WSSU chancellor ridicules VSU report, defends WSSU quarterback

Sports

Lamont Darnell Britt (right) was arrested by WSSU campus police and charged with misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury on Rudy Johnson (left). (Pictures from WSSU athletics and VSU athletics)

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Chancellor Donald Reaves of Winston-Salem State University issued a terse statement Wednesday about Virginia State University’s investigation into the beating of quarterback Rudy Johnson, saying that no WSSU students or officials were interviewed for the 75-page report, which was issued Monday by VSU.

“I cannot understand how the investigator could uncover the facts of the incident when his interviews were limited to people who study or work at VSU,” Reaves said. “It comes as no surprise, therefore, that they all tell the same story.”

Reaves added: “The report relied almost exclusively on the testimonials of the young men who may have been involved in the assault on WSSU quarterback Rudy Johnson, which is a serious methodological flaw that raises questions about the credibility of its conclusions.”

Robert Clayton, a Washington lawyer hired by Virginia State to investigate the Nov. 15 incident, compiled the report after interviewing Virginia State head coach Latrell Scott, eight of his players and Virginia State assistant football coaches.

The report mentioned that WSSU campus police had interviewed four VSU players about the fight. WSSU police Chief Pat Norris did not give that information to VSU for its report, Clayton said.

Norris declined Monday to comment on the report.

Thomas Reed, a VSU spokesman, said that Virginia State administrators “will let the facts as presented in the report and as gathered by the WSSU police speak for themselves.”

Johnson was injured in a fight in which he said he was assaulted by many as six Virginia State players in a restroom during the CIAA awards luncheon at the Anderson Center on the WSSU campus. The fight led CIAA officials to cancel the conference championship between the school’s football teams.

Johnson could identify only one player to WSSU campus police. Lamont Darnell Britt, 23, of Portsmouth, Va., was charged with misdemeanor assault, inflicting serious injury, according to an arrest warrant says. He is scheduled to appear in Forsyth District Court on April 15.

Johnson suffered a black eye and cuts to his face. Britt has been suspended by VSU for the spring semester. When he returns, he will be put on probation for one year. Britt also is required to complete 30 hours of community and take anger-management sessions, the VSU report stated.

The report indicated that Britt punched Johnson after the two exchanged trash talk about the football game.

“To ignore the physical damage inflicted upon this young man, or to conclude that it was caused by a single assailant wielding a single punch is absurd,” Reaves said. “The only thing that this report uncovered was the facts according to VSU.”

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