Local News

Five UNC Football Players Tackle Court on Thursday

Posted April 29, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Five UNC football players returned to the courtroom Thursday on charges of assault against a man outside a Chapel Hill bar last December.

There are seven players involved; one had his case dismissed, another had his case postponed because he is at the Minnesota Viking's training camp, and the other five appeared in court with their accuser.

UNC freshman David Beyer said that he was beat-up by six UNC football players last December outside the Gotham night club in Chapel Hill, while trying to break up a fight.

The prosecution called several eyewitnesses to back up Beyer's claim.

"Greg Harris, Ricco McClain and K. Mays were punching him, and all started to throw punches and David was punching back," Witness Nicholas Jones said. "Then, a large crowd of football players gathered around."

Another witness said that the assault included more than just punching.

"He was eventually pushed into a van, and then a large crowd was stomping and kicking him, repeatedly," Witness Willie Smith said.

The defense introduced some witnesses as well, including the owner of the night club. Owner David Marshaud said that he went outside with Ricco McCain to see what the trouble was about, and that McCain was pushed back by the crowd and held up his hands to protect himself.

"Nothing appeared to us to be so overt, in the sense that anything I saw which led me to believe that anyone was in harm or in danger," Marshaud said.

Later in the day the players began taking the stand. Varian Ballard said that he was barely an onlooker.

"We were about to go and see what was happening, but by the time we got there, I saw them picking someone of the ground," Ballard said.

More testimony will continue in the morning.