New Mexico State indefinitely suspends player after in-game sucker punch

February 5, 2024 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballCoaching
A New Mexico State University men’s basketball player has been suspended indefinitely after he punched a player from Liberty University during a game last week.

New Mexico State announced the decision on Friday to suspend Robert Carpenter indefinitely from all team activities.

new mexicoVideo began circulating across social media of Carpenter sucker-punching the Liberty player as the Flames were going down the court during an offensive possession.

According to NMSU Athletics, Carpenter would normally be suspended for one game, but the NMSU men’s basketball program feels that his actions go against the program’s principles and will not be tolerated.

Carpenter took to social media to apologize for his actions.

NMSU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jason Hooten also sent out an apology to Liberty University and Coach McKay.

In his statement, Hooten added that after the game Carpenter met with the other Liberty player and apologized to him “face-to-face.”

Hooten also said that despite Carpenter’s aggression, he believes he is a good kid.

Below is Hooten’s full statement:

I want to reiterate my sincere apologies to Liberty University and Coach McKay for the actions of Robert last night. Throughout my 14-year career as a head coach, I have consistently upheld a high standard of conduct, and something like this has never taken place within my programs nor is this acceptable.

Robert is a good kid. Unfortunately, he showed some poor judgment during the game and made a mistake. I believe he is a high-character guy as are all the guys that we bring into this program. Last night, Robert had the opportunity to meet with the Liberty student-athlete involved in the incident, offering a face-to-face apology. Robert has also since apologized to his teammates and the community for his actions.

We will continue to support Robert academically and we will revisit the extent of the suspension in the near future.

Below is the New Mexico State Athletics full statement regarding the incident and their actions toward Carpenter:

Following careful consideration of the events that transpired last night, New Mexico State Athletics has made the decision to indefinitely suspend Robert Carpenter from all team activities effective immediately.

Per the NCAA’s rules of conduct, any player involved in an altercation during competition is required to serve a one-game suspension, however, we feel it is important to emphasize that the Aggie men’s basketball program places the utmost priority on the values of sportsmanship and respect and feel that an indefinite suspension is necessary.

His actions do not align with the standards we uphold at New Mexico State, and we believe it is important to ensure that any actions contrary to our principles will not be tolerated.

We will continue to work closely with our coaching staff, players, and support personnel to reinforce the importance of responsible conduct both on and off the court. We remain committed to creating an environment where our student-athletes can thrive academically and personally.

We appreciate the continued support of the men’s basketball program and the athletics department. We remain focused on the future and the positive contributions our student-athletes bring to our institution.