Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota, 22, was formally arraigned in Montreal on Thursday on charges of assault and uttering threats against his estranged wife. He was immediately released on $300 bail and a host of conditions.
The third-year business management student and starting running back was arrested at a downtown apartment on Wednesday morning.
By late that evening, McGill said the player in question had been immediately suspended as per the university's varsity athletics guidelines.
"What's particular in this case is my client is the victim and not the aggressor, contrary to the cases in the United States," said defence lawyer Steve Hanafi, referring to a spate of domestic violence cases involving National Football League players.
Hanafi said the university was too hasty in suspending Guimont-Mota from the football team and that he and his client would challenge the decision.
"I think they acted too fast just to protect their image and they don't know the facts," he told reporters outside the courtroom.
The university said the deputy provost's office for student life and learning will investigate and take any measures deemed appropriate.
Hanafi said Guimont-Mota is considering filing a cross-complaint against his estranged wife, the alleged victim in the current case.
His parents were in court on Thursday and Guimont-Mota's father offered a surety of $750 in addition to the bail.
The family didn't speak to reporters after the hearing.
Guimont-Mota and his estranged wife were married in 2012, but are now considering a divorce, the lawyer said.
Hanafi said the alleged victim told Guimont-Mota's mother she'd struck him in the face.
"For the moment, we're faced with two contradictory versions (of what happened)," Hanafi said. "She says he pushed her and my client says something else and we have leads that suggest he may be the victim."
Guimont-Mota was voted McGill's most outstanding offensive player in 2013.
By Thursday morning, his profile had been removed from the McGill Redmen team's website, although his photo remained prominently displayed on the home page as he was a recipient of a $1,500 bursary from the Montreal Alouettes earlier this month.
The case returns to court Feb. 23, 2015.
Guimont-Mota pleaded guilty in 2011 to an assault outside a Quebec City bar in May 2010.
He was sentenced last year to 90 days in jail to be served discontinuously, according to court records obtained by The Canadian Press.
Quebec Le Soleil reported that the judge granted him a request for such a sentence to allow him to continue playing football.
It's unclear if these charges will have an impact in that case, Hanafi said.