The biggest story of the summer is apparently playing out in the middle of the news desert.
That light rustling you hear is the quiet, early summer hush that tends to fall over the Syracuse area in the summer months when news is hard to come by. It has most certainly returned to the Hill, the SU athletic department and the newspapers, TV and radio stations that cover it.
There’s only one problem: there should be a deafening roar from Skytop to Marshall Street. One of the school’s highest-profile recruits of the past decade, the budding Brazilian center of the basketball team was arraigned on fourth degree criminal mischief charges last week. This blog then ran a story reporting Fab Melo had been physical with his girlfriend before, leading to his suspension in February. This is enormously explosive offseason news. The tide is high, but the dunes are silent. Why?
Why is the latest SU basketball story from the Post-Standard about a youth camp and Derrick Coleman at the Taste of Syracuse? Why hasn’t the paper gotten anything past its initial police report findings? The Melo reporting has been buried behind Breanna Stewart’s Team USA adventures and a Sprint Cup race, among other irrelevant stories to this region.
Maybe the story will be advanced upon Melo’s next court appearance on June 14th. But where is opinion maestro Bud Poliquin, questioning the center’s cultural ethic, and discussing one of the lightning rods of SU sports? Poliquin is the Post-Standard’s go-to think-man. His page title on Syracuse.com is “Analysis of Syracuse and Central NY Sports.” Poliquin’s last four columns have been about Plaxico Burress, the NBA Finals, Ricky Rubio, and today, Doug Marrone’s opinion on paying players. Where is the opinion on SU basketball’s latest drama, Bud?
This is not just a Post-Standard issue. The local television stations have remained quiet. The sports radio airwaves have little to discuss past the original police report. Seems the only media outlets conversing and reporting on this story are within the Orange blogosphere.
The biggest question of all, however, may be where is SU Athletics? The most disturbing mute is coming from Manley Field House, the multi-million dollar machine’s headquarters. Daryl Gross? Silent. Athletic Communications? Non-communicative. And the head honcho himself, Jim Boeheim, is seemingly riding this one out in a bunker. No statement. No comment. No call to the Axeman to clarify what he sees as lies or misinterpretations in the media (which is a Boeheim signature). Dion Waiters mutters, “f*** off” during a game? The Per’fesser is immediately sounding off. Starting center involved in domestic violence? Crickets.
The Per’fesser has chosen not to talk and to be fair, when it comes to ongoing legal situations, it’s possible he simply cannot speak. SU athletics may also be in the same jam – unable to discuss anything because of an ongoing investigation. But Boeheim is the most powerful person in Syracuse, bar none. Not the mayor, nor Nancy Cantor, nor even Alec Baldwin’s mother have the authority of Boeheim. And his silence may speak volumes. Volumes that will get cracked open starting on June 14th. The courts, as a public place, are not legally allowed to stay quiet.
Until then, the silence is deafening. But be warned, there’s a figurative Rage Against the Machine Concert headed straight for this library in a week. It will have an explicit marker on it. It will not be censored. And it’s likely to rattle more cages.
Enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts.
Posted: Ted Conroy