I mean, come on, his name is Brodhead, for lord's sake.
Seriously, though. The worst possible outcome of the Duke lacrosse rape case has come to pass:
DURHAM (WTVD) -- More than three dozen members of the 2006 Duke University men's lacrosse team and members of their families filed suit against Duke University, its President Richard Brodhead and other officials, Duke's medical center, and the City of Durham and city officials for emotional distress and other injuries in connection with false rape charges and a corrupt police investigation against team members in 2006. (more story here)I'm frustrated, honestly, and I'm really sorry that this is happening. I went to a university where one did NOT mess with lacrosse. The students only cared about one sport (guess which one), the ROTC only drilled during the national anthem during one sport (c'mon, try harder) and the cheerleaders only cared about making it with one team (right, well, maybe not this cheerleader, but you know what I'm saying). Speaking of, did I ever show you this?
Heh. That's me, seven years and about a kajillion doughnuts ago.
Anyway. After graduation, I joined the adminstration of that university, albeit as a peon, and no one who made decisions like "Let's cancel the team's season because of this rape thing! Yeah!" But I still got to see some inner workings of the bureaucracy, and I know which side the school's bread is buttered on, so to speak in old-people-ese. And athletics is a big, big slab of that butter... especially lacrosse.
Lacrosse brings in money from ticket sales, merchandising, and concessions. Alumni who played, their wives who have to suffer through endless retellings of the 1965 championship or whatever, their kids who want to honor Dad's contribution to said championship season, even if he was the waterboy - these people give money, and lots of it. Cancelling an entire season - God, cancelling a single GAME - is a move that NO ONE at a major lacrosse institution wants to make. And now people are all pissy with Duke because that's what they had to do, cancel a season to protect themselves, the school, and even the team members who are now biting the hand that kept the big bad accuser away.
Of COURSE Duke had to investigate the accusations. Let's just use a little sense here - if someone accused your kid of rape, you'd want to know the truth, no matter how much it hurt and how vehemently you believed your kid's innocence. Of COURSE they worked with the police, even when the police investigation turned out to be seriously flawed. (And by "seriously flawed," I mean "this wouldn't even happen on the most ridiculous Law & Order ever, even the ones that start out with that 'the following is based on a true event, so it's totally ridiculous!' warning.") If the police came to your house and said, "Hey, your kid might be a rapist! Let's see what we can find out, shall we?" you'd go right along with their questions and their probing, if for no other reason than to prove that your kid didn't do it.
And of COURSE they cancelled the season.
People are saying that they did it to protect themselves, as if the provost and the president were somehow involved in the rape and wanted to save themselves from a DNA culture or something, and not letting the boys play their sport would break every cotton swab in the southeast. I wonder if those people ever stopped to think that the admins, in whatever way they could, were trying to protect THE BOYS. The story made Newsweek, every major network's evening broadcast, and who knows how many talk shows - did the men on the lacrosse team ever think that there were people all over the country who thought they did rape that girl? And those people live near other universities where lacrosse is played... and would likely show up at their games... and would begin by threatening them during visiting games and possibly end by hurting them in ways they can't imagine? What about the Duke students who went along to support the team at their away games - wouldn't the condemners go after them too, claiming that they were hiding rapists and supporting criminals?
Yes, it was a flawed investigation and a horrific story that I wouldn't wish on anyone, even the most Neanderthalish of jocks. Yes, those three boys who were actually indicted have had their lives flipped, trashed, and essentially ruined. However, I don't think they can blame Duke for acting in the way they thought would protect the majority of those involved, even on the periphery. And these 38 other team members, I have nothing to say about them. We all need someone to blame when things go horribly wrong, and I'm sure that having their season cancelled and the world's eyes on them (and consequently, the world's attention during their, shall we say, not-so-shining moments) was probably the least fun way to spend their college years.
But don't go after Duke. Why would a university exist if not for the good of its students? Why bother raising money, and growing a stellar reputation, and working incredibly long hours (okay, maybe that was just us peons) if the kids won't be all right? It was a volatile and confusing situation, and no one - except for the accuser, who created the whole mess, and those sneaky characters who wanted to gain from her messmaking - deserves to be condemned for being confused, and acting in the way they thought would protect those under their care.
Speech over. Now back to your regularly scheduled mommyblogging and discussion of really important things like throwing up, and the Backyardigans (you gotta love that neurotic little Pablo!)
Posted in: on 2/21/2008 at at 4:49 PM