The Twittersphere exploded this afternoon as SPORTSbyBROOKS alleged that Vontaze Burfict attacked a teammate during practice this week, causing ASU to withhold him from media day on Saturday.
According to Brooks, Burfict "suckerpunched" wide receiver Kevin Ozier in the locker room after practice on Wednesday. Brooks went so far as to say that it was an "assault" and that head coach Dennis Erickson was "hiding" the story from the media.
These allegations are quite serious, and if true would have dealt a huge blow to Burfict's credibility as the defensive leader of the Sun Devils football team in 2011.
Fortunately for ASU fans, this story was overblown, according to a source familiar with the situation.
While it is true that Burfict was absent from ASU media day on Saturday, it was his personal choice to not take part. Generally a subdued young man off the field, Burfict rarely (if ever) spoke to the media in his first two seasons in Tempe.
This offseason has been a different story, as Burfict has done interviews with several media outlets who were looking to tout his immense abilities.
Burfict has a reputation as a loose cannon on the field, drawing ire for his propensity to draw flags and personal fouls. Often times, he's referred to as a "cheap" player by opposing teams' fans.
So what really happened on Wednesday?
During practice, Burfict and Ozier were involved in a scuffle. After practice, the two had to be separated in the locker room by teammates who were nearby. According to the source, there was no "suckerpunch," but there was an altercation between the two parties. UPDATE, 6:00 PM: The Arizona Republic confirmed that there were punches thrown during the fight by both players.
While no one should be pleased by Burfict's immaturity in this situation, it has been confirmed that he did not commit the strongly worded "assault" that was initially reported.