Kyle Rogers sat for an interview, letting cameras document the rash of cuts and stitches on his face.
Then the 23-year-old from Long Island, N.Y. began speaking — through clenched jaws.
Not because he was angry (although that may have been one of the emotions Rogers was feeling at the time). His mouth was wired shut due to the broken jaw he suffered after a nighttime attack Sunday.
And Rogers called his brutal punch to the head the latest chapter in the infamous “knockout game,” an assault that has trended over the last several months involving assailants who attempt to knock out unsuspecting pedestrians with a single punch to the face or head.
“I’m defenseless,” Rogers told WCBS-TV in New York. “It’s one thing if he was looking me in the face, like squaring up, but, come on, from behind? It’s like a coward move.”
Initially Rogers didn’t know what hit him while he walked along the Bowery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; he woke up in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.
But after Rogers and his parents looked into it, they got a hold of surveillance video showing what police said is a black man in 20s running up to Rogers from behind, punching him, then walking away.
Rogers had exited a nearby bar where he was with friends and was alone when the attack took place around 2:30 a.m.
“I guess when I fell and hit the ground, I split this open, my eyebrow, and my chin from the punch,” Rogers told WCBS, adding that he didn’t know or hear his attacker.
Jeff Wolinsky, a resident of Queens, told WCBS that in “the middle of the city, there are crazy people running around everywhere” and that “you just have to keep your head on a swivel and keep an eye on your surroundings” when walking around alone late at night.
“I just want these kids to stop,” Rogers’ father, Michael Rogers, told WCBS. “I want them to understand that it’s not a game. That’s the whole thing. They call it a game, and it’s not a game. People get hurt real bad.”