Schools fight­ing over quar­ter­back’s beat­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY HANK KURZ JR.

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.

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