The Minnesota Vikings gave running back Caleb King the boot just days after the athlete was arrested for brutally beating a man at a friend’s birthday party.
According to Fox News Minneapolis affiliate KMSP, King, 24, was arrested in the early morning hours of April 28 in Oak Grove, Minn.
A police report claimed that the beating was initiated after the victim said the Vikings running back resembled a celebrity. Though KMSP didn’t reveal the celebrity that King was allegedly compared to, other news outlets reported that it was Eddie Murphy.
After the conversation took a turn for the worse, the victim told authorities that he got in his car, locked the passenger door and called 911. King then walked over and pulled the victim out of his car and punched him repeatedly in the head and face. Authorities said the 5-foot, 11-inch, 217-pound athlete also threw the victim head-first into the ground.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune identified the victim as 22-year-old Coon Rapids resident Andrew Hayek. After the beating, Hayek was hospitalized in serious condition with a skull fracture, facial fractures and injuries that required 50 stitches.
Hayek’s sister, Jenny Eagle, told the Star-Tribune April 29 that her brother was “doing much better.”
While King’s lawyers alleged that the athlete responded after he was taunted in a racial manner, Eagle dismissed the claim.
“This could not have been a racial issue,” she told the Star-Tribune. “My parents opened their home to all colors and ethnic backgrounds. Andrew grew up with a variety of backgrounds under one roof.”
King was released from jail May 2. While he wasn’t charged in the incident, the case remains open. Anoka County Attorney Paul Young told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the athlete could face felony charges.
“In any case where a person is arrested, the clock starts ticking,” he said. “We are still trying to make sure we have all the facts and understand them well to make a good charging decision.”
Meanwhile, the Pioneer Press also reported that the Vikings had cut the athlete. King’s lawyer told KMSP that his client does not have a history of violent behavior and lauded him for showing “great restraint” after a racial remark was directed at him.
King played football for the University of Georgia. After entering the NFL’s supplemental draft, he was signed by the Vikings in 2011.