Marshall running back charged in beating of 2 gay men, dismissed from team

Marshall University running back Steward Butler was charged in connection with the beating of two gay men Wednesday and was dismissed from the football team.

Butler was arraigned before a Cabell County magistrate on two misdemeanor battery counts and was released on $10,000 bond.

Huntington police Detective Chris Sperry said in criminal complaints that Butler stopped his car after seeing the two men kissing on a street on April 5 in Huntington. Sperry said Butler allegedly began shouting derogatory words about their sexual orientation and then punched the men.

Sperry told reports that one of the men took a video of the incident on his cellphone. The detectives said evidence in the case has been turned over to federal authorities for review of a potential civil rights violation.

Butler had been suspended from the team earlier Wednesday, and Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said he and head coach Doc Holliday agreed to the dismissal after learning more about the case.

Fairness West Virginia, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in the state, praised the university’s swift actions.

"There is no place for violence or intolerance in any community in West Virginia," group executive director Andrew Schneider said in a statement.

Butler was the school's second-leading rusher last season with 798 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.