MORE TOP STORIES OF THE YEAR
(or why I check the net for info on my alma mater more than I do for my
Back in March of 2006, I attended a lacrosse game in
Durham, North Carolina, between my alma mater, Duke, and the University of
Maryland. The two teams were ranked #1 and #2 at the time and the game lived up
to its billing with a 10-9 outcome determined in overtime. Little did I know
that I would attend one of the last games of Dukeís 2006 lacrosse season.
The news about the alleged rape surfaced on
www.dukebasketballreport.com, a website that I frequent because it provides
me with information about the Blue Devil basketball team. However, Duke fans
are loyal and the site will post updates on the other major sports teams even
www.goduke.com is the official outlet.
When I first heard about the incident, I sloughed it off as
nothing more than a fee dispute between a couple of strippers who didnít receive
the tips that they expected. Strippers werenít part of the team culture when I
attended college, but werenít an unknown item inside the fraternity culture. I
was not pleased to hear of the racial epithets that the players reportedly
shouted, but did not expect to hear of the more serious charges that surfaced.
By now, the entire country and world has heard of the
incident, the charges against the three players, and the dubious actions of the
district attorney. The traditional media and the modern media, bloggers, have
covered this situation for a long while. My favorite blog coverage is the site,
Durham in Wonderland (http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/search?q=),
which is run by a professor with no connections to Duke at Brooklyn College in
At this point, the District Attorney has dismissed the rape
charges but left the other charges intact. His manipulation of the photo lineup
and DNA test results have led to major North Carolina papers calling for an
investigation into his investigation. The process in which he has handled the
case has made the North Carolina justice system look like the justice system of
Hazard County when Boss Hogg ran it. I find it amazing that no one inside North
Carolinaís legal system has asked for an investigation. At least one North
Carolina Congressman has had the gumption to ask the U.S. Attorney General to
take a look at the D.A.ís actions.
Meanwhile, Dukeís President is finally asking that the D.A.
treat the accused students fairly. Had he taken this stance last spring, this
case may not have proceeded as far as it has. Running any university is not
easy, much less a prestigious one, but letting political correctness take over
your common sense is hard for me to comprehend. Because of this incident, the
President terminated the teamís season, fired the head coach, and did not allow
the two undergraduates to return to school while the case was still open. The
only educators to defend the students initially were the headmasters from their
high schools and not Dukeís president. Mike Pressler, Dukeís lacrosse coach, is
a great guy who was made the fall guy. A later investigation led by a Duke law
professor revealed that the lacrosse teamís discipline and academic records were
better than the average for athletic teams.
Letís hope this case is resolved soon.