BOSTON — The domestic violence case against Jared Sullinger was thrown out back in October, but the Celtics big man didn’t get off totally cleanly. Even if his one-game suspension from the Celtics amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist, Sullinger got a deserved earful from everyone within his personal sphere.
One of those earfuls came from across the country.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers — who had a say in Celtics personnel decisions when Sullinger was drafted and coached the Ohio State product for one season in Boston — was one of many to reach out to Sullinger during the court proceedings. From his new home in California, Rivers issued some tough love and harsh truth about being a professional athlete in the 21st century.
“My message was just, always do right,” Rivers said before his Clippers took on the Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday. “He’s in the spotlight. They all are. It’s not like when we played. It really isn’t. You know that. You could cover your butt, do anything. Nobody really knew or cared. Now, these guys, they really have to conduct themselves the right way.”
Sullinger was accused of pinning his girlfriend, Deann Smith, to a bed and threatening her during an argument at their home in Waltham in August and was charged with assault and battery, destruction of property and intimidation of a witness. The charges were dropped Oct. 28 after Smith refused to participate in the prosecution’s case.
Sullinger was suspended one game by the Celtics for the incident.