Rules are: Find white guy, punch him in the face
NBC Sports had it half right: When he is on the football field, Lafayette Pitts is one of the most dangerous men in America.
Off the field, he is accused of being even more menacing. Pitts and two teammates from the University of Pittsburgh football team stand accused of playing the Knockout Game.
The Knockout Game is just one form of the black mob violence and lawlessness documented in more than 80 cities with more than 400 examples in the book “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”
Rules of the Knockout Game are pretty simple: Find a white guy. Make sure he looks defenseless. Punch him in the face. If he doesn’t get up, you win. And that is what three witnesses said the Pitt players did just a few weeks ago.
Last Friday, it was revealed they were charged with assault and conspiracy. Their court date is set for January. But that did not stop them from suiting up the next day for a big game against Notre Dame.
During the match, NBC Sports mentioned the crimes only once, albeit briefly. They called it a “confrontation.”
To Karl Olsheski, it seemed more like an assault. Olsheski and two women were walking near the Pitt campus when a mob of black people crossed the street to block their way.
It was a Saturday night, early Sunday morning really, and the Pitt Panthers had just returned to Pittsburgh after a 20-6 victory over the Buffalo Bulls.
Star running back Ray Graham allegedly made the first move. He stepped in front of Olsheski and asked “Wassup?” Graham did not know Olsheski, but Olsheski knew him. Lots of people do: He’s a big man at Pitt. The fourth most prolific running back in Pitt history.
During the big game he broke off several long runs, picking up 172 yards on the ground. He also caught six passes.
After stopping Olsheski, Graham called him what the police are referring to as a “racial epithet.” Which in other times and other places would take this crime to a new level: A hate crime. But not here. Not now. Not before the big game.
Olsheski and the two women tried to keep moving, but Graham got in their way again. That is when star wide receiver Devin Street – one of the “most dangerous punt returners in America,” according to the announcers at the big game – punched Olsheski in the head.
Unlike two other recent examples of the Knockout Game in Pittsburgh, no one died. No one went to the hospital.
Soon everyone was on their way. Game over. Just another anonymous assault that more often than not goes unreported because more people are less willing to believe police will do anything about it.
But not this time: All three victims told police they recognized at least one of the players. One of the attackers.
One of the women shared a class on vampires with Street. The other knew Pitts from an African-American dance class.
They identified other players from a photo lineup.
Despite the eyewitness testimony of the three victims, authorities did not arrest the football players. Nor would there be a perp walk for these alleged violent offenders.
Instead, police “charged” them with misdemeanor assault and conspiracy. The players received their summonses in the mail.
University officials said they were not going to “rush to judgment” and suspend the players.
After fans learned the three would be available for the contest, among the few who paid any attention at all, their reaction ranged from indifference to resignation. One student said that anyone who thought they were guilty was a closed-minded bigot.
At least one viewer was surprised she did not hear more about the alleged assault.
“I didn’t hear anything about it,” said Connie Gargrave Swanson of Escondido, Calif.
Which means she must have been out of the room during the 20 seconds they mentioned it at the beginning of the broadcast, however elliptically.
“Details in the local papers online from Pittsburgh were very sketchy as well,” she said.
Through their attorneys, the players deny everything. Even being there. All three of the players charged had pretty good games against the Golden Domers. But to no avail: Notre Dame won in overtime.