Being teammates just doesn't seem to have the same loyalty as it once did.
On Monday, San Diego State starting defensive lineman Dontrell Onuoha pleaded not guilty in San Diego Superior Court to two felony charges stemming from the assault of a fraternity member outside of his frat house on Sept. 25.
The key witness in the case? Onuoha's teammate, running back Brandon Wright.
Wright also had been a subject of the investigation into the beating, but told police it was Onuoha that caused the most damage to the victim. The victim suffered a right orbital eye fracture that required surgery and the insertion of metal plates in his eye socket. He also lost some of his vision.
Wright said he was initially involved in the skirmish that started after several San Diego State football players were not allowed into a fraternity party on campus, but that he was throwing punches in self-defense after the victim hit him first.
Now, here's the kicker: When Onuoha saw his teammate in trouble he rushed to his aid. And for sticking up for his teammate, Onuoha could face up to seven years in jail while Wright will not be charged in exchange for his testimony in court.
"It's unfortunate the situation that Brandon finds himself in," Wright's attorney, Michael Berg, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "He and Dontrell are teammates and friends. But Brandon is a stand-up guy, and it's unfortunate that more people in the country don't have the type of morals that he does."
Not sure any teammate in Onuoha's situation would see it the same way.
Second kicker: The victim originally didn't identify Onuoha as the football player who hit him. The victim claimed former defensive back Desmond Dukes was the one who caused the damage. However, Wright stepped forward and told coaches that wasn't the case and that Onuoha was the culprit. The victim didn't even know whether Onuoha was present when everything went down.
"It appears Wright's subsequent statements are self-serving, particularly in light of the fact that he didn't bring up my client's name until after" Wright faced the possibility of being charged in the case, Onuoha's attorney, Thomas Matthews, told the Union-Tribune.
Onuoha hasn't been arrested or booked on the charges but could be as soon as spring practice is over later this month. That means the two players are still practicing together and still sharing a locker room.
Not sure what to make of this. Anyone who's ever played an organized sport knows that the first rule of the game is to have your teammate's back regardless of the situation. Without any other known witnesses to corroborate Wright's story, it does seem a little self-serving. However, the only people who know what happened are the people involved. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
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H/T to San Diego Union-Tribune
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- San Diego State