Former Florida State University quarterback De’Andre Johnson admitted he should have walked away from an altercation in a Tallahassee bar -- and said he doesn’t blame the university for kicking him off the football team.
Video from inside the bar recorded June 24 shows Johnson punching a woman. He was charged with misdemeanor battery.
Johnson, speaking exclusively with ABC News' Michael Strahan, said he regrets the encounter.
“I totally should have walked away. I’m sorry. I apologize to the lady in the incident, to her family ... to my mother,” Johnson said. “I know I wasn’t raised that way.”
Johnson, 19, from Jacksonville, declined to say whether he had been drinking prior to the altercation.
The victim suffered bruising under her left eye, swelling to the left cheek and upper lip, and a small cut, according to the arrest affidavit. Johnson was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery. He has pleaded not guilty.
A court date has been set for later this month.
The 21-year-old victim, contacted by ABC News, said she had no comment at this time.
Johnson didn’t want to focus on speculation about what prompted the punch, or that racial slurs had been directed at him.
“It doesn’t matter," he said. "What matters is that I shouldn’t have raised my hand to her. I should have walked away."
Johnson told Strahan that he feels like he let down his mother, Pamela Jones.
Jones said she cried “for three days” following her son’s arrest.
“I still cry, 'cause I don’t teach my kids to raise their hand ... and for this to happen, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Jones said.
Jones said she was furious at her son.
“I wanted to jump through the phone and wring his neck,” she admitted.
Johnson said that he hasn’t second-guessed Florida State’s decision to kick him off the team. But he also hopes for a second chance, a new opportunity to prove himself. He wants to continue his education, and he’s volunteering at a battered women’s shelter.
Johnson’s attorney, Jose Baez, said that his client is forbidden by the court from reaching out to the woman he struck, but he does have a message.
“I would like to say to her and her family that I am ... severely sorry. No words can describe this feeling,” he said.