Boat Club President Nick Brodie has been strongly criticised after he filmed a video of Lightweight Cox Colin Groshong punching an Imperial rower to the ground.
Brodie subsequently posted the video on Facebook and acknowledged that “loads of people have seen it.”
Friends of Blues rowers who were shown the video have branded it “disgusting” and “disgraceful.”
The incident took place during a rowing regatta in Wroclaw, Poland two weeks ago. 8 teams, including one from Imperial College, competed against a Blues boat in the event, which was fully paid for by the Polish organisers.
On the evening of May 11 all of the rowers went on a boat trip with a barbeque and bar. Following this, many of the rowers went on to a club.
The incident occurred in the gentleman’s toilet of the club. In the build-up to the punch, Groshong was exchanging comments with a rower from Imperial College about St Catz and summer eights.
One witness said it was a “jovial conversation which got heated.” There were “insults from both [and then] it got a bit more personal,” he added.
Nick Brodie, who coxed the winning boat in this year’s Boat Race, said “it was provoked. It was a bit of banter, they were play fighting; they were both winding each other up.”
Cherwell has seen a copy of the video recorded by Brodie on his mobile phone. The first person appears to say “walk away, walk away, walk away motherfucker” before punching the second person.
The victim is knocked to the floor by the punch. He then gets up and asks, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
The first person continues, “You fucking smacked shit out of [insulted] me.” After around thirty seconds of shouting, in which the victim stands facing the camera, the video ends with an unidentified voice saying “Right, Colin, Colin, enough, enough.”
In a statement, Groshong maintained that the attack was not unprovoked. He said, “However it may seem on video , the incident was provoked.”
He did however express regret for his actions. “Although provoked, I should not have reacted in the way that I did and I am very sorry for my actions.
I have never acted so appallingly in my life and I regret that this incident ever occurred. Furthermore, I had no knowledge that this disgusting behaviour of mine was being filmed.”
Following the trip, Nick Brodie put the video online on his Facebook page and tagged a large number of Blues rowers in the video.
The Boat Club President said he wasn’t able to explain his actions. He said, “I don’t really know why I filmed it or why I put it up on Facebook.” The video has subsequently been taken down.
Brodie claims that he thought he’d limited the number of people who could see the video, but admitted that he was aware a lot of people had seen the footage.
He said, “When I put it up I thought I’d restricted it to a certain number of people and it turns out everyone could see it. “
However, he confirmed that he was aware that people at other universities had seen the video and added, “I know loads of people have seen it.” Friends of some of the Blues rowers alleged that the rowers found the video hilarious.
One said, “I think it’s disgusting that they filmed it and that they see it as some kind of amusement. I can accept the fact that this kind of thing happens, it’s just the fact that they put this on the internet.”
Another added, “when I got shown the video the guy who showed me responded with laughter so I walked out of the room feeling pretty disgusted and sickened.”
A large number of comments were posted under the video on Facebook, many from Blues rowers.
In addition, Henry Sheldon, President of the Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club, wrote on Brodie’s wall, “Thank you for posting that video of Colin, its [sic] considerably brightened up my day in the library. I literally laughed till I cried.”
Brodie replied on Sheldon’s wall, “Its [sic] up there with the funniest things I have ever seen.”
As a result of the incident the Imperial rower received a black eye along with a cut on his cheek.
Friends of Mr Groshong suggested that the incident was out of character.
One Blues rower who wished to remain anonymous said, “He’s not the kind of guy who’d go and get aggressive at all.”
Nick Brodie added that Colin had “never punched anyone ever before.”