Former Penn State football and NFL player Harry Hamilton denied charges of a reported altercation with his son in State College from early March in an interview with the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader.
Hamilton, 55, was charged with burglary and criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor count of simple assault and two summary offenses of harassment, with allegations that he forced his way into his son’s residence before assaulting him.
After gaining entry to the residence, Hamilton accused his son of using drugs and then punched him several times before throwing him to the ground, according to police.
According to police, he picked up another person and threw them to the ground, as well.
Hamilton played as Penn State’s defensive back from 1981 until 1983, before being drafted into the NLF. He went on to play for eight seasons with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, Hamilton believed his son — who was not in Hamilton’s custody — was being influenced by a marijuana dealer with access to the State College Area High School track team.
According to the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, he is claiming the police reports are inaccurate.
Hamilton said he arrived at the residence on March 3 for a welfare check of the boy and his mother. Here, he then knocked on the front door and found it to be unlocked, which made Hamilton suspicious.
Upon entering, he said he smelled marijuana coming from upstairs as his son came down.
Hamilton said in the interview he attempted to pull his son out the door and away from a potentially illegal situation.
“When he refuses, that’s when I grab him,” Hamilton told the Times-Leader. “I grabbed him as if I was tackling him to get him outside and away from what was going on inside. He’s almost 6-3, weighs as much as some of those lanky receivers I used to cover. He was able to escape the grasp, partially. I got turned around toward the stairs. At this point, I’m hearing, not seeing, there were other people in the house.”
Hamilton continued to say he was hit in the back of the head “that was sufficient enough to knock him down.”
He said he believed that it was a 6-foot-6 drug dealer who, he believed, had something in his pants.
“I grabbed him instantly — there was no way he was getting out of my grasp — and threw him outside,” he told the Times-Leader.
He left later when he saw the alleged dealer waiting in a car and feared he might have a gun. During the altercation, Hamilton injured his knee and went to a hospital for treatment.
In the interview, Hamilton admitted to scolding but never striking the two in the residence.
“There was no proof of a punch — not a picture, not even a mark — except for the kid’s statement,” Hamilton told the Times-Leader. “If I hit him, where is the bruise? Where is the proof?”
Before the incident on March 3, he claimed he had been trying to alert State College police to drug dealers in the area for the past two years.
Hamilton claimed the State College area had a drug war with a major cover-up from the police department.
“You have a man with an impeccable background,” he told the Times-Leader. “If I went into a burning building to save somebody from a fire, would the thinking be different? Somehow, now I try to save somebody from the gateway drug of marijuana, I have been charged criminally.”
“They should be thanking me for exposing a major drug operation,” he continued.
Hamilton’s preliminary hearing began March 28 and continues until April 4. He also has to attend a protection from abuse hearing on April 2.
He is currently a New Jersey attorney and said he would defend himself in the case.