Blog Entry

The Sullinger incident, and why a big deal.

Posted on: February 15, 2011 3:10 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 3:43 pm

It is easy these days to make unsubstantiated claims.  In this world of hi-tech devices, the days of the AP Style Book have gone the way of the telegraph, the phonograph, and the hi-fi.  However, does the average person need to understand the consequences of his/her words, even though they are posted on a Facebook or Twitter account?   Is an average citizen just as responsible for an incident of libel as a newspaper or magazine?

Nazi Germany used a method of propaganda persuasion where the lie, or the "non-truth," was used, over and over again, until some people actually began to believe that it was the truth.  If more convincing was needed, then it was repeated again, and again.  This was a very successful campaign, and led to an unprecedented loyalty from the majority of the German citizens.  People have a tendency to believe what they hear, first; even after a retraction is made.  It is human nature.  Herman Goebbels always liked to point-out, "When does a lie bceome the truth? --when people believe it!" 

Saturday afternoon, Jared Sullinger, the outstanding freshmen basketball player for the terrific Ohio State Buckeyes made the claim that he was spit on, both before and after the basketball game between OSU and Wisconsin, at Madison.  There were two separate tweets. In the first he said, and I quote exactly, in both, despite the loose grammar: "#BuckeyeNation if you ever decide to rush the court. Don't ever spit on the opponents. Just a lil tip from me to you." In the second tweet he said, "To be spit on is just nasty. On top of that in my Face. Before and after the game. Smh (shaking my head). I just kept walking. More fuel to the fire."   

I am not supposed to reveal this: but fourteen University of Wisconsin employees (one a close family member to me) have spent the better part of the last three days reviewing video tapes of the basketball game from Saturday –all the way from 2 hours before the game, until the game ended and the Ohio State team was safely inside of its own locker room.  Of course, they are not spending this much time and money just to make Sullinger look bad, they are doing it so that --if there were a spitting incident-- the culprit/culprits can be brought to justice.  In all cases, there were at least 3 camera angles (at one time) on every move that Jared Sullinger made, and in most cases there were 5 or even 6 cameras which picked him up.  Never was there a single time where he was out of the range of fewer than 3 cameras.  In none of these video tapes did it ever appear as if Sullinger was spit upon.  In fact, when  Sullinger was anywhere near the fans, there was not any indication of any spitting, or  evidence of Sullinger wiping his face, as if he were spit upon. 
Even Bob Baptist, a sports reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, pointed-out that Sullinger was even highly complimenting the Kohl Center fans for their spirit, and that there was no indications, to him, or mention to other reporters, that any spitting incident took place at all.  He did not hear anything about, himself, until Sunday.

Badger fans are good people, for the most part.  They pride themselves in being hospitable. Do they get excited? –yes, of course they do.  Is that illegal?  I don’t think so.  When a claim, such as this is made, it affects all of the fans here.  We never want to see anything like this happen, and if it does, we want justice too.  The question is:  “Did it happen?”  I don’t think so. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or