Oh, how I wish this headline was just another trite caption accompanying an unexpected regular season win. I want to be regaled with the minutia surrounding a single transcendental play in which Jared Sullinger used his formidable backside to ward off a opponent vying for rebounding supremacy!
Instead, we’re talking about official statements regarding Sullinger’s domestic violence charge. Officially, here they are:
“I voluntarily reported to the Waltham police this morning to respond to charges against me. The experience was humbling and embarrassing for me. Yet I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates, and my fans. To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”
“My lawyers have advised me not to discuss the case at this time. But I wanted to immediately and publicly apologize to everyone affected by this situation.”
“The Celtics were disappointed to learn of the allegations against Jared and are currently gathering more information on the situation, which we are taking very seriously,” the statement read. “We will reserve further comment until such point that we have sufficient additional information.”
Seems like your pretty standard –man, I wish there wasn’t a standard– official statements involving an athlete wrapped up in a legal situation.
What these statements don’t do is provide any details to what actually happened between Sullinger and his girlfriend. Luckily, we have the mothership (ESPN) and Associated Press to fill in some gaps:
Police say officers were called to Sullinger’s residence Saturday evening by his girlfriend, Deann Smith. She told them that earlier in the day Sullinger had assaulted her after she accused him of cheating on her and began packing.
“During this heated argument in the bedroom, Jared pushed her down onto the bed and got on top of her,” Waltham police wrote in a report. “Deann states she tried several times to get up, but he kept pinning her down and would not let her up.”
The report said Sullinger later threw Smith to the floor and wouldn’t let her up.
Smith told police that Sullinger grabbed her phone after she threatened to call police and then left because he was scheduled to fly to Ohio. She told police she called them only after she knew Sullinger was out of state.
Police said Smith still had red marks visible on her chest when she spoke to them.
Police issued a warrant for Sullinger’s arrest and he turned himself in at about 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Yeeesh. Obviously, that’s bad. Unequivocally bad. That said, any talk of cutting/waiving/firing Sullinger is completely off-base. When trying to project what a team will do with a player in a situation like this, it’s important to use the “Lance Stephenson Litmus Test.” Back in 2010 when Stephenson was a rookie (and not in the rotation), he pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs. What did the Indiana Pacers, an organization hell-bent on wiping the stain of the “Malice at the Palace” away, do? They kept him and now he’s more famous for giving LeBron the choke sign during the 2012 playoffs.
We will have to wait and see how this all plays out, but in the meantime, just look at how thin Sullinger looks in this court room photo: