Schools fighting over quarterback’s beating
ETTRICK, VA. | Virginia State and Winston-Salem State have drastically varying versions of a fight that left the WSSU quarterback beaten in a bathroom.
Competing news conferences held Monday on the respective campuses only served to highlight just how far apart their perspectives are.
The only thing clear is that WinstonSalem State quarterback Rudy Johnson was injured during a fight at a luncheon the day before last week’s scheduled CIAA championship game and a Virginia State player was arrested.
VSU coach Latrell Scott said there was a “rush to judgment” and that one player “made a bad decision.”
A few hours later in Winston-Salem, N.C., WSSU Chancellor Donald Reaves called for further sanctions against Virginia State and declared his school “damaged” by the fight.
The CIAA, which opted to cancel its championship game, also declared Virginia State ineligible for postseason play.
Johnson appeared with sunglasses at the WSSU presser, concealing the cuts above and below his blackened right eye.
The quarterback said he was punched, stomped and kicked by as many as six Virginia State players during the fight that also left him with a headache, a sore back and sore ribs.
Trojans running back Lamont Daniel Britt has been charged with misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury in the fight involving Johnson.
Scott said four Trojans players were questioned after the incident, but Britt is the only player to have been charged.
“I acknowledge that we had one young man who made a bad decision, as young men sometimes do,” Scott said Monday morning during an often-contentious news conference held at his school and attended by many team members and some frustrated parents.
Citing the ongoing investigations, VSU officials declined to comment on what precipitated the fight.
Johnson, however, provided details of the altercation.
He said when he entered the bathroom, the Virginia State players asked if he was the Rams’ starting quarterback and as he washed his hands, “somebody hit me on my blind side.”
He said he felt “four or five feet stomping on me and kicking me” and the Virginia State players fled when two other Winston-Salem State players emerged from their bathroom stalls.
Johnson said he couldn’t identify the Virginia State players because, “I could barely see the guy who hit me until after he hit me.”
The QB said he has not hired an attorney, has not decided whether to bring criminal charges but declared that, “I’m positive I’ll play Saturday.”
Winston-Salem State, the No. 4 seed in its region, plays Slippery Rock in the first round of the Division II playoffs.
Reaves said his school plans to file a formal complaint with the CIAA and the NCAA, saying Virginia State “lacked institutional control over its football team when they came to our campus.”
He said neither Virginia State president Keith T. Miller nor athletic director Peggy Davis attended the luncheon, “and the supervision of that team was left to the football coach,” Reeves said.