FORT COLLINS, Colo. — An alleged attack by three Colorado State University football players has resulted in their suspension, and left four classmates, all freshman, recovering from injuries inflicted during the attack, which allegedly included anti-gay slurs.
Two of the victims — John “J.D.” Haley, 19, and Donny Gocha, 20 — suffered injuries that included black eyes, a broken nose, a lacerated lip, and chipped teeth as a result of the attack. The other two victims suffered only minor injuries.
According to Haley, the assault occurred after a late night party on Friday, Apr. 6 in Ft. Collins, Colo., 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.”
“You could just tell they were looking for a fight,” Haley told The Coloradoan. “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 was. My only thought was to protect his head.”
Haley said that Fort Collins and University police officials had asked them not to specifically identify their attackers, but he said “they all know who their attackers are because some of them live in the same residence hall.”
But in a news release issued Monday morning by the CSU athletic department, head football coach Jim McElwain announced that he had suspended three players — Nordly Capi, Colton Paulhus, and Mike Orakpo — “indefinitely” for the alleged attack, calling it “the strongest action I can take” at this time.”
McElwain suspended the players on Saturday, but at the time did not elaborate as to the reason.
Orakpo and Capi were also involved in a St. Patrick Day’s fight in which a teammate was slashed with a knife, according to The Coloradoan.
CSU spokesman Mike Hooker on Sunday said university officials are coordinating with Fort Collins Police on an investigation, but that no arrests had been made.