Rep. Byrd cites support from former players, ‘no comment’ on allegations

Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) and Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) attend a committee meeting in Nashville on March 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro), who is accused of sexual misconduct with three teenagers when he was a 28-year-old basketball coach, says he has received the support of 66 former players as he embarks on his re-election campaign. As for the allegations from three decades ago? “No comment,” he said.

Byrd spoke to reporters after his bill seeking to arm teachers failed in the House State Government Committee on Tuesday.

“I’ve actually announced for re-election. I did that over the weekend on my Facebook page, and I had probably over 1,200 positive comments and shares and likes and when you get 1,200 comments on one Facebook post, you’ve got quite a bit of support,” The Tennessean quoted Byrd as saying.

“My county and my supporters and my former basketball players, they’ve really surrounded me, overwhelmingly backing me and so I really appreciate that,” he said.

House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Franklin) said he won’t join House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) in calling on Byrd to resign.

As WSMV-TV’s Alanna Autler first reported, one of the women secretly recorded a telephone call to Byrd in which he apologized and told her how “hard it has been for me” to live with his actions with the woman who was a 15-year-old student at the time.

“I wish I had a do-over because I promise you I would have corrected that and that would’ve never happened,” Byrd told the woman in the recorded phone call obtained by WSMV. “But I hope you believe me when I say that it’s one of those things that I think about it all the time, and I always ask forgiveness for it and I hope you forgive me.”

“It’s one of those things I’ve really beaten myself up and I don’t know if you believe that or not,” Byrd said. “But I do. All the time. There hasn’t been a Sunday that’s gone by when I’m doing my communion and everything and I’m asking forgiveness for sins, my sins, that’s one of the things that I do.”

Casada issued a statement to say that “the David Byrd I know is not the David Byrd being described in these allegations.”

“I do not believe Representative Byrd should resign from his legislative seat and voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to send him back to the General Assembly in just a few short months,” he said.


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