UPDATE: Pitt has issued a statement on the players situation, it is below the fold.
Really not much that can say about the assault charges that are filed against Devin Street, Ray Graham and Lafayette Pitts. I won’t outright call them a load of bull, but let’s just say there doesn’t seem to be much meat to the charges.
Pittsburgh police wrote in a criminal complaint that they were working an overtime detail early on Oct. 21 when they tried to disperse a crowd from the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Bates Street and three people remained in the roadway.
One those people, Karl Olsheski, told police he had just been assaulted. He refused medical treatment and said he did not want to file a report, he just wanted officers to stop the man who had punched him, according to the criminal complaint.
In an interview with police, Mr. Olsheski said he was walking in Oakland with two women when Mr. Graham stopped him, said, “What’s up?” and uttered a racial slur. Mr. Olsheski said that he replied “nothing” and tried to leave but Mr. Graham, Mr. Street and Mr. Pitts surrounded him and then Mr. Street slugged him on the left side of the head, according to the criminal complaint.
The players are being mailed their summons to appear. It is simple assault and conspiracy. The stories do not make clear how the three were identified or whether they were detained at the incident. They were not and will not be arrested in connection to the charges. They haven’t even received notice that they are being charged, since the summons are being mailed to them.
It doesn’t really add up. None of the players have been in trouble before. It seems that whatever happened that night, the police report did not involve detaining or interviewing Street, Pitts and Graham so it is only the version from the victim. So, it makes it appear that the three randomly targeted and surrounded a guy for abuse. Uh, what? And, I have to believe that if an athlete with the size and strength of Street actually “slugged” someone in the head, it would leave some sort of mark.
I don’t see how they get suspended for this, but who knows. This is Chryst’s first public incident involving team discipline. The previous incidents at the start of the season involved “violations of team rules” to keep everyone in the dark. He may feel that he has to do something.
Something the players, coaches and team didn’t need.
UPADATE: Pitt has issued a statement. Street, Graham and Pitts traveled with the team and will play on Saturday. There’s the boilerplate “we are still gathering facts” and “no rush to judgment” stuff. The statement also confirms that the police have yet to interview the players, so this whole thing will very likely fade to nothingness.
“The University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department was recently made aware of a police report relating to an incident allegedly involving three of our football student-athletes on October 21. Those individuals have denied any involvement with the situation and have offered to speak with authorities, although to date they have not been questioned or received any court documents. We take matters of player discipline very seriously and will continue to cooperate with any investigation. However, we will not, and hope others will not, rush to judgment on these misdemeanor allegations. All three players will remain active members of our program while we gain more clarity on this situation.”
Also like the subtlety of pointing out that even the charges amount to misdemeanors. Not exactly hard crime stuff.