Dr. Saturday

Brock Berglund breaks silence after assault case is dismissed

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Brock Berglund is finally free to get back to football.

For the past nine months, he had been fighting third-degree assault charges in his home state of Colorado and on Wednesday, the charges were dropped without prejudice.

For the first time since the incident occurred on April 9, 2011, Berglund spoke to Dr. Saturday about the events of that night that caused him to miss his first collegiate season at Kansas.

According to the police report, Berglund was charged with second-degree assault — assault resulting in a serious injury — after he punched another man in the side of the head while defending his girlfriend, who was being harassed.

But Berglund, who hadn't been able to speak because the case was still ongoing, cleared up some misconceptions about the story.

Here is Berglund's version of the events:

On April 9, 2011, Berglund, who had enrolled at Kansas in the spring, said he came home from KU to spend the weekend with his family and ended up going to a friend's house party. There, he ran into an ex-girlfriend, Madison Meyers, who he had broken up with about 10 days before and she was with Chris Holleren, whom she had dated before Berglund.

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Meyers asked Berglund to talk privately, and after some initial hesitation, the two slipped off to a secluded part of the house upstairs near a staircase. While they spoke, Hollern began looking for Meyers and was upset when he saw that Meyers and Berglund were off by themselves. Berglund said Holleren confronted him and pushed him. Berglund said after he didn't respond to the push, Holleren attempted to punch him with an uppercut that hit Berglund in the chest as he evaded the punch. Berglund then pushed Holleren with both hands in the side of the head. The force of the push ruptured Holleren's eardrum.

Berglund left the altercation and an hour later received a phone call from the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, who had spoken with Meyers, Holleren and others and ultimately arrived at the version of the events that appeared in the police report.

"Here was the problem, there were three witnesses, me, that other kid and my ex-girlfriend, who doesn' like me," Berglund said. "That was really the problem the entire time; in the initial police report they gave their story in the same room at the same time. There were a lot of procedural errors along the way. There was a text message conversation between them two that night putting this story together. And we have a record of that text message conversation."

Bergland said the initial charge was assault with a deadly weapon, which would have carried a 5-year jail term with it. The charge was eventually reduced to third-degree assault because the injury sustained to Holleren's ear was not as bad as was first believed.

"The way it was reflected was inaccurate," Berglund said. "I couldn't talk about it. I couldn't tell my teammates, I couldn't tell anyone because pending the investigation, anything I say is damaging in a courtroom. So there's no way to say something the right way when you're dealing with a situation like that. That was the hardest part, not being able to tell friends what was going on."

Even though the district attorney offered several plea deals, especially after Berglund says he took and passed a polygraph test, Berglund said he stayed the course and was willing to take his chances with a jury on Jan. 9.  However, it didn't get that far as the case was resolved with a deferred prosecution, according to Douglas County chief deputy district attorney John Hower. Berglund completed community service, took a conflict management course and paid Holleren $2,935 in restitution, which basically covered medical bills.

It was the anticlimactic ending for which Berglund was hoping as he now tries to find a new place to play collegiate football. But he still has one last hurdle to overcome. Berglund, who enrolled at Kansas twice and had to withdraw twice to focus on his legal troubles, requested a release from KU after new coach Charlie Weis took over. However, the school denied that transfer request, as well as a request to speak with other coaches last month. Berglund purposely missed a mandatory meeting last month and was subsequently dismissed from the team.

On Friday, Berglund and his lawyers will present their case in front of the Kansas Student-Athlete Appeals Board in an effort to get Berglund's release so he can begin his career elsewhere.

"It's so reassuring to move on with my life and just go on with the next step," Berglund said. "I obviously hoped that it would be a little easier. I just hope I get the release and move on with my life. The whole process there is disappointing and frustrating and my intention the whole time, I always wanted to be a Jayhawk. And that's the hardest part, the thinking that I didn't want to be there and didn't want to participate last fall. That couldn't be more untrue.

"I just want to move on."

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham

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