News broke earlier today that Jared Sullinger (of all people) was arrested on grounds of domestic violence, via MassLive.com:
A Waltham District Court judge ordered Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger to be released on $5,000 bail after he entered a not guilty plea to charges stemming from his alleged involvement in a domestic dispute over the weekend.
Sullinger was charged with assault and battery, destruction of property over $250 (an iPhone) and intimidation of a witness, according to court reports, after an alleged argument with his longtime girlfriend, DeAnn Smith, on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 31.
The news come as a cold shower to many Celtics fans who saw Sullinger as a big part of the Celtics going forward. Sully became an instant fan favorite in Boston and did so not only by playing his butt off on the court, but also by being a well-spoken and smart individual. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that he was the last man I expected for this to happen to.
In an offseason where we already saw our hearts torn out with the departure of Pierce, KG and Doc, the cautious optimism surrounding the beginning of rebuilding just received a blow. The sorrow in Boston had been replaced by a hopefulness, all stemming from the play of Kelly Olynyk and the words of Brad Stevens and Sullinger himself, who always kept brushing off any tanking comments. Now, no one will say it, but like a bad nightmare, visions of the time before Garnett and Allen arrived in Boston momentarily resurface. It’s as if rebuilding brings its own bad luck with it.
However, I don’t want fans to turn against Jared as quickly as some have. I’ve even seen people calling for him to be cut from the team. Let’s not forget that the process of rebuilding isn’t entirely pleasant. It will take some commitment from the fans, too. I am still fully behind Sullinger, even though I in no way agree to hurting a female. However, people make mistakes, and Jared’s track record suggests that this is an outlier, not something that’s typical of him.
Let’s not just give up and assume the worst. If we’re quick to turn against Sully here, then the bandwagon will become very roomy as the rebuild continues. I still believe in him and see him as an important part of the team. I also think he’s not proud of what he did, and that turning himself in speaks of his character.
All in all, I just want to say – give the kid some room for error. If you do so, I’m sure he will win your heart back soon enough.
UPDATE: Here is Jared’s statement on the situation, via Celtics PR:
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.
Sounds sincere to me.