The team knew. Chase Scanlan’s teammates knew how bad it was. In the middle of this bizarre dance with suspension/reinstatement by John Desko, the players knew the extent of the abuse. Late Friday we discovered Scanlan allegedly squeezed the victim so tight she thought she’d die. It led to bruised ribs. He was arrested.
The victim told authorities he put her in a leg lock. She began yelling. He started to constrict the air out of her.
“As he was doing this, he began squeezing my upper body with his arms and I started screaming because he was hurting me. He continued squeezing I thought he was going to kill me.” – Alleged Victim
The team knew. They knew Scanlan had crossed a hideous line. They refused to allow him to wear that iconic Syracuse #22 jersey alongside them. If he was an Orange, they weren’t. They stood for something more than a guy with good ball-cradling skills and a powerful shot.
She says he smashed her phone, violently pushed open the bathroom door and hit her, then got into a physical altercation where she gasped for air. She screamed.
“I was having difficulty breathing because of how hard he was squeezing me.” – Alleged Victim
Desko probably knew this all as well, but he may have clumsily stumbled his way around punishing Scanlan for it. The incident happened. Desko had enough information to suspend him immediately. Then Desko suddenly reversed course, and the team revolted. SU attempted to play both sides, not allowing Scanlan to play in games, yet allowing him to practice. But the damage had been done. His teammates were so angered by it all Scanlan wasn’t allowed to workout with them. Scanlan had to practice alone with an assistant coach.
“Chase has a serious anger management and drinking problem. I desire prosecution against Chase Scanlan.” – Alleged Victim
The team knew. They understood the severity of this altercation. They were aware Scanlan had a reputation around campus for toxic behavior. He wasn’t one of them anymore. They couldn’t celebrate his goals or fist-pound him after wins in good conscious.
Title IX’s legal protection of the accused made this muddy. Why didn’t SU completely suspend Scanlan from the team as he was being investigated? Why did they feel strongly enough to suspend him in the first place but then reverse course? Why did John Wildhack play down the Scanlan case in a cheery interview with the ACC Network?
“I’m very limited in what I can say, federal law mandates that any student, not just student-athlete, their record at a university is a private matter,” Wildhack told Packer & Durham on April 29th. “Coach Desko addressed it yesterday as Chase has been re-admitted to the team. He did individual work yesterday. He will not travel to Notre Dame. And that’s where we stand as of this morning.”
“It’s been a good week of practice. The team has been very focused. They played very well last week at Virginia. A great win for us against a top 5 team.”
As for a meeting with the SU captains? “It did occur, and I thought it was a very good conversation. very cordial conversation, Very substantive conversation. I have a lot of respect for those five guys. Yeah that was one of my messages to them. They’re good leaders, they’re good young men.”
The team knew. Syracuse may have initially misjudged what type of punishment they could hand down when they suspended him. SU may have realized they had to backtrack yet couldn’t explain why. But the team knew the reality.
In a sea of turbulence, SU lacrosse players have been the light. They have posted statements condemning domestic violence. They have reminded people of the horror of Yeardley Love’s death. They have used a low point in program history as a megaphone for positive change.
The players have stood firmly, strongly, and intelligently against Scanlan since the moment of the incident. History will show their grace, their strength, and their maturity.
Because they knew all along.