MADISON (WKOW) -- A 21-year old UW-Madison student who several sources said was a person-of-interest in the investigation of an attack on Badger star Montee Ball said he's being railroaded.
"They're trying to pin it on me," the man told 27 News. He would only speak on the condition of being kept anonymous.
Authorities said Ball was attacked by five people as he walked on University Avenue just past 2 a.m. Aug. 1. He suffered a concussion and facial injuries and has not practiced yet with the Badger football team. Madison police officials said a fight at a party attended by Ball a few days before the attack precipitated the later violence.
Several sources with connection to the investigation said witnesses viewed a photo of the person-of-interest.
UW-La Crosse student Brendan Gould said he helped stop the attack on Ball, and a short time later encountered the attackers again near a downtown apartment building.
Gould said the photo of the person-of-the-interest resembles one of the attackers, although Gould said the photo depicted someone who appeared smaller than the attacker.
The person-of-interest lives in the apartment building near Gould's encounter with Ball's attackers.
Madison police spokesman Officer Howard Payne said while there are persons-of-interest involved in the investigation, he declined further comment.
The person-of-interest told 27 News the party days prior to Ball's attack was in an apartment at the Lucky building downtown, and he attended. He said he came to the aid of a friend who was being harassed by Ball and other players, and was then punched by Ball and others and later hospitalized briefly.
He told 27 News he did not report the incident to police because he did not want to chance ruining a fellow, young African-American man's reputation over a fight.
He said he had no involvement in the later attack on Ball and did not know who carried it out.
The man, who is a scholarship student from Illinois, said police detectives were focused exclusively on solving Ball's case and had little interest in what happened to him, even with police awareness of the precipitating fight.
On twitter, Ball has denied any role in a fight. 27 News could not reach Ball Friday at his listed phone number.