UPDATED: McHale’s captaincy suspension follows Toad’s fight

Updated Aug. 12, 7:22 p.m. The suspension of Will McHale’s ’13 football captaincy, announced Saturday, comes as McHale faces an infraction charge of creating a public disturbance for allegedly punching another male student at Toad’s Place on May 15.

A witness to the altercation said McHale threw a drink at a friend of Marc Beck ’12, and that when Beck stepped between the two and yelled at McHale, the football captain punched Beck in the face. McHale fled the scene following the incident, according to the witness.

McHale, who was arrested by Yale Police that night, appeared in court Aug. 10 and applied for Connecticut’s Accelerated Rehabilitation program. Following the application, his case was continued until Aug. 9, 2013.

The Accelerated Rehabilitation program gives individuals with first-time criminal or motor vehicle violations the opportunity to dismiss those charges following the successful completion of a probation sentence lasting no more than two years, according to the State of Connecticut’s Judicial Branch.

McHale and his attorney Michael Luzzi ’85 declined to comment immediately following the court appearance.

The trouble at Toad’s began when McHale spilled part of his drink on Beck’s friend while dancing, the witness said. After Beck’s friend attempted to take McHale’s drink away, McHale threw the remainder of the drink at the friend.

Beck, a former sports editor for the News, was left with a laceration that required 14 stitches. McHale could not be reached for comment Aug. 6, and his attorney, Michael Luzzi ’85, declined to comment on the case.

A Saturday press release by Yale Athletics announced that McHale requested the suspension.

“Will made a poor decision and his actions are unacceptable to Yale and our football program,” Head Coach Tony Reno said in the Yale Athletics statement. “He remains an important part of our team, and I fully expect him to work to restore his credibility in the Yale community while remaining a leader on and off the field.”

In the release, McHale said he hopes to put the matter behind him and “regain the trust and confidence that comes with being a member of the Yale football team.”

Football player Javi Sosa ’13 said the team was informed of the news by Reno and McHale in a Sunday email. Reno could not be reached for comment Monday, and Athletics Director Tom Beckett declined to comment beyond the press release.

“We try to speak about overcoming adversity, and this is just another step,” Sosa said. “I know Will will do his part.”

Sosa said he does not know how a new captain will be chosen. Another player told the News Monday that he does not think the team will select anyone to replace McHale, who was elected as the 135th captain on Nov. 17 in a unanimous vote by his teammates.

McHale, a linebacker, has 133 career tackles and was second-team all-Ivy in 2011. He comes from a football family — both his father and grandfather played linebacker for the University of Notre Dame.

James Lu contributed reporting.


  • Yalie

    He hopes to put the matter behind him? I daresay he does. I’m sure the young man with fourteen stitches would like to as well. Might be a little tougher for him, though.

  • bulldognut

    Threw a drink in a girl’s face and gave a guy 14 stitches on his face? How did this guy get elected captain?

  • sonofmory

    where does it say that he threw a drink in a girl’s face? i am not saying it is right either way but don’t exaggerate or make up facts!

  • BR2013

    I happen to be a friend of Mr. Beck and Mr. McHale did in fact throw a drink in a girl’s face. He should have never been elected captain and should be happy if losing his captaincy is all that he gets for such vile conduct.

  • EliFBfan

    surprisingly one-sided coverage even for the YDN. Mr. Beck’s association with the paper seems to have trumped any attempt at actual reporting, as in stating the facts, not just one-sided allegations. Revenge of the nerds I suppose

    • ernie

      How so? McHale and his lawyer declined to comment, and presumably McHale could have pointed the YDN to another witness had he wanted to. Is the YDN obligated not to report its witness’s account until it finds one who will support whatever the version of events that is more sympathetic to McHale might be? What if no such alternative version exists?

    • Yale12

      Agreed. Journalists aren’t mind-readers. If you decline to comment for an article, you risk your side not being represented. Don’t accuse the paper of impropriety when there is clearly none.

  • Jeepers

    Here’s another apparent stain on the Yale football program, and more questions for the Athletic Director…..alumni don’t want another cover-up.

  • anon12

    > “We try to speak about overcoming adversity, and this is just another
    > step,” Sosa said. “I know Will will do his part.”

    So being an asshole and subsequently learning how to not be one counts as overcoming adversity now? Nice. Or is Sosa speaking about the rest of the team overcoming some sort of adversity? Jesus kid, get a grip.

    • anon1323

      clearly referring to the team needing to overcome the adversity presented to them

  • SM11

    Two BIG concerns here:

    1. He’s being let off with an infraction after causing a 14 stitch laceration on a fellow student’s FACE? Was there a weapon involved?

    2. On that same point, he’s still allowed to play football?

  • An_Observer

    Prior to the 2006 season, the newly elected captain of the Harvard football team was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend in her dorm room. She later requested that all charges be dropped and he was merely given probation. Nevertheless, he was replaced as captain and permanently suspended from the football team.

    Given the primacy of precedents set by Harvard and/or Princeton in the decision-making by Yale administrators and the likelihood that charges will not be dropped by the alleged victim, it seems probable that the young man has played his last down as a Yale football player.

    In particular, after the unseemly forced resignation of Coach Williams last winter and the fact that we hired the new head coach from Harvard, if the administration has any concern with how this incident affects Yale’s image (and of course they do), look for our resolution of the situation to be no more lenient than how it was handled by Harvard.

  • anon83

    Let’s all step back a second and consider all facets of this issue. Mr. McHale is a 4th year student at Yale University. Football not withstanding he had to be in the top 5% of his HS class and knock the SAT and ACT tests out of the park just to get in the school. We are not talking about some dumb jock at a football party school like OSU who has to be coddled and tutored to stay academically qualified to play. In short, he’s smarter and should know better. If this had happened to the average person at a bar in NYC, Mr. McHale would be posting bail to get out of Rikers not having his tush kissed by campus police. If he had ANY kind of weapon in his hand, he is looking at aggravated assault. Football shouldn’t even be in the discussion. His concern should be staying out of jail and not becoming some bigger inmate’s “girlfriend”.

    Consider what this one “adversity” causing action has risked: McHale’s freedom, college career, business career, personal reputation, family reputation, The School’s reputation, his High School legacy, the 2012/2013 season which directly impacts the future and reputation of every Yale Player. Truly an example in the value of one.

  • alum

    so why wasn’t he charged with assault?

    by the way, the headline shouldn’t say “fight”. one guy throwing a punch then running away= cheapshot and a coward.

    he should have been suspended by yale or even expelled.

  • observer

    This is hardly the first time that Yale has coddled football players arrested for fighting.

    Recall, a few years ago, when Quarterback Polhemus and star running back McCloud (and a three star hockey players) were spared any punishment at all for beating up a few “civilians”. The whole thing was hushed up and it appears that anybody who might have complained was bought off.


    Earlier this year, reportedly, “on one of the final days of Occupy New Haven, three drunk Yale football players, fresh from getting tattoos, marched through the encampment and allegedly assaulted a 60-year-old occupier. “We’re the 1 percent. Fuck Occupy!” one of them reportedly yelled.”


    We don’t even need to get into the Patrick Witt/Rhodes/sexual assault thing, where the adminstration’s first impulse, as usual, was to sweep the thing under the rug and protect the jock malefactor on the verge of theYale/Harvard gridiron clash.


    • SM11

      Would be interested to see the YDN follow up with the University on these incidents as well as how they are going to handle this case with McHale. Embarrassing

    • RexMottram08

      Mr. Polhemus and Mr. McLeod fought AGAINST the hockey players. There were no civilians involved.

      -1 for public drunkenness, +1 for inciting the anger of the Occupy idiots

      Patrick Witt, lest we forget, was also a YDN columnist. Shouldn’t we also implicate the YDN in his sexual misconduct?

  • jeep321

    Once again McHale loses his captanicy. He also lost his captaincy in HS for egging one of the football coaches house 4 times. I guess some people will never change. As the saying goes ‘a leopard never losses it spots’. He is one big coward.

  • concerned

    I disagree with the values of Yale University in allowing this student to return to campus this fall. Demonstration of athletic abilities and team play are not nearly as important as students’ over all well being and addressing issues of wrong doing in a manner that supports the individual student attending Yale College.

    • RexMottram08

      Yale ceded her moral authority decades ago.

  • yalestudent25

    It is amazing that McHale simply got his captaincy suspended and not asked to leave the university. How can Yale maintain a safe environment with unstable idiots like this walking around? This is UNACCEPTABLE.

    It also says something about the football team who unanimously voted this coward as their captain. After a couple of encounters with the team off the field, I am not surprised that they wanted a coward to lead them. Yale football first needs to work on improving their conduct off the field and their characters before they even think about honing their skills on the field, which are poor as well.

    I am embarrassed that people like this represent my university on the field. Get rid of Will McHale.

    • mrmike527

      Not asked to leave the university? What world do you live in? This guy punched someone–this isn’t murder.

      • attila

        So murder is the threshold for being asked to leave?

        The man committed assault and battery — a felony. I don’t understand why there is any question of letting him stay!

      • yalestudent25

        This guy’s punch resulted in a laceration that needed 14 stitches. That is not simply a punch. What the article failed to mention was that he had a metal ring of some sort on his hand that caused more damage than his punch should have. He needs to at least be asked to some time off from the university to reflect on his poor decisions. If he thinks he can be part of the community in the future, shows that he is working on his anger management issues, and demonstrates some sort of remorse to his victims, then let him back in. Everyone deserves a second chance.

  • Anonymous64

    Although this situation is still unfolding, I would like to know the final court decision and more importantly the corrective actions that I believe the University should take against McHale.

    So far I see no sufficient justice or remorse being displayed as the guilty party and his athletic supporters have only given empty statements focusing on their hopes of McHale’s honor as a Yale football player being restored. What McHale needs to worry about is regaining the trust, confidence, and basic sense of civility and security that comes with not being a member of the Yale football team, but of being an accepted member in the Yale community and society in general.

    The potential detriment his actions have on the football team’s success is really of no concern to most members of the Yale community. They are probably more worried about being just as likely to fall victim to such conduct of arrogance and disregard if the University does not truly step forward to adequately punish him.

    Mr. Beck is without a doubt the primary victim most deserving of redress. But let’s be reminded that this whole incident stemmed from McHale throwing his drink at a female student. If the DKE and Patrick Witt stories elicited so much attention and reform simply because they centered around sexual harrassment and discrimination, then it seems the origin of this situation is not too dissimilar. Yale should not slack on correcting this misconduct just because the heat is off their backs following the conclusion of the Title IX investigation.

    In the end, I hope that Yale at the very least will not allow McHale to return for the fall semester.

  • Bubba

    If this was a man on man altercation nothing would come of it other than “I’ll get you next time”. But, since we have man on nerd here the only defense is to press charges, cry or cry and have your girlfriend defend you. If I was Beck I would sign up for a gender test!

    • yalestudent25

      McHale is a coward. He sucker-punched Beck and ran away. If anyone needs to get a gender test it’s McHale. Please go away and learn how to read moron.

    • PS_QR

      Hey troll, maybe you should get a gender test. Or maybe you should get off the internets.

  • Mdog123

    It’s incredulous that a newspaper can run an article without any real fact checking. My daughter was going to apply to Yale but after watching the student body go on a “blog” rampage, no way! Both individuals were aggressive with each other and lets remember the chain of events were in a bar late at night with drinking, and crowded dancing. Yes, Will made a big mistake, but isn’t time for these two individuals to sit down, apologize, empathize, discuss, resolve and move forward. Yale supposedly being such a prestigious institution is creating a hostile environment where there will be no swift resolve, punishment and healing. Punishments need to be swift, precise, lead to healing and forward growth

    • ernie

      What nonsense. Where are you getting the idea that “both individuals were aggressive”? No witness has offered any account that suggests McHale’s actions were anything short of assault. Losing the captaincy but not his place in the team, let alone being expelled, is an exceptionally lenient punishment.

    • YaleMom

      Dear Mdog123: Don’t make a big mistake! My Ashley just graduated in May and she loved Yale and the boisterous Yale boys. Why don’t we get my Ashley and your daughter together and we can talk about Yale and your daughter’s application?

  • Skeptic

    Let’s just abolish football and get rid of all this nonsense once and for all. Who needs it? The alums will eventually find another outlet for their attempts to relive an imagined halcyon undergraduate experience.

  • The Anti-Yale

    If the genders are equal, how come we never see a headline like the following

    “Ms McHale’s captaincy suspension follows Toad’s fight” ?
    The suspension of Wilal McHale’s ’13 field hockey captaincy, announced Saturday, comes as Ms.McHale faces an infraction charge of creating a public disturbance for allegedly punching another female student at Toad’s Place on May 15.*