Suspect arrested after WSSU quarterback attacked, championship game canceled

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Rudy Johnson (WSSU athletics)

Rudy Johnson (WSSU athletics)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Saturday’s CIAA championship football game between Winston-Salem State and Virginia State has been canceled after a group of Virginia State players assaulted WSSU quarterback Rudy Johnson during a luncheon Friday on the WSSU campus.

Kevin Manns, the WSSU sports information director, said that Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association officials were meeting Friday night in the office of WSSU Chancellor Donald Reaves, but that nothing has been announced.

"We're not issuing a statement at this time," Manns said.

However, WSSU officials told the school's ticket office that the game has been canceled, and Virginia State's website confirmed the cancellation.

Winston-Salem State University Police Chief Pat Norris, left, holds the door open for WSSU's starting quarterback Rudy Johnson as he enters the magistrates's office on Friday. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

Winston-Salem State University Police Chief Pat Norris, left, holds the door open for WSSU's starting quarterback Rudy Johnson as he enters the magistrates's office on Friday. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

WSSU player Daven Gray also confirmed the decision after a meeting at the Bowman Gray field house, saying, “Yep, the game is canceled.”

Lamont Darnell Britt (VSU athletics)

Lamont Darnell Britt (VSU athletics)

Lamont Darnell Britt, 22, a junior running back from Portsmouth City, Va., was arrested by WSSU campus police and charged with misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury, according to the arrest warrant. Britt is being held in the Forsyth County Jail with bond set at $7,500.

Britt, who has played in all 10 games and has rushed for 276 yards, is scheduled to appear in Forsyth District Court on Dec. 9.

Britt is accused of assaulting Johnson by hitting him in the face and head. Johnson had a swollen eye and a laceration above the eye, according to the arrest warrant.

The magistrate said that no more arrests are expected Friday night.

The fight broke out in a bathroom at the Anderson Center on the WSSU campus during an event associated with the championship game, according to an employee of the Anderson Center who would not identify himself and two WSSU football players who tried to intervene.

“We don’t know a lot of what happened but we do know our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was beaten up,” Reaves said, “and he didn’t beat himself up.”

Johnson, who is 9-0 as a starter this season, was treated at a local hospital and released.

“Rudy was beaten up bad and he can’t play,” said one of the WSSU players who went into the bathroom in an attempt to help Johnson.

As it turns out, nobody will play because of the cancellation of the game.

At about 4 p.m., almost two hours after the alleged attack in the bathroom, the CIAA decided to call off the game.

An assistant coach at Virginia State, who did not want to be identified, said the Virginia State staff is investigating the incident. The assistant coach did not know if there would be any disciplinary action.

A Virginia State player, who did not want to be identified, said it was “a crazy deal.”

“We all really don’t know what happened because it was in the bathroom, but we heard something going on,” the player said.

Coach Connell Maynor of the Rams refused comment after the banquet.

Donnie Owens, a defensive lineman, said he can’t believe that something like a fight could derail the team’s chances of winning a third straight CIAA championship.

“This is some crazy stuff right now,” Owens said outside the Bowman Gray Stadium field house. “We are supposed to be playing a football game tomorrow. That’s what our focus should be on.”

Winston-Salem State said it will offer refunds through the school, starting next week, for those who bought tickets for the game.

Canceling the game could hurt Virginia State's chances of getting an NCAA Division II playoff berth. The Trojans (9-1) are No. 6 in the Super One Region and could get pushed out of that sixth spot depending on what happens with Saturday's games. The Rams (9-1) are at No. 2 in the region and would seemingly be in good shape to get into the playoffs.

Statement from Winston-Salem State University Chancellor Donald J. Reaves 

"I am saddened to report that at today's CIAA pre-championship game luncheon held at the Anderson Center of the WSSU campus that our starting quarterback, Rudy Johnson, was viciously beaten by one or more members of the Virginia State football team. There is no excuse for the behavior of the Virginia State players. One suspect has admitted to his role in the attack and has been arrest on criminal assault charges. The University Police Department is attempting to identify the other VSU players who were involved. Today's event was supposed to be a celebration for both teams and for all the players who were being recognized for an outstanding season. The actions from the Virginia State players certainly changed the outcome for everyone."


  • Tarheel GranMommy

    What the hell is wrong with those boys?
    It appears that the Virginia State players felt they had no chance of winning without disabling the opposing QB.
    This is a shame!

  • Felipe

    Based on the outcome of the investigation, the game should be forfeited by VA State. Minimally, those five players should be suspended and investigated for criminal charges.

  • FaithC

    5 against 1 and VA State has to see if any action will be taken? What has to happen before that schools sees a problem?

  • Gus Lobell

    An individual was physically assaulted and battered by five other individuals in the restroom of a public facility.

    There is no question that these five batterers should be facing criminal charges from DA Jim O’Neill and the Forsyth County District Attorney’s office.

    No excuse should be made for their behavior, and certainly “disciplinary action” from Virginia State AD Peggy Davis and VSU President Keith Miller shouldn’t be a substitute for the criminal justice process.

  • BlueHouseNoble - Eagle Funk

    Wanna send a message? Award the Championship to WSSU and press criminal charges against the guilty. This sends a message from the CIAA that this type of actions will not be tolerated. Atleast the A&T and the NCCU Eagles do it as a team and fight in the middle of center court if it’s basket ball and center field if football. None of this 5 on 1 in a public bathroom left up to speculation and the cover of darkness.


    This is a SMH moment. We should all look @ this & wonder what next? The actions of a few have affected so many.


  • cj cuthrell

    these guys thinking only about self not realizing how it will effect so many at both hbcu’s and visiters that had planned to attend this weekends game. not to mention the millions of dollars,time,prep,good friends,fellowship for hbcu schools alums from around the country attending !!!!!

    • orville lewis

      I see diminished academic and athletic recruitment, private funds, etc. The game would not have gotten nationwide coverage yet this incident, though negative, brought negative attention to these teams. I feel badly for those who are actually grieving over this incident. I respectfully ask that great attention be given to those who are emotionally hurting.

  • Suthenbelle

    If you listen to the report, it clearly states that NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. So to whomever remarked “typical” get the full story before you react. This is the FIRST time an incident like this has happened in the CIAA. This is not “typical” nor “common” in the CIAA conference. And anyone suggesting others wise has NOT attended CIAA university or college.

    I hope the CIAA sends a strong message to other teams in the conference that this can not and will not be tolerated. Fine VSU heavily, revoke the scholarships of all players involved. Not just the one who confessed. There were 5 that jumped the quarterback. WSSU should get an automatic win for this game. Move on to the next.

    It was a horrible incident. It tarnishes the image of otherwise respectable institutions of higher learning. I am a WSSU alumni and had to pass the same national exams as any other university. So do not try to take this “UNCOMMON” “UNUSUAL” situation and automatically label it a typical. Because it is clearly not. But you would only know that if you listened to the report as well as read the article.

  • Suthenbelle

    Big John. Please feel free to express a thought beyond belittling those 3 institutions with no FACTS. Just a prejudice opinion. You never attended either of them. Because if you did, you’d know that neither one of them is “thug life”. So either give an examples that support your conclusion or your just trying to provoke and instigate intolerance and ignorance.

  • Suthenbelle

    Give an example… just one. And please sight a source. If not then you’re showing your intelligence level. And I pray God bless you. Because He is the only one that can help you.

  • TJ

    WSSU should not be in championship game anyway. Their coaches are doing illegal recruiting and will be caught by NCAA

  • Joe T

    For any of you to use the word RACIST is an idiot. Shows low vocabulary and ignorance. It was black on black….. how is that racist? It is wrong and should be dealt with. However I am sick of the racist comment every time something happens. It is athletics in school. Things are going to happen but it does not involve color. Quit pushing race into everything.

  • Dick Deep Dark and Big

    Black on black violence, that makes it double race card to play (or not)… Lets see if people figure out that most violence in america is purp’ed by black on black, and black on white. Yet white gets the media charge of being racist. Messed up all around.

  • Jerry Jeffries

    To big john and his racist friends ,by making these comments think about schools ,such as penn state,where coaches are allowed to sexually assault kids,and made hero’s.Look in your own back yard before making such ignorant comments.

  • Randy Johnson

    the players involved in jumping Rudy thete parents are Cowards and your lucky your in N.C. this Is Rudys uncle and your coach is a Coward. my name is Randy Johnson jump on me and tgis is far from over

  • G

    Randy you sound so emotional, u sure u not his aunt? You have no idea how far this is from being over…shout out to the VA thugs who assault then go solitary… I see how u do it.

  • terrie brown

    These comments are just comical half of you need to go get their uncle he over there putting dead chickens around kids neck…make him take his purple pills please and you aunt well we know she needs a padded room

  • Devon

    remember the little girl in america they have arrested someone and he knows stuff kept from public in confession.
    her mum died this year of cancer .
    Hopefully this case will be closed unsure who it is but if it wasn’t the family what happens now after all the accusations they got.

  • T-Bone

    This is a problem that must be controlled, don’t let the action of a few kill what took years to get a chance to have an HBCU champion!


  • Angie

    You’re letting the media control this once again, come on black people. It does not take much for you to turn against each other. This is the time to come together, investigate, find out what happened and propose a resolution. I am a proud HBCU graduate and the comments from WSSU, shame, shame, shame on you. If this was a white school and a black person was called a thug, hood or any other derogatory comment all the HBCU’s would be upset. Why are you even letting the media pit you against each other? WSSU and VSU are both fine institutions and both have a lot to be proud of. All the name calling and putting down of the schools is really tacky. Britt made a wrong decision that day, and he will have to live with that for the rest of his life. People belittling this man, he made a mistake and you have made mistakes to, it just did not make it to the press/media. Pray for him and his family. GOD is the only judge. All of you out there acting like the judge and the jury one day this could be your child. Start teaching your kids now and let this be a teaching moment. Most of you on here talking are probably not even parents yet, so you won’t understand that there are two families WSSU and VSU hurting right now. There is a bright side to this no one died. Things could have been worst. Just praying for Peace right now amongst the HBCU families – Hampton Univ Alumni

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