Mon Dec 15 11:44am EST
Last week, I briefly touched on the weird circumstances surrounding Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf's suspension for the rest of the academic year following some sort of altercation with a girl on campus. According to the girl, Devendorf hit her with a closed fist. Police were called, and the district attorney -- for reasons that have yet to be explained to me -- turned the case over to Syracuse's judicial board without charging Devendorf. The judicial board found Devendorf guilty.
As you can imagine, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is not a fan of this outcome. Not so much. He would prefer Devendorf play this year. So he threw his weight around on behalf of his player on Friday -- claiming that the girl's claim about physical violence is questionable, that his players should be trusted on their account of the story, and that Devendorf deserves to be punished, but not this severely. (Video here.)
"To me," Boeheim said, "to be suspended from school for a verbal altercation with somebody at (3) in the morning, which nobody got hurt, does not merit being removed from school." "They're teammates.I understand that. But that doesn't mean they're going to lie," Boeheim said. "They gave (statements) under oath to the district attorney. . . . And then (the Judicial Review Board) said the statements looked orchestrated. They were all there, and they all saw the same thing. What are they supposed to do, make up a story? . . . They were there, and this is what they saw."
"She said that (Devendorf) came over to her. The three witnesses said that she came over to him. Completely opposite," Boeheim said. "She told in her testimony that it was a closed fist to police. To (SU) security, it was an open hand."
Oh boy. On one hand, it's hard to blame Boeheim for backing up his player. On the other, this feels a little ... dirty. To try and turn an accuser into a liar, to blame what appears to have been some sort of assault on a(n alleged) victim, that's a sordid business. Boeheim is probably pretty convinced he's right. Otherwise, he's on the wrong side of a violent crime against a woman by one of his players. He better be sure.