|Devin Street (No. 15) leads the Big East in receptions and receiving yards.(US Presswire)|
Three Pittsburgh football players were charged with assault and conspiracy Thursday night as a result of an incident last month, according to Pittsburgh police reports.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the players were charged, but not arrested, and will receive a court summons in the mail to report for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 9. The players include Panthers' leading rusher Ray Graham, leading receiver Devin Street and defensive back Lafayette Pitts.
According to the police reports, officers were trying to clear a crowd on Oct. 21 at the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Bates Street in Pittsburgh. They found a man, Karl Olsheski, who told police he had been assaulted. He refused medical treatment and refused to file a report, but he must have been able to correctly identify the suspects -- three Panthers' football players -- for them to be named in the criminal complaint.
In an interview with police, Mr. Olsheski said he was walking in Oakland with two women when Mr. Graham stopped him, said, "What's up?" and uttered a racial slur. Mr. Olsheski said that he replied "nothing" and tried to leave but Mr. Graham, Mr. Street and Mr. Pitts surrounded him and then Mr. Street slugged him on the left side of the head, according to the criminal complaint.
Friday morning the school released a statement, with the players denying any involvement in the incident.
"The University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department was recently made aware of a police report relating to an incident allegedly involving 3 of our football student athletes on Oct. 21. Those individuals have denied any involvement with the situation and have offered to speak with authorities, although to date they have not been questioned or received any court documents.
"We take matters of player discipline very seriously and will continue to cooperate with any investigation. However, we will not, and hope others will not, rush to judgment on these [misdemeanor] allegations. All 3 players will remain active members of our program while we gain more clarity on situation."
Graham has had a successful season coming back from knee surgery, leading the team in rushing with 622 yards and seven touchdowns. Street, a junior, is having the best season of his career and currently leads the Big East in receptions (50) and yards receiving (695).
Pittsburgh plays undefeated Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday, so keeping Graham and Street active certainly is beneficial. If they deny the involvement, and there is little other than a written complaint, hard to blame coach Paul Chryst for siding with his players.
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