Erik Walden

Green Bay Packers linebacker Erik Walden has been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after getting in a domestic altercation with his girlfriend on November 25.

He pleaded not guilty and will return to court December 27. If convicted, he faces up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The linebacker was arrested for suspicion of felony domestic violence-substantial battery after his girlfriend called police. She suffered a cut on her forehead that needed four stitches and injured her thumb after the altercation with Walden. No one is denying there was an altercation, but there remains the question of who started it.

After Walden’s arrest, his girlfriend changed her story and said she started the altercation, saying Walden was merely defending himself. The Journal Sentinel suggests clearer details have emerged.

“The bottom line is we’re basing it on the facts that were presented to law enforcement orginally,” District Attorney John Zakowski said. “The information that was provided to St. Vincent’s Hospital, the emergency room. We also obtained a copy of the 9-1-1 tape. She had gone to the police department. She actually called 9-1-1 and wanted to report a domestic violence incident.

“What we have at this point is apparently it was a pushing incident where he pushed her and that’s how she became injured. Whether he intended for her to become injured is circumspect. That’s why at this point I think we can prove disorderly conduct.”

The argument in question stems from Walden’s decision to return to his home state of Georgia the day after the Packers beat the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Walden’s high school was reportedly planning to retire his jersey, but he wasn’t planning on taking his girlfriend or their two children to Georgia with him.

The disorderly conduct charge is a good sign the district attorney can’t prove domestic abuse or that it didn’t actually occur — however you’d like to look at it. If Walden is convicted of disorderly conduct, it’s unlikely he’ll serve time. In other words, he should be available for the remainder of the season.