Distasteful as are some details in the Seattle police report, knowing what went on that night with Venoy Overton, which clouded a promising UW basketball season, flashes a bright warning light on college sports.
Cringe-causing details were poured out Tuesday, continuing the fallout from Venoy Overtons midseason misdeeds.
Most consternation from Overtons sordid Saturday night his past January had dissolved. When Seattle Weekly published an article Tuesday detailing specifics from the 227-page police report, there was blowback. A chunk of it toward Seattle Weekly for publicizing the document.
Its uncomfortable to read through the details in the document. Who did what to whom, especially with such a young woman involved, makes appealing a post-read run to the shower.
But it matters.
Illustrating how Overton was pursued the way athletes so often are matters.
Showing Overtons numerous errors in judgment matters.
Understanding how media can be worked to present a partial case, and how difficult it is to pull back that initial line of thinking, matters.
Understanding the details in order to assess the punishment matters.
The ordeal is a punch-to-the-face reminder that sports are played by humans. No matter how much sabermetricians and other self-appointed experts, who can rewind their DVRs to claim knowledge, try to convince us otherwise.
These off-field controversies come right back to the premise of sports, particularly in college. Participants are supposed to learn something.
Details in the report that Overton was drinking and smoking fake weed in the middle of the season, showed he had not learned. Rather he was riding with a spoiled athletes sense of entitlement.
Head coach Lorenzo Romar said during this fiasco this was his toughest season at the helm in Washington. Knowing more of what happened, though not what was specifically told to Romar and when, allows better assessment of how he runs his program, even if the details are tawdry. Between this and the recent disclosure about UW recruit Tony Wroten and his dubious remedial Spanish class at Garfield High School, the sheen of the program has dulled.
Morality plays like this illustrate the foolishness of youth and the fame that comes with being a star athlete so young. Would Overton ever been in this public position otherwise?
This is a team sports issue because off-court distractions trickle right into outcomes. After Seattle police confirmed they were investigating an unnamed Washington player, the Huskies lost the next game 58-56 against a mediocre Stanford team in Palo Alto.
Overton started that game and played terribly. The previous morning he made his extended statement to police explaining his side of what happened.
By the end of the month, attendance at weekly press conferences were swelled by media members who would never otherwise be there. Each week, one reporter would try to lead Romar into answering a question about the investigation. After the reporter didnt receive the sound bite he hoped for, he played with his phone the rest of the media session.
Players talked to each other about the investigation. Because of the exposure and conundrum for Romar of exposing an unnamed player under investigation, it tainted the team.
By the end of January, the team in was a three-game losing streak, including its biggest defeat of the year, an inexplicable 12-point defeat at Oregon State. But now we have the explanation. Abdul Gaddys injury and Overtons insolence conspired to place Romars deepest Washington team chest-high in the muck.
Those bumps added up. Thats why Washington dropped in the NCAA tourney seedings and ended up playing in the second round the menacing Tar Heels in their home state of North Carolina. Reflecting on this team that lost 11 games by a total of 55 points will grind the mind. The Huskies were filled with talent. This debacle, more thoroughly explained Tuesday, wore down the coach and distracted the team.
Trust, judgment, belief, mores. These are all things that sport test, intangibles that are supposed to be enhanced by competition and the benefits of so-called amateur athleticism.
This is another reminder that the system of athletic entitlement hasnt changed. Just as with the rest of life, sports are populated by the gifted and misguided, the smart and smarmy. All are part of the story that needs telling.
What do Overtons off-the-court misdeeds have to do with sports? Everything.
This is life, not Pong.
Follow Todd on Twitter at @Todd_Dybas