Last Friday night, a group of Washington State football players went to a house party near WSU campus in Pullman. According to WSU senior Alex Rodriguez and witnesses interviewed by the Seattle Times, a group of “four of five players” were setting off fireworks in the backyard of the house and throwing them at people, as well as pulling apart a wooden railing. When the house’s residents (including Rodriguez) asked the players to stop, they allegedly started a fight that left Rodriguez with a broken jaw and another student with a concussion. Apparently, Rodriguez asked them to leave twice and was ignored. “The third time he went back to the group to ask them to leave,” the Times reported, “the victim said he was ‘sucker punched’ in the right cheek and he blacked out for about 10 minutes.”
The fight was partially captured on video.
Rodriguez had to get facial reconstructive surgery and get his jaw wired shut. His father told the Times that he plans to file suit against the perpetrators.
None of the football players involved have been named, but the Pullman police chief confirmed to the Times that “more than five or six” WSU football players were involved.
“Right now it’s more than five or six (players), but not much more that we’re looking at who are actively involved,” Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant said Monday afternoon. “I think it’s a little premature to call anybody a suspect, but we can confirm after talking to people, even players, that WSU football players were at this party. We have a list of names provided to us by witnesses and victims, and sometimes even players themselves.
“Some WSU football players are persons of interest and we’re working with the WSU athletic department and the football department.”
It’s worth noting that the alleged beatdown isn’t simply a matter of a group of football players entering and all getting rowdy as a unit. According to witnesses, WSU wide receiver Willie Roach tried to stop the fight. WSU’s athletic director Bill Moos released a statement yesterday afternoon:
It is our understanding there is a thorough investigation underway by local law enforcement and we will cooperate fully as we take these matters seriously. In addition, facts are being gathered within the athletic department in order to provide assistance. We have high expectations for the conduct of WSU student-athletes, and treat any alleged allegations with the utmost transparency. The WSU athletic staff is in constant communication with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Life to ensure that university leadership is aware of the continuing investigation by local law enforcement. We will refrain from further comment until the findings of the investigation are complete.