Slovakia: Brutal attack on black basketball player under investigation
News server SME.sk reports that basketball player Jean Rony Cadot has suffered a brutal assault in Slovakia. The player, who was born in the Bahamas, has been playing in the Slovak league since last fall. He was attacked and beaten in front of a nightclub in the town of Nitra.
According to several witnesses, Cadot's tormentors followed him all the way to the emergency room shouting racist curses. He almost lost an eye as a result of the assault. The incident took place in the early morning hours of last Thursday, but it is not yet clear what actually happened. Police have not yet interrogated those involved in the conflict but have taken the testimonies of some witnesses.
Players and representatives of the Edymax SPU Nitra basketball club, for whom Cadot has been playing in Slovakia, do not want to give a statement about the incident yet. "We agreed we will not make a statement until the police have interrogated those involved," club president Stanislav Michalík told SME.sk, adding that visiting a nightclub violates the terms of the players' contracts.
The police do not yet know whether this was a bar brawl or a racially motivated assault. The incident occurred at a discotheque but spilled out onto the street. Both the disco and the street outside it have security cameras, but the start of the conflict cannot be seen on the footage from inside the business. Club owner Rastislav Solár, a champion bodybuilder who competes internationally, claims the dispute began in the camera's "blind spot".
Footage provided by the club to police shows two short-haired youths complaining to the club's bouncers. The bouncers and the youths then cross onto the packed dance floor, where they talk to four basketball players, two of whom are black, Cadot and Deremy Geiger of the United States.
"You can see an argument on the footage that the bouncers do their best to calm," Solár told news server SME.sk. The dispute turns into a shoving match and the bouncers call on both groups to leave. The Slovaks leave first and the assault then takes place on the street. The bouncers claim that the incident inside the club was an ordinary spat without any racial cursing.
Other witnesses to the incident, the operators of other businesses open at night in the area, say that was not the case of the assault on the street. They say about six youths gathered in front of the nightclub and assaulted Cadot, who is 196 centimeters tall and weighs 93 kilograms. "One held him down by the throat in the middle of the road and shouted disgusting racist curses while the others kicked him," a witness told SME.sk.
Cadot's fellow players managed to get their bleeding teammate into a taxi and drove to a Nitra hospital. All of that reportedly took place directly in view of a video camera installed on the building by the municipal police, but they say they do not know which way the camera was pointing at the time of the assault. "We turned the footage over to the state police," said a constable who was on duty at the time.
Alena Ďurišová, a representative of the Nitra Teaching Hospital, confirms that two of the assailants followed Cadot into the hallway of the emergency room. "They were shouting at him and didn't leave until we sent him to another place for treatment," Ďurišová said.
Cadot was transferred to the Martinská Hospital, where a specialist operated on his injured eye. "It seems the operation has had a good outcome, they should release him on Monday," said Nitra basketball team manager Juraj Polák.
Police are investigating the case as one of rioting for the time being, but given the seriousness of the injuries, they will probably expand the charges. "The police are asking for the help of any witnesses who saw the incident and might be able to clarify some of its circumstances," Nitra Police spokesperson Božena Bruchterová told news server SME.sk.
Cadot is not communicating with the media. In the first days after the assault he reportedly considered leaving Slovakia. "After talking with his agent, however, he is re-evaluating that decision," a source close to the club said.
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