Chad Washington, a 6-foot-4 defensive lineman, is accused of following a 19-year-old Asian classmate as he left his dorm Sunday morning, yelling slurs at him, and shoving him against a wall.
The alleged victim, who's 5 feet 7 inches tall, says Washington started heckling his female friends, and that Washington went after him when he came to the women's defense.
Washington, a junior from Oakland, Calif., recently wrote a column for the the Columbia Spectator arguing that athletes do not get enough respect on campus. Here's what he wrote:
I know I am viewed as an athlete first on this campus. Physically I look the part, and I often introduce myself as a football player. Yet as soon as I begin to mention my studies and the degree I am pursuing, people question my intelligence and seem to doubt my abilities as a student. Athlete is not a good category to be in.
Washington's lawyer, Daniel Fetterman, told NBC that his client was a "highly regarded student and athlete" and that the allegations aren't what actually happened.
"When all the facts come out, it will be clear that Mr. Washington did not commit a hate crime," Fetterman said, "and he will be vindicated."
One student told the Spectator that Washington seemed "fairly nice," while another said, "That is not something you'd expect at Columbia."
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