Three Colorado State University (CSU) football players have been “indefinitely suspended” from the team — but not from the school campus — after reportedly using homophobic slurs while beating up several freshmen students. The university’s response appears guarded and insufficient, after the attack on the college freshmen.
“It wasn’t really much of a fight. It was basically just a beating,” said freshman John ‘JD’ Haley, 19, who suffered a black eye, cuts and bruises while trying to protect his friend during the attack. “I’ve never seen anyone so mad, so violent. The kid was on a rampage.”
They say they were leaving a party at LaPorte and Shields about midnight on Friday when an SUV loaded with fellow students drove past, its occupants yelling homophobic insults. When Gocha responded with the same insult, the SUV screeched to a halt and several men piled out, Haley said.
“You could just tell they were looking for a fight,” Haley said. “They just started beating the back of Donny’s head in.”
Haley said he and their other two friends tried to protect Gocha while the much larger men kicked and punched him.
“I covered Donny’s head with my body,” Haley said. “We were all scared for his life. It froze me. You can’t really put into words how disturbing it way. My only thought was to protect his head.”
After hours in the hospital, and with his arms still bearing the marks where IVs were inserted, freshman Danny Gocha’s eyes are swollen shut, and he has a shoeprint stamped onto his back. Haley suffered his injuries trying to protect Gocha.
Both Haley and Gocha were left bleeding with chipped teeth and taken to Poudre Valley Hospital, along with their other two friends who suffered lesser injuries.
Members of the football team have been apologizing all weekend to the four students about the incident that happened late Friday night in Fort Collins. CSU football player Trey Cassidy posted on Facebook that he worried the public would paint the entire team with the same brush.
CSU spokesman Mike Hooker on Sunday said university officials are coordinating with Fort Collins Police on an investigation.
“If there’s truth to these allegations, the university absolutely does not condone this kind of behavior,” Hooker said. “At this point, the university can’t comment on the investigation by the police, but they are very serious allegations.”
And in a Facebook post, CSU’s vice president for student affairs, Jody Donovan, said that once police finish their investigation, they will forward the report to the university’s conflict resolution and student conduct services, which will also conduct an investigation.
“Depending upon the results of this investigation, sanctions will be applied,” Donovan wrote in response to Haley’s postings about the assaults. “Students who violate the law or university policies are held accountable for their actions. Colorado State University does not tolerate this behavior.”
CSU football Coach Jim McElwain announced Saturday that he suspended three student-athletes for violation of team rules: junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus. McElwain has barred reporters from trying to contact football players without his permission, and refused to elaborate on his decision.
It appears the alleged attackers are still on campus.
In a separate report today, 9News notes that “Two of the suspended football players, Capi and Orakpo, are also a part of an investigation around a stabbing incident that happened on March 17. A teammate was stabbed in the shoulder. The CSU Athletic Department says the suspension Saturday is not related to this stabbing investigation.”
Based on several news reports, it is not a stretch to think that it appears the university is attempting to control the story and protecting the alleged attackers.
Hat tip: Towleroad
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