On Thursday afternoon five South Carolina football players entered the dining hall located in a central campus building known as the Russell House. They entered through the same door, grabbed a luncheon tray as they had done before, and moved along in a quiet line while choosing their meal.
The Russell House, named for the former President of the University and Governor of the State, is a natural place for students to gather, check the mail, relax, or grab a bite to eat. It is a safe haven for many young adults who are away from home, and wish to recreate the feel of their living room back home.
As the the small group looked around to choose their table, they were shocked to find themselves confronted by a gang of men. One screamed at the smallest of the players, " I come to fight you boy" and all bedlam broke loose.
Blows were exchanged as two men engaged in an old time fist-fight, while lunch trays and food flew through the air in an atmosphere reminiscent of the "Food Fight" scene in the 1978 film "Animal House".
There was nothing humorous about this savage encounter however, chairs and tables were used as weapons by the attackers of the football players.
A food service employee of the university screamed and the other students scattered throughout the building. The Police were called and spent over an hour and a half interviewing the players. The violent thugs fled the scene and an all-points bulletin was put out for the gang. Eventually, some alleged members were stopped by officials of law enforcement.
Rumors are rampant. It was some kind of deal gone bad. It was a love triangle. It was a passage of manhood for members of a rural gang. To this point the truth is unknown. However, one witness remarked that the two men engaged in fisticuffs were screaming at each other about a woman.
"My Woman" was said to be the exact quote.
What we do know is that the five Gamecock players were completely innocent victims of a dangerous and vile element that did not seem to care if they were recognized or if they hurt any other students or bystanders.
It was confirmed that none of the attackers are students at the University of South Carolina.
Coach Steve Spurrier, when contacted about the incident, stated that he understood none of the players were injured and that he would let the police and school administration investigate the matter.
Each of the football players, C.C. Whitlock, Akeem Auguste, Antonio Allen, Terrence Campbell, and Melvin Ingram were listed on the incident reports as "victims of a civil disturbance".
How this terrible situation impacts the intensity and preparedness of the Gamecocks for the Saturday afternoon game with No. 2 ranked Georgia remains to be seen.