Nu’Keese, Byrd Issue Denials; NC State Responds

Friday I posted two online videos that featured former Tennessee wide receiver Nu’Keese Richardson and current N.C. State defensive back Jarvis Byrd during a late night trip to Wal-Mart.

Nu'Keese Richardson At Wal-Mart

The videos, uploaded by Richardson himself and linked via his personal Twitter account, showed Byrd and friend Kaalum Williams opening t-shirt packages inside the Wal-Mart and putting on those t-shirts under the shirts the two wore into the store.

Jarvis Byrd at Wal-Mart

19-year-old Richardson, who was kicked off the Tennessee football team after being convicted of attempted armed robbery last November, was prominently featured in the videos but was not seen on camera taking any shirts. Though Richardson made clear with his comments that he knew what Williams and Byrd were doing.

To see the video and read the transcript of the trio’s comments, go here.

Nu'Keese Richardson At Wal-Mart

Since my Friday post, both Richardson and Byrd have reacted to the discovery of the videos, along with an N.C. State spokesman. We also now know the Wal-Mart where the three filmed the incident.

The PALM BEACH POST’s Jason Lieser, who last month featured a seemingly contrite Richardson in a Post profile, tracked down the Hampton University transfer Saturday for reaction to SbB’s Friday post about the videos.

Richardson said Saturday the video, which was shot Wednesday in Riviera Beach, was just for fun and nothing was stolen.

“No one stole,” Richardson said. “Everything was paid for. We went to the front desk and paid for it.

“I never imagined stuff like this. I know now that people are out to get you. Why would I send something out like that if stuff was stolen?”

The blog SPORTSbyBROOKS.com first reported the story Friday.

Richardson removed the video from his Twitter account. He later tweeted, “shirts got paid for so no worries,” and, “Folks these days have NO LIFE! PLEASE LEAVE ME AH ALONE.”

He has been using Twitter for only a few months, but already has learned a valuable lesson about it.

“You will never see nothing posted again,” Richardson said. “That’s a done deal.”

He is due to return to Hampton on June 1.

Richardson also said Williams is an employee at the Riviera Beach Wal-Mart.

Lieser also noted Saturday that Richardson is facing prison if he violates court-ordered probation stemming from his attempted arm robbery conviction last November:

Involvement in any form of theft could be problematic for Richardson, who was kicked out of the University of Tennessee after he was charged with attempted armed robbery in November. Prosecutors allowed him to plead to a lesser count of attempted robbery and gave him three years of probation.

John Gill, a special counsel for the Knox County (Tenn.) District Attorney General’s Office, told The Post in April that any felony or theft could result in Richardson serving a three-year prison sentence for his original crime.

Byrd, who like Richardson was highly-touted out of high school and the centerpiece of the N.C. State 2009 recruiting class, has provided a similar denial.

Friday night WTVD-TV’s Mark Armstrong reported from Raleigh that Byrd “insisted” that the t-shirts were paid for and that a spokesman for the school said the video was “bad judgement.”

Head football coach Tom O’Brien has yet to comment publicly on the matter as he’s due to return from an Ireland vacation today.

Whether authorities in Tennessee regard Richardson’s actions as violating his probation remains to be seen. From a legal standpoint, it’s hard to say if any of the three could be charged with activity outside the law.

For me, this situation is more about the anti-social behavior displayed by Byrd, Richardson and Williams in the video. Byrd’s inadvisable acquisition of the t-shirt and Richardson’s repeated homosexual slurs on camera represent unacceptable public conduct.

If O’Brien and Hampton University officials do nothing to discipline the two athletes in this case, they are, in my mind, endorsing this sort of behavior.