clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

More On McCallie

In Michigan, a lot of people are upset with Joanne P. McCallie for bolting for Duke, and in truth, her departure, coming after just signing an extension, was awkward to say the least. But as this columnist points out, had she suddenly started losing, there would be no loyalty towards her, and in fact, the fans would have insisted she be fired.

The same fans who are angry at her for leaving.

Drew Sharp is right: you can't really blame anyone for moving anymore. If there were some guarantee of loyalty from the school, maybe. But these things don't happen in a vacuum.

There is also a bit of controversy about her husband, Dr. John McCallie, who is a visiting professor at Michigan State. Here's the deal: when they were at the airport in Florida a few weeks ago, in March, McCallie was told he needed his baggage claims tickets to get his bags. Apparently he threw his ticket in the trash. According to the Detroit Free Press, he turned the trash can over, and when a police officer told him to pick the mess up, he allegedly swung the trash can at him and ended up in a brawl, biting the officer on the finger.

The account by the Free Press suggests a man with a serious temper problem. Here's the passage:

“McCallie started dumping out the trash looking for the tag,” said Bob Mattingly, the airport’s vice president of operations and maintenance. “One of the police officers approached him and said, ‘What are you doing’ and, ‘Please clean it up.’

“Then the man just flipped out.”

Police said McCallie refused to clean up a mess, began yelling obscenities and started swinging the trashcan at the officer.

When officer George Munkelwitz attempted to handcuff him, police said, McCallie slapped his hand away. The two began to struggle and ended up on the ground, police said, where the professor bit the officer’s finger when he tried to grab his wrist.

McCallie supposedly would not let go and was subdued when the officer pressed a pressure point behind his ear. Munkelwitz sought medical treatment for the bite.
McCallie was taken to the Sarasota County Jail and was released on $2,700 bail several hours later, according to the Herald-Tribune.

After the lacrosse case, forgive us for being a bit more skeptical than we used to be. What's presented here is the airport's side of the story, and of course, it could be absolutely true. But as in the case of State assistant Larry Harris, something seems to be missing. Harris got pulled over for doing 41 in a 25 and ended up with pepper spray in his face. There's never been the slightest indication that Harris was a public menace prior to this.

We don't know anything about McCallie. But does this narrative really make sense? We can believe the part about the trash can and the mess and being asked to clean it up. But for things to follow this narrative, you'd have to have a serious personal problem.

Does it make sense that the police officer says "what are you doing...please clean this up..." and the guy responds by cursing and swinging the trashcan at him? And if you think about it, this story seems out of sequence: does it sound logical that he goes from swinging a trashcan to slapping the officer's hand away when the officer tries to cuff him?

We have no idea what happened here, and McCallie could certainly be at fault, but something happened between "please pick this up" and swinging a trash can at a police officer. This just makes no sense at all.