It is rare to see historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, in the national spotlight. Major media outlets like ESPN, CBS, FOX, and ABC normally reserve the attention for major D-1 programs like Alabama, Ohio State, and USC to name a few. For the second time in less than a month, a predominantly black institution is the headlines. Unfortunately, however, it is again for less desirable reasons.
During Monday’s airing of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Michael Kim shed light on the assault of Winston-Salem State University quarterback Rudy Johnson. The attack took place Friday during a sports banquet held for WSSU and Virginia State University. The two teams were set to face each other for the CIAA championship Saturday.
The game was canceled as members of the VSU football program were identified as the culprits of the attack that left Johnson with sore ribs and a black eye, visible at Monday’s news conference. Johnson claims he was ready to hold his own, squaring up with the person who struck him first, before being blindsided by another attacker. He would later be stomped by as many as five people. VSU labels the estimate as “overblown”, but suspended running back Lamont Britt, who now faces a misdemeanor assault charge, pending an investigation.
That tells me everything I need to know.
VSU officials apologized to Johnson, WSSU, and its’ community but Chancellor Donald J. Reaves wants more action taken. In addition to VSU being banned from the postseason, Reaves wants them to forfeit the game and the Rams named CIAA champions, more than likely fueled by the economic loss (from WSSU hosting the game) and the drop in rankings the Rams suffered.
Johnson stated he was still willing to play Saturday. Officials made the right decision as tempers could have flared to epic and unfortunate proportions for the world to see. Not saying it would get to this point but the last thing we need is another FIU and University of Miami bout.
WSSU plans to file a formal complaint.
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