By COLTER NUANEZ
On National Signing Day two Februarys ago, Montana State head coach Rob Ash stood at a podium in the Bobcat Stadium Club and read a statement.
“Prior to leaving the University of Nevada-Reno, Anthony Knight was falsely implicated in a situation and chargers were filed,” Ash read in a prepared statement before fielding any questions from the media that February afternoon in 2014. “Anthony Knight was not present at the incident. All the chargers were subsequently dropped. We’ve researched his character. We have no doubt that he will be a fine representative of Bobcat football. Anything that is written or posted tying Anthony Knight to this previous incident is unfair to him as a person.”
After Knight’s latest run in with trouble, the notion has been put to rest for good.
On Thursday evening, Ash dismissed Knight from the Bobcat football team citing a violation of Montana State’s student-athlete code of conduct. The decision was made a day after the 6-foot-1, 235-pound senior running back was arrested on charges of partner/family member assault and theft following an early-morning dispute with a female at a Belgrade-area apartment.
Montana State officials declined comment past the statement that Knight would no longer be a part of the Montana State football program. Knight, who originally hails from Boston, transferred to Montana State before last season from Riverside Community College. Knight spent two seasons at Nevada-Reno before being dismissed from the team.
Last season, Knight rushed for 496 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 10 games for MSU. He missed a game because of suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
According to charging documents: an officer was dispatched to the Bozeman Law and Justice Center at 2:46 a.m. on Thursday morning to meet with the alleged victim. The woman exhibited an injury to her left eye consistent with an object striking her face. Small amounts of blood were found on her face and shirt.
The alleged victim told police that she and Knight were involved in a heated argument that soon turned into a physical altercation earlier in the evening. In an effort to calm the situation, the women left the Belgrade apartment to do laundry.
Upon her return to the apartment, the woman stated she found Knight asleep and she went to sleep in a room separate from Knight. At roughly 2 a.m., Knight entered the room, confronted her, began yelling and threw a purse that struck her in the face. The victim then said Knight took her phone and smashed it.
Knight then grabbed the bag, left the apartment, opened the wallet within the purse and removed $85 from it. Knight would later state that he felt the money was “payment” for a broken necklace. The woman disputed that the necklace broke when Knight pushed her to the ground, which resulted in a large bruise on her upper right arm and scrapes on both of her elbows.
The documents state Knight refused to return the stolen money and the women left the residence in order to contact law enforcement in Bozeman.
In an interview with investigating officers, Knight stated that he only put his hands on the woman. He said he took the money because he felt she owed him and he was upset about her breaking his personal property. The officer said Knight’s answers to all questions were “very vague”. At 5:09 a.m., Knight was arrested and transported to the Gallatin County Detention Center where he was held without bond.
The most recent arrest is Knight’s most recent run-in with the law. In 2013, Knight climbed his way to the top of the Nevada depth chart as a redshirt freshman tailback as the Wolfpack entered spring drills.
Knight was suspended after the first week of Wolf Pack spring drills. After not fulfilling the set obligations set forth by Nevada head coach Brian Polian to stay on the team, the mutual decision to part ways was made.
On May 28 of 2013, Knight tweeted, “I’m leaving Reno June 10th to attend Montana State.”
On June 14, Knight was arrested on two felony charges. Knight and former UNR offensive lineman Avery Poates were charged with attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Knight was also charged with misdemeanor possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
According to Reno police, Poates and Knight arranged to meet with the victims Friday afternoon to sell sports memorabilia. Upon meeting, the accused brandished guns and demanded money. The victims managed to flee and contact police.
The investigation remained open for a month before the Reno District Attorney’s office ruled it “no contest”, meaning if detectives wished to garner more information and evidence, the state could move forward in prosecuting the charges. That never occurred and the case remained open but unprosecuted.
Knight was also arrested earlier that week for reckless driving, disregarding personal property and no proof of insurance.
Colter Nuanez can be reached at BobcatBeat56@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @Bobcat_Beat. Photo by Brooks Nuanez, who can be reached at Brooks.email@example.com.