This morning, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Don Walker reported that Marquette freshman Vander Blue has a hearing scheduled in Milwaukee municipal court today stemming from an assault and battery citation Blue received last October. There's been a lot of tsk-tsking and wringing of hands in the wake of the news, but, more importantly, there's also been a lot of inaccurate information being dispersed -- primarily from whoever does the hourly updates on 1250 WSSP, who said several times this morning that Vander is facing assault and battery charges in Milwaukee county court.
For those of us who understand the (somewhat technical) distinctions in this area of law, glossing over/misstating the details of this situation like that is a little troubling. Let's be clear, and I apologize in advance for yellin':
VANDER HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME. And because he hasn't been charged with a crime, he is not appearing in county circuit court today.
Back in October, Vander was issued a municipal citation. Legally speaking, a municipal citation for assault and battery is the same thing as a municipal citation for speeding, or for parking illegally, or for underage drinking. You can't go to jail (unless you're found guilty and don't pay the fine, but that's a different story). You don't even have to appear in court if you don't want to; an attorney can go on your behalf, enter a plea, negotiate a deal, even have a trial without you being present. At the end of the day, if you're found guilty, the worst the municipal court can do is order you to pay a monetary penalty.
That's it. That's all.
Let me also be clear about this: if you want to freak out about Vander's citation, if you want to talk about how disappointed you are in Vander and the program and Coach Buzz: fine by me. You're entitled to your opinion, just as I'm entitled to mine: a 19-year-old getting a municipal citation of any kind is a yawner of the highest order. All I ask is this: please -- PLEASE -- be precise when you're talking about what's happening today.