Redskins punt and kick returner Brandon Banks will remain at Howard University Hospital for at least another day with a tube in his chest to prevent his left lung collapsing, according to a report by the Washington Post. This development directly contradicts previous statements made by his agent, James Gould, that initially described Banks' injuries as "a surface knife wound on his side which will require stitches."
"He has a knife wound and a tube in his chest," Gould told the Post Tuesday. "I do know that today's X-rays were good, so I'd expect him to be released very soon. There's no sense in rushing. Taking all of the necessary precautions is very important because knife wounds are dangerous. He was knifed in the chest."
Gould made the initial statement about a "surface knife wound" on Saturday evening, hours after Banks and his friend, Christopher Lee Nixon, were rushed to separate area hospitals after being allegedly stabbed outside The Park at Fourteenth nightclub in Northwest D.C. by 24-year-old Jason Shorter. Shorter was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and released on his own recognizance over the weekend. He is next due to appear in court on March 8. ABC7 has viewed a cell phone video taken at the scene which appears to show Banks throwing the first punch of the fight which led to the eventual stabbing. That would also contradict this part of Gould's statement from Saturday evening, in which he said that Banks was injured "while coming to the aid of a life-long friend, who was attacked by an assailant who was wielding a knife," and that “Brandon was not involved in any wrongdoing and was not implicated in any way."
Late Monday afternoon, Gould released another statement saying that Banks would remain in the hospital for "precautionary reasons and ... expected to be released within 24 hours." Attempts to reach Gould to address the differentiation in his earlier statements have so far been unsuccessful. Howard University Hospital is not releasing any information on the player's condition at this point.
According to sources who were at the Park that night but did not witness the incident, the whole thing may have begun with a crack about the clothing worn by the suspect. [A PDF of the police report can be found here]
Jasmine Henderson, who was at the Park the night of the incident, heard from more than one witness that the dispute started with a joke from Banks or a friend about the suspect’s decision to wear white after Labor Day.
“It was during the let out—the club was over, obviously—and the guy from the Redskins was outside with his friend" when someone chided Shorter for wearing white, says Henderson, a blogger who reported on the incident on her site, thejasminebrand.com. “It was like a little harmless joke--I don’t even think he said it loudly, but it was loud enough for [the suspect] to hear it. They went back and forth, security was involved initially, and stopped it, and then they started fighting again, and the guy started stabbing [Banks and his friend].”
Mercy Chikowore, who works for an entertainment company that threw a concert featuring soul singer Bilal earlier in the night, says that the concert crowd was extremely laid-back and that although she left the club before the incident, it was her understanding that neither Banks, his companion, nor the suspect ever entered the establishment, and that the entire incident took place on the sidewalk, as the club was closing.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State prior to the 2010 NFL season, Banks played in 13 games for the Redskins and recorded 1,586 total yards on punt and kickoff returns, as well as one touchdown.
Banks distinguished himself with his slashing, explosive moves on returns, not to mention a little off-the-field bravado. After a late-November game against Minnesota, he proclaimed, "When it's third down, and the defense forces them into a punt, I know every time they force them into a punt, I know I can go the distance. That's the kind of player I am. I'm a game-changer, and I feel like that's what I do for a living."
Sarah Godfrey contributed reporting.