11 April 2007

Checking In On Duke Lacrosse's Other Shoe


Earlier today North Carolina Attorney General Roy A. Cooper declared the three former Duke Lacrosse players innocent of all charges stemming from last year's rape accusation.

The attorney general, Roy A. Cooper, said the players — Reade W. Seligmann, David F. Evans, and Collin Finnerty — had been wrongly accused by an “unchecked” and “overreaching” district attorney who had ignored contradictory evidence and instead relied on the stripper’s “faulty and unreliable” accusations.

“We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations,” Mr. Cooper said at a news conference.

“We have no credible evidence that an attack occurred,” he added.

While the three players have now been exonerated by the law, and the accuser's photo is now splashed across the Drudge Report, there's still the former Duke coach, Mike Pressler, and his downfall. The coach never wavered in support of his players, and while his support turned out to be valid, it cost him his job, and more. Pressler states that Cooper's announcement only affirmed what he believed all along.
"It is the same truth today as it was a year ago," Pressler said at a late afternoon news conference at Bryant University, where he now coaches. "The injustice, the lies and the myths have been fully exposed."
Pressler was fired from Duke last spring after leading the program for 16 years and building it into a lacrosse juggernaut. After falling from grace at Duke, he landed at Bryant University, a Division II program in Northern Rhode Island.

In a sign of gratitude, Evans paid tribute to Pressler, and the sacrifice he made on behalf of his players:
"Sixteen years he spent building up a team to fall on a sword so that we could continue as a team at the university he loved," Evans said. "We owe him everything."
But like in most stories, there are two sides to every story. Pressler lost a lot. He lost the career that he had spent years building. Coaching at Bryant must be some sort of Lacrosse purgatory. It's like Jim Harrick coaching in the NBDL. His players lost a lot too. They're now household names for all the wrong reasons. Their lives have been changed - probably for the worse.

Yet despite being portrayed in a sympathetic light in the stories coming out, it can't be forgotten that everyone involved brought this incident on themselves. Even being innocent, the Duke Lacrosse team already had a terrible reputation, and their boorish behavior would have culminated in something like this one day. The three players also robbed their teammates of the rest of their season. Pressler, the loyal coach, stood by his players. But he also presided over this program that was wildly out of control. He could have cleaned ship and brought about discipline. But he chose to ride his success and ignore such behavioral problems.

I'm not dealing with the accuser here because enough will be said about her. But as with the others involved, the fact of the matter is each party could have acted differently, and each party was in some way wronged.

"A lot was taken from us," Pressler said, and he's right. Yet it was everyone involved could have helped prevent this calamity.


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

>>The three players also robbed their teammates of the rest of their season.


Huh? How so? The season was canceled long before any of the three players were indicted. And there's no evidence at all that the behavior of these three players was in any way worse than the rest of the team members at the party; of the three who were charged, the only thing you can say for certain is that two attended the party, and one helped to organize it.

Anonymous said...

The actions of all the players at the party resulted in the loss of the season, not just these three. Yes, these three were particularly out of control, but the rest attending weren't far behind. THe program as a whole caused its own demise.

Anonymous said...

And if a woman dresses like a whore, or is a stripper, and gets raped - would you say she brought that on herself?

I doubt it, double standard if there ever was one!

openmind said...

read the news...the law says the accused are INNOCENT not,NOT GUILTY but INNOCENT. don't be racists like Sharpton and Jackson..INNOCENT

Purdue Matt said...

"The three players also robbed their teammates of the rest of their season."

How in the world can you say that? They were the 3 unlucky ones picked randomly by the accuser out of a lineup of nothing but Duke Lacrosee players.

Anonymous said...

If they would have been black football players or black hoops players, we wouldn't be having any of this discussion.

When was the last time a coach in NCAA semi-pro football or basketball had to resign because of his players conduct?

Anonymous said...

If these players had belonged to the basketball or football teams there never would have been a rush to judgement. If the players were black again, no rush. But let them be white guys on a non-revenue producing sport, then off with their heads. Welcome to Duke students. A place where if someone accuses you of something, the community will condemn you immediately before any evidence is even collected.

Anonymous said...

Those who say the Lacrosse players were in the wrong for even having the party is like saying a woman who dresses like a slut deserves to be raped. Let's just close down the Duke Law school because obviously few at Duke care about innocent until proven guilty.

Anonymous said...

The liberal media is making a huge deal out of what Don Imus said. His remark was offensive but the women he insulted never faced going to jail. Yet when the announcement was made that the Lacrosse players were innocent, the liberals didn't ask Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson about that. And I am a liberal. For once I agree with what Rush Limbaugh is saying on something.

Anonymous said...

Duke will be forever shamed unless it does the following. First, the university president must resign or be fired. Second, a good does of crow must be eaten by all members of the Duke staff and student body who bought the story of this lying woman. Third, the DA must be removed and if possible, he, the county and the university should be sued. Fourth, Duke should pay all the legal fees for these three students.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to the 5:11 am commenter--it's not even the case that these three were particularly out of control. The other dancer specifically said that these three did not make racist or offensive remarks. Two--Seligmann and Finnerty--had left the party before the time the accuser said she was attacked and have evidence to prove it. They were just the three randomly selected by the accuser in the botched lineup procedure (which was, in fact, at least the third try at obtaining identifications).

To the extent members of the lacrosse team bear responsibility for the loss of their season (and it seems clear that, but for the false accusation, the party would not have resulted in cancellation of the season, even if administrators had learned of it--at most, some far lesser discipline would have been imposed, primarily for the underage drinking rather than the completely legal if distasteful hiring of strippers), they bear that responsibility as a group--and they have been straightforward from the beginning about shouldering that responsibility, apologizing for the things they actually did do, and regretting the terrible consequences of this incident for their indicted teammates and their former coach. Statements by team members in an article in today's Duke Chronicle seem far more circumspect and show far more character than the "apology" tacked onto the end of an otherwise very self-serving statement issued by DA Mike Nifong today.

We may want these young men to be "bad" so that we can feel they deserved everything that happened to them in some ultimate sense--that it really was entirely their fault even if they didn't actually commit the crime of which they were accused. That might allow us to preserve our delusion that life is fair. But it isn't, and what happened to these young men isn't, and what happened to their coach isn't. And whether or not they are angels (I'm sure not, are you?), they aren't actually dramatically different from most college-age young men (and a lot better behaved than some).

Anonymous said...

This guy should not be commenting on the Duke case- he has no idea. Two of the three weren't even around for the entertainment. This is the biggest miscarriage of justice since OJ. I know having a blog means nothing but at least have some command of the facts. Embarassing. Dan R

verily said...

At least 4 of the exotic dancers' fake fingernail nails wound up on the floor of that demonic lacrosse house bathroom! Under one of them was DNA consistent with the DNA of one of the accused, demonic lacrosse captain, Dave Evans. The problem for investigators was that the DNA was all "muddled" because DNA from more than one man was found under one of the broken off nails. That is consistent with what the exotic dancer told investigators. She tried to fight off more than one attacker. Just because some "attorney general" in a Klan stronghold succumbed to racist pressure in the rest of Amerikkka, too, doesn't mean SQUAT to OBJECTIVE people with at least 2 firing synapses. Those Duke demons SHOULD have lost their season AND their freedom!
Verily

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