ShareThis Page

3 Pitt football players charged with simple assault to remain on active roster

| Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, 12:54 a.m.
Pitt running back Ray Graham said NFL teams shouldn't put too much stock into his relatively slow 40-yard dash time. (James Knox | Tribune-Review)
Pitt defensive back Lafayette Pitts defends during practice on the South Side Aug. 11, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
University of Pittsburgh wide reciever Devin Street goes through drills during the first spring practice at the teams facility on the South Side Thursday March 15, 2012. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | James Knox
Pitt running back Ray Graham cuts back on Temple's Abdul Smith in the first half Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

Three Pitt starting football players who were charged with misdemeanor simple assault, including the team's top rusher and receiver, will remain on the active roster for Saturday's game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., the university's athletic department said Friday.

Senior running back Raymond E. Graham, 22, of Elizabeth, N.J.; receiver Devin C. Street, 21, of Bethlehem; and defensive back Lafayette E. Pitts, 20, of East Pittsburgh were charged Thursday by Pittsburgh police in connection with an Oct. 21 incident.

“These individuals have denied any involvement with the situation and have offered to speak with authorities, although to date they have not been questioned or received any court documents,” said a university statement.

Graham leads the Panthers with 622 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Street has 50 catches for 695 yards and four touchdowns. Pitts leads the team in kickoff returns.

The players have not been arrested but were mailed summonses to appear in Pittsburgh Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing Jan. 9.

“We take matters of player discipline very seriously and will continue to cooperate with any investigation,” the university statement said. “However, we will not, and hope others will not, rush to judgment on these misdemeanor allegations. All three players will remain active members of our program while we gain more clarity on the situation.”

Karl Olsheski told police he was walking with friends on Oakland Avenue when a group of Pitt football players came into their path about 12:30 a.m., according to a criminal complaint. Graham blocked his way, Street stood in front of him, and Pitts was behind him. Street hit him once on the left side of the head, the complaint said.

In separate photo arrays, witnesses picked out Street, Graham and Pitts.

The charges come when it seemed things had settled for the Panthers football program after a tumultuous period that saw multiple player arrests and numerous coaching changes.

A report released by Sports Illustrated in March 2011 found that 22 Pitt football players had engaged in criminal incidents — more than any school in the magazine's 2010 preseason Top 25.

Four players, including All-Big East defensive end Jabaal Sheard, were involved in incidents between mid-July and late September 2010.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson at the time called the SI report “unacceptable” and promised to “get this fixed.”

Staff writer Margaret Harding contributed. Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7997.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.