Terrible news out of Wake Forest where assistant coach Jamill Jones has been charged with assault after punching a man in New York who later died.
Sandor Szabo, who was in New York for a family wedding, was looking for a cab or Uber he called for (we’ve seen both listed) and was banging on the hoods of cars looking for it.
Szabo was confronted by someone whom he allegedly punched and then Jones allegedly punched Szabo.
It isn’t clear that his punch was fatal - for now he’s only charged with assault. But those charges could be upgraded depending on what is discovered.
There is a great deal we don’t know about this. We don’t know why Szabo behaved the way he did. We don’t know why Jones punched him.
We do think we know this though: Szabo’s family is devastated and Jones probably is too. It’s one thing to get angry and slug someone but we’re pretty sure that he didn’t expect Szabo to die. If it turns out that the punch itself was fatal, aside from legal consequences, he’ll have to live with what he’s done and that won’t be easy. It may have significant professional consequences as well.
We’re reminded of Kermit Washington, who punched Rudy Tomjanovich during an NBA fight in 1977.
Tomjanovich’s face was shattered like an eggshell and he could have died. Amazingly he returned to the court after a lengthy recovery. John Feinstein wrote a tremendous book about that punch and the aftermath for both men.
In that situation, Tomjanovich was running down the court when Washington, who is 6-8 and was extremely powerful, saw Tomjanovich out of the corner of his eye and turned around to swing before he understood that Tomjanovich was not a personal threat. Add his immense power and the fact that Rudy T basically ran into his swinging fist at full speed and the devastation becomes plain.
Incidentally, we didn’t realize it but Washington was sentenced to six years in prison this summer after defrauding a charity he ran.
Update: Szabo’s death has now been ruled a homicide and Jones could now face much more serious charges including possibly murder.
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