Michael Carter Williams, a sophomore guard for the undefeated Syracuse Orange, is already having a tremendous season. After being buried behind senior Scoop Jardine last year, MCW is blossoming thanks to added minutes: 12.4 points per game and 10.4 assists per game. It’s very early, but he looks like an NBA lottery pick.
In Carter-Williams, some people see Shaun Livingston, the wiry, injury-riddled high school phenom who is currently in the NBA; I see a dash of Penny Hardaway, an all-around talent who could play three positions.
At any rate, something happened to Michael Carter Williams at a mall in Syracuse over the weekend. Just what happened remains a mystery. It all started with this tweet, sent early this morning from Payne Insider.
— PayneInsider.com (@PayneInsider) December 10, 2012
Here’s the blurry photo that accompanied it:
Is that MCW? It’s unclear.
So we called the Syracuse police department. Any charges against Michael Carter-Williams? Any record of anything at a mall this weekend?
Nope, they told us.
So then we called security at Carousel Mall/Destiny USA to ask if there was an incident involving Michael Carter Williams over the weekend.
“We have no reports of any calls from any of the stores involving him,” Tim Irwin, the security supervisor told us. “We don’t get involved in shoplifting cases unless there’s a conflict.”
Last call: To Lord and Taylor, where the alleged incident took place. Immediately, the Loss Prevention Manager – who refused multiple times to give his name – said, “the store’s official statement is no comment.” The gentleman on the other end of the phone wouldn’t answer any questions. Was that him in the photo? Nervous laughter. Were there any football players with the guy you apprehended? Nothing.
Me: “Rumors are it was a ‘misunderstanding’ and involved sneakers.”
Loss Prevention Manager: “Are you recording this call?”
Loss Prevention Manager: “I can’t answer anything, I’ll get in trouble.”
Me: “Have you had any other calls about this?”
Loss Prevention Manager: “Yes. Several. Are you sure you’re not recording this?”
Me: “I’m not recording this. So what’s the next step you guys take in the process after apprehending someone?”
Loss Prevention Manager: “It’s over.”
Me: “Being-swept-under-the-rug-over, or what?”
Loss Prevention Manager: “I can’t answer that. I’ve already said enough.”
He told me to call the Lord and Taylor PR department in New York City. “They know about it,” he said. I called them, got bounced around to four different departments and then someone (he said his name quickly, last name might have been Owens; he wouldn’t repeat it) said he couldn’t talk about it and essentially hung up on me.
I checked the twitter feed of Michael Carter Williams, who earlier today actually responded to people asking him about the incident. But then he deleted his answers. Here’s one question:
@mjcwilliams Please tell me you weren’t caught stealing from Destiny USA today…Clear the air.
— Paul Linnertz (@pmljr11) December 10, 2012
And MCW replied with this (screengrab):
To recap: The store won’t talk about the photo. There are no charges. But every Syracuse basketball message board on the web is talking about what may or may not have happened. The Post-Standard wrote about the incident, with a “no comment” from Syracuse officials.