Apr 082012
Authors: Kevin Lytle

Can’t see video? Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here for a full statement from coach Jim McElwain in regards to the incident.

A Friday night party at the intersection of Laporte Avenue and Shields Street ended with four CSU students being treated at a local hospital and in a Facebook post the next day, they said football players were the attackers.

On Saturday afternoon, McElwain suspended junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Monday McElwain released a statement about the incident.

“At this point, the three players reported to be involved in the incident over the weekend are indefinitely suspended from the football program,” his statement said. “That means they are effectively no longer part of this team and will not take part in any football-related activity. We do not condone in any way, shape or form this type of behavior. It is completely unacceptable.”

During an interview on Saturday, the four victims said that police told them to not identify the attackers even though they recognized them from seeing them on campus. Earlier Saturday, J.D. Hadley, one of the victims, posted photos of the injuries on Facebook.

On the same Facebook page, a football player apologized for his teammates’ actions and said he hopes that public won’t let the actions of a few hurt the reputation for the entire team.

“Well first off, I want to apologize for what my teammates have done to three students last night. I just talked to the students who were assaulted,” freshman offensive lineman Trey Cassidy posted on Facebook. “I hang out in their hall regularly, and do not believe that there is any hostility between us. I figured everyone else should know that not everyone on the team are like these athletes that get into fights every other weekend.”

Cassidy was asked by a poster what happened and responded, “A group of football players jumped a few students, I am not allowed to really get into it but I can say they are currently suspended.”

On Saturday afternoon, McElwain suspended junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus for an unspecified violation of team rules.

A news release sent out by Fort Collins Police Services said officers are investigating an incident where a group of people exited a white SUV and engaged the victims in a brief physical fight.

“I heard yelling coming from down the street so I started running, then I could recognize (my friends), so I started sprinting,” said Dylan Hagen in an interview with the Collegian Saturday night at Corbett Hall. “When I got there Donny (Gocha) was already unconscious and J.D. was on top of him and they (the attackers) were stomping on him, kicking him.”

Hagen went to Poudre Valley Hospital with the other victims, Gocha, Haley and Alejandro Cuomo. They were released at 6:30 a.m. All four are freshmen.

Gocha suffered a severe eye contusion, cuts on his face and lip and was knocked unconscious. Treadmarks, apparently from a shoe, were clearly visible Saturday night on the back of Gocha’s shoulder. Hadley had a bruised eye and swelling in the back of his head. Cuomo had cuts on his face and lip and chipped teeth.

Haley said that he was leaving a party Friday night when a white SUV drove by yelling obscenities at the crowd of partiers. Gocha yelled back at the car and it pulled over and a couple people got out and confronted Gocha.

“Donny was about 20 feet ahead of me because I looked back for (Cuomo), we were all just trying to meet up,” Haley said. “At that point I saw the passenger, a black male, get out of the car and try and tackle Donny. Donny kind of almost spun out of it, but then two more people came out of the car, a black male and a white male, and they started assaulting my friend Donny in the back of the head.

“By the time I got there and I saw him stomping on (Gocha). It was so disgusting that I had to stop and take in what was actually happening. So at that point I realized that I had to protect Donny’s face.”

Cuomo said that he tried to help Hadley fend off the attackers. Hagen then came over from the party and the police were called to the scene. By the time they arrived, the attackers had fled.

In his statement McElwain addressed the part of the Fort Collins community that wants the players immediately kicked off the team.

“I understand people want me to remove them from the team immediately. But until the investigation concludes and due process takes its course, suspending them indefinitely is the strongest action I can take.”

McElwain will address the media at 3:15 Monday before the start of practice.

According to police, the case is still under investigation and no arrests have been made at the time.

Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

Can’t see video? Click here to view on YouTube.

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