Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Duke has nation shaking its head

We don't know how Duke does it. These people are supposed to be smart, right? That's what they brag about, isn't it? How hard it is to get accepted there, how they are the "Harvard of the South"? This is the school that chants, "That's alright, that's OK, you're gonna work for us someday"? That's Duke, right?

Well, for being a group of supposed elite geniuses, they botched this lacrosse alleged-rape case worse than
Greg Paulus on a 2-on-1 fast break.

Now, we understand this is a rape case, and that means it needs to be handled with all seriousness and sensitivity. But man, did Duke blow it.

First, when the stripper initially made her accusation, Duke reacted as if everything she said was true. Two reactions here:

First, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Games were suspended, and then eventually the whole season was ended and the head coach resigned; players were even suspended from school. Keep in mind, this was before there was any evidence, besides the accusation. (Note: We have a feeling there are going to be a lot of italics coming up. Just letting you know.) They acted as if the girl marched into the president's office with a video tape of the entire crime. Reacting like that without any real evidence makes us think the lacrosse players had a reputation on campus as being a bunch of untrustworthy, disruptive, arrogant assholes (either that, or there is some pretty damning evidence the school hasn't made public). And to get a reputation like that on Duke's campus of all places, you really have to go out of your way to be a prick. Jus' sayin'.

Oh, and that e-mail Ryan McFadyen sent out - probably not the smartest thing in the world there Ryan, and I'm sure it did nothing to help the team's image.

Second, they took the word of a stripper as fact. Now listen, we're not saying they should have ignored her because she was a stripper. They should have taken it very seriously. And they were also screwed because she was making her claim against Duke lacrosse players, and, well...neither party is exactly Abe Lincoln reincarnated. Its not like one of them is inherently believable. Imagine if Barry Bonds was claiming OJ was a murderer, and OJ was still saying, "Nu uh. Barry is on 'roids. He's crazy." You're not believing either one of them right off the bat. Same with a stripper and students from Duke.

When Duke decided to do this, no one even batted an eyelash. "Damn right! Cancel the season! They don't deserve to play!" Ah, Duke? How about a little more hypocrisy? Would you like to try to be a little more inconsistent?

Imagine for a second that the men's basketball team was accused of this.
As much as we would like to see Lee Melchionni frantically trying to hold onto some soap, do you think for one second they would even consider ending the season prematurely? The gavel would have to drop sending the entire team to prison before they did that, and even then we aren't so sure they would forfeit the season. It's ludicrous.

(Quickly: don't think for a second we feel any remorse that the lacrosse player's season was ended early, especially since they are Duke lacrosse players. We don't. We're just saying Duke administration messed up - royally - and that if it happened anywhere else, we would probably say it was unfair. Lacrosse got cancelled because only their parents come to watch the games and it probably costs Duke money to keep them around. That's all we're saying.)

Now some evidence has been made public seemingly clearing the lacrosse team. DNA from Duke players is no where to be found on the stripper. And there are time-stamped images, allegedly, of the accuser strolling into the house looking like hell, bruises everywhere. And then when they threw her out - again, allegedly - she was demanding to come back in.

Honestly, who the hell knows what happened in there. It could range anywhere from a gang rape (God forbid) to some drunk Duke students kicking a crappy stripper out of their house. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't, only time will tell. The facts are blurred, and it is going to take some time for all of them to boil to the surface. One fact is indisputable, though: In typical Duke arrogance, they acted as if they knew everything, when they really didn't. And now the whole school - from the lacrosse team to the administration - looks like jackasses on a national stage.

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