Chowan issues formal apology for game-ending brawl

Published 5:19 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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MURFREESBORO – Chowan University Athletics formally issued a public apology on Monday afternoon following an incident that ultimately concluded the Delta State at Chowan football contest held Saturday, September 9.

The game was halted with a little over four minutes remaining following a brawl that occurred on the Chowan sideline.

“Speaking on behalf of the entire Chowan University Department of Athletics, we would like to formally apologize to the Delta State University football players, their coaching staff, fans, and parents for the deplorable behavior that some of our football student-athletes chose to exhibit on Saturday in the final minutes of the fourth quarter,” stated Patrick Mashuda, Chowan’s Director of Athletics. “The behavior shown by some is completely unacceptable and not indicative of the type of program that best represents Chowan University, the athletic department, and the football program.

“We have always prided ourselves on providing a great game atmosphere in a safe environment for fans and teams alike,” Mashuda continued. “We are committed to upholding the penalties that the Gulf South Conference has enacted as well as reviewing ways to ensure that this type of incident does not happen in the future.”

Earlier on Monday, Gulf South Conference and Chowan University officials issued suspensions to six football student-athletes involved in the incident. One of the six student-athletes will receive a season-long suspension and be barred from the travel squad and stadium for the remainder of the season. One non-team individual will be barred from the stadium for the remainder of the season.

“After a thorough investigation by the Gulf South Conference and members of Chowan University administration, swift and decisive action was taken to ensure all parties involved in the incident were held accountable,” Mashuda said. “I would like to thank Gulf South Commissioner Matt Wilson and [Chowan] Head Coach Paul Johnson for assisting us in the investigation.”

Coach Johnson expressed his feelings about what transpired near the end of Saturday’s game.

“First and foremost, I want to emphasize that what transpired on the field does not align with the values and principles we hold dear at Chowan University,” Johnson remarked. “Our institution stands for sportsmanship, discipline, and respect, both on and off the field. The behavior displayed by some of our players during the incident with Delta State was completely unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Johnson added that he takes full responsibility for the actions of his team

“It is my duty to instill in our players the importance of maintaining composure, even in the heat of competition. I deeply regret that I was unable to prevent this incident from happening, and for that, I am truly sorry,” said Johnson.

Addressing Delta State directly, Johnson stated, “I also want to extend my apologies to the Delta State program and their coaching staff. What happened during the game should never have occurred, and we understand the impact it may have had on your team. We respect you as competitors, and this incident does not reflect the level of sportsmanship we aim to uphold.”

To conclude the investigation, Chowan will conduct a football game management and security review for submission to the Gulf South Conference.