the house.  You can use your imagination from there.  No hospitals were involved, but I don't think those kids were peeing on frat houses anymore.


May 13th, 2014 at 5:39 PM ^

Correlation doesn't surprise me. A guy who likes to drink beer is probably more likely to seek out the Greek system than a guy who doesn't drink. It's the causality part I take issue with. "I don't want my son to join a fraternity because then he will drink too much." That's the part that's bogus. There are plenty of guys who rush for reasons other than booze (I was one of them). And if a kid wants to drink in college and his mom won't let him join a fraternity, he's not going to drink any less. In fact, I had a buddy from my dorm who wanted to join our house, but his parents said no. So he just came over and hung out all the time, he was there more than many of the brothers.

Blue in Yarmouth

May 13th, 2014 at 12:30 PM ^

To be clear I don't condone what this "maroon" did, I want to state that up front. I do, however, disagree with your overall philosophy. 

As a guy who (probably) overindulged in fighting growing up I used to hear the same kind of protests that "fighting doesn't solve anything" and things of that nature and sometimes that's just flat out wrong. 

An example would be when my younger brother was in grade 9 (a year behind me) and he was kneeling down at his locker getting his books out. A guy in grade 12 walked by and thought it would make him look tough for his friends and girl friend if he kicked my brother in the ass and knocked him head first into his locker. What he didn't realise was that I was on my way to my brothers locker to meet him for lunch and saw this happen. 

Following our fight there wasn't anyone around that thought I was an asshole for beating him up and it did solve the problem of him kicking younger, smaller kids into their lockers. 

Now I do have a problem with where fighting has gone from the time I was a kid. Back then there were unwritten rules to fighting like once a guy is down and doesn't want to continue the fight is done, never kicking a guy when he's down and fights were always one against one with no weapons. Today there doesn't seem to be any of that for whatever reason.

Oh, and this isn't an insult at all but I think your views on fighting are in conflict with your mgoavatar...I love irony.



May 13th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

Only ever threw punches during hockey games, but I do agree with you about kicking someone when they're down. Hockey fights are (usually) pretty respectful and they end when they end. Refs help that. What you're describing is the major reason I can't watch MMA at all. At least in boxing if a guy goes down he's down, they check on him, etc. In MMA a guy gets kicked in the head and then elbowed while falling, it's just hard to watch.

Blue in Yarmouth

May 13th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

my philosophy on fair fighting may stem from playing hockey for years as well. I never really thought about it but it could have some bearing on why i feel fighting should be done with hands (not feet or weapons of any kind) and when someone falls down you either wait for them to get up or let them stay down. Either way when someone wants it over it's over. People like this Nelson guy make sick.


May 13th, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

but no matter.  Yeah, I hate to see someone so young to have their life altered in such a way, but he made the decision and he should live with the consequences.  Can't take back what he did, but I hope he can make something out of it when its all said and done.  Only thing I can really think of is the victim's family.  Hope they can persevere.


May 13th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

Wow, I didn't realize how bad the other guy was injured, or that Nelson kicked him in the head after he was already down from someone else attacking him. What a coward.

Blue in Yarmouth

May 13th, 2014 at 12:54 PM ^

I'd say that is at least a triple jump away from where anyone was heading with no-brainer. Personally I think this guy read no-brainer, laughed because he got the obscure pun no one else was thinking about, felt bad about laughing at the bad joke (that he made up in his head) and blamed it on the guys who said no-brainer. Honestly, I don't know how else he would get there. 


May 13th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

As others said, this was not even a discussion for Rutgers, of course, and hopefully Phillip Nelson gets to spend a nice long stint somewhere where he has nothing but time to reflect on what he has done.

As an aside, there is a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune now that they do have a second suspect in custody and will be releasing more information this afternoon. It seems like they got some good enough footage from city surveillance cameras and were able to find the other guy. 


May 13th, 2014 at 12:08 PM ^

First, Nelson was totally out of line to kick the unconscious guy in the head, obviously that is terrible.

From a criminal standpoint, i've already seen his lawyer stating that the 'real damage' was done by the Redshirt Guy and witnesses all do say that the punch rendered the victim unconscious.  So I assume that is your argument if you are Nelson's lawyer, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was Nelson's kick and not the knockout punch that caused this terrible damage.

Also, I don't know if anything matters about Nelson being punched by the guy first.  Obviously kicking a guy who is knocked out is not self-defense, I just don't know what rules are about retaliating against someone who has already assaulted you.

Agree with the posters who talk about how worthless bar fights are, nothing good can come of them and this shows the gruesome side of where they can end up.

In another weird twist...the lawyer for Nelson, just got done representing and winning the case for the MSU coach (where victim played).  If you remember he was accused of child porn for having photos of his kids playing naked on his university issued cell phone.


May 13th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

First degree assault requires the government to show that he caused great bodily harm, so the defense will argue that if he was injured by the fall, Nelson didn't CAUSE the great bodily harm. It's a tricky argument, but the burden is on the state, so who knows.

As for self defense, usually (in the general sense) you can respond with the level of force necessary to defend yourself, assuming you didn't create the situation. It's really hard to argue that Nelson was defending himself when kicking an unconscious dude in the head. In fact, it's REALLY hard to argue that (a) I didn't kick him while he was unconscious, so it was still self defense, and at the same time argue (b) I didn't injure him because he was already unconscious.


May 13th, 2014 at 1:09 PM ^

My thoughts and prayers to the victim and his family.  It really doesn't matter what caused the confrontation and yes alcohol was probably involved.  However, even after a couple of men get into fisticuffs, when one of the combatants hits the floor kicking him in the head is beyond the imagination of a reasonable person.

Douche Nelson is going to have a lot of time to think about his actions.  First, when the legal proceedings against him commence leading hopefully to a conviction of some sort.  Then the real fun begins for Nelson if he is convicted and spends some time behind bars.

Ghost of BCook…

May 13th, 2014 at 2:11 PM ^

Oh come on....  If you look beyond the law, there are levels of victimization.  The linebacker's action presumably led to a more serious (and over the top/inhumane) reaction. 

While I don't believe the linebacker "had it (brain damage/coma) coming", he's hardly blameless in this altercation.    Had he never initiated the physical contact, it's likely he would never have been touched.  Not really comparable to many victims that play zero role in their acts of victimization. 

Everyone Murders

May 13th, 2014 at 2:53 PM ^

But to your point, Kolstad's not an innocent victim. I think a lot of folks are so outcome-oriented that they are missing your basic point. So I expect you'll take some flak for pointing out an uncomfortable truth.

Based on the initial press reports, Kolstad punched Nelson in the back.  That's a chickenshit move, even if you do get seriously hurt over it.  Nelson's reaction was vicious, disproportionate, and likely lethal.  It was inexcusable.  But it's hard to believe it ever happens without Kolstad attacking Nelson in the first place.

From the ARTICLE I read, both men made cowardly attacks on one another.  They both made terrible mistakes (with Nelson's much worse than Kolstad's on my morality scale).  I think it's fair of you to point out that Kolstad apparently acted like a dick that fateful night, and committed the first assault. 

Everyone Murders

May 13th, 2014 at 2:45 PM ^

Good point.  Campbell's attack was arguably worse, in my eyes, because it was fomented by a direction from a security guard to get Campbell's hood off his head.  Both the Campbell attack and the Nelson attack were plenty stupid, with the key differentiation being that the security guard in the Campbell attack thankfully did not suffer major injuries.

While not exactly parallel, I thought of the GLENN Winston assault on A.J. Sturges when I saw this story.  That incident suggests that MSU may give Jayru Campbell a second second chance.


May 13th, 2014 at 4:43 PM ^

Fights are never right. You don't make yourself a tough guy for engaging in physical contact with another person. You make yourself a douchebag who could face an assault charge. Kids don't seem to get that until they're out of high school and sometimes out of college.