Thomas, who supposedly put $30,000 down on nearly $100,000 of gaudy jewelry at a high end store in New York during December of the 2009 season and then never paid the balance, settled with the jeweler last week. For most Duke fans or casual fans this was the end of a peculiar situation, but for those who dislike Duke or at least to appear to dislike Duke, this is far from a done deal.
Take Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde who opined on Friday that Duke, and specifically Krzyzewski, owe it to everyone esle to investigate this case further, even it means finding that Thomas committed a violation that could end up costing the Blue Devils a title.
Now this suggestion from Forde certainly caused quite a reaction among the die-hard Duke fans who were more than a little outraged at the fact that Forde was implying that Duke and Krzyzewski’s reputation were essentially at stake.
Again I am not really sure why any Duke fan would be shocked by this, Forde has never appeared to be a big fan of Krzyzewski or Duke dating back to his days with ESPN. And our old friend Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports, who hasn’t cared for Krzyzewski ever since he was denied access for a book he was working on, also chimed in as he seems to continue his ongoing vendetta against Krzyzewski and Duke.
Guys like Doyel and Forde are just doing their job, sort of. They are driving readers to their parent company websites which means traffic, which means money. Doyel obviously seems to have a bigger axe to grind against Duke, but he seems to love finding the negative in just about everything. The Blue Devils aren’t the only national power house that Doyel has aimed his keyboard at and likely won’t be the last, but Duke is certainly his Moby Dick. I really don’t think he was held enough as a baby.
So Duke fans, my advice to you is don’t pay these guys any mind, because if you aren’t of the mind set that the Thomas issue is a problem, then save yourself the frustration of reading anything by guys like this.
In their defense, they have a point. The questions that remain following this entire scenario are numerous and intriguing. How did Thomas manage to get $30,000? Why would the store approve a line of credit for a college senior with no apparent source of income? There certainly wasn’t enough income for him to be able to pay off that kind of debt in such a short time. And why did no one seem to know about it? You can’t really hide that kind of jewelry. Why buy it if you don’t wear it around?
These are all questions that Thomas and the jeweler could answer, but thanks to a court-ordered confidentiality agreement neither are going to be talking. Even beore the settlement it didn’t appear that either party was going to be talking to the NCAA anyway, so all these questions were still likely to go unanswered.
It seems though that if Forde and or Doyel were to have their way, Mike Krzyzewski would have Thomas tied down to a chair and tortured for information that may lead to Duke having to vacate a season and a National Title. And they both feel like Duke and Krzyzewski owe it to someone to find the truth?
Who is that exactly gentlemen? I don’t feel as a fan I’m owed and explanation. It seems like both are just hoping for something, anything that can tarnish Duke and Krzyzewski reputation so they can say ‘I told you so.’
There is always the possiblity that there could be a reasonable explanation to all of this and it all ends up being much ado about nothing. But that isn’t how most people think, and it is certainly not what is on the minds of the conspiracy theorists like Doyel and Forde.
I share many of the same questions and I am of the mindset that if Duke or Thomas did something wrong, broke a rule, they need to pay the same price that any other program would. I wouldn’t particularly like it but if it meant maintaining program integrity, then so be it.
But for now no wrong doing has been found. And there isn’t anything Doyel, Forde, or the NCAA can do at this point but wait to see if more information comes from this. Unless Duke and Krzyzewski decide to force Thomas to break the court-ordered confidentiality agreement, it isn’t likely that the doubters will ever be satiated.
The case may be over but the questions still remain.