Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs says UCLA kettlebell incident that led to arrest was self-defense
Sean “Diddy” Combs was defending himself and his son when he got into a violent confrontation at a UCLA athletic complex and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, his representative said Tuesday.
Police said Combs, 45, used a kettlebell in the confrontation inside the Acosta Athletic Training Complex on campus sometime before 12:30 p.m. Monday. A kettlebell is a round piece of weightlifting equipment with a handle, usually made of cast iron.
But any reports that Combs was the aggressor are inaccurate, spokeswoman Nathalie Moar, Combs Enterprises senior vice president, said in a statement.
“The various accounts of the event and charges that are being reported are wholly inaccurate. What we can say now is that any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son. We are confident that once the true facts are revealed, the case will be dismissed,” the statement said.
Combs’ company, Revolt, identified the coach involved in the conflict as Sal Alosi, who gained notoriety in 2010 for tripping a Miami Dolphins player during special-teams play. He was suspended by the NFL for that incident and ultimately left the league and took a job at Bryant College, a small school in Rhode Island.
Combs’ alleged actions on behalf of his son, a player on UCLA’s football team, did not sit well with Lorenzo Hobbs, the parent of a student.
“I think Diddy made the situation worse for his son,” said Hobbs, 56. “You want to protect your child and make sure they get treated fair, but a player needs to develop a relationship with coach to sort out conflict.”
Combs initially was held for investigation of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats and one count of battery. No one was seriously injured, and Combs was released from custody Monday night, jail records show.
On campus Tuesday with his wife, Beverly, and his 16-year-old daughter, Lauryn, the Hobbs family guessed Combs’ arrest likely only raised his son’s profile, and not necessarily for the better.
“Diddy’s son is a celebrity on campus whether he likes it or not. And I bet this won’t help him blend in,” Lauryn said. “The coverage might have drawn him unwanted attention. He might even want to leave. I might.”
Her father reflected on his days watching Lauryn play lacrosse.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to talk to the coach every once in awhile,” Lorenzo Hobbs said. “Coaches can be a little unfair sometimes.”
“But I’m glad he didn’t. It’s not always fair, but I’m glad I got to prove my worth to the coach,” his daughter added.
UCLA junior Eduardo Gomez, 20, said he did not know about the incident, but he said it didn’t sound like it would help the rapper’s son.
Senior Alex Washington said the young athlete’s father needed to take a step back.
Combs’ son Justin is a defensive back with UCLA.
“I’m thankful that our staff showed the level of professionalism that they did in handling this situation,” Bruins Coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “This is an unfortunate incident for all parties involved. While UCPD continues to review this matter, we will let the legal process run its course and refrain from further comment at this time.”
“We are aware of the reports and are looking into the matter,” UCLA director of media relations Phil Hampton said.
Combs is one of two famous rap moguls with sons playing football for the Bruins. Cordell Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s son, is also on the team.
Justin Combs, who graduated from Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 2012, accepted a full merit-based athletic scholarship to play football at UCLA.
He turned down scholarship offers from Illinois, Virginia and Wyoming.
When some questioned whether he should have received the financial help, given his father’s wealth, Justin Combs defended the decision on Twitter. “Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!! PERIOD,” he wrote in 2012.
According to his bio page on the Bruins’ website, he has played in seven games. He is listed as a redshirt junior.
The elder Combs has had other high-profile encounters with the law.
In 2001, jurors found him not guilty of charges of weapons possession and attempted bribery that stemmed from a 1999 shooting at a crowded Manhattan dance club.
Combs testified that he had no role in the shooting, which occurred after his entourage got into an altercation with others at the club.
After the shooting, Combs and then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez fled in a sport-utility vehicle that police stopped several blocks away. A gun was found, but Combs was acquitted on a charge that he tried to bribe his driver to say he owned the weapon.
The nightclub incident occurred two years after Combs was a witness to the killing of Christopher Wallace, better known as the Notorious B.I.G., outside an industry party in Los Angeles. Wallace was shot to death six months after Tupac Shakur was killed in Las Vegas. Shakur, a rival rap star, previously had accused Combs of setting him up to be shot and robbed at a New York studio.
Marquis Wallace, a junior business major at UCLA, said he wasn’t stunned that Combs wouldn’t be a wallflower as the parent of a student athlete.
“Can we really say that we’re surprised? We’ve seen his reality shows, ‘Making the Band’ and ‘I Want to Work for Diddy,’ ” he said. “He is prone to go off. Anyone who thought Diddy would just sit quiet while his son came here was sadly uninformed.”
Stephanie Alvarez, a recent UCLA graduate, said she already had heard various versions of what happened during the alleged confrontation, some harder to believe than others.
“First, I heard that Diddy came in with a big squad. Then a friend told me that the room was all smashed up after he finished with the coach,” she said. “I don’t know if I believe any of it. But it just shows how much people love to talk about celebrities.
“I feel bad for the son, though. He didn’t ask for any of this.”
Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Ryan Parker contributed to this article.
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