Former Duke lacrosse players win a couple, lose many

Being a Duke grad in sports media was quite uncomfortable during the days of the Duke lacrosse saga, in which a stripper wrongly accused three players of rape and the media tore Duke one way, then the other. (I’d say my employer was fairer than most.)

Early on, I had the sense that the accusations were flawed. Brendan Nyhan, the blogger behind the terrific rhetoric-busting blog Spinsanity and then a grad student at Duke, cataloged some of the problems, even as the talking-head media ranted itself silly about the culture at Duke. Didn’t matter that the talking-head media didn’t know a damn thing about Duke.

Of course, neither did KC Johnson, a then-unknown history professor, but he got a good head start delving deeper into the problems with the case. The Chronicle, my proud student paper, did a fine job with it. (Johnson, much to his credit, acknowledges their fairness.) Eventually, the accusations were doubted. Then dismissed. Not just “not guilty,” but “innocent.” Simply put: They did not do it. No one did.

The irony about Johnson’s blog was this: Johnson was exposing the dangers of groupthink, yet simultaneously demonstrating them. He showed that rape accusations that get a lot of play in the media can lead many to a rush to judgment. Absolutely. And then his commenters, a band with various grudges against Duke, urged him to take it further and turn the screws on Duke itself. They weren’t entirely wrong — a group of 88 faculty members, including a classmate and a former professor of mine but no one else I knew, took out an ad that didn’t explicitly say, “Yay, let’s go get the lacrosse players,” but it could’ve been more tactful. (I did show the ad once to a neutral party, who wondered what the fuss was all about.)

Johnson did his best to distance himself from the most extreme elements in his comments. A black accuser against a mostly white team can bring out the worst in a lot of anonymous people, and Johnson rightfully wanted no part of that. But after one howling mob departed Duke, exhausting its tired stereotypes of a rich white school in a poor black state, Johnson had another mob on his blog. (And the comments on any Chronicle story that had anything to do with lacrosse. Or sports. Or nearly anything.) The mob wanted to paint Duke as anti-jock, incompetent, arrogant and so on.

Duke was in an impossible situation. A rogue prosecutor, Mike Nifong, had indicted three lacrosse players on rape charges stemming from a party that made the whole team look awful. Keeping the whole team away from anyone who was about to rush to judgment was an impossible task. Imagine if the lacrosse season had gone forward and the team had been attacked at an away game.

Johnson and company had little sympathy. They kept the pressure on Duke. Even after the three accused players were exonerated and settled out of court with Duke before any accusations could be stated in court, even after everyone justifiably sued Nifong back to the Stone Age, the remaining players and parents sued Duke and Durham for anything and everything. Repeat: These are NOT the players who were accused of rape. (A separate lawsuit by those three against many people in Durham had several counts survive summary judgment this week.)

That led to the unusual sight last spring, when Duke won the NCAA lacrosse title led by a band of seniors who still had an active lawsuit against the school.

After nearly two years, the court has ruled on motions to dismiss. The headline: Motion denied; suits go forward. The details: Not so fast …

Read through the 150-plus pages of the ruling in Carrington v Duke, and you’ll see lot of the phrase “the motion to dismiss is granted.” As far as Duke officials are concerned, most of it is gone. The people you’d typically meet as an undergraduate have little left to face in court other than Count 11, a tricky legal argument over school administrators’ fiduciary responsibilities. It could be an interesting test case.

The rest of it has been tossed aside. And as if the message wasn’t clear, the court included this message:

Having undertaken this comprehensive review of the claims asserted in this case, the Court is compelled to note that while § 1983 cases are often complex and involve multiple Defendants, Plaintiffs in this case have exceeded all reasonable bounds with respect to the length of their Complaint and the breadth of claims and assertions contained therein.

So my alma mater can be somewhat relieved that much of this awful matter can be laid to rest. I’ve actually wondered if Duke could sue Nifong for putting the school in a position in which they were going to get taken to court and defamed in the media no matter what school administrators did, but I’m saying that as a philosopher/journalist/alumnus rather than as a lawyer (which I’m not).

And still, the school loses. If you want to think of Duke as a place that attracts people with entitlement mentalities, the judge’s comments support your case. So will golfer Andrew Giuliani’s since-dismissed lawsuit.

So when it comes to national championships worth celebrating, I’ll stick with the basketball team. And Becca Ward.

(HT: The excellent Sports Law Blog)

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83 Responses to Former Duke lacrosse players win a couple, lose many

  1. Beau Dure says:

    Wilmington! My former home (1991-94, to save everyone another trip to my outdated resume page).

    I really don’t have much to say in response, mostly because I think you’re reading my work fairly, and I’d just have to agree to disagree. Perhaps the one point I’d make would be on my assessment that Duke was “going to get taken to court and defamed in the media no matter what.” Duke was already defamed in the media — Brodhead was being roasted for failing to act more swiftly to toss this team under the bus, and that surely would’ve continued. “Taken to court,” I’ll admit, is more difficult to prove. I think with so many “interested parties” in this case, someone would’ve gone that route no matter what.

    But you’re right that Duke should’ve done the right thing no matter what. I’d simply argue that it was difficult in the circumstances (but, as you say, not impossible) to see the right thing to do.

    And I appreciate a distinction I read on your blog that there’s a difference between “person X did a bad thing and person X is a bad person.” I wish more of KC’s commenters would make such a distinction.

    I’ve been debating whether to do a follow-up post on the Group of 88. I obviously have other things to do (Book #2 is progressing), and I’m not sure I really have anything to add. I might wait until we get more information on them, as odd as that sounds. I know of a couple of efforts to get comments from Group members now that the ruling has more or less, as KC noted, given them a reason to be relieved. (ONLY IN A LEGAL SENSE! I’ll toss that out by way of disclaimer, and again, KC himself said exactly that.) Maybe if someone from the Group comments, I’ll revisit the discussion.

  2. I have to say, Joan, that it seems pretty crazy to me to berate someone for not feeling or expressing enough sympathy. Not only crazy but counterproductive, if your priority is sympathy for the families — I don’t think you’re generating much sympathy for the families here. If anything, you’re using it up. And I know that you do feel a lot of sympathy and that you’ve been a tireless advocate. But reading through your posts here, they sure don’t look like they’re driven by sympathy. The overwhelming note is disgust and anger at “the rot” and the “PC culture that infests Duke from the top down.”

    You can hang on to that as tight as you want — I’m not gonna try to talk you out of it — but as a way to generate sympathy, understanding, discussion, or debate, it’s a dead end. Here’s the big problem, as I see it. Duke is, first of all, not radically or fundamentally different from countless other institutions, educational or otherwise. More to the point, it’s a place that’s full of well-off young white men who are thriving. It was like that before the lacrosse case, and it’s like that now. If Duke is like a coal mine and those young men are the minors (and I guess I’m on the clerical staff, chatting and eating donuts in the break room) it’s an amazing operation — mostly the minors go off to Wall Street, but then one year they get stuck underground breathing coal dust and three of them are almost buried alive, and the next year it’s back to Wall Street (disclaimer: this is hyperbole).

    Well, fine, you might say, but what about this and this and this, listing the atrocities that you’ve been throwing on the table here. And that’s fine — you can always ask, and in the past I’ve taken a shot at trying to reconcile some of these things. But ultimately, it’s up to you to put your catalog of shame in perspective (or not).

    The indiscriminate, promiscuous pile of detail is part of the problem, too. Everything is inexcusable, so the combination is truly unbearable. But, for instance:

    “I just see real kids… and the pompous de-humanizing of these kids (‘farm animals’ the esteemed Professor Baker called them to Tricia Dowd)… by the same people who today excuse/elevate Mangum to the point of endangering others.”

    Well, “farm animals” comes from an email Baker sent, I believe, after he left Duke, not unsolicited but in response to a request from Dowd. What he wrote is revolting and stupid, and I hope it follows him around like a black cloud for the rest of his life. But some things that Houston Baker does are Houston Baker’s responsibility, not “the Group’s” or Duke’s or anyone else’s, and I think this falls firmly into that category. And the next part, about Mangum, is completely irrelevant and, frankly, insulting. Who here is excusing or elevating her?

    I think all of this sheds some light on the connections between the lawsuits and the online lacrosse-case commentariat. For one thing, there’s a common problem with bloat, and I thought the judge’s complaint that Beau quoted made that point very nicely. But in his post Beau implies (unintentionally, I think) a broader crossover.

    “Johnson and company had little sympathy. They kept the pressure on Duke. Even after the three accused players were exonerated and settled out of court with Duke before any accusations could be stated in court, even after everyone justifiably sued Nifong back to the Stone Age, the remaining players and parents sued Duke and Durham for anything and everything.”

    This seems unfair, because why should the claims of players and parents be effected by the third-party commentary of “Johnson and company”? But the lawsuits inevitably echo DIW and liestoppers in countless ways, in the effective parts as well as the “mass of legally unsupportable claims and extraneous factual allegations.” So, much of this material has been loaded up with ideological and personal animosity, not to mention opportunism and ignorance (this is not to say that every person contributing, or even most, are ill-willed or ignorant). And in that form it’s used to criticize and vilify the whole cast in Wonderland and to debate and castigate “apologists” like Beau and me. And of course there are plenty of reminders where the moral authority for all this comes from: the suffering of the players and the families.

    Should that reflect back on the families? I honestly don’t know, which is one reason why I reserve judgment on the lawsuits. The good news, as far as I’m concerned, is that the Beatty’s decision seems to have been thoughtful and coherent and reasonable. One thing I will have no trouble shrugging off, though, are third-party claims about the suffering of the families. That well has been sucked dry.

  3. MarkRougemont says:

    Thanks for the fine article. It is good to see that the judge has trimmed this monster down to a more manageable level and I expect more dismissals will be coming in the future. Many of these people granted dismissals had nothing to do with a frame or a conspiracy. They now have a burden lifted.

  4. While I’m on my roll here, I’ll put in my two cents about the “couple of efforts to get comments from Group members.” I hope they have a clear idea why they’re doing it and who or what they represent and that they’ve put some thought into it and how it’s worked out in the past.

    If I was one of the professors targeted, I think there would be two things that would torpedo the conversation right away. One would be if I was described or addressed as “a member of the Group of 88.” I won’t get into my whole song and dance about how the “Group” is a polemical invention, I’ll just raise one basic problem: the term has been used habitually to turn individual statements into “Group” statements. And given the connotations of the label, it’s a little like trying to open a diplomatic channel to Iran by asking why they joined the axis of evil.

    The other conversation killer would be the suggestion from a stranger that I owed them an explanation or even an apology because they’re pissed off, or because they’ve been following the case, or because they’re writing a blog, or because they’re an alum, etc. The claim from someone — a lacrosse player or family member, most obviously — who felt I’d done personal harm to them or their child would be a different matter (I’m not going to make any facile claims about how I’d handle it). Demands on behalf of those people from self-appointed advocates, though, would probably get zapped. You mentioned entitlement in your post — it seems to me that another manifestation has been the sense that if you can write an email or post a comment you’re entitled to an explanation.

    I have the impression that, with FODU, Jason Trumpbour was pretty conscientious when he urged people to contact “Group” professors, that he made a big deal about being respectful. And yet, I remember reading one of those exchanges. The writer told the professor, in so many words, that he had his head up his ass. He didn’t say it that way, of course — he did it respectfully. And as I remember, the response was caustic and arrogant and has had a nice little spot in the “Group of 88” dossier ever since. And don’t get me wrong, the professor probably earned his spot.

    Having said all that, I also think that those faculty do, at some level, owe the community and themselves some public reflection. Whether or how anyone besides them can make that happen, I don’t know. But if the point is to learn from the ordeal and maybe generate some understanding and reconciliation, I think a documentary project would do more good — an evenhanded effort driven by curiosity to document what happened around campus and perhaps around Durham after the rape allegations went public. Of course that’s a much bigger thing, and probably unrealistic. But I bet it would be far more fruitful than yet another wary round with the usual suspects.

    As always, I am speaking only for myself. I have no inside information about what “the Group” or any of its “members” wants.

  5. joan foster says:

    “Duke didn’t put the national media on the families’ lawns. Duke couldn’t wave a wand and make it so no one harassed them. These were malicious allegations. ”

    Let’s talk, not about what those at Duke “could not do” without that wand…but what they did.

    Beau, let’s put this in simple terms: have you ever found yourself on the periphery of a controversy…friends falling out or going through a contentious divorce? Workplace feuds? It is reflexive human nature to know…that IF you choose to insert your commentary into a volatile situation … you MUST so-o-o carefully choose your words; you must exercise extreme caution.

    This is not the stuff of intuitive genius.

    Did the Listeners have any doubt about the 30-40 years of legal jeopardy in the lives of the accused Lacrosse players when they composed and signed that ad?

    I’m sure you’ve seen Lubiano’s cover email:

    “African & African-American Studies is placing an ad in The Chronicle about the lacrosse team incident. We’re trying for Thursday (04/05) if we can do it; if not, then next Monday (04/10). I’ve attached a draft of the ad to this email. The attachment is just a draft of the text; we’re still working on design elements. The ad is built around student articulations.

    AAAS is sending the ad draft to Cultural Anthropology, Literature, and History, but we don’t have an email list of all department and programs chairs, and I don’t have time to put one together, so if you are willing to spam this to other individual faculty or to your chairs to see if they’re interested in supporting the ad and so that as many faculty as possible have a chance to see it and sign on, we would appreciate it.”

    Why was it necessary in that dangerous atmosphere… that as many Duke profs as possible sign and publish an ad ABOUT THE LACROSSE TEAM INCIDENT before the facts were known?

    Would the AA department have wanted the rights of Black student-athletes treated this same way?

    Why inflame the outrage?

    Is it your position that if your child were accused of a crime…you would have no problem with the neighbors banding together to place an ad…thanking the raging protesters outside your home for their mob response…certain of your boy’s guilt…on an allegation and no evidence?

    The Brodhead administration and its radical faculty clique understood the jeopardy these kids faced. They absolutely understood that everything Duke faculty and administration said about these kids would be a Big Story. They were “insiders”…they had juice to add , one way or the other. These are highly intelligent folks…people whose livelihoods center around their facility with “words.”

    Again…let’s address what they DID.


    Their own students.

    In fact, rather than “ensure that no one harassed” these kids, Brodhead et al. joined the harassers. Their words and actions threw grease on the fire. They took to the local papers with op-eds, to Nancy Grace, and night-time talk shows. Brodhead went on Apologia tours around Durham. They smeared these kids with every stereotype of “white children of privilege”…”helmeted athletes”…endless tripe. They ramped up the racial angle…ramping up anger to the extent that an NCCU leader said “even if innocent, they should stand trial for whaty went before.”

    Rage was palpable. But here comes the march of more Duke faculty.

    Baker on Nancy Grace.

    Brodhead never tried to stop any of it. Would he have allowed faculty to savage the rights of accused minority students this way?

    So skin hue worked AGAINST these kids at dear ole Duke.

    Please deny that reality if you can.

    Brodhead the Eloquent could find no words to ameliorate the situation, no phrase to insert some sanity…he just pranced along side the Mob…, refusing to meet with the families or read the case file…because if he did…he might have to ask his Bigoted Radicals to be…fair.

    And please, Beau, address this all in the context of the OTHER duke rape..Katie Rouse, raped at a Black fraternity party.

    “On February 11, 2007, another woman alleged she was raped in the bathroom at an off-campus party at Duke. Despite the many similarities between this rape allegation and the one made against the Duke lacrosse team a year earlier, the reactions by the media and by Duke University were very different.

    Initially, the cable news networks showed a great deal of interest in this second rape allegation. However, this interest waned when it was revealed the party had been hosted by Phi Beta Sigma, a black fraternity. By the time it was confirmed that the rapist was black and the victim was white, the story had been relegated to conservative and legal blogs. Only the Duke campus newspaper reported the victim’s race. While the suspect was still on the loose, the local daily newspaper, which had shamelessly highlighted the racial angle of the Duke lacrosse rape case, refused to mention the suspect was black. None of this is surprising. As Lawrence Auster has noted, no explicit reference is ever made to the racial aspect of black on white rapes in the media.

    The response by Duke University was also very different this time around. There were no prayers, marches, or candlelight vigils for Katie Rouse. Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta even seemed to blame the white victim, when he dismissed her rape as “part of the reality of collegiate life and of experimentation and some of the consequences of students not always being in the right place at the right time.”

    In March 2009, Michael Jermaine Burch was sentenced to 48-67 months in prison for the rape. Actually, the sentence was for two rapes – the one at Duke and a second one committed after the defendant was set free on bail. If Burch’s bail had been set at $400,00, as it had been for the Duke 3, this second rape (race of victim unknown) could have been prevented.”

    So..what thinks Beau of this contrast..Moneta’s statement, for example?

    This is moral rot. Ideological buffoonery at its most dangerous.This is not Duke…but the current leadership of Duke.

    If you “love” Duke…you should be outraged.

  6. Beau Dure says:

    Robert – Good points. Thanks for chiming in again.

    Joan – I see that you commented again, and I’m sorry that it got stuck in WordPress limbo. I can’t get it to it right now — I’m on a handheld with limited Web capability — but I’ll publish it sometime tomorrow.

    That said, I was disappointed that you respoded to my attempts to answer your questions with more follow-ups along the lines of “When did you stop beating your wife?” You assume a lot of unproven things to be true, and you insist that I’m failing to recognize the “rot.”

    I’ve had the opportuinity to talk with some people and do a bit more research. And frankly, I’m through being conciliatory. Believe what you will of a lot of good people and Duke as an institution. I don’t care. I just want some good people to know they have my support. You don’t know them, nor have you tried to understand them or my comments — even the most conciliatory comments I can offer. I think that puts us at a dead-end.

  7. Beau Dure says:

    Because one of Joan’s comments got hung up in my “pending” folder, you might have missed it if you checked in the last 24 hours. Scroll back past my last comment to see what she wrote.

    I’ve gone back through this thread to see if I feel any differently about anything I posted. What I think is that, in regard to the Group of 88, it’s time to let it go. If anyone else is ever in a similar situation trying to make a similar point, by all means, look back over the history of this case and see if it could be done a little differently. But for any of them to speak publicly now would likely re-open old wounds without solving anything.

    KC’s criticisms stem partly from the fact that a lot of people tried to interject their “agenda” into the case. There’s some truth to that. In some cases, that’s not a bad thing. If your “agenda,” for example, is to be wary of overzealous prosecutors, that’s a good one. But this case wound up with many “agendas.” Including KC’s. Including Joan’s, which I now know is actually a little different than KC’s.

    Some people have extracted their pound of flesh from this case. Some still want another pound or so, and I think they’re going to be disappointed unless discovery turns up some Brodhead-Black Panther-Al Qaeda-Branch Davidian conspiracy.

    Over the weekend, I saw a book devoted to the 2010 Duke lacrosse national championship. It started with a gracious foreword by Mike Krzyzewski, talking about how he and lacrosse coach John Danowski share coaching strategies.

    Seems like they’re getting on with things. Maybe we should, too.

  8. I want to reinforce Joan’s points about Katie Rouse, and then I’ll object. It’s an episode that I think any proud Duke alum should have to wrestle with, and it truly is a sad and shameful story. I was incredulous when Joan claimed that Moneta’s dismissive comment was Duke’s public position on the assault (this was a long time ago, in a thread on my blog). But she was right — the comment was part of an interview on TV news, and there was apparently no effort to explain or amend it. So there it stands, ready to show that any position the institution takes against rape is conditional, because it seems that sometimes “the reality of college life” is that a young woman may not be “in the right place at the right time.”

    The really sad thing about the story (to me, anyway) is that Katie wanted to come back to Duke once her assailant was off the streets. I’ve spoken with her father, and he said that in spite of Moneta’s remark the administration at Duke was, on the whole, supportive of Katie after the assault — “Dean Sue,” in particular, was a big help. It was Moneta’s brush-off when Mr. Rouse called to try to get Katie back to Duke that really embittered him, and that interaction was poisoned in advance by Moneta’s comment to the reporter. I’ve linked this comment to my post about all this — click on my name to follow it. I had hoped to shed more light on the situation and I’m sorry to say that I haven’t been able to do that.

    The glaring problem with Joan’s analysis is the obsessive focus on race (not to single her out — other liestoppers and KC Johnson do no better). There is one overwhelming reason that it’s worth comparing to the lacrosse case — it’s a black-on-white assault. That is obviously the explanation for very different reactions of the media and Duke.

    This is the great thing about being a critic without any ties to the thing you’re criticizing or any constructive interest in it — you can coast blissfully along on the metanarrative. There’s no need to bother with the tough questions you might have to answer if, god forbid, you were one of the losers responsible for the place. Should Duke react the same when a student is the victim of a crime as it does if a group of students are accused of that crime? Should there be “prayers, marches, or candlelight vigils” every time a rape is alleged on or near campus? I looked through the Chronicle’s coverage for other high-profile rape cases and it seems that the lacrosse case is the only time those things were done. So maybe they should be reserved for interracial rapes, because really, how could race possibly be overemphasized in a situation like this?

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  10. Beau Dure,

    Thank you for your kind words. There were Duke students who had no relation to the team who were also affected by the Listening Statement. Graduate student Angela Perez commented to the Duke Chronicle:
    These doctors at Duke are masters of rhetoric. No one better understands the power of what rhetoric can do and for them to now claim, “Oh my – we had no idea that our published document would be taken the wrong way.” is absolutely preposterous. These are professors who have devoted their lives to the written word – who know that once the spoken or written word has been released in the universe that it takes a life of its own, never to be controlled by its author(s) again. And because they have this knowledge, they have an incredible responsibility and accountability for what this document created when they released it on the world during this chaotic and insane time. They cobbled these quotes together with no thought about the consequences other than to promote their own agenda. It’s they they got together in the Ivory Tower and said, “Ah, dear doctors, let us type up and sprinkle down Word documents on the masses and incite their deepest fears and dredge up their deepest pain – and let’s do it quickly while we have some lacrosse players to focus it on.”
    Ms. Perez keen disappointment in these professors, and especially Ariel Dorfman, is clear from her letter. Dorfman has been an eloquent opponent of torture. Yet in Perez’s view, he put ideology ahead of human pain in signing the listening statement.

  11. joan foster says:

    The Recitation of Sins in this case is no longer simply about “sympathy” for those abused in this case. That was my intent at the first. In the early days, in my naivete, I did believe that “walk a mile in my shoes” was the path to sanity and reconciliation for both well-intentioned Potbangers and Liestoppers. I saw almost everyone…as “good people” with basically good intentions.

    But I’ve had to let go of that fantasy.

    There came a point after which no one could believe any longer in good intentions. Like with the NCNAACP.

    Some of you will never understand the personal affront and betrayal to those of us who lived and breathed for civil rights in our youth that the despicable part the NCNAACP played in this Hoax had on our souls. Like finding your beloved Grandma, tarted up and spread-eagle in a whore-house.

    Likewise, you cannot understand the “education” that Ms. Levicy and Lubiano and the 88 tenured Radicals provided to some of us…that years ago…believed AA studies and Gender studies were designed to increase sensitivity with a goal to bring us TOGETHER. I confess to that naivete.

    Instead the goals appear to be to indoctrinate and to segregate…and to perpetuate anger. There seems to be an aura of Victim-based smugness that means never having to “say you are sorry.” And some of the moral by-products appear to be… to so intensify racial identity that insensitivity to the legal jeopardy of white students was reflexive; and to so intensify gender-identity to the point that one devotee would assist a rogue DA in framing three young men because of the Credo…“womyn never lie about rape.”

    These revelations at Duke are not exclusive to Duke…but Duke will do as a Exposure vehicle for the uniformed. Many of whom foot the bills to subject their children to these “ideas.”

    I do not want to fund the opportunity for the Woman Studies Dept. to evolve my “White” daughter into another Nurse Levicy. Nor my “Black”goddaughter’s empathy be warped by the AA Studies Dept. into the race-selective sort we saw in Lubiano’s “Listening Statement.”

    I’m sure there are many “good people” in the administration and on the faculty of Duke. Even among the 88 signatories. Years ago, many of us had to endure years of painful confrontations with “good people” among our friends and families…because these otherwise “good people” had offensive attitudes based on the ridiculousness of skin hue. The Duke Hoax exposed “good people” at Duke who knew, with only an allegation and no evidence…that Mangum’s skin color made her the the truth-teller…Sister Survivor.

    And they never stepped back. And, as months passed and so much was uncovered, they let there silence speak into the void of who the REAL VICTIMS were.

    Then came Katie Rouse.

    Selective empathy.

    Protect only ‘your own.”

    It’s not any prettier this time around.

    It is an historical outrage that this attitude was ignored in the past; it should not be ignored or tolerated as it exists now…at Duke or elsewhere.

    These “Good People” should not be entrenched and tenured in our schools and colleges in order to proselytize and perpetuate these skewed and ugly attitudes.

    Attitudes exposed throughout the Duke Frame.

    The Recitation of Sins is about Education now. These “angry studies” are toxic. Many of us did not know this until we ourselves were educated throughout 2006-7. Once again Duke proved to be an amazing place of “higher education.”

    Is it in the political, professional and financial interest of some to keep us angry and separated? Was the possible incarceration of three innocent kids for 30-40 years…seen as a “cash-cow” to some? Is this the underside of “Best for Duke?”

    We still have a lot of stuff to fix as a society …and it takes mutual empathy to have the impetus to do so. Lubiano and her radical friends are a real threat to that empathy. On one hand, they rightfully ask we stand with them not to pre-judge their children by skin color…then they push into the LAX frame to prejudge ours.

    The Duke Frame is about Prosecutorial abuse, Academic racism, Feminist zealots and the Hucksters that profit from all of that. And it needs to be told and retold till we drive these charlatans of chaos out of our colleges, emergency rooms, etc.

    The post racial era most of us claim to want…will never be ushered in by those to whom divisiveness is a career path.

    I believe to the core that Discovery will juice up the story even more.

  12. joan foster says:


    “I’ve had the opportuinity to talk with some people and do a bit more research. And frankly, I’m through being conciliatory. Believe what you will of a lot of good people and Duke as an institution. I don’t care. I just want some good people to know they have my support. You don’t know them, nor have you tried to understand them or my comments — even the most conciliatory comments I can offer. I think that puts us at a dead-end.”

    Change a few words…and that is exactly how I felt about the families and kids on the Lacrosse team…re their treatment by many at Duke.

    “You don’t know them, nor have you tried to understand them or my comments — even the most conciliatory comments I can offer. I think that puts us at a dead-end.”

    But if you and I have become frustrated, I absolutely believe you can understand the gut-wrenching reaction of parents watching their “good kid” trashed on TV or in an op-ed by administrators or faculty…over and over.

    Did you (maybe you did), as an alumni, ever express similar public frustration with those people you support now… for the malignant comments they flushed into the Media maelstrom…..that you express to ME…for criticizing them here on your quiet little Blog today.

    Did you ask them to give other people’s sons similar respect that you wish me to give to them?

  13. MarkRougemont says:

    I read your posts and I am not really understanding what your issue is with the article. Maybe it is the title itself, that the DL players “lose many”. Frankly, I think it is a positive for both sides here. I have been checking in at LS off and on for awhile now and the biggest complaint that I saw was the delay in getting a ruling on discovery and the other motions presented in the civil suits. We now know that the delay was due to the shotgun strategy taken by the lawyers for the players.

    Trimming this down to a more manageable level and to the point where the list of defendants and claims against them are at least somewhat plausible will help speed the process along.

    As to your statement that the Duke “Frame” is about “Prosecutorial abuse, Academic racism, Feminist zealots and the Hucksters that profit from all of that”, I think you have been drinking at the Koolaid fountain of KC for far too long. The prosecutorial abuse I can see as well as general incompetence and stupidity on the part of LE. The rest of it is just a comment on people’s opinions of the case and has nothing to do with any “Frame” on the part of Duke University. Duke made a decision not to take sides in this case to avoid the appearance of seeming like they were discounting the accusations of CGM. That was a poor decision in retrospect and the fact is that Duke may have been overly helpful to Durham LE but there was no attempt to “Frame” any of the players, in my opinion.

    The lawsuit’s claim of conspiracy on the part of Duke does not hold water and bringing the agenda of KC Johnson to the table just clouds the facts of the civil case.

  14. Pingback: Academia and failure to communicate « Mostly Modern Media

  15. Mark,

    Duke made a series of poor decisions. Here is a portion of the Community of One statement, “We are proud of the response of students at North Carolina Central University and Duke University who are organizing events to educate each other about sexual violence, racism, and why our system of law presumes innocence until guilt is established. We are grateful for the work of clergy and other leaders who are using this time to urge healing, peace, and truth.”

    I have at least three problems with this paragraph. I question why racism should be brought into the discussion unless the alleged crime was racially motivated. The clergy who spoke out generally presumed guilt (Reverend Wells and Father Vetter), and Reverend William Barber took a very active role via the state’s NAACP chapter. To his credit, Reverend Wells spoke with some empathy toward the falsely accused players a year later. Which member of the Duke faculty organized a teach-in explaining that one is innocent unless proven guilty? If such an event ever happened, I am unaware of it.

    Duke could have taken the path that Steve Baldwin suggested and acted in loco parentis. Duke should have stood up to Michael Nifong and the press over the issue of due process. It should have noted when DA Nifong clearly violated the standards of his profession. It should have said that the third lineup was performed contrary to established standards. It should have condemned the Wanted posters. It should not have advised the students to avoid seeking out lawyers. President Broadhead should never have said, “If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.”

    But President Broadhead’s letter of April 5th, 2006 may be the nadir of Duke’s response. “and we will continue to cooperate with that investigation to the fullest. Many have urged me to have Duke conduct its own inquiry into these charges. Frustrating though it is, Duke must defer its own investigation until the police inquiry is completed… I assure you, however, that the Duke disciplinary system will be brought to bear as soon as this can appropriately be done. Until that time, I urge us to be patient and remind ourselves that allegations have been made, the team has denied them, and we must wait until the authorities act before reaching any judgment in the criminal case.” The brief nod to the team’s denial of the allegations is overshadowed by the rest of the letter, especially the passage about the Duke disciplinary system. How does President Broadhead know that the students violated any of Duke’s rules? His letter then outlines five actions, few if any of which make sense if the team is innocent of wrongdoing. The only possible exception is number 3, which is the examination of the student judicial process and practices. Unfortunately for its students, Duke moved even further away from treating its students fairly in the aftermath of this incident.

    There are schools where this scandal would never have unfolded in the way that it did, even if that college or university were located in Durham. Duke let itself and its supporters down, and it is long past time for some soul searching.

  16. MarkRougemont says:

    Good points, Chris. However, I would have to say that the Community of One ad is a pretty neutral statement. At this point in time, Duke could not have known if the players were innocent or not, and if not what their motivation for an assault could have been. Should the University have cooperated with police at least at this point? I think the answer to this question is yes. Did some officials say some pretty stupid things? That answer is yes as well, in my opinion.

  17. Enough Already says:

    Beau Dure

    Notwithstanding your craven defense of all things Duke Durham and Gang of 88, you should know that Crystal Mangum’s latest alleged victim has died of the stab wounds received. I would be interested to see how a “sports journalist” of your caliber spins this one. Perhaps Wahneema Lubiano will be called in to write the response. Will it be titled “WE WERE NOT LISTENING”?

  18. Beau Dure says:

    Enough – I can’t answer that because I liked OJ Simpson in the Naked Gun films. Obviously, I should’ve known what was to come.

    I defended Durham? Wow. Must’ve missed that.

  19. Enough Already says:

    Beau Dure,

    Your response is a non answer.How are you going to spin this latest development?

  20. Beau Dure says:

    Why would I do that? There’s no defense for Mangum knowing what we know now. I’ve talked with one G88 member about her, and what that person said was definitely not flattering.

    Why KC and company keep painting the G88 as if they’ve been some sort of Mangum advocacy group for the past four years is beyond me. If anyone in the G88 is still defending her, well, that’s pretty stupid.

    On the whole, it’s more proof to me that the blame for what the team went through lies mostly with her and Nifong (and perhaps several investigators). They were falsely accused by a criminal. And yet the focus is on Duke? What?

  21. Beau Dure says:

    Congratulations, Joan, you’re the first person ever to have a comment removed from SportsMyriad.

    If you’re so full of hate that you’ll spin some web of conspiracy so that anyone who thinks this lawsuit had holes in it is complicit in the death of Mangum’s boyfriend, I simply can’t have a rational discussion with you. I’m sure the judge who tossed out much of the lawsuit would find your theory quite interesting.

    How about mourning this guy instead of using him as a pawn in your own confused agenda?

    You’re not banned yet. But one more accusation like that, and you will be.

  22. Darby McGill says:

    Mr. Dure, I’m am sure that Joan Foster’s post on your blog can be accurately described many ways. Having a “confused agenda” with respect to RCD and how the case was handled by Duke, Durham, NCNAACP, the press and most others, is not one of them.

  23. joan foster says:

    Beau, between us, I’ve been put out of better places.

    (inside joke)

    I’m dismayed at the level of your reading comprehension. But it pales in comparison to your selective empathy….and outrage…and refusal to engage in specifics and on point.

    I’ve enjoyed my visit. It was not unproductive.

  24. Beau Dure says:

    Thanks Joan, and I’m glad you feel it wasn’t unproductive. As for the rest — I think we’ve established where we disagree, and I see no need to pile on. Take care.

  25. Mark,

    Cooperating with the police is fine, up to but not past the point it infringes on the rights of the students. Others who are better informed than I am on this topic should provide specifics, but one thing I have always wondered about is how the McFayden email got into the hands of DPD. Whether or not Duke helped, DPD had no business releasing it. It had no bearing on the truth of the allegations and it only served to inflame public opinion.

  26. Res ipsa loquitur says:

    “@Res: “Note that implicit in Beaty’s rulings is that § 1983 applies to white males, too.”

    Ummm … OK. Great, but I’m not sure why you mention that in this context. My two hypotheses are:

    A. You think I’m hung up on race, even though I’ve said nothing about it.

    B. You’re telling me that, as a white male, I can sue someone. Thanks, but I really don’t sue anyone I’d need to sue at this point.”

    And you would be wrong on both counts, Beau. I mentioned it because it is the single-most significant aspect of Beaty’s rulings. Your alma mater argued vehemently against allowing these Duke students to bring an action under § 1983.

    “B. You’re telling me that, as a white male, I can sue someone.”

    You miss the point entirely – that Beaty is telling us that white males can sue under our nation’s civil rights legislation.

    ” The judge needed two years to get through it, and as he said in the ruling, the scope was too much.”

    The suit was under mediation for quite some time, so your first statement is a stretch at best. Beaty is known for slow rulings, mostly because it’s romored that he really doesn’t like his job.

    “They just slowed things down, which will make it MORE difficult to get to the truth in discovery!”

    Beau, you misunderstand the process. Completely.

    (Beaty) – “Plaintiffs’ attempt at “spin” is wholly unnecessary and unpersuasive in legal pleadings”

    As an aside, this is funny stuff coming from an FDJ who allowed his magistrate to make a ruling filled with references to the movie ‘Caddyshack’.

    BTW, Duke filed their answer yesterday. All ***732*** pages of it.

  27. Beau Dure says:

    OK, Res, then help me understand:

    A. On the “white males” point — are you saying that was part or all of Duke’s argument for summary judgment? Your initial comment on the subject made it sound like I had raised the point. If it’s part of Duke’s argument, then I understand why you raised it, though I’m sure Duke must have raised other arguments to get several counts of the suit thrown out.

    Personally, of course, I have no problem with civil rights law applying to guys like me.

    B. On the lawsuit — can you tell me why it was a *good* thing for the plaintiffs to add so many counts and so many supplemental piles of evidence that failed to sway the judge?

    And will anyone understand that those counts were pretty much what I was objecting to in the first place? Anyone?

  28. Beau,

    I hope you take the time to read KC Johnson’s latest offering at Durham-in-Wonderland. The Duke response is equal parts pathetic and disgusting. I am rooting for the discovery process to uncover at least a few of Duke’s lies.

  29. Beau Dure says:

    Thanks, but I’m done. I made my points, and KC’s group does no real harm at this point.

    The only person I vaguely know who’s still part of the suit is Dean Sue, and I hope she comes out OK. Everyone I know through the decades has had positive interactions with her. It might be a stretch to call her an attorney — she got her law degree while she was already a dean — but there might be something instructive that comes out of the count that mentions her.

    Some of what’s left seems fanciful to me, and the judge certainly seemed skeptical, but it might do everyone some good to let an unbiased eye (e.g., not KC and the Liestoppers gang) take a look.

    Why KC thinks he knows more about Duke than anyone who’s ever been there is beyond me, but if people want to spend the next year or two speculating on discovery, well, knock yourselves out. I’ve got other things to do. Peace out.

  30. Chris Halkides says:

    If I understand Duke’s position correctly, it is that Dean Sue did not tell the students not to get lawyers. KC wrote, “To my knowledge, no tape recordings exist of any of the discussions that Duke denies above. But the problem with these denials is obvious: contemporaneous witnesses with whom the lacrosse players spoke verify the players’ version of events.” It sounds to me as if Duke is saying that the players are stating falsehoods, perhaps lying. Duke should be ashamed of itself. I am not sure who “KC’s group” is. I am done with conspiracy theories.

  31. Richard Aubrey says:

    While the obvious differences between the lax hoax and its campus enablers and the Rouse real rape and the campus’ lack of interest demonstrate that it’s not rape, it’s race and gender and class that interested these folks, we have a worse example.
    The Frank Lombard case. It has so many conflicting narratives that nobody will talk about it. Just to say you hope the kid heals means something bad happened and that opens up embarrassing questions.
    As Tammy Bruce said, feminism is about radical politics first and women’s issues last.
    All the horrors of rape that had the Crowd rending their lapels in sympathy for Mangum really did happen to Rouse. Crickets.
    Anybody got an explanation?

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