To sum up the allegations, sophomore defensive lineman Chad Washington is accused of misdemeanor ”aggravated harassment as a hate crime” for allegedly making racial slurs against a fellow student.
Gothamist reports, however:
. . . a source familiar with the case suggests that Washington, a defensive lineman for Columbia’s football team, may have been provoked by the victim first. Washington and his group of friends had walked past the victim and the victim’s female friends, the source says, and apparently brushed up against them. This, the source claims, angered the victim who mocked Washington’s group, and at that point, Washington and his friends reacted. Further, the source says that both parties had been drinking.
Washington is black, the alleged victim is Asian.
Now, it would be easy to chalk this up to a drunken he said/he said, but, well, there are tweets (from before the incident occurred) that don’t paint Washington in the best light:
Lots of tweets, from multiple players, of what look-to-be of a racist and/or homophobic nature.
Did Washington’s encounter with this Asian student constitute a hate crime? I don’t know. But the story is now much more about the social media posts of Washington’s teammates than it is about him.
When I was at Columbia as a student (and football player), it was crystal clear that an off-color joke shared between friends could easily get you kicked off of the team or expelled from school. I expect these students will find themselves off the team in short order and fighting to stay in school.
It’s a good bet that head coach Pete Mangurian – who reportedly followed many of these players on Twitter — will be fired as well.