Did Coach K Smear Rasheed Suliamon?

I would like to preface this article by saying I nor anyone at 10th Year Seniors condone rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment of any kind. It is a vile, cruel, unforgivable act and there is no excuse for it in our society.

Yesterday ESPN published an interview with former Duke guard Rasheed Suliamon.  In it he talks about his dismissal from the University’s basketball team as well as the sexual assault allegations that surfaced about that time. Suliamon denied the allegations vehemently (of course he would) but there were interesting wrinkles from this story.

  • Suliamon’s dismissal had nothing to do with the sexual assault allegations.
  • He was dismissed because he expressed frustration with his diminished role.
  • The alleged assault(s) happened two years prior to his dismissal from the team.
  • The allegations were investigated and dismissed by Duke University and Suliamon was in such good standing with the school that they agreed to honor his scholarship up to his graduation upon his dismissal.

The fact that the sexual assault allegations against Suliamon conveniently leaked two years after they were filed when Duke Coach Krzyzewski cut him leads me to the question: Did Coach Mike K or someone related to his basketball program do a smear job on Rasheed Suliamon?

Smearing a player after you cut them isn’t a new thing in sports. A lot of inside information got out about Desean Jackson miraculously got out when Chip Kelly cut him from The Philadelphia Eagles for no real reason other than he didn’t fucking like him. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Shiano  was believed to have ran an aggressive smear campaign against quarterback Josh Freeman before he was cut.

It may seem like a crackpot conspiracy theory, but there are ample reasons for why Coack K would smear his player. By all accounts Suliamon is a pretty classy kid. He was a McDonald’s All-American who, knowing he could’ve been playing major minutes anywhere else in the country was unsatisfied with his dwindling role at Duke  College basketball is a business and Coach K found better players making Suliamon redundant, relegating him to the bench. Kryzewski may have felt he needed a justification to get rid of a (by all accounts) gentleman who performed well in the class, so out comes the sexual assault allegations from years prior and nobody’s questioning Suliamon’s dismissal.

By cutting Suliamon, Coach K doesn’t look like a ruthless puppet master who exploits young kids’ dreams for fame and fortune then throws them away when he doesn’t need them anymore.  He instead gets to forward the running narrative of himself that he’s been putting together for the the past three decades, that he is a principled leader of men, who doesn’t stand for any bullshit (2 years later when he decided he doesn’t need a kid anymore).  He also gets to look like he’s fighting the culture of rape that is all too pervasive in American collegiate life.

The truth is I have no clue why the sexual assault allegations against Suliamon were made public two years after they were reported to have actually happened, but I do know that the timing was awfully convenient to make Coach K look good at Suliamon’s expense. Maybe he did try to smear Rasheed Suliamon, maybe he didn’t, either way:  fuck Coach K.