When I intimated yesterday that I had heard some stories about Fab Melo long-before news broke that he had been arraigned for criminal mischief during an incident with his girlfriend, the basic premise of those stories was that Fab and his girlfriend had what one might describe as a "volatile relationship."
And so today, the Post-Standard put some reporting into the matter and found out that's exactly what it is. Robert Baker has the full report on the incident in question and it sounds exactly like the kind of stuff I was hearing about. Intense jealousy. Anger issues. And one that I didn't want to hear...physical aggression.
The girlfriend of Syracuse University basketball player Fab Melo told police that the two have had a "volatile relationship" and Melo has been physically violent with her four or five times since they began dating in October, according to a Syracuse police incident report.
She told police Melo was very possessive and did not want her to associate with another male.
Yikes, yikes, yikes.
At this point we probably need to be clear on two things, lest Jim Boeheim catch wind of all this and call Brent Axe post haste to vent.
1. This is all still alleged and hearsay until we know otherwise.
2. If it is true...I mean, how does Fab come back from this? How do we as Syracuse basketball fans comes back from that. You can take steroids, you can do drugs, you can get into a fight, you can punch a guy in the face for throwing a snowball in your general direction, you can steal cheesesteaks and you can curse people out on Twitter. You can do all of that stuff and eventually, most of the time, fans will forgive and they will forget.
But being "physically violent" with a woman? On multiple occasions? To me, that's one of those things that crosses a line that fans have a hard time stepping back over with you (Then again, considering how revered Jim Brown is, maybe that's not even true. Or perhaps it depends on just how good you are in the game you play).
Adding fuel to the fire, Fab now becomes just the latest SU basketball player to have some kind of off-the-court issue with a female (Devo's "punching" incident, the Scoop/Jonny/Rick sexual assault charge).
Is there a distinction?
Well, as much so many people wanted to assume Devo really was the kind of guy to punch a woman in the face, it turned out that he actually didn't (not to say touching her at all was a good thing to do).
As for the Scoop/Jonny/Rick ordeal, they were cleared by a Syracuse court, as well as the notoriously-harsh SU Judicial Affairs. We can split hairs over whether or not that proves innocence or just a lack of proof but the fact is there wasn't enough there to say it was true.
Now, we can hope for the same ending for Fab. We can hope that this is all being blown out of proportion. That he isn't really a violent guy who physically confronts women. That he is the good-natured, happy-go-lucky kid we see on the floor. But, until that happens, all we can go with is the report and the facts. And neither of those look very good.