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Quite the comeback
May 28, 2007 3:58 PM   Subscribe

A year after a false accusation of rape against 3 members of the Duke Lacrosse team led to their season being canceled, this year's team made it into the NCAA Lacrosse championship game today -- and lost it, 12-11, to Johns Hopkins. Oh, well... it was almost a Cinderella story.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste (153 comments total)

 
It was like the original Cinderella - less with the singing mice, and more with the blood and the chopping off of parts.
posted by supercrayon at 4:04 PM on May 28, 2007


I haven't been following the rape thing too closely, although oddly enough I happened to be in Durham when the story broke. The 3 members who were accused are no longer on the team, correct? Because of the case? It'd be more of an [almost] Cinderella story if they and the coach were still on board.
posted by brundlefly at 4:21 PM on May 28, 2007


brundlefly, all the accused were in their final year at the time.
posted by atrazine at 4:29 PM on May 28, 2007


If only those loveable scamps with coal smudged faces had overcome their priviliged upbringing and sense of entitlement, this would be kind of like some fairy tale or something, but this story is about some other guys.
posted by 2sheets at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thank God that those kids are not in jail for a crime they did not commit.

That said, all evidence indicated that the team was out of hand, and that they were pretty huge assholes. I was rooting for JHU.

I don't understand why the Duke case became a conservative cause celebre. Conservatives tend not to get too worked up about out-of-control prosecutors. They're not the big supporters of the Innocence Project. What was so different about this situation?
posted by ibmcginty at 4:34 PM on May 28, 2007


brundlefly, all the accused were in their final year at the time.

Not true. David Evans was the only senior of the three falsely accused. Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were underclassmen at the time. Both were offered reinstatement to the University -- but, have declined.

BTW -- for comprehensive coverage of the case I recommend: Durham In Wonderland, Friends of Duke University, La Shawn Barber's Corner and Liestoppers.
posted by ericb at 4:42 PM on May 28, 2007


I don't understand why the Duke case became a conservative cause celebre... What was so different about this situation?

Because of the perception that upper middle class white males were being prosecuted merely for being upper middle class white males. That's big time red meat for conservatives.
posted by psmealey at 4:45 PM on May 28, 2007


ibmcginty writes "I don't understand why the Duke case became a conservative cause celebre. Conservatives tend not to get too worked up about out-of-control prosecutors. They're not the big supporters of the Innocence Project. What was so different about this situation?"

The defendants were rich and white.
posted by brundlefly at 4:45 PM on May 28, 2007


Not knocking the defendants, of course. Or what what psmealey said.
posted by brundlefly at 4:46 PM on May 28, 2007


Go Jays!
posted by spacewrench at 4:50 PM on May 28, 2007


That's nothing! A year after I was accused of rape I won "prettiest eyes" in my high school yearbook!
posted by jonson at 4:50 PM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered.

Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.
posted by ericb at 5:09 PM on May 28, 2007


I don't understand why the Duke case became a conservative cause celebre... What was so different about this situation?

I followed (and continue to do so) the Duke rape case intimately. As information became public and the more I learned, the more distressed I became at the injustice that was apparent. An "out-of-control prosecutor" who is now charged with ethics (and possibly legal) violations mishandled a case in which the State's Attorney General in the end declared the case closed and the accused as being totally "innocent."

This isn't about conservative -- nor, about liberal [such being my personal political stripe] -- politics. It's about justice -- and the potential abrogation of such. Plain and simple.
posted by ericb at 5:17 PM on May 28, 2007


*in the end declared the case closed*
posted by ericb at 5:18 PM on May 28, 2007


I'm still depressed the Bills didn't win the Super Bowl the year of the OJ verdict.

Wait, I'm not, because that has nothing to do with fucking anything. What the hell is the point of this story?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:21 PM on May 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


Nancy Grace still hasn't apologised. How come nobody in the states isn't on this bitch's case for all the shit she's smeared?
posted by Talez at 5:30 PM on May 28, 2007


Wiping away tears, Pressler demonstrated the steely resolve that helped him win more than two hundred games. For the next thirty minutes, Pressler put his personal situation aside and encouraged his players to stick together. He also made a bold promise: "One day, we will get a chance to tell the world the truth. One day."

This is that day.


Yes, it was certainly a miscarraige of justice, and Nifong should be definitely be prosecuted to this law's fullest extent if it is determined that his zeal caused him to break the laws, but no injustice of any magnitude can justify terrible fucking prose like that.
posted by psmealey at 5:31 PM on May 28, 2007


Cinderella story?

Obviously being falsely accused of a crime is a pretty horrible thing, and I'm glad that everything has been dropped, but still those guys seemed pretty vile in general. I don't think I'd be rooting for 'em. The whole thing was pretty sleazy and the less I hear about it, the better.
posted by delmoi at 5:34 PM on May 28, 2007


Nancy Grace still hasn't apologised. How come nobody in the states isn't on this bitch's case for all the shit she's smeared?

Ugh, Grace is horrible.

BTW -- for comprehensive coverage of the case I recommend: Durham In Wonderland, Friends of Duke University, La Shawn Barber's Corner and Liestoppers.

La Shawn Barber is an infamous self-linker.
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on May 28, 2007


I lived the first half of my life in and around Baltimore, and the second (more or less) on Tobacco Road. When I moved here in the early seventies Duke was building a lacrosse presence by recruiting Baltimore players. Until then no one outside of Maryland had even heard of lacrosse, so I’m not sure what Duke had in mind, but they did it anyway.

Though it came from the Indians, lacrosse in its current incarnation, is exclusively a white man’s game... like Polo without horses. I watched the NCAA finals and that’s what it looked like.

Which is perfect for the over indulged Republican brats at Duke.

Everyone around here hates them. But Mike Nifong is an idiot. Prosecutors do that shit all the time to poor people. Just for once I wanted to see the rich get fucked. Maybe it would have given them some perspective, but I doubt it.
posted by Huplescat at 5:51 PM on May 28, 2007


Duke Sucks!
posted by caddis at 5:55 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Cinderella went to kegger stripper parties. God I wish Sondheim and Bernstein would do a Duke Cinderella musical.
posted by surplus at 6:14 PM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Cinderella had a bunch of spoiled brats hiring a stripper?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:15 PM on May 28, 2007


Damn it surplus!
posted by Ironmouth at 6:16 PM on May 28, 2007


Wow. It's like trolling the front page.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:16 PM on May 28, 2007


it was almost a Cinderella story

There were strippers in Cinderella?

The wrongly accused being exonerated was a good thing, but this was far from a cinderella story.
posted by justgary at 6:22 PM on May 28, 2007


HAY GUISE I JUST NOTICED THAT THERE ARE NO STRIPPERS IN CINDERELLA
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:25 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I heard that Nancy Grace rapes puppies.
posted by homunculus at 6:43 PM on May 28, 2007


they were pretty huge assholes.

They went to Duke.
They were lacrosse players.

The overlap area of the Venn diagram is labeled "titanic champion behemoth assholes of the universe."
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:14 PM on May 28, 2007


Maybe it's a Stripperella story.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 7:22 PM on May 28, 2007


What was so different about this situation?

Because instead of Black people being screwed by the Justice system it was rich White people? That's ass-backwards.
posted by chunking express at 7:31 PM on May 28, 2007


Huplescat: Though it came from the Indians, lacrosse in its current incarnation, is exclusively a white man’s game... like Polo without horses... which is perfect for the over indulged Republican brats at Duke.

I don't deny the obvious demographics of the sport, but what link are you drawing with your statement? Unlike polo, where the extravagant costs limited it to the upper classes (and in the contexts we're familiar with, that meant "white"), lacrosse isn't much more of a financial burden than football. Other than the stick itself they have similar protective gear, and they can be played on the same field.

I played lacrosse in (public) high school (I'm white, but not republican). We had almost no black students even try out for the team, but we were never underrepresented among any other race, and we had a wide and pretty balanced range of income levels. We never had any incidents of racism that I was aware of in four years (and conflicts didn't stay secret for long). So regarding our lack of african-american members, I'll be damned if it was any inherent exclusivity.

I guess my point is, my experience says that your characterization of the sport as the last stand of the good ol' boys is bullshit, that the reasons for its racial imbalance aren't racism or classism, and that your desire to see innocent people get "fucked" simply for belonging to a group you don't like makes you exactly like the things you hate.
posted by Riki tiki at 7:58 PM on May 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


ibmcginty: I don't understand why the Duke case became a conservative cause celebre.

Because the defendants were rich and white, sure. But while you're all jumping on that, don't forget the other reason...

...because this started out as a cause celebre for people who would love to see rich white boys go to jail, but it blew up in their faces.

Not that that gives the conservatives any moral high ground; they're obviously just as eager to exploit the scandal and rub their opponents' noses in it.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:17 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, well... it was almost a Cinderella story.

Are you kidding me? Is this a joke?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:39 PM on May 28, 2007


"I guess my point is, my experience says that your characterization of the sport as the last stand of the good ol' boys is bullshit, that the reasons for its racial imbalance aren't racism or classism, and that your desire to see innocent people get "fucked" simply for belonging to a group you don't like makes you exactly like the things you hate."

On the other hand, I had classes with a bunch of lacrosse players in high school, and they were all tremendous douchebags, beyond any other sport in per capita dipshittery aside from maybe crew. But then, I'm having a hard time thinking of any high school team that wasn't predominantly made up of entitled assholes at my school, though there was definitely a continuum.
posted by klangklangston at 8:42 PM on May 28, 2007


Mike Nifong is an idiot

No, Mike Nifong is a *criminal*. And it's worth noting that Linwood Wilson, the "investigator" Nifong hired who bullied witnesses to change their story to match the prosecution's version of events, is still working for Durham police - and still getting his cases dismissed after continuing to intimidate witnesses when they don't say what he wants them to say.

The fact that Wilson still has a job in Durham law enforcement is just pathetic.

[ericb: I recommend: Durham In Wonderland, Friends of Duke University, La Shawn Barber's Corner...

You've got to be kidding, ericb. Barber? Please. There are a lot of places on the net you can find thoughtful, detailed critiques of the Duke Lacrosse scandal without linking to someone like Barber, who, aside from being banned for one of the most blatant link-whoring episodes in years, has also set up her obnoxiously anti-liberal camp among brainless conservative echo chamber-ites like Malkin, et al. Come on, show a little discernment.]

posted by mediareport at 8:48 PM on May 28, 2007


exclusively a white man’s game

I suggest you go visit Winnipeg and see who's playing.

But then it is one of Canada's two national sports.
posted by dreamsign at 8:50 PM on May 28, 2007


Riki tiki sounds vaguely familiar... taken from Kipling perhaps... the poet laureate of British colonialism? I doubt he would claim Duke, but they might as well claim him.
posted by Huplescat at 8:53 PM on May 28, 2007


Though it came from the Indians, lacrosse in its current incarnation, is exclusively a white man’s game

Box lacrosse in Canada is pretty different than Ivy-League field lacrosse. It's a rough blue-collar game, and popular with First Nations folks.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:58 PM on May 28, 2007


Just for once I wanted to see the rich get fucked.

Yeah, it's a damn shame those kids didn't go to prison. I mean, they're obviously rich white people, so they clearly deserve it.
posted by dhammond at 9:23 PM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


What happened in Durham was a travesty, and Mike Nifong set back the causes of womens' and African-American rights for about a decade.

But this post is also sucktastic.
posted by bardic at 9:28 PM on May 28, 2007


The whole story was so loathsome that I could never bring myself to sort out the range of nonfantastic possibilities for what really did or didn't happen. It sounds like there's little room for interpretation regarding the behavior of the prosecutor and those working for/with him (absolutely unacceptable, probably criminal).

But it also sounded like the charges against the alleged rapists were dropped because the available evidence was weak and, such as it was, so contaminated by the prosecutor that it could not be used in court. Not that they were "exonerated" -- or that the alleged rape victim recanted or got caught in a Perry Masonesque lie that destroyed her story or the DNA didn't match or whatever.

Without rehearsing the whole awful episode, what's the man-on-Mars range of possibilities of what really happened? Do we know for certain that nonconsensual sex did not occur? Or is the field of plausible possibility greater than that? Isn't it really more like "She-said, they-said, no possibility of building a case for all of the obvious reasons" at this point?

I honestly don't know -- sounds like some of you have been following this much more closely than me, and I'm (warily) curious.
posted by gum at 10:10 PM on May 28, 2007


But it also sounded like the charges against the alleged rapists were dropped because the available evidence was weak and, such as it was, so contaminated by the prosecutor that it could not be used in court. Not that they were "exonerated" -- or that the alleged rape victim recanted or got caught in a Perry Masonesque lie that destroyed her story or the DNA didn't match or whatever.

The Wikipedia entry is good.

They were as exonerated as anyone could ever get. One of the three accused team members had an airtight alibi, complete with security cameras, time-stamped receipts, and witnesses (one of whom was intimidated by the police when he came forward).

None of the DNA matched ANY of the team members (a fact which the prosecution had attempted to illegally withhold).

As for the accuser's five or six different stories, they changed constantly and radically. I don't know if she was ever literally lying, but it's clear that she is unwell.

According to the NC Attorney General, the players are "innocent" and that "no attack occurred."

...

Ultimately, it seems apparent that there were almost no "good guys" in the case. Just about every person who jumped (or continues to jump) to any conclusion helped make this situation awful.

It's clear that Nifong was the baddest the bad in letting it get this insane. It's all very sad. Something may have even happened to the accuser, but there's no evidence of it, and now we'll never know.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:27 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


As was previously pointed out upthread, this team was certainly lacking in manners and to act in a manner which suggests that they don't have much character. They were known to hold scream sexual comments at passing women from their porch, to loud parties on a regular basis which featured underage drinking and strippers. Surely such behaviour is not just illegal but also a violation their school's code of conduct.

We will never know the full truth. The girl may or may not have personal problems, but that does not mean that something untoward did not happen. The lawyers did the best to make her seem like a lying slut, which is a typical defense move, and the prosecutor certainly won't win any awards for effective investigation.

And, Finnerty has a prior criminal record for a violent physical assuault. While screaming anti-gay slurs, he and his friends beat up a man whom they assumed to be gay, but who was apparently straight, so he's not really a 'model citizen', now is he? His lawyer argued that it wasn't a hate crime because their victim wasn't gay like they thought. Of course, that's just double speak.
posted by TrinityB5 at 10:42 PM on May 28, 2007


While screaming anti-gay slurs, he and his friends beat up a man whom they assumed to be gay, but who was apparently straight, so he's not really a 'model citizen', now is he?

It was almost, but not quite, a Cinderella story.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:48 PM on May 28, 2007


What was so different about this situation?

Others have noted that they were well-off and white. But they were also accused of raping a black slut, and the idea that you could be prosecuted for giving a slut what she plainly wants must rankle or at least confuse the conservative mind.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:54 PM on May 28, 2007


And, Finnerty has a prior criminal record for a violent physical assuault. While screaming anti-gay slurs, he and his friends beat up a man whom they assumed to be gay, but who was apparently straight, so he's not really a 'model citizen', now is he? His lawyer argued that it wasn't a hate crime because their victim wasn't gay like they thought. Of course, that's just double speak.

Finnerty is a douchebag, but that's not what anyone cares about here. Rodney King was a thieving, PCP-using wife-beater, but that has no bearing on the injustices inflicted upon him - indeed, it would almost seem like someone would only bring that up to assassinate his character and thereby detract from what was done to him, to almost make it sound like he "deserved" something sooner or later.

Many of the people central to famous cases - especially the ones from which you derive your basic rights, or which brought to light systematic injustice - aren't people you'd like over for dinner. Look up Ernesto Miranda sometime. Or even Larry Flynt.

I don't think there's any sort of systematic oppression against upper-middle class white men in the legal system. This case isn't like the Scottsboro Boys case in that respect. But it did reveal that officials are perfectly willing to use corruption to succor favor - even liberal favor.

Nifong played the "let's see the rich kids get it!" angle like a fiddle, until the entire thing blew up in his (and everyone else's) face. I feel there's still a lot of hubris in some quarters from people who like to imagine they're honest, left-wing sorts - the sort of people to whom people would never lie or bend facts in order to gain power. I like to imagine that the (all quite privileged) Duke 88 all thought they were rooting for the "little guy," despite their more proper alignment alongside the Nancy Graces of the world. They were wrong. Like a lot of humans, they were being used, and they were also using.

And I'm sure Nifong fucked over the poor, too. The accused's families spent (and lost) a lot of money fighting these charges, and the big media blitz. Wealth helps. Doesn't make what was done to them right. And I'm sure Crystal Magnum is fucked for life, too, and something may have even happened to her. Life sucks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:58 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Finnerty is a douchebag, but that's not what anyone cares about here.

I care. I want to see Finnerty make a comeback.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:11 PM on May 28, 2007


gum writes Not that they were "exonerated"

Um, this is exactly what happened to them. Nifong's higher-up made a statement exactly along these lines, an unprecedented move.

Do we know for certain that nonconsensual sex did not occur?

Did you rape her? Because there's as much evidence to convict you as there was to convict any of the Duke lacrosse players.
posted by bardic at 11:13 PM on May 28, 2007


Hating people because they're white or have money actually isn't OK.

The people who point out the past misdeeds of the defendants (or of other lacrosse players, but they're all the same, right?) are idiots, frankly. Wrongly convicted poor blacks are often not model citizens either, but that's not the point. Everyone deserves a fair trial.

With respect to the Duke case, many left-leaning academics and public commentators--people who should have realized that everyone deserves to be fairly and individually tried--publicly condemned the defendants because of their race and sex, not because of any reasonable belief that they were actually guilty of the crimes charged.

If important academics and pundits were calling for the conviction of black defendants simply because they were black, do you think the black community would remain silent? No, of course not. The rich, white, male community wasn't going to remain silent either, and why on earth would they? If you suggest that people deserve imprisonment simply because of who they are, those people are going to speak out.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:18 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


gum writes Not that they were "exonerated"

Um, this is exactly what happened to them. Nifong's higher-up made a statement exactly along these lines, an unprecedented move.

Do we know for certain that nonconsensual sex did not occur?

Did you rape her? Because there's as much evidence to convict you as there was to convict any of the Duke lacrosse players.


No. I didn't know what the established facts were because I wasn't paying attention. So I asked.

I guess a better question might have been, "What has happened to reading comprehension among the bardic?"
posted by gum at 11:25 PM on May 28, 2007



The Wikipedia entry is good.

They were as exonerated as anyone could ever get. One of the three accused team members had an airtight alibi, complete with security cameras, time-stamped receipts, and witnesses (one of whom was intimidated by the police when he came forward).

None of the DNA matched ANY of the team members (a fact which the prosecution had attempted to illegally withhold).

As for the accuser's five or six different stories, they changed constantly and radically. I don't know if she was ever literally lying, but it's clear that she is unwell.

According to the NC Attorney General, the players are "innocent" and that "no attack occurred."


Thank you, Sticherbeast -- very helpful.
posted by gum at 11:33 PM on May 28, 2007


Prosecutors do that shit all the time to poor people. Just for once I wanted to see the rich get fucked. Maybe it would have given them some perspective, but I doubt it.

I know, and what's up with the Janjaweed only raping and murdering impoverished Sudanese? Just for once I want to see the comparatively rich get fucked. If only they'd go over your house and butcher you, we'd all learn a valuable lesson, right?
posted by kid ichorous at 11:48 PM on May 28, 2007


The people who point out the past misdeeds of the defendants (or of other lacrosse players, but they're all the same, right?) are idiots, frankly.

Criminologists have noted that violent criminals (including poor, misunderstood thugs like Finnerty) tend to be repeat offenders, statistically.

The theory that crime rates can be attacked by targeting repeat offenders is called "specific deterrance", specifically by implementing selective incapacitation:

Selective incapacitation policies attempt to tailor the sentence to the characteristics of the individual offender. A selective incapacitation sentencing scheme would take into account the nature of the crime committed, the offenders' prior record, and the future risk (based on probabilities of recidivism) the individual criminal would pose to society.

In one USDOJ study, 2/3rds of all convicted criminals were rearrested within three years. In particular, recidivism rates are high for violent criminals, about 60-65%.

Despite their research, I suppose criminologists would be idiots for pointing out past misdeeds of defendents with prior convictions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 AM on May 29, 2007


With respect to the Duke case, many left-leaning academics and public commentators--people who should have realized that everyone deserves to be fairly and individually tried--publicly condemned the defendants because of their race and sex, not because of any reasonable belief that they were actually guilty of the crimes charged.

I think that they probably publicly condemned them because they sent around an email joking about killing strippers, which made them seem like pretty disgusting human beings.
posted by SoftRain at 12:50 AM on May 29, 2007


Despite their research, I suppose criminologists would be idiots for pointing out past misdeeds of defendents with prior convictions.

The fact that Finnerty is a violent offender may indicate a greater likelihood of a future violent offense, but that fact in and of itself has no bearing on whether he committed any particular crime, nor does it mean that he can't become a victim of crime himself.

I think that they probably publicly condemned them because they sent around an email joking about killing strippers, which made them seem like pretty disgusting human beings.

One player did, who was never one of the final three players accused of having anything to do with the rape. While his "joke" may have been disgusting, there is no crime against making disgusting jokes in private. The public railroading in the media - which was not done as a "joke" - was far more disgusting, and the actions of Nifong's office were clearly unethical and illegal, which I would hope would disgust all of us most of all.

...

I have no love affair with Duke students, lacrosse players, frat boys, college athletes, or whomever, but nonetheless I'm growing irritated at the "yeah, well, they were assholes" reaction to the case. To me, that reeks of hand-waving, so that people who had assumed they were guilty can go to bed feeling that they've never had a prejudiced thought in their life - because surely no one could ever be railroaded unless they were a prick, right?

It all plays into the deadly vortex of the case as a media entity - people keep trying to foist meta-narratives onto this one particular case, and not a single one has fit so far, nor will any ever.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:11 AM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


The fact that Finnerty is a violent offender may indicate a greater likelihood of a future violent offense, but that fact in and of itself has no bearing on whether he committed any particular crime

If you toss a coin and it comes up heads 9 out of 10 tosses, would you expect it is likely you'll get a head on any given toss?

It all plays into the deadly vortex of the case as a media entity - people keep trying to foist meta-narratives onto this one particular case, and not a single one has fit so far, nor will any ever.

I equally dread the active whitewashing, no pun intended, which aims to abuse this case to portray all white, wealthy males as victims of lawyered minorities. I wish AgendaFilter (like that veiled in this post) would be more honest about that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 AM on May 29, 2007


If you toss a coin and it comes up heads 9 out of 10 tosses, would you expect it is likely you'll get a head on any given toss?

If I tell you that I flipped a coin and that it came up heads at a particular time, that is not proof it's your coin which came up heads that particular time - especially when you consider how many coins exist, and how many times coins have come up heads!

If John Doe has armed robbery on his rap sheet, that is not evidence that he committed another armed robbery. Witnesses, security footage, circumstantial evidence, and maybe a confession would be.

I equally dread the active whitewashing, no pun intended, which aims to abuse this case to portray all white, wealthy males as victims of lawyered minorities. I wish AgendaFilter (like that veiled in this post) would be more honest about that.


Yeah, that's one of the meta-narratives I'm talking about, and you can see it on full display on the right wing blogs. People love pretending a single case can have much to say about cases in general - or that a particular case must conform to a particular "story."
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:39 AM on May 29, 2007


Everybody calm down! You're all so wrapped up in your arguments that you've lost sight of what's really important here: Johns Hopkins won the NCAA lacrosse championship! Go JHU!
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:41 AM on May 29, 2007


it seems apparent that there were almost no "good guys" in the case

Except, perhaps, Matt Zash, one of the three co-captains who rented the house (but who wasn't among those charged):

...on the night of the team party, Zash was in his room, watching "The Late Show with David Letterman," said his attorney, Kerry Sutton.

"He was not comfortable having strangers in his house -- that particular type of stranger in his house," she said. "He just saw what was going on and said, basically, 'That's something I'm not interested in.'"


Who knows, could be attorneyspeak bullshit, but that's still one of the more interesting images from this whole mess: one of the team captains, upstairs, maybe even shaking his head, as he watched Letterman over the noise of the stripper party. I still find myself hoping it's true.
posted by mediareport at 5:03 AM on May 29, 2007


I lothe college sports, they're nothing more than a way for the pro sports to have the advantages of a minor league without the costs of a minor league, all at the expense of us poor saps who want to go to college for an education.

I resent the fact that my tuition is spent so that stupid, ignorant, obnoxious, assholes who have no business in college can pretend to be students. I further resent the fact that the alumni can raise a fortune for various sporting stuff easily and without particular difficulty, but finding funds for new academic chairs is nigh-impossible.

If it were possible for *every* team to somehow lose, that would be my fondest desire. If every time a team had a scandal, without regard to whether the scandal was legitimate or not, it was perminantly, punatively, and maliciously disolved I'd be dancing in the streets.

Fuck college sports, fuck the goons who play them, and fuck the idiots who want to make one group anti-intellectual idiots befouling a college defeating another group of anti-intellectual idiots befouling a college into anything meaningful, significant, or worth paying attention to.

If you like college football (basketball, lacrosse, hocky, whatever), support minor league football (basketball, lacrosse, hocky, whatever) and stop making *ME* pay for your fucking football (basketball, lacrosse, hocky, whatever).
posted by sotonohito at 5:11 AM on May 29, 2007


I don't watch 30 Rock generally, but I did catch this in one episode and found it amusing. Tracy Morgan's caracter said,

"I’m gonna have so much money, my grandkids are going to play lacrosse. Lacrosse, Liz Lemon."
posted by Pollomacho at 5:22 AM on May 29, 2007


Is this FoxNewsFilter all of a sudden? Look, if we can't have Sexy Italian Teacher Thong Gate, we definitely don't need this. And I'm sorry, but "oh, look -- everything turned out okay for the rich, entitled white kids whose team included a bunch of assholes AFTER all!" is not exactly Remember the fuckin' Titans, okay? I'm glad that people not directly involved in the incident -- which, whether it involved a rape or not, was still, lest we forget, pretty fucking vile -- have been able to continue playing collegiate sports with a minimum of guilt by association, but I'm not like doing jumping jacks over it or anything...life coming up roses for the children of wealth and privilege is just business as usual, is it not?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:41 AM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


You want to rage about prosecutorial misconduct, how about some cases where the death penalty was the grand prize?
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:00 AM on May 29, 2007


The hate displayed towards collge athletes in this thread makes me sick. Pathetic.
posted by sfts2 at 6:35 AM on May 29, 2007


Criminologists have noted that violent criminals (including poor, misunderstood thugs like Finnerty) tend to be repeat offenders, statistically.

That has no bearing on whether he committed (and should thus be punished) for a particular crime.

This isn't complicated. You're not allowed to punish people merely for having a particular status or belonging to a particular race, sex, or socioeconomic class. It doesn't matter what the person's status or identity indicates about their statistical likelihood of committing a crime.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:36 AM on May 29, 2007


kittens for breakfast, do you have some old sore axe to grind or what? I mean, I know what it is to be poor and to watch the rich go on their seemingly happy way, but you are kinda going above and beyond, don't you think?

These guys had their lives ruined and their families spent a lot of cash to defend them, and in the end it should have all been avoided as the prosecution should never have brought the case. NONE of us is likely in a position to know the hell they went through, and claiming they were "assholes" is no reason to be happy they went through such a terrible scenario.

And what evidence is it that we have that these guys were assholes? That they had strippers over and sent over-the-top e-mails that ringed of American Psycho imitation for humor? God forbid all of you that ever got a lap dance or sent an off color e-mail ever have it surface to haunt you. I, for one, try to cast fewer stones in the glass house.

I just don't think you can say life is coming up roses for these guys. Moreover, the "they were rich white kids" argument is tired, old, and frankly trotting it out all the time as a weapon is not going to help your equality for everyone argument.
posted by Muddler at 6:49 AM on May 29, 2007


Hey, I'm not even MAKING an equality for everyone argument. I mean, sure, equality for everyone is great, but I didn't say a word about it.

There's plenty of evidence supporting the notion that these guys were not exactly princes among men. Does it make 'em guilty of rape? No. And I'm glad they didn't go to prison for crimes they (evidently) didn't commit. But do I have any particular sympathy for them? Man, not really. Sorry. Read any number of articles that detail what went on before and after the alleged rape -- stuff that isn't under question -- and a portrait is painted of some vile little pukes. No love from me, son.

But that's not even what the post is about -- as stated, the guys who won the game are not the same people accused of rape. This isn't news. Why the fuck is this even here?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:05 AM on May 29, 2007


Uh...that is to say, the people who ALMOST won the game. Got a little heated there; sorry.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:49 AM on May 29, 2007


The Wikipedia entry is good.

Unless something changed in the last month, that article is the worst of what Wikipedia can be; it's turned me off trusting or participating in Wikipedia.

Unfortunately for all parties, the case was tried in the media, via PR, leaks, and endless uninformed gossip and analysis. That's not the way to deliver justice.

It's unfortunate for the accused, the accuser, and it will intimidate other rape victims, who must fear named and humiliated (and don't imagine it has anything to do with the veracity of their story). But publicly humiliating rape victims is, sadly, a well-established tactic.

What is new to me is that the trial-by-media included Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article was an unapologetic public lynching. It was an endless rant-by-committee against anyone involved in the prosecution, from the arresting officer, to the prosecutor, the accuser, the prosecutor's assistants, a private investigator -- nobody escaped the character assassination. It was filled with barely-edited lists of one-sided statements, gossip, and spin. Wikipedia also named and posted the alleged victim's photo (while she was still allegedly a victim).

Whatever faith in human nature and the wisdom of the masses that Wikipedia, MeFi, Web 2.0, etc. gave me, this article took away. I'm sure it won't be the last lynching we will see there.
posted by guanxi at 8:14 AM on May 29, 2007


stop making *ME* pay for your fucking football

I don't think this is a an accurate statement for the vast majority of U.S. colleges. Also, hockey?...has an 'e' in it.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:25 AM on May 29, 2007


You poor fool. Who do you think covers scholarships and tution credits for your fancy college education? It's not the poor, hardworking college students shelling out their hard-earned pay for tuition, nor is it the over-burdened taxpayers of your state. It's your much-loathed texas football and basketball teams which attracts the donations of alumni.
posted by casconed at 8:27 AM on May 29, 2007


Duke Lacrosse Inspiring
"[Duke's] loss does not diminish the lesson to be learned from the Blue Devils and their handling of the false rape allegations that made us take interest in them in the first place.

The Blue Devils are to be congratulated for surviving the past year and advancing all the way to the NCAA title game. The Duke lacrosse program and its players were demonized by overzealous media representatives, academics who hate jocks and racial opportunists. Typical, irresponsible college behavior (underage drinking) was used as an excuse to paint the Duke players as potential skinheads.

Their 2006 season was stolen. Three Duke players faced criminal charges for a year. Many students and faculty member on their own campus turned on them and staged protests. The Blue Devils, 17-3, not only survived, but they thrived. They didn’t wallow in victimhood. They took the field and went about the job of debunking their critics.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve become obsessed with victimhood and its ability to cripple the very people who cling to it like a Tic Tac at an onion buffet.

Years ago I met Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, the boxer who was imprisoned 20 years for murders he did not commit, and Carter explained to me his philosophy that hate and bitterness destroy the vessel that carry them.

I didn’t truly understand Carter’s mentality until recently, until I fully grasped how a victim’s mind-set had overtaken too many young people and began fueling a bitterness that was swallowing and destroying the very people who see themselves only as victims.

No doubt, many of the Duke lacrosse players come from relative wealth, so it is easier for them to see themselves as more than victims of an agenda-driven prosecutor, cowardly school administrators and black activists looking for racial (in)justice.

However, we should still take note of their reaction to persecutor Mike Nifong’s misconduct. Former Duke coach Mike Pressler and former Blue Devil players David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were victims in every meaning of the word.

Based on the shaky word of two escorts, Duke canned Pressler, and Nifong slaughtered the reputations of three college students.

Oh, and talk-show host Nancy Grace used her CNN television platform to vilify and convict the players on a near weekly basis. On the day the players were exonerated by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Grace took the day off from her talk show.

Yes, I’m going to compare this to Rutgers and Don Imus.

Grace sat on national TV and contributed to an atmosphere that tried to incarcerate three innocent men for a crime that had virtually no corroborating evidence. As far as I know, no one has demanded her resignation, called for a meeting at the governor’s mansion or asked for an apology. She’s free to sit as judge, jury and executioner for ratings again.

Meanwhile, Don Imus had to be eliminated for cracking a tasteless, insensitive and unfunny joke.

Why? Because we (black people) are too invested in maintaining our victim’s status. Imus gave us an excuse to say nothing has really changed. And as long as we’re victims, we’re not responsible for our salvation or progress. This mind-set must be rejected.

And so does the tradition of passing old bitterness onto our young people. America has made tremendous racial progress. This cannot be denied. It is fact. We make a mistake when we spend more time preparing young people for the racism that they will surely face in America rather than preparing them for the opportunities that await them.

If the message to black youths is that America is racist and set up to prevent their success, we cannot be surprised that black youths have embraced a culture (hip-hop) that expresses hopelessness and negative values.

Just as a divorced/single parent can permanently damage the psyche of a child by burdening them with their feelings of hurt and despair toward the other parent, an adult can do the same thing to young people by feeding them their racial animosity.

No matter how valid your feelings of victimhood, they do not empower the sympathizers you try to recruit. Your feelings of victimhood oppress.

Your fundamental belief that you control your destiny empowers you and strikes fear in the people who try to limit your success.

The cliché is true: Success is the best revenge. Just ask the Duke lacrosse players."
posted by ericb at 8:30 AM on May 29, 2007


That has no bearing on whether he committed (and should thus be punished) for a particular crime.

If you're a convicted violent criminal like that gay-bashing Finnerty, you're more likely to be a repeat offender. Don't be shocked if and when the system pays more attention to your behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:52 AM on May 29, 2007


I kind of don't get something. Why did they hire a stripper to come to their house? Why didn't they just go to a stripclub or something like that?

Sorry, this just really puzzled me. All I could think of was the opening chapters of "Leaving Las Vegas."
posted by onepapertiger at 9:40 AM on May 29, 2007


look at all the hate on here for white/male/affluent/college students/athletes, but consider the effect of your words. why should a conservative white male go the last mile for social justice if you're what's at the end of that mile?
posted by bruce at 9:53 AM on May 29, 2007


It's not all about you, Bruce. Social justice isn't what's-in-it-for-me; it's a question of what's socially just. If this is something that has to be explained to you, chances are you're probably not cut out to pursue an agenda beyond self-interest anyway.

(Fuck if I can see what this thread has to do with social justice, or anything other than "yay rape accusations didn't stop Duke from almost winning a lacrosse game" -- did I mention this thread blows? -- but there ya go.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:10 AM on May 29, 2007


casconed: Last semester I paid:

$70 - Direct sports fee
$400 - Manditory "Health Wellness" class which exists for no reason but to let a coach "teach" and thus spread the cost of his salary beyond the sports program

My total bill was around $2600. That means nearly 20% of the money I gave to the university went *directly* to the sports program. [1] On top of that there was a $198 fee for "student services", however there are also dozens of specific fees for various student services which leads me to suspect that a hefty chunk of my "Student services" fee is also channeled to the sports program.

But that's really beside the point, it makes my resentment for the sports programs more personal, but ultimately it doesn't much matter.

What does matter is that your condesending post is factually incorrect. Sports programs are financial drains for all but a very few universities with big winning teams. Universities with teams that aren't in the top eight or so wind up spending university funds on sports, not seeing sports fund the university. That's not my opinion, its pretty well established fact. Of course the university keeps entertaining the hope that if they ever get a really great team together they'll be able to get really big donations from the alumni, but that's about as likely as winning the lottory.

bruce: Yeah, because identifying assholes as assholes is a horrible crime and holds back civil justice. What are you smoking and where can I get some?

[1] Of course, the "Health Wellness" class was a one off, every student must take it (that is, every student must give $400 to the sports program), but only once, so last semester I was forced to give more to the coaches than I would in a normal semester.
posted by sotonohito at 10:18 AM on May 29, 2007


My total bill was around $2600.

Somehow, it doesn't surprise me that you're enrolled in clown school.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:32 AM on May 29, 2007


yow, i'm being lectured on self-interest and justice by somebody who's on record as saying:

oh look -- everything turned out okay for the rich, entitled white kids whose team included a bunch of assholes after all!

no class or racial resentment there, huh? well, no class anyway.
posted by bruce at 10:39 AM on May 29, 2007


A Team of Their Own .
posted by ericb at 10:41 AM on May 29, 2007


and hosted from Uranus Well, that's the sort of classist drivel I'd expect from people like you. Thanks for validating my opinion jackass.
posted by sotonohito at 10:41 AM on May 29, 2007


BTW -- Cleared Duke lacrosse player, Reade Seligmann, will attend Brown.
posted by ericb at 10:44 AM on May 29, 2007


Despite Final Chapter, Book Isn't Closed on Duke Saga
"....for the 41 Blue Devils who've overcome so much, they know a single lacrosse game doesn't end a thing. But by listening to the players and to their coach and their families and their fans, what we also realized yesterday is that for the rest of us, it's not really over either.

The indictments are gone. The charges dropped. But the ugly themes and intrinsic conflicts remain.

We learned small things about a mostly inconsequential lacrosse program -- some terrible (a string of criminal offenses by players) and some admirable (a perfect graduation rate). But we learned a lot more about ourselves, about societal nature, media coverage and knee-jerk judgments. About the stereotypes, tendencies and inherent discord that continue to divide us -- be it geographically, racially or economically -- like some sort of tectonic shift. This case that seemed to ignore truth for so long managed to reveal some pretty ugly truths in the process.

‘That's the world,’ Duke coach John Danowski said. ‘The world is about politics, it's not about right or wrong or the truth.’

As yesterday's loss slowly settled in, players were pensive, even philosophical, about all they've endured. They know that win or lose, they'll forever compete and live and work under a label. This is a team of players who've seen their faces on ‘wanted’ signs, whose teachers petitioned against them, whose fellow students marched against them, calling for their expulsions, their contrition and even their castration.

‘There is a dark cloud over us,’ defender Eric McFadyen said..

So, no doubt, some people found relief, maybe even joy, in Duke's loss yesterday. For others, it darkened the shade of blue through which we've come to view this star-crossed lot, a group whose college education barely strayed from the same lesson: No, life isn't always fair.

Mike Pressler, the former Duke coach who watched yesterday's game from the stands, walked through the Blue Devils' post-game locker room. His face was red from the sun, and a pair of dark sunglasses hid his eyes as he walked from locker to locker, sharing back-slapping hugs with each of his former players. It wasn't hello and it wasn't goodbye. It wasn't congrats or condolences, either.

It was an emotional greeting, a friendly recognition that they'd all lived through something together, and that they'd all continue to live through it. Their perspective is as unique as the conclusions they each take away. While the world stared at them in the fishbowl, they were staring back at the rest of us. We know now whose view was scarier.

It's sad how what we thought was a case of three young men finding their innocence has evolved into a realization that ultimately what these athletes have gone through wasn't really about innocence found, but rather innocence lost."
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on May 29, 2007


Um...they ARE rich, entitled white kids whose team included a bunch of assholes. Other than perhaps "entitled," these are not loaded adjectives. And wealthy white kids do kind of have a tendency to have life generally work out in their favor. So I don't see their triumph -- which wasn't even a triumph! -- as being anything especially notable save to their moms and dads and Duke alumni; it is a common event. What I guess was supposed to make it notable was the team's association with a group of people who -- rapists or not -- hardly seem to be real wonderful people. To review, then, not an anomalous event, a; b, not an especially inspiring story. Again, I ask: What makes this news?

(PS: That was a fairly weak rhetorical parry, incidentally.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2007


and a pair of dark sunglasses hid his eyes as he walked from locker to locker

Between John Boehner's Congressional simpering the other week, and this stuff, can we finally be done with this dark period in our history where it's okay for grown men to be able to cry in public?
posted by psmealey at 11:12 AM on May 29, 2007


Oh, sotonohito probably just jealous because college jocks get better grades than he does.
posted by Snyder at 11:25 AM on May 29, 2007


What makes this news?

I think the point, kittens, is that it was certainly considered newsworthy several months ago, because it could be presented as such tangible confirmation of a number of talking points - white privilege, male privilege, rape culture, you name it. Now that it doesn't quite fit those points, people who once thought it relevant now want it swept beneath the carpet as a non-event, or worse, a dangerous, irresponsible example for suggesting that rape charges might ever, ever be untrue [Salon.com].
posted by kid ichorous at 12:29 PM on May 29, 2007


Not one of the morons who vilify individuals because they go to Duke and play lacrosse has ever met any one of these individuals. Just a bunch of fucking bigots as bad as any Ku Klux Klanners. Then you have the audacity to talk about 'classist drivel.' W.T.F? Are there some assholes on sports teams? Yeah. Probably, just about as many asshole artists. And Computer scientists. Some people are assholes, film at 11. On what basis do you judge these people? Some media reports? Hmmmmm. Is it a crime to show the drive and dedication to excel as a college athlete? You couldn't do it. Particularly, at a school such as Duke University.

Duke basketball players probably get some perks from being on the team. Lacrosse? Not so much maybe a little tutoring. Oh, and probably chicks. (Which NO DOUBT lies at the basis of your tirade.)

Your facts are specious, your logic is tortured and your conclusions are ridiculous.
posted by sfts2 at 12:50 PM on May 29, 2007


Except that the post doesn't address those points at all -- the post amounts to: "Hey, guys, Duke still has a lacrosse team! And they kick ass, kind of. Isn't that awesome?!" And I don't know. Is it? Because whether Duke's lacrosse team did or did not kick ass was never really the question. And I don't think the team's existence was really ever in jeopardy. Had the initial post linked to articles -- regardless of bias -- that addressed the talking points you mention here, in addition to the woo-hooooooDUKE!! link that actually is featured here, okay. As it stands, this post feels really agenda-y and elicits from me a general sense of DO NOT WANT.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:56 PM on May 29, 2007


Not one of the morons who vilify individuals because they go to Duke and play lacrosse has ever met any one of these individuals.

How do you know sfts2?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:58 PM on May 29, 2007


Sfts2, I kinda got the impression they were paying "chicks" to hang with them -- that was sort of the whole way they got in trouble in the first place. Also, I'd avoid KKK comparisons in the future; you're walking on a thin stretch of ice called Godwin's Law, and when you fall through, folks have a tendency to point and laugh.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:01 PM on May 29, 2007


Pollomocho - Prove me wrong. Um, even assert me wrong. Don't you think it likely that if one of the posters who vilify the the people in question, actually knew them, theye would have pointed that somewhat relevant information out in thier post?

kfb - Godwin is about Nazis, not the Klan, and its unlikely I'd give a fuck about some ignorant bigots pointing and laughing at me.
posted by sfts2 at 1:05 PM on May 29, 2007


Well said sfts2.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:09 PM on May 29, 2007


Not necessarily, that's the beauty of internet anonymity.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:11 PM on May 29, 2007


Snyder 'Fraid not Snyder. 3.78 GPA, 4.0 in my major subject. Do try again though.

I've got nothing against jocks per se. My objection is to the university diverting funds from its real purpose (education) and wasting them being the NFL's [1] minor league.

There is no college baseball, you'll notice, because minor league baseball serves its function well. It entertains people, it acts as a filter for the players who want to move on to the major leagues, etc. Colleges neither need to, nor should, take the financial burden of maintaining a minor league for other professional sports. There *should* be minor league basketball, football, hockey, etc.

sfts2 As the guy who used the "classist drivel" line, I think I should point out that I did so after and hosted from Uranus said I went to a clown college because my tuition came to around $2600 a semester. Which is classist drivel at its finest.

As for being on a sports team, you are correct, I couldn't. I'm older than the average college student, I'm out of shape, and more importantly I have absolutely no interest in being part of an organized sport. But what does that have to do with anything?

[1] Or NBA, or whatever.
posted by sotonohito at 1:18 PM on May 29, 2007


NCAA Baseball
posted by Pollomacho at 1:20 PM on May 29, 2007


a dangerous, irresponsible example for suggesting that rape charges might ever, ever be untrue

Previously -- an event which Al Sharpton would undoubtedly like to forget.
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on May 29, 2007


There is no college baseball, you'll notice, because minor league baseball serves its function well.

Me shakes my head.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on May 29, 2007


Nazis and the Klan are pretty much indistinguishable in this kind of conversation -- they're both just hyperbolic rhetorical devices. If you really think someone expressing disdain for a group of overprivileged kids whose actions show (variously) racism, misogyny, and violent homophobia is literally equivalent to someone who'd lynch a man for the color of his skin or burn a cross in his yard, then I seriously just do not know what to tell you.

In the case of the accused, my problems with them are the documented actions that made the case for rape seem so believable. Those actions, as far as I know, are a matter of public record, and have never been disputed. You may want to learn more about the people you're defending. No one is accusing them of rape at this point, but that does not mean that they are otherwise pure and angelic.

In the case of the current team, I think that I unfairly conflated them with their former teammates -- which was not hard to do, as the initial post seems to read the current team's victories as vindication for what went on before. It's a nuanced subject that wasn't approached with much nuance, and I myself approached it with none because I'd been awake ten minutes and hadn't had any coffee. I'm sure the current players are nice guys who deserve the successes of their past season (I'm REALLY sure of this, in fact, because if I were in charge of the lacrosse team at Duke, I'd be damn careful to make sure of it). But I don't see how their successes reflect in any meaningful way on the prior accusations OR (on their own) constitute a subject of general interest here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:24 PM on May 29, 2007


What does matter is that your condesending post is factually incorrect.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2007


There is no college baseball, you'll notice, because minor league baseball serves its function well.

Winners of the annual Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award would beg to differ!
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on May 29, 2007


Sorry, hating someone for being "rich & white" is no more ok than hating someone for being gay, black, asian, jewish, etc...

You're just as bad as everyone else, congrats.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:31 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


How about strongly disliking someone for their inflated sense of self worth and arrogant sense of entitlement? Is that OK?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:35 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yep, that should be ok. As long as they actually posess those traits. Otherwise you're just stereotyping. And we ALL know that THAT isn't ok.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:40 PM on May 29, 2007


In the case of the accused, my problems with them are the documented actions that made the case for rape seem so believable.

And what would those "documented actions" be -- other than Collin Finnerty's assault charge in D.C.?

I think you are conflating and generalizing various bad behaviors (the "American Psycho" e-mail sent by a player who was not one of the accused, the underage drinking, the one-and-only-one racist comment made that night -- and, again, not by one of the accused -- as justification for your prejudicial and -- to me -- despicable position.

BTW -- fraternities and sororities, sports teams, etc. at colleges and universities all over this country have been guilty of underage drinking, hiring strippers (male and female) to perform at their domiciles. That you feel repugnant by these behaviors is okay, but don't use such as a means to justify your prejudice.

Oh ... and by the way ... I am a white, gay man who heralds from a privileged background (and doesn't have an "inflated sense of self worth and arrogant sense of entitlement"). As the uncle of two nephews in boarding schools (who also happen to be lacrosee players, as well as stellar students), I hope to avoid a situation in which you are ever there to judge them.
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on May 29, 2007


*lacrosse*
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on May 29, 2007


The one important consequence of these kids being wealthy, for me, is the idea that their wealth was instrumental in proving their innocence. If true, it hints at larger patterns of wrongful and overzealous prosecution, only noticed when they affect those with the means to resist it or to publicize their ordeal. However you feel about these students, they are no canaries in the coal mine, affected first and hit hardest by society's problems, a warning of things to come. The rich are usually affected last - this is a sign of things that have been around for quite a while.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:55 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


the idea that their wealth was instrumental in proving their innocence

At the press conference following that of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in which he "said not only are the players innocent of the charges they faced, but there is 'no credible evidence that an attack occurred at that house on that night.' 'All evidence contradicts her story. She contradicts herself,' he said of the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum."
"The players also acknowledged that their families had the monetary means to afford a defense that ultimately proved their innocence, and said prosecutors and police need to be kept in check to prevent similar 'railroading' of those less well off."*
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on May 29, 2007


Ahem... College baseball... I was wrong about college baseball. Honestly, I'd never heard of it. Sorry 'bout that.
posted by sotonohito at 2:21 PM on May 29, 2007


Metafilter: Awash in a sea of bile. Is the Two Minutes Hate over yet? I'm beginning to think that there are a few members on this site that I would like to see imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit, just because they're assholes.
posted by MikeMc at 2:29 PM on May 29, 2007


Yeah, Eric, I don't see my position as "despicable" at all; we'll just have to agree to disagree here. It would be ludicrous to suggest that every white male born into money is a sleaze -- I mean, look at Batman! -- but I do think that there is a particular type of sleaze that only comes out of a background of privilege/entitlement. To me, these guys have always seemed to fit that profile, and -- quite frankly -- had they elected to keep their noses clean instead of having their little fun with the proles, none of this would have been ABLE to happen. The situation these kids created bit them on the ass. Their very ability to create the situation is itself borne out of an abuse of privilege -- had there been no economic disparity between themselves and these women, the women would not have been there. Had the players not felt they could get away with murder, they wouldn't have violated campus rules by having the party. I absolutely, positively DO NOT think the players deserved to go to jail for a crime they didn't commit -- as I said at least once already -- but I do think it must be acknowledged that they were not merely innocent victims here. Through their own arrogance, they created a situation that made them vulnerable. My sympathy is limited. They may not have been bad guys, per se, and they may even have been victims, but they definitely were not innocent victims.

I imagine that your nephews are good people who would not place themselves in a situation where I or anyone else would be able to judge them harshly.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:06 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rich, white, convicted assault perps should be judged on their individual merits.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2007


kittens for breakfast, you're a bigot through and through, and that's quite clear to the rest of us.

You're stereotyping the wrongfully accused, attributing every reasonably imaginable misdeed and moral flaw to them, and explaining how their very identity causes them to likewise share in culpability.

Bigot, bigot, bigot.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:20 PM on May 29, 2007


Their very ability to create the situation is itself borne out of an abuse of privilege -- had there been no economic disparity between themselves and these women, the women would not have been there.

Had there been no economic disparity between Adrienne Shelley and the construction worker who killed her, the construction worker never would have been there.

Am I making a salient critique of class privilege yet?

I imagine that your nephews are good people who would not place themselves in a situation where I or anyone else would be able to judge them harshly.

How do you know the lacrosse players at Duke don't have uncles like ericb? I'd imagine his nephews are nice people, but I'd also imagine that maybe some men on their team may very well be assholes. Social circles can work that way across the spectrum. Why not simply call the assholes as you see them (such as Finnerty) while keeping less judgmental of other people in general?

...

Elsewhere...

Whatever faith in human nature and the wisdom of the masses that Wikipedia, MeFi, Web 2.0, etc. gave me, this article took away. I'm sure it won't be the last lynching we will see there.

I agree with you that publishing the names (and pictures) of rape victims is wrong, and that to do so now strikes me as more vindictive than newsworthy. However, her name is common knowledge by this point, and her picture was not up there when I last saw the link.

That said, I'm sorry that the substantive content of the article has disappointed you. What specifically do you feel is factually incorrect or incomplete about it? What link (preferably one-stop shop) would you provide to someone who wanted to know about the case?
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:12 PM on May 29, 2007


Wow, a Metafilter Frat-boy Piley-On.

This is the first time I've ever seen one of *those*.

After we finish giving sotonohito a wedgie, can somebody offer kittens for breakfast $100 to take off her clothes and dance?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:12 PM on May 29, 2007


kittens for breakfast -- what do you think about the fact that Duke University has invited Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty back as students in 'good standing?'

And what about Brown University, inviting Reade Seligmann to be a student there this autumn and his accepting their offer? In your world view have they capitulated in accepting this "particular type of sleaze?"
posted by ericb at 4:13 PM on May 29, 2007


After we finish giving sotonohito a wedgie, can somebody offer kittens for breakfast $100 to take off her clothes and dance?

Well -- in seeing that "she" is a "he," I (as a 'flaming queen') will pony up $500 -- if -- and, only if, he's "hot" (by my standards -- and not by any preconceived, prejudged definition of such).
posted by ericb at 4:17 PM on May 29, 2007


After we finish giving sotonohito a wedgie, can somebody offer kittens for breakfast $100 to take off her clothes and dance?

Um...? Why would anyone want to do that? I mean, I know that that's somehow a joke, but what precisely is the implication there?

For the record, I've never been in a frat, nor have I ever really seen the point of a frat. That said, I was once in a Deke house for a film shoot. And I've never attended a college athletics game, although I did once live with the school mascot (hooray for random room assignment).

Oh, also, I once went to the Hustler Club. My friend the dominatrix held her boyfriend's birthday party there because she thought it would be a thing. The evening ended with me drinking casually with one of the dancers. We're now MySpace friends.

But I guess "the case was fucked and never should have become this huge media storm, so just leave everyone alone except for the corrupt prosecution" must read as "HOOOO-AHHH BUST OUT THA FIFTH KEG."
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:22 PM on May 29, 2007


I agree with you that publishing the names (and pictures) of rape victims is wrong

In this case it has been declared by the Attorney General of North Carolina that no rape occured. Hence, no need for any shielding of the false accuser's identity -- Crystal Gail Mangum.
posted by ericb at 4:27 PM on May 29, 2007


The issue of college athletics and funding is pretty interesting. Sotonhito has a point in saying that only top-tier sports programs make money for a school directly, but you can't ignore another huge part of the equation: alumni cash.

Take away football and basketball programs from your "average" state school, the kind that isn't competing for a national championship every year, and indeed, on paper, they don't make the school money directly in terms of funds expended (scholarships, uniforms, facilities, etc.) versus funds made.

But threaten to take away those sports programs, and witness the howls of indignation from thousands of alumni who will no longer donate to the given school's "development fund."

So, I'm not going to defend the system as it stands, but really, it ain't the NBA and NFL that put a gun to State U.'s head to make things the way they are. Colleges and Universities are businesses like any other, and many of them have decided that in the long-run, the benefits of having big ol' sports programs is a general plus, both for making money directly (ticket sales), indirectly (alumni contributions), and in intangible ways -- recruiting probably being the biggest.

And if that pisses you off, there are tons of great D-II and D-III schools out there. To blame "the jocks" so to speak is really misdirected. If anyone, blame your university's president and development officers.
posted by bardic at 4:30 PM on May 29, 2007


Kittens, 2007 Prosecutor: "But I do think that there is a particular type of sleaze that only comes out of a background of privilege/entitlement. To me, these guys have always seemed to fit that profile, and -- quite frankly -- had they elected to keep their noses clean instead of having their little fun with the proles, none of this would have been ABLE to happen. The situation these kids created bit them on the ass."

1957 Prosecutor: "But I do think there is a particular type of sleaze that comes from a background of sexual promiscuity. To me, this woman has always seemed to fit that profile, and --quite frankly-- if she had elected to keep her nose clean instead of acting like a slut, none of this would have been ABLE to happen. The situation this woman created bit her in the ass."
posted by kid ichorous at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Er, that would be "1957 Defense Attorney." The parallel still stands, though. Bad on you!
posted by kid ichorous at 4:34 PM on May 29, 2007


And lo, the white, middle and upper class MeFites did bravely defend their own, and take the opportunity to trumpet their own superiority through hackneyed analogies, cliché comparisons and ham-handed attacks on all who disagree.
And thus, did the last one to come eat the biscuit.
posted by klangklangston at 4:59 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


And lo, the white, middle and upper class MeFites did bravely defend their own, and take the opportunity to trumpet their own superiority through hackneyed analogies, cliché comparisons and ham-handed attacks on all who disagree.

RTFT.

And btw, out of genuine curiosity, which parts of "white, middle and upper class" don't apply to you?
posted by bardic at 5:05 PM on May 29, 2007


And thus, did the last one to come eat the biscuit.

I heartily enjoy the ookie cookie reference.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've got two things on this topic. One, I'm a white, middle-ish class guy, and I won't apologize if it comes off that I'll joust with people who have a more than reasonable problem with white, middle-ish class guys. One of the joys of civil rights is that most people really are speaking for themselves - I think it's great that the vast majority of people who fought for women's rights are women themselves, and so on. I don't see what the sin is there. And I'm in no way suggesting there's any sort of mass discrimination against people "like" me but then again, I don't see how we go from "don't hold bigoted, unfounded opinions against white middle-class males" to "surely the most truly discriminated against is the white man!!11!!!1!" The only people who truly feel that way are probably too busy jacking it to Rush Limbaugh to post on MetaFilter.

Two, and this is more personal for me: I find racism funny. Funny ha-ha and funny strange. The idea of zeroing in on race to shape your social reality is such a fucking bizarre one. My link posts and my comment posts reflect this interest, and I don't feel that my interest in the weird politics of the Duke Lacrosse scandal is out of place when you consider some of the other things I find fascinating:
• Kenneth Eng
• Rastafarians and Klansmen teaming up to overthrow Caribbean governments
• Colognia Dignidad
• White supremacists
• Black supremacists
• White supremacists who convert to Hinduism and write strange, flowery novels about cats and the mystic properties of Hitler
• White trash
• The murder of Kathryn Johnston
• The position of the Klan in the Progressive Movement, and how repulsive this appears to anyone nowadays
And so, please begrudge me my interest in this case, as it appears as so many things to so many different people, and to me, I find that funny - both funny ha-ha and funny strange.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:15 PM on May 29, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: Rich, white, convicted [exonerated -- fixed that for 'ya] assault perps should be judged on their individual merits.

N.C. Attorney General: Duke Players 'Innocent'
"...these three individuals are innocent of these charges.

Now, we approached this case with the understanding that rape and sexual assault victims often have some inconsistencies in their account of a traumatic event. However, in this case, the inconsistencies were so significant and so contrary to the evidence that we have no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house on that night.

Now, the prosecuting witness in this case responded to our questions and offered information. She did want to move forward with the prosecution.

However, the contradictions in her many versions of what occurred and the conflicts between what she said occurred and other evidence like photographs and phone records, could not be rectified.

Our investigation shows that the eyewitness identification procedures were faulty and unreliable. No DNA confirms the accuser's story. No other witness confirms her story. Other evidence contradicts her story. She contradicts herself.

....Now, in this case, with the weight of the state behind him, the Durham district attorney pushed forward unchecked. There were many points in this case where caution would have served justice better than bravado, and in the rush to condemn a community and a state, lost the ability to see clearly.

Regardless of the reasons that this case was pushed forward, the result was wrong. Today we need to learn from this and keep it from happening again to anybody.

Now, we have good district attorneys in North Carolina who are both tough and fair, and we need these forceful, independent prosecutors to put criminals away and protect the public, but we also need checks and balances to protect the innocent.

This case shows the enormous consequences of over-reaching by a prosecutor. What has been learned here is that the internal checks on a criminal charge -- sworn statements, reasonable grounds, proper suspect photo lineups, accurate and fair discovery -- all are critically important.

Therefore, I propose a law that the North Carolina Supreme Court have the authority to remove a case from a prosecutor in limited circumstances. This would give the courts a new tool to deal with a prosecutor who needs to step away from a case where justice demands."
Mike Nifong -- Rogue Prosecutor.
posted by ericb at 6:04 PM on May 29, 2007


Oh, man...yeah, I go outside for two hours and miss EVERYTHING. I see we're on to comparing fratboys to girls who "deserve it" for wearing short skirts -- ho-kay. Sorry, but if you can't see what's bullshit about THAT rhetoric -- and I'm pretty sure that you can -- again, not much that I can tell you. It seems you guys have your minds pretty thoroughly made up, and, well, if you honestly, genuinely think that condemning the abuse of white male privilege is tantamount to lynching black people or bashing gays, and this isn't just a lame rhetorical get out of jail free card you keep trying to play so as to avoid any suggestion that maybe it's actually NOT okay to go through life a complete douchebag, we're not even living on the same fuckin' planet, and I can only hope the view from the surface of your own is as lovely as that of mine.

Eric, as I make quite a good living, thanks (and not by taking off my clothes!), I'm afraid that there is little incentive for me to strip for you...unless you're very, VERY privileged. Feel free to email me with a full accounting of what you'd be looking for and what percentage of my yacht precisely you'd be interested in bankrolling; perhaps we can work something out.

Yr. pal,

Kittens
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:08 PM on May 29, 2007


I've said it before in Duke-Nifong misconduct threads, and I'll say it again: Two wrongs don't make a right.

While I agree that racism and sexism are still far too much a part of American life, if you think that convicting or even dragging some white frat-dudes through the mud is somehow a form of fairness, you aren't on my side, nor the side of sanity or justice writ large.
posted by bardic at 6:22 PM on May 29, 2007


I rate the significance of this case somewhere between Lacy Peterson and Anna Nicole Smith.
posted by uri at 6:30 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid that there is little incentive for me to strip for you...

And from my P.O.V. -- I have no interest in seeing you naked or clothed. As a matter of fact, I prefer my "assholes" to be of the gay variety.
posted by ericb at 6:43 PM on May 29, 2007


Eric --

God, you ARE a charmer. But that was actually my pleasant way of saying we can take this offlist, if need be. You may not be aware of it, but this site kind of discourages personal attacks in the very note beneath the posting window, and if we must go there -- as it would appear that you think we must -- this isn't an appropriate forum. I haven't been here long enough to know whether banning happens a whole lot, but I'd as soon...well, that I wasn't. And since you seem incapable of much beyond "no, YOU'RE an asshole" -- and seriously, imagine my surprise -- continuing this discussion at all will likely only lead to further personal insults...WHICH I'M OKAY WITH, but not here. You follow?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:54 PM on May 29, 2007


kittens for breakfast -- I apologize for the personal -- albeit emotional (on my side) -- derail.

Back on track -- what do you think about the fact that Duke invited Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty back as students in 'good standing? What are your thoughts about Brown University inviting Reade to their campus -- and his acceptance of such? What issues relative to class, race, ethics and morals might have been involved in these decisions by the universities? Are Duke and Brown capitulating and ignoring evidence that these boys/men are deserving of disdain and censure? What is "at play" in their respective positions and decisions?
posted by ericb at 7:02 PM on May 29, 2007


And lo, the white, middle and upper class MeFites did bravely defend their own, and take the opportunity to trumpet their own superiority through hackneyed analogies, cliché comparisons and ham-handed attacks on all who disagree.

Disagree with what? You didn't say. Oh, that's right, we're attacking people who disagree with the notion of treating people fairly, and not condemning them merely because of their race and sex.

You left that part out, probably because you didn't want to seem like a bigot.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:10 PM on May 29, 2007


New York Times: Year After Scandal, a Sport Thrives.
posted by ericb at 7:33 PM on May 29, 2007


Eric --

Offlist. Sending over to you in a few.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:41 PM on May 29, 2007


Eric -- Offlist. Sending over to you in a few.

As much as I welcome and appreciate a back-channel conversation with you ... I invite your "public" response to my inquiry (above):
"..what do you think about the fact that Duke invited Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty back as students in 'good standing?' What are your thoughts about Brown University inviting Reade to their campus -- and his acceptance of such? What issues relative to class, race, ethics and morals might have been involved in these decisions by the universities? Are Duke and Brown capitulating and ignoring evidence that these boys/men are deserving of disdain and censure? What is 'at play' in their respective positions and decisions?"
I am curious as to how your responses|positions [in any offline e-mail, and here in this very thread] will "square" with the various statements you have previously made?
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on May 29, 2007


Eric --

Since -- not to be a dick -- it seems to me most of the sensible people aren't even looking at this thread, and any kind of serious conversation would be wasted on the "bigot. bigot. you hate white people, admit it! BIGOT!" crowd, I don't see a point in posting here...sorry. I did attempt to answer you via email, but -- looking over the question again -- I think I probably sidetracked myself, like ya do. Please feel free to reiterate it in a response, if you are so inclined, should you feel my answer is insufficient -- bearing in mind that I have no real responsibility to stay consistent with anything I wrote in a heated and/or caffeine-deprived state. I am vast and contain multitudes and whatnot; and anyway, I'm on a site having a conversation, not delivering a deposition in a court of law. In the meantime, there's work in the morning, sooooooo...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:43 PM on May 29, 2007


Rich, white, convicted [exonerated -- fixed that for 'ya] assault perps should be judged on their individual merits.

You know perfectly well that Finnerty was exonerated because Judge Bayly felt bad for him, calling him a "fine character" despite his prior conviction for hurling punches in between homophobic insults. Cleaning the slate is the old boy's network in full tilt, and something you would never have seen had it been the case of a violent criminal who is either poor or black.

I suppose there's no irony here that I was railed against for even suggesting that a violent criminal should have his prior record considered with respect to an investigation — yet apparently it's perfectly alright for the judge to wipe Finnerty's record clean because of Nifong's agenda.

And, nothing personal, ericb, but you're defending a gay basher. Step back and think about that for a second. I'm not expecting a response on this, and I truly mean that with all respect.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 PM on May 29, 2007


He's defending a gay-basher who isn't a rapist for not being a rapist. I don't see the supposed disconnect on ericb's part.
posted by bardic at 9:21 PM on May 29, 2007


bardic has it right.

While I despise and condemn Collin Finnerty for his alleged (and, likely) gay bashing in D.C., such does not qualify him as a "rapist" in events subsequently deemed "false" by the State's Attorney General.
posted by ericb at 10:45 PM on May 29, 2007


"RTFT.

And btw, out of genuine curiosity, which parts of "white, middle and upper class" don't apply to you?"

RTFT?

Well, I'm in, and roughly always have been in, the lower quintile of income.

But please, tell me that Prez Steve's bigot chant didn't turn into orgasmic spasms as he felt the righteousness rising. This (as in this link) is a non-story that exists to stir the coals over the previous despicable behavior from nearly every possible actor in the scandal.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 PM on May 29, 2007


You know perfectly well that Finnerty was exonerated because Judge Bayly felt bad for him, calling him a "fine character" despite his prior conviction for hurling punches in between homophobic insults.

I'm confused. The assault case was re-opened after his indictment, and his slate has not been wiped clean. Does anyone have a cite otherwise? Bueller?

Cleaning the slate is the old boy's network in full tilt, and something you would never have seen had it been the case of a violent criminal who is either poor or black.

Never say never. After those accused of raping the Central Park Jogger were cleared through DNA evidence (and a confession), all of their convictions were wiped - not just the rape charges. Unlike Finnerty, they were neither rich nor white.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:15 AM on May 30, 2007


After those accused of raping the Central Park Jogger were cleared through DNA evidence (and a confession), all of their convictions were wiped - not just the rape charges. Unlike Finnerty, they were neither rich nor white.

I'm not sure that's a good comparison. Finnerty is a convicted scumbag gay basher, despite the judge letting him off the hook. His violent behavior is public record.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:55 AM on May 30, 2007


Sorry, I should be more clear: Finnerty's gay bashing case is entirely unconnected to the accusation in the Duke case. I guess I don't know enough about what convictions were overturned in the Central Park rape case which you mention, whether they are connected to the rape or not.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 AM on May 30, 2007


Finnerty's gay bashing case is entirely unconnected to the accusation in the Duke case.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It is a completely different, unrelated crime for which Finnerty is not off the hook. Judge Bayly did not, as you said above, wipe his slate clean of that case - he did the precise opposite thing. He convicted him.

Being responsible for that crime did not make him magically more or less culpable for any other, unrelated crime, such as a rape.

I guess I don't know enough about what convictions were overturned in the Central Park rape case which you mention, whether they are connected to the rape or not.

The convictions for all the other crimes to which they had confessed in the Central Park Jogger case, not just the rape, were vacated. These were not unrelated cases from other times and places.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:50 AM on May 30, 2007


The convictions for all the other crimes to which they had confessed in the Central Park Jogger case, not just the rape, were vacated. These were not unrelated cases from other times and places.

I should clarify. They were related crimes in the sense that they were violent crimes committed during what was inappropriately dubbed the "wilding" spree, but they were unrelated in the sense that they were acts of violence committed in the park that day - just not the beating and rape of the Central Park Jogger in particular.

All the convictions were vacated because the confessions as a whole were found to have been coerced - this does not mean every single word of them was a lie, but it does mean that they were unethically obtained and therefore should not have been admitted as such as evidence, aside from the obvious fact that the coerced confessions contained contradictions and were not borne out by the DNA evidence.

Either way, all the boys, who had been minors during the whole ordeal, had already served their time by the time their convictions were vacated. My point in bringing this up is that this actually is a case where individuals get "off the hook" for violent crimes by having their "slate wiped clean," as opposed to Finnerty, who is being held accountable for the crimes he has committed.

More about the Central Park Jogger fallout here.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:12 AM on May 30, 2007


Man I just going to sit on dah beach wit me spleef and watch you fellas bogart dise waves.
posted by MapGuy at 7:29 AM on May 30, 2007


"Rasta no abide a sad fraternity mon. I and I will see da brothaman through. These songs of freedom... They all they ever had."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:00 AM on May 30, 2007


Page 5a in USA Today has a full-page ad paying tribute to the members of the 2007 Duke men's lacrosse squad for their accomplishments on and off the field.
posted by ericb at 9:46 AM on May 30, 2007


Disgusting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 AM on May 30, 2007


How in any world is that disgusting?
posted by Snyder at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2007


Box lacrosse in Canada is pretty different than Ivy-League field lacrosse. It's a rough blue-collar game, and popular with First Nations folks.

I didn't know the game differed. Thanks for the info, KokuRyu.
posted by dreamsign at 5:18 AM on May 31, 2007


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