The NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers have released running back Chris Rainey a short time after he was arrested in Florida on one count of simple battery following a dispute with his girlfriend.
A press released for the Gainesville Police Department said the dispute occured when Rainey, 24, tried to pull the victim from a car belonging to another individual. Witnesses revealed that he struck the woman across the face with an open hand.
The victim, who has yet to be identified, proceeded to run away, but witnesses stated that Rainey began running after the woman because his cell phone was allegedly still in the victim's purse. As he caught up to the woman he apparently grabbed the bag, and the two were knocked to the ground.
Police officials stated that Rainey said the woman fell out of the car as he tried to grab her purse and only chased after the woman to recover his cell phone. He has denied striking the woman, but admitted the two fell when he tried to grab the purse a second time.
"We do have at least two witnesses that saw that part of it," Officer Ben Tobias, spokesman for the Gainesville PD, said in a statement.
Rainey was taken into custody by the Gainesville Police Department and booked at Alachua County Jail.
Police said the Rainey will be held in the Alachua County Jail until his first appearance in court which is expected to happen on Friday, Tobias said.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement released Thursday afternoon that the organization was disappointed in his actions and would no longer play for the Steelers.
"Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing … under the circumstances and due to this conduct; Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers," Colbert explained.