The Duke Case: Unleash the Hounds!

I got blasted last year by my beloved commenters for having the temerity to suggest that we all should wait for the Duke lacrosse case to unfold in real time before we made any judgments about the strength of the evidence or the motives and tactics of Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong. Well, that time has come-- "insufficient evidence" said North Carolina's attorney general, the students are "truly innocent"-- and Nifong's many critics were absolutely correct. Whether or not you agree that the students are "truly innocent" the fact is that there really was no there there in the sexual assault case against the young men. And now Nifong is left to answer, in court and in the court of public opinion, for his dubious conduct throughout his ill-fated attempt to win convictions agianst the defendants.

Nifong has to answer for why he did not interview the alleged victim in the case for many, many months after she came forward. This was an especially shaky strategy given the paucity of physical or scientific evidence linking the defendants to a crime and given how the complaining witness' story changed over time. He has to answer for the shady way he handled the results of DNA tests that failed to link the defendants to the suspect-- he failed to immediately turn them over to defense attorneys. He has to answer for the faulty eyewitness procedures he implemented in this case.

He has to answer for his failure or refusal to acknowledge the contradictory evidence in the prosecution's case. And he has to answer for why it took a special prosecutor, the state's Attorney General, to finally make official what so many others already had long ago concluded: that the alleged victim's testimony in this case was not going to convince a jury of the defendants' peers that the young men had committed sexual assault or kidnapping, much less rape. Nifong's career as a prosecutor is certainly over; his career as a lawyer is in doubt. His prospects, you might say, are considerably less bright than those of the three young men who today move on to the next chapters of their heralded lives.

What's next for this cast of characters? Let's start with Nifong. He faces that ethics investigation which is likely to punish him in some form. He is vulnerable potentially to the criminal charge of obstructing justice for his role in the DNA scandal. He also is vulnerable now to a civil lawsuit brought by the defendants for malicious prosecution or its legal equivalent in North Carolina. This lawsuit would face enormous obstacles because North Carolina law, like the law of every other state, affords tremendous immunity for public officials acting in their official capacity. This is especially true for prosecutors when they make their charging decisions. The plaintiffs in such a case, the students, would have to convince a judge that Nifong acted maliciously. Nifong, in turn, would argue that he simply believed the story the allged victim told given the nature of her injuries at the time.

For the woman, the faces the unlikely possibility of criminal charges herself if prosecutors in North Carolina believe she purposely made a false statement to the authorities. I say this is unlikely because it would be almost impossible to prove that at the time she made the allegations she knew them to be false. Moreover, the possibility of a civil lawsuit brought against her by the students would be meaningless since she clearly has no money with which to pay any judgment that might be entered against her. If the students are looking for revenge, then, perhaps they should get together and write a book about their experiences and then promptly laugh all the way to the bank. They certainly don't have to worry about a civil lawsuit brought against them by the woman.

This case was about bad beginnings that ended well-- a storyline that doesn't always occur in the world of the law. I was thinking last night about labeling the students as "victims" in all of this and in a sense they are. Their lives were turned upside down and they lost precious time being plain old students at a great old school. But they never spent a night in jail and their misery pales in comparison with the misery of the many people (mostly black and poor) who spent decades in prison before a witness' recantation or DNA evidence exonerated them. They may not think so, but the Duke defendants are extraordinarily lucky young men. They had the means to hire attorneys who refused to allow them to be railroaded. And that's not always been a common theme in cases between the races in North Carolina or anywhere else. So long as North Carolina is particularly sensitive these days to injustices in the legal system, hopefully those poor folks will get a second look, too.

By Andrew Cohen |  April 11, 2007; 10:18 AM ET
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Had you been through the same situation as the three players, I don't know whether you'd think of yourself as so "extraordinarily lucky."

Posted by: Patrick | April 11, 2007 03:07 PM

I am waiting for retractions and apologies from Jesse, Al and some of the facility of Duke to these individuals. Somehow, I feel that I will die before this happens.

Maybe we should have named them (Duke players) the nappy hair ho trio!

Posted by: | April 11, 2007 03:08 PM

LUCKY????!!!!!

In this era of Google, these boys' names will forever be associated with this case whenever they are considered for a job or anything else. Their names - their precious reputations - have been dragged through the mud for over a year. Nancy Grace et al have spat venomous hatred. They have been in fear for their lives on the Duke campus as wanted posters were spread about them. They didn't go on camera and have a pity party for themselves because that's not what real men do. But don't doubt for a second that they have been harmed by this - irreparably and irrevocably.

Posted by: JH | April 11, 2007 03:13 PM

Andrew, you've been consistently wrong on this case, and you still won't face up to that. By the time of your original post in May of last year, it was public knowledge that (a) there was no DNA link to the accused; (b) there was video evidence of one of the accused being across town at the time of the alleged crime; and (c) the accuser had materially changed her story. Admit it: because of the race and class aspects to the story, you gave the prosecution a lot more latitude and sympathy than you otherwise would have in light of these exculpatory facts.

Posted by: Tom T. | April 11, 2007 03:27 PM

In light of these developments I think we should all contemplate the shallow moral superiority with which many who call themselves defenders of society's less privileged condemned these young men. Standing up for those who have traditionally been at a disadvantage in this country has a dark side just like any other human endevour.
I recall the students at Duke who took up picket signs reading "take back the night" following the media's initial broadcast of the story. Those students were ready, I'll dare say eager, to condemn their classmates on no more than an allegation surrounded by a certain social narrative. The protection from this sort of mob reaction is the rationale for the VI Amendment's protections for the accused. Today I am thankful our criminal courts are, for the most part, those of law rather than public opinion.

Posted by: Zach | April 11, 2007 03:30 PM

Andrew: There is going to be a lot of backtracking in the media over this. Recall the feeding frenzy? The alledged crime was awful. There was no way that any news organization was going to take a pass and wait lest their competitors gain an advantage. Now what do we have? Students lives destroyed. The acusers life a mess. The univerisity a mess. Durham race relations a mess. The ability of a future true victim to get justice will be much harder. And it is another example of poor reporting that keeps people migrating from the WP and other publications to blogs. This may not be a bad thing except that the blogs have single-issue-focus, and worthwhile reporting on very important topics gets ignored. This is a typical example of the search for short-term returns at the expense of long-term survivability.

Posted by: | April 11, 2007 03:35 PM

Duke Needs a Legal Defense Fund

Only Shakespeare could have conjured up a plot whereby dozens of faculty members apparently formed an informal and shadowy organization to harass white male athletes on the campus and then their group publishes an on-line letter of condemnation of three white male students who were charged with a crime that appeared to be a hoax from the beginning.

Most of these professors were on Duke's payroll and associated with the various Anger Studies department on campus.

Now the students have been found innocent by the Attorney General of the State of North Carolina and all charges have been dismissed.

The parents of the three students would like for Duke to pay their legal bills associated with defending their sons.

Duke is concerned about spending dollars for purposes that are not clearly directed to the mission of the university.

Creating a hostile environment on campus is an expensive proposition, Duke!

Forming that legal defense fund to back up such hostile environmental harassment on campus is going to be a hard sell to donors... or the IRS, I would think.

Just thinking about the words one would need to use for selling a legal defense fund idea... is mind numbing.

Where is Shakespeare when you need him?

Posted by: Gary Packwood | April 11, 2007 03:43 PM

I am SO glad to FINALLY see these 3 young men exonerated. I fully expect and hope the lacrosse players and their families use the justice system and file civil lawsuits against any and all who perpetuated this lie for so long.

I cannot believe that a prosecutor, who is sworn to uphold the law "innocent until proven guilty" would stand keep a case going when he knows that the case is crumbling all around him.

I hope Mike Nifong is served justice by being disbarred.

Posted by: Debbie | April 11, 2007 03:47 PM

I always wondered why the Rev. Al Sharpton wasn't going on t.v. to defend this woman and ranting and raving over the alleged actions of the three young men. It was either because there was too much money at Duke University or because he knew this was just a witch hunt but was willing to let the boys "hang out there" just because of their color.

Posted by: Sarah | April 11, 2007 03:50 PM

This case and the reactions on the Duke campus and around the country was a MUCH more serious example of exploiting elements of racism by Nifong on one side and faculty , some students , Sharpton, Jackson et al than the Imus affair. While what he said was clearly stupid and degrading to the young women involved, it does not even begin to compare with what the three accused, and now exonerated, Duke students endured. There will be a special place in the annals of prosecutorial malfeasance for Mr Nifong.

Posted by: jmsbh | April 11, 2007 03:57 PM

Where is Jesse Jackson?

Where is Al Sharpton?

Will they be as quick to rush at the spotlight and issue statements regarding this case now that the three white lacrosse players have been declared innocent by the NC Attorney General? I rather suspect we will not hear from them until the next racially charged public incident occurs.

After all, they still have not publically acknowledged or apologized for their own racist comments in the past - specifically, Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" (describing New York) and Sharpton's slurs against white police officers during the Tawana Brawley case in New York city.

Posted by: Remember history | April 11, 2007 03:57 PM

I'm glad the truth is out. I'm glad these boys didn't rape someone. However, it is hard for me to pity them. This is a horrible experience for them, no doubt about it. But since they had strong attorneys helping them every step of the way, along with the support of a large percentage of the media and the public all along, the challenges they will face in, say, getting jobs and putting this whole ugly mess behind them are nowhere near as steep as someone without that kind of advantage. These boys are not rapists, but they're no angels either. They'll be all right in the end.

I just wonder what would've happened had these boys looked like Pacman Jones instead.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | April 11, 2007 03:59 PM

Let's stick to the facts here. One defendant had a prestigous job offer from a major Wall Street yanked from him. The other two had to put their acadamic career on hold and may never return to their chosen school and friends. Essentially all three LOST a year of their lives, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that they and their families face. Don't downplay their suffering by comparing their situation to that of others -- they paid a heavy price for nothing.

Posted by: Stick to the Facts.... | April 11, 2007 04:00 PM

Let's also not forget that these young men chose to put themselves in this position in the first place by participating in this party with hired strippers. No one could have forseen this set of terrible circumstances - but if they had not attended this over-the-top-party, they would not have had to endure this.

They are innocent of these charges, and have suffered disproportionately. But c'mon - they were participating in a VERY ill-advised activity. Let's hope they learn to keep themselves out of that position in the future.

Posted by: Hiring Strippers? That's not a "normal" party night! | April 11, 2007 04:09 PM

mr cohen has written a profoundly dishonest post; reread his original comments (that he links to) and you'll find his 'temerity' is less a profile in courage than a weasely defense of the prosecutor whose unethical behavior has made this travesty possible...

mr cohen should remember that he is an officer of the court as well as a 'blogger'...he should have the honor to highlight his own misanalysis before blithely attacking his 'beloved commenters'..

Posted by: michael schrage | April 11, 2007 04:11 PM

I believe that Pacman was only suspended for a season after his 10nth run in. These guys didn't even do anything any they had their lives ruined. Not sure what your trying to compare here. The only thing I get from your comments is that it's ok this happended to them because they were able to hire attorneys and happened to be white. Pretty sad comentary.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 04:11 PM

Although DA's are immune from civil actions for official actions - including malicious ones - they are not immune from Criminal Prosecution. If Nifong can be prosecuted for this he should be. Disbarment is a nice start. As far as the victims of this Twana Brawley Scam they are doubtless about to loose their lawyers against everyone who made or repeated the false accusations - and the school and everyone involved in the presentation of that rigged photo line up to the sex worker. That's a nice long list. It includes the City and County, the University as well as the individuals and faculty members who slandered the players.

Hopefully this escapade has them interested in Law School. They would be motivated students. And perhaps fine DA's themselves in the future.

Posted by: A Reader | April 11, 2007 04:13 PM

WHATEVER the advisability was of their hiring strippers, they did NOT deserve what they got. That logic is as bogus in this case as it is in the case of a woman who is 'blamed' for her own rape by her attire. Get real.

Posted by: Bob | April 11, 2007 04:17 PM

I agree to a point that they are 'lucky'. Lucky b/c they have had the means to hire lawyers (even if they'll have to sue NC & Nifong to pay them). However, it's precisely because of the nature of the coverage of this case that these victims (yes, victims) will be irrevocably scarred & therefore are less lucky than most run-of-the-mill falsely accused. Yes, there are others who are railroaded into false convictions. How many of them have their faces splashed across national news broadcasts and magazines? How many of them have been the target of rallies & marches by national figures? Nifong himself withdrew charges in another rape case a decade or so ago, after determining it was a case of misidentification. Where is that guy now? I sincerely doubt that Nancy Grace, Jesse Jackson, or anyone of their ilk could come up with a name or a face, without some intensive searching.

These young men have been railroaded by a corrupt sytem. How many poor and innocent defendants are behind bars because of Nifong?

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 04:21 PM

Money and race matter.

Posted by: rlk | April 11, 2007 04:23 PM

BamagirlinVA,

You completely miss the point of this case when you compare these boys to Pacman Jones in the way that you do. They actually do have something in common with him - suspension.

These boys already were suspended from their school - a private organization with every right to create and enforce their own set of rules - for a long period despite their innocence. Yet now, they have been declared innocent of all the charges they faced.

Pacman Jones has been suspended by the NFL - a private organization with every right to create and enforce its own set of rules - simply for being party to an incident that resulted in assaults and gunfire at a Las Vegas strip club that left one man paralyzed. There is no doubt that Jones was present and that members of his group were involved in this incident, and that one of his "entourage" fired the gunshots. The only question is the extent to which Jones is directly responsible for any criminal offenses.

But the NFL does not care anymore about the legal issues - they don't even want players getting arrested anymore, or in any way being involved in incidents such as these. Its not a racial thing, its a money thing - the NFL does not want players getting in trouble with the law because it might hurt the image of the league as a whole and affect business revenue.

Their rules, their punishment - their right.

Posted by: Bamagirl's Wrong | April 11, 2007 04:24 PM

To 'Hiring Stripper?' - my god. I am so sick of hearing people equating hiring strippers with rape. "Well, no, I didn't say they were equal, but what do you expect when you put yourself in that position?" It's a slippery slope down to "Well, look at what she was wearing, she was asking for it." People hire strippers every day. People drink underage every day. There is no way in hell you can say "Well, they're no angels, so this is just desserts." Do you _really_ think that the two can even come close to being equated? If so, that's really sad. Maybe we should give the death penalty to jaywalkers. No, they're no 'angels' or 'choir boys'. They are typical college students. To say anything else is to be in denial about it.

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 04:28 PM

Talk about your law of unintended consequences.

Combine beer soaked jocks with an unbalanced woman. The expectation was a night of "boys will be boys" fun for the former and a nice paycheck for the latter. Instead, look what we got!

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 04:28 PM

Race & money do matter. Certainly not saying it doesn't. However, it's unfortunate that there is a segment of the population who saw this case as one of way of 'sticking it to the man.' Because let's be real. That particular segment of the population is not in it for justice. They're in it for revenge.

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 04:32 PM

Pacman was framed, he's the vicitm! Those 10 arrests are all a setup. Pity this millionaire.

On the otherhand, those vile students had it coming. Everyone knows the consequence for hiring a stripper is rape accusations and being pursued by a malicous prosecutor. Wow were they stupid! I wonder how all those strip clubs and stripper services stay in business??

They obviously committed some sort of crime, even though no evidence can support that fact, but Pacman's 10 arrests can be overlooked, he is truly innocent. Its only because of the color of his skin that he has been arrested 10 times. Now he's being punished by not earning millions for one year. Woe is Pacman, I'm personally donating to the "Save Pacman" Fund.

Free Pacman Jones!

Posted by: Nappy headed white guy in MD | April 11, 2007 04:33 PM

Bob,

You write: "WHATEVER the advisability was of their hiring strippers, they did NOT deserve what they got. That logic is as bogus in this case as it is in the case of a woman who is 'blamed' for her own rape by her attire. Get real."

But you miss the point.

The point was: everyone should think carefully about what they do. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that attending a huge keg party with strippers, etc. might result in bad consequences.

Of course these boys did not deserve to be accused of rape! No one here has said otherwise. But c'mon - it was an ill advised party to begin with, and hopefully they will learn that in the future.

Its all about not putting yourself in a bad position in the first place, regardless of "justice." I am sure that if we asked these boys now if they would (knowing what they know now) still have attended that party, they would say no.

Posted by: Bob - read more carefully | April 11, 2007 04:33 PM

Do not forget that one of the accused left before the Strippers ever performed.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 04:33 PM

When Mr. Cohen calls these young men "lucky" he is comparing what happened to them with what happened to young black men who were falsly accused of raping white women from 30 or 40 years ago. With that as a yardstick, you're darn right they are lucky. Mountains of legal fees and lost job offers are very high prices to pay, but at least they are able to walk away from it all.

I agree with the earlier post that they showed a serious lack of judgment by attending the party, but stupitidy and boorishness isn't against the law. My sympathies are with them, as they are with all who are falsely accused.

Posted by: Stan | April 11, 2007 04:34 PM

But, everybody got what they deserved in the end.

The boys will no longer run around like they are anointed. They will think better of the next "boys will be boys" function they attend.

The prosecutor will never prosecute a case again.

The women involved will fade into the crowd. Hopefully she/they will find a better way to make ends meet.

Posted by: No surprise. | April 11, 2007 04:41 PM

I'm glad for all concerned this case is over. The whole thing was a stinkbomb from the get-go. Nifong should be disbarred and he should be sued in civil court. This level of abuse of prosecutorial powers directly undermines any serious notion of justice, and can result in the legal system becoming little more than a blunt instrument wielded by a mob mentality to arbitrarily inflict injustice on citizens. And I say this as a caucasian guy who generally loathes rich white preppy college pukes. I never considered the lax players to be the good guys in all this. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm deeply offended that this kind of complete railroad could happen to anyone, and I fear who it'll be next. With baiters on both the right and left enjoying seemingly ever greater influence, the prospects for a repeat of this travesty are not only good, but virtually certain sooner or later.

Posted by: vajent | April 11, 2007 04:44 PM

Liz,

The only one here equating hiring strippers with rape is you, in your comment.

Everyone else is discussing issues of race, money, and overall judgement - of the boys, of the prosecutor, of the accuser. And these are the issues important in this case.

Right? Or am I missing something?

Posted by: Liz - Get A Grip | April 11, 2007 04:45 PM

No surprise: good post. I would like to hope that the accuser will complete her education at North Carolina Central Univ. and use that education to, as you say, find a better way to make ends meet.

She just has some "issues" to work out.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 04:46 PM

Stan: I agree 100 percent.

For anyone who doubts that these guys were -- relatively speaking -- lucky, read up on the case of the Scottsboro Boys.

And relatively speaking, THOSE guys were lucky too! They didn't get castrated, lynched, burned alive, etc.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 04:48 PM

Stan said
"I agree with the earlier post that they showed a serious lack of judgment by attending the party, but stupitidy and boorishness isn't against the law."

Couldn't this apply to the accuser/liar who was the one getting naked at the party. Stripping at a house full of young drunk men (of any color/creed) can lead to unfortunate circumstances. Especially when you have a history of mental/emotional distress.

Posted by: Nappy Headed White Guy | April 11, 2007 04:49 PM

To 'Bob - read more carefully' - I think it is _you_ who are missing the point. This is their comeuppance for going to a party with strippers?? I'm all for let the punishment fit the crime, but hey, maybe it's just me, but this seems a little out of proportion. I guess next time I have a few too many & go get myself raped I'll be able to tell myself 'Well, you certainly learned your lesson from that one!' Thanks for the enlightenment.

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 04:51 PM

And to 'no surprise' - hopefully the woman will _not_ fade into the crowd. She needs help, and for her sake (and any other men who happen to cross her path) she'll get it. The last thing she needs is to 'fade into the crowd'. And please tell me how in the world you can say 'everyone got what they deserved . . . they will no longer run around like they are anointed.' Have you have had close personal contact with them? Might this opinion of yours, perchance be based solely on the fact that they go to Duke? Because a lot of people seem to assume things like that.

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 04:55 PM

Liz,

No one said anything about these boys deserving to get accused of rape for going to a party with strippers. Likewise, NO ONE said that you going to a party, drinking, and getting raped would be a good lesson.

The discussion is about judgement, that's all. It was dumb for them to go to that party in the first place - but they certainly did not "deserve" those consequences.

Posted by: Liz - Get A Grip | April 11, 2007 04:59 PM

Sorry if I was unclear. I am certainly not equating hiring a stripper & rape. I was saying that equating hiring a stripper and being accused of rape is falacious to the nth degree. Anyone who says 'hey, they got what they deserved, because they hired strippers' is equating the two. Which I, personally belive, to be patently absurd. It would be laughable if it weren't so abominable. Wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 05:00 PM

So now a total of ONE corrupt prosecutor has been stopped. But there are hundreds of these across the country. Prince George's County is infamous for prosecutors jailing people whom they KNOW to be innocent due to hard evidence that they hide, and then get a conviction based on flimsy evidence that points to guilt.

Or the converse, such as Fairfax County's Horan who is equally infamous for NOT prosectuting Fairfax police even when they shoot and kill innocent, unarmed citizens.

Bottom line is that there is little to celebrate in this story because Michael Nifong is a tiny tip of a huge iceberg. At least the sunshine of Truth melted away this one guy's ability to do more harm.

There are SO MANY MORE!

Posted by: Ron | April 11, 2007 05:00 PM

Reread Ruth Marcus, Reasonable Doubt at Duke, June 28, 2006. She got it totally correct. Any fair, competent DA would have never charged anyone. The witness lacks credibility. The identification was unreliable, and was so biased by only including Duke players it would have been thrown out. Five different alibis for one of those identified should have prevented him from being charged, and would have discredited the identification of the other two had it gone to trial. The DNA of other people is classic proof of "Actual Innocence" - see Kurt Bloodsworth. If someone else is guilty, or at least responsible for the only evidence that ever had any credibility - the supposed sexual trauma - then obviously the Duke players were not guilty. Having said that, the reported refusal of the entire team to cooperate missed a chance to immediately refute the charges. Most important, while it cannot be proved that they were rapists or assaulters, it cannot be doubted that the Duke players were drunken, racist louts. They had been out of control many times without correction by their coach. They brought discredit to their school and frankly to all of us, just like Imus did. Duke does not owe them anything, and personally, I would never have let any of the people at that party back on the team ever (with the possible exception of the guy who left early and who ironically wound up being one of the ones indicted).

Posted by: Steve | April 11, 2007 05:00 PM

Liz: Whatever you or me or anyone thinks of the three guys, it's quite clear that the Duke lacrosse team was well known for its generally boorish behavior.

I suspect that has changed.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 05:01 PM

Just read the 2nd to last comment. And I strongly disagree with you. There are _plenty_ of people who are saying they got what they deserved, i.e. equating rape accusations with the hiring of strippers.

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 05:02 PM

I don't think I understand your point, Loudounian. Nobody has said they were 'angels' or 'choir boys'. Are you saying they have received their comeuppance now?

Posted by: Liz | April 11, 2007 05:04 PM

D.A. Nifong certainly wasn't alone. There had to have been colleagues who compromised themselves too.

Fortunately, these young men had access to resources for a sound defense. The legal system ultimately seems to have worked this time, but only barely. The students gave the impression today that they are humbled souls, in the good sense.

One trembles for the 99% of citizens who must cower without any power whenever they face the almighty force of a government prosecutor. For those never directly threatened, many conscientious adults get a rare sidelong glance at this not-uncommon indecency through jury participation. The case is a perfect bookend to the obvious carelessness, dare one say lawlessness, in the federal prosecution system as well.

Someone please explain to me again, exactly why is it that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any developed country. We could do a lot worse than legislating a fixed cap on the percentage of the population we place in prison.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 11, 2007 05:06 PM

,so, really, if she is an actual, proven "ho" as evidenced by the fact that she had the DNA of countless men other than that of the Duke boys in her underwear at the time she was tested...can we use the word? or is it true that only rappers can use the word?

Posted by: mm | April 11, 2007 05:10 PM

Liz,

Louden is just saying that he/she doesn't like boorish behavior and therefore doesn't care what happened to those who belonged to a *boorish* team of men. Apparently, if one is accused of being boorish by association then to heck with them.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 05:12 PM

Liz,

I think I can see where you are coming from: all these players did was go to a party, and look what happened to them. Unfair. I agree - I think we all do.

However, some here have questioned the players' judgement for attending the party in the first place, as it put them in a bad position regardless of "fairness." Again: no one here (on this blog comment section) has said that these players "got what they deserved." Some have only questioned the judgement of the players - members of one of the country's elite lax teams, with a lot to lose - for putting themselves in that position to start with.

Its not about fairness - its about better judgement. That's all.

Posted by: Liz - What? | April 11, 2007 05:15 PM

Uh, hiring strippers is legal. And it doesn't come with the assumption that one is crazy and will charge you with rape. So the whole *maybe they didn't do it but they hired strippers so they deserve it* rationale is pretty weak.

Posted by: Hillman | April 11, 2007 05:17 PM

I blame this all on gay marriage. Or maybe it's gay penguins. In any event, it's gay something.

Posted by: Hillman | April 11, 2007 05:22 PM

Chris: um no, I'm not saying that at all. and really, for you to get that from my post is quite laughable. No one -- even boors -- deserves to be falsely accused of heinous conduct.

Someone posted a comment about people walking around like they were anointed. And face facts, that's exactly how members of organizations like the Duke lacrosse team, or Skull and Bones at Yale, etc. act. Don't play Mickey the Dunce and deny it. Surely you've seen the movie Trading Places? Even for the anointed, if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, it can be a quick fall from the penthouse to the s**thouse.

These three saps just happened to be the ones "lucky" enough to play Lewis Winthorpe role in this case.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 05:23 PM

OK, people, calm down. I didn't say it was okay. Here's what I said.

1. False accusations are awful.
2. This should never have happened to these guys.
3. However, their suffering is not as severe as it could have been had they not had the support of a good legal team, a large section of the media, and a large section of the public.

Are you saying that money and privilege are meaningless? If that is your feeling, study the case of O.J. Simpson and come back and tell me how you feel.

I should've known that people would latch on to the use of Pacman Jones as an example and extrapolate things I didn't say from there. All I'm saying is, race, money and privilege had a profound effect on all aspects of this nasty situation. It's a 100% fair point. Nothing is as simple as some of you seem to wish it to be.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | April 11, 2007 05:24 PM

I've based living my life from *Animal House.* Have I been living a lie all this time?

Posted by: Homer S | April 11, 2007 05:25 PM

Having been falsely accused and tried by the press myself, I would argue that the young men aren't "lucky". I also spent no time in jail, hired a good lawyer, and was victorious in court, but I certainly wasn't lucky. I was innocent and falsely accused. Even though found not guilty, the press STILL made it sound like I was the liar, but the judge believed me.

No, not "lucky." Try again.

Posted by: Dave | April 11, 2007 05:26 PM

To the author: Who are you to say what misery pales in comparison to another's misery? I am sure you are extremely disappointed at the result of all this after a year. The outcome just did not fit your liberal playbook. Keep looking though and maybe you'll get lucky and find another similar story with the opposite outcome that will fit very nicely with all of your prejudices so you can rub it in everyones face.

Posted by: fastaire | April 11, 2007 05:27 PM

To all of you saying these guys were boorish and uppity..... what do you base that on? Did you know each one of them personally? Or is this perhaps a stereotype you are perpetuating? It may be totally true. But I just don't see how posters on a WP blog would be privy to such detailed information on kids at Duke, a university not even in the Washington area.

Posted by: Hillman | April 11, 2007 05:30 PM

Louden,

Making a sweeping generalization about someone based on what group they belong to IS playing Mickey and Dunce. If you don't know them personally then you have no business calling them boors or anything else. Many things stem from that type of outlook...

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 05:32 PM

If these boys had just done the right thing, turned gay and dated each other rather than hiring out for their entertainment, wouldn't we all be happier right now?

Posted by: Hillman | April 11, 2007 05:37 PM

Hillman and Chris: you clearly did some selective reading when this story broke last year. You really think you have to know someone personally to consider them boors? You think nonboors would pay some woman good money to have her come over to their house to watch her play with sex toys and cheer her on? LOL

Guess I can't call George Bush an idiot, or John Wayne Gacy a sick freak, eh? I've never had the pleasure of meeting either gentleman.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 05:39 PM

Yes, I do think you have to know someone personally before you characterize their personal habits using general terms like boorish or elitist. As for people hiring strippers, it happens every day. It doesn't make the people at such parties boors, elitist, or anything else. It's simple entertainment. It doesn't make you a bad person. In fact, I'm sure not every person at the party or in the accused list had anything to do with hiring the strippers.

Posted by: Hillman | April 11, 2007 05:42 PM

No Louden, you said anyone who belongs to those *groups* are boors. Any you listed a couple. Those are your words not mine. It's that type of mind set that justifies racial profiling let alone any other type of bigoted thinking.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 05:43 PM

i believe 'Steve's" comment about the Duke team members being drunken, racists louts is patently defamatory. I urge Washington Post to remove that post from the site. These comments will be acted upon I can guarantee you.

Posted by: JH | April 11, 2007 05:45 PM

Chris: um no, you lie again. What I said exactly was "it's quite clear that the Duke lacrosse team was well known for its generally boorish behavior."

That's a far cry from my saying they are all boors. That's me repeating what was reported in the news media. Don't put words in my mouth.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 05:51 PM

"Sharpton claimed these ''rich white boys'' attacked a ''black girl'' and if there weren't arrests immediately there would be no peace. The entire black community of Durham had been whipped into a frenzy."

"The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition would pay the college tuition of a black woman who alleges white members of the Duke University lacrosse team raped her."


Where are these so called men of GOD who whip up racial division among local communities with inflammatory remarks even before the justice system speaks? Does anyone believe these two charlatans of GOD will ever apologize for their prejudical and hateful behavior during this period of time?

If you want to see racism stop in America we must hold people responsible for irresponsible speech and behavior. Quit giving air and media time to the so called Reverend's Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and perhaps some real discrimination would stop.

Today the justice system prevailed and thank goodness it did.

Posted by: Curtis | April 11, 2007 05:57 PM

Louden,

These are your words, *And face facts, that's exactly how members of organizations like the Duke lacrosse team, or Skull and Bones at Yale, etc. act.*

That's you saying that they are all boors. Read your own posts.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 05:59 PM

Being from Duke, I never believed it to be true. But, these boys can never go back. The other side of the tracks still look to get revenge against them. The lacross program has been severly humilitated and damaged. The university severely over-reacted and I hope they have to pay, in one way or the other, hopefully with high level heads rolling.

One is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, they were kicked off the team, out of the university, and dragged through the mud. They have already been convicted and penalized before even getting to trial.

I hope everyone can see this for what it is, a blatant case of reverse discrimination worse than just calling a person the "N>>>" word or calling a group of basketball players "hoes". These kids where tormented for a year because they were rich and white and the accuser thought she could make a quick buck using racism and class as her weapon.

I think it is time for all those who are quick to call out racism, to put their nose in a book, learn something, get off the sofa, and prove yourself in the workplace. Corporations are too concerned about $$$ to be racist. No excuse. Just another looking for a quick $.

Posted by: Being from Duke | April 11, 2007 06:03 PM

sorry chris, you lie again. The sentence preceding the one you quoted said they act like they were anointed, not that they act like boors.

since when does acting like you're anointed equal acting like boors? I suspect that's news to a lot of people. Lewis Winthorpe acted like he was anointed, not like a boor. There's just a small bit of difference, don't you think?

You really should stop trying to find a straw man argument in my posts.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:08 PM

hillman: ask Liz if she thinks hiring a woman to masturbate with a dildo in front of a couple dozen guys is "simple entertainment."

The problem here is the use of the word "stripper." There is really a big gap between what most people think of as stripping -- which I would agree is pretty harmless, although of course radical feminists would disagree -- and what these women were hired to do.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:11 PM

You are making a sweeping generalization of a group of people Louden. It doesn't matter if you call them; boors, acting like they're annointed, whatever. What part of sweeping generalization do you not understand? Stop your back peddling.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 06:12 PM

Over sixty years ago former Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson made the following comments to a group of U.S. Attorneys. It is truly too bad DA Nyfong never got the message:

"The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated, and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations. Or, the prosecutor may choose a more subtle course and simply have a citizen's friends interviewed. The prosecutor can order arrests, present cases to the grand jury in secret session, and on the basis of his one-sided presentations of the facts, can cause the citizen to be indicted and held for trial. He may dismiss the case before trial, in which case the defense never has a chance to be heard. Or he may go on with a public trial. If he obtains a conviction, the prosecutor can still make recommendations as to sentence, as to whether the prisoner should get probation or a suspended sentence, and after he is put away, as to whether he is a fit subject for parole. While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst."

Posted by: | April 11, 2007 06:15 PM

The really sad thing is that this is never going to go away and even completely uninvolved students are going to forever be tainted by this. I was at the Hopkins-Duke lacrosse game at Hopkins this past weekend. Duke was up by 3 and, in response, the very tasteless Hopkins fans began chanting "no means no" to rattle the Duke players. It didn't matter to them that the there were boys on the team who weren't even Duke students when this happened or that the other players were innocent or that the accused might be innocent. They were trivializing this and turning into a jeer to be used against a winning team. It was really pretty disgusting, (for lack of a better word).

Posted by: Anon | April 11, 2007 06:17 PM

LOL chris, you are a pathetic. So i generalized. BFD. get over it. I also caught you in lies.

So I'm a generalizer and you're a liar. I can live with that.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:17 PM

Um Anon, based on the things the Cameron Crazies have been known to chant at opposing players to rattle them, your post is pretty freaking funny.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:19 PM

There seems to be a lot of confusion here. These guys were not "found innocent." The prosecutor determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. There's a huge difference.

And what's with the "kids" description? These guys are plenty old enough to go to war and, as in Finnerty's case just last year, be prosecuted as adults for assault. Calling them "kids" seems to be an attempt to excuse their shameful behavior. There's no excuse for them and they don't belong on any college campus.

One thing this incident certainly demonstrated is that the Duke lacrosse players, and their supporters - many of whom have posted here - are arrogant, ignorant, racist louts. Whoop it up guys; it's time to celebrate. Maybe you can go out and beat up some minorities somewhere. Be sure to bring Finnerty.

Posted by: Paul | April 11, 2007 06:24 PM

Louden,

What lies have I been spreading? You're the one whose been saying you didn't write something when you did. That's lying. I'm merely calling you out on being a bigot. And you are. Taking up logic puzzles may be of benefit to you.

Posted by: Chris | April 11, 2007 06:28 PM

um no, chris, everytime you claim that i posted something, I have proven that I in fact didn't not post what you claim.

Your "translating" what i posted into what you want to argue with indeed makes you a liar.

and ooh, i'm a "bigot" because I said that duke lacrosse players act like they're anointed. LOL you are toooo funny. bigoted. bwahahahah.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:31 PM

Paul: good post. let's also not forget that the partygoers were expecting to watch white girls masturbate with dildos and were quite upset when black girls with dildos showed up.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:33 PM

Paul,

"There seems to be a lot of confusion here. These guys were not "found innocent." The prosecutor determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. There's a huge difference."

What are you smoking Paul? The AG said "innocent". Look it up. Find the transcript. You are showing your ignorance.


Posted by: Scott | April 11, 2007 06:33 PM

Posted by: Scott | April 11, 2007 06:36 PM

Paul said:
"These guys were not "found innocent." The prosecutor determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute."

Paul, you are wrong. You must have missed this part of what Mr. Cooper said:

"Based on the significant inconsistencies between the evidence and the various accounts given by the accusing witness, we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges."

Posted by: Rudy | April 11, 2007 06:40 PM

ok, Paul was technically right. No one was "found" innocent, since there was no trial. The AG said that based on their investigation, they believe the guys are innocent.

so let's move on from this hair-splitting.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:45 PM

Loudounian, I know that fans say ridiculous things to each other all the time. My point was more that they were trivializing this event by using it to try and throw the other (winning) team off their game. That is, in my mind, very disrespectful, not only to the players, but to everyone involved in the whole mess.

Posted by: Anon | April 11, 2007 06:47 PM

"ok, Paul was technically right. No one was "found" innocent, since there was no trial. The AG said that based on their investigation, they believe the guys are innocent.

so let's move on from this hair-splitting"


Sorry, there is a huge difference. Innocent and not being able to proceed with the case are entirely different. Ask a lawyer. Ask a judge. This is not splitting hairs - rather apples and oranges.

Posted by: Scott | April 11, 2007 06:49 PM

Anon: As a Hopkins grad, I'm more disappointed in the three-game losing streak than the cheap taunts!

I hear what you're saying. But sadly, this is the latest trend in sports. You'd be amazed what fans at some schools taunt opposing teams with. These kids do research to find the weak spots about specific players, never mind general stuff like this.

And I'm sure Dukies have heard a lot worse from their ACC rivals since this story broke last year.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:51 PM

Scott: but you still miss the point, which was merely that Paul was technically right.

The AG can stand on the mountaintop and proclaim "These guys are innocent!" but that's still not a "finding" of innocence, which is made only by a judge or jury, who ever is the trier of fact in a case.

On the other hand, it's still an unusually strong statement from the AG -- which was probably required by the unusual circumstances -- and the three players and their families should take some strong comfort in that.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 06:56 PM

Loudounian is an idiot.

Posted by: tom | April 11, 2007 06:56 PM

LOL tom did i use too many big words and long sentences for you?

"duhhhhhhhhhh hi, i'm tom. duhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 07:04 PM

Loudounian,

Maybe some, inluding you, didn't quite understand what Mr. Cooper the AG said today. Mr. Cooper did NOT say that the special prosecutors found insufficient evidence to prove the charged crimes beyond reasonable doubt. Instead, Mr. Cooper said that the three defendants are INNOCENT. Mr. Cooper said that the SP's found no credible evidence of any crimes. That means, that there was NO PROBABLE CAUSE to indict the three defendants (or anyone else) for Crystal Mangum's fantasy gang-rape in the first place. The standard for probable cause (a reasonable suspicion) is far, far lower than the standard for conviction at trial (proof beyond a reasonable doubt).


I couldn't have summed up the difference better than this. Borrowed some of this from a DIW poster.

Posted by: Scott | April 11, 2007 07:09 PM

Loudounian,

It wasn't your use of big words or long sentences - on the contrary - your writing style is deplorable, and the absence of logic in many of your arguments makes it very difficult to even read your posts. I feel awful for the other readers who have to suffer by reading your ridicously uneducated rants. Lastly, I just want to wish you well on your journey to finding some semblance of talent. It must be there somewhere, but most likely, it's buried too deep for you to find it.

Posted by: tom | April 11, 2007 07:15 PM

Scott: I read the document you provided links too. And did you not read my last post? I said the AG made an unusually strong statement in this case, dictated by the unusual circumstances.

I agree with everything you say, but let me repeat. Paul was TECHNICALLY correct. The AG cannot "find" anyone innocent, any more than he can "find" someone guilty. Are we in agreement on that? I think you understand what I'm saying, but perhaps not.

Of course the real villain here is the idiot Nifong. This case should have been dropped months ago.

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 07:21 PM

Tom, your post was so good I feel the need to quote it in its entirety:

"

Loudounian,

It wasn't your use of big words or long sentences - on the contrary - your writing style is deplorable, and the absence of logic in many of your arguments makes it very difficult to even read your posts. I feel awful for the other readers who have to suffer by reading your ridicously uneducated rants. Lastly, I just want to wish you well on your journey to finding some semblance of talent. It must be there somewhere, but most likely, it's buried too deep for you to find it."

Bravo! Way to go, sport!

Posted by: Loudounian | April 11, 2007 07:23 PM

Loudounian,

What this strong statement does is opens the floodgates for further litigation. Had they come out differently and less forcefully in dismissal, it might have protected Nifong to some degree.

Also, because of the strong statement it should be noted that Mr. Cooper might have secured a real opportunity to get the position he wants - governor. It is a rare site to see an Attorney General use the word "innocent" and use the language he did.

Anyway, we are arguing semantics and you may not understand the judicial process, or what Paul was trying to allude. I will repost Paul's idiotic statements here:

------------------------------------

"There seems to be a lot of confusion here. These guys were not "found innocent." The prosecutor determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. There's a huge difference.

And what's with the "kids" description? These guys are plenty old enough to go to war and, as in Finnerty's case just last year, be prosecuted as adults for assault. Calling them "kids" seems to be an attempt to excuse their shameful behavior. There's no excuse for them and they don't belong on any college campus.

One thing this incident certainly demonstrated is that the Duke lacrosse players, and their supporters - many of whom have posted here - are arrogant, ignorant, racist louts. Whoop it up guys; it's time to celebrate. Maybe you can go out and beat up some minorities somewhere. Be sure to bring Finnerty."
-----------------------------------

He is clearly trying to assert that they were not found innocent. They were found innocent in so much that the word was used, which in turn says they should have never been indicted. I cannot state just how important that the word "innocent" was used.

Posted by: Scott | April 11, 2007 07:34 PM

Liz,

You're portentious moralizing about strippers and bad judgment is almost a parody. Would you be quite so high on your horse if we were talking about a group of women at a bachelorette party?

Get real. Why is it such "bad judgment" to attend a party with a stripper? I can certainly see why you might find it distasteful and I'm hard pressed to understand why anyone would find it erotic, but all of that is neither here nor there. There's nothing illegal -- or even particularly immoral, really -- about hiring a stripper for a party.

Posted by: Anon101 | April 11, 2007 07:56 PM

Where are the appologies of the lynch mob who went on TV and declared these students guilty and demanded their heads??? Where is the media who publicized this discrace? Why do we not demand the public humiliations of the hatemongers who tried to destroy these young men. This is certainly more destructive than what Mr. Imus did.

Posted by: Alan | April 11, 2007 08:00 PM

These students certainly did not deserve to be falsely accused of rape, but I also have a hard time coming up with a lot of sympathy for them.

If this woman is such a horrible liar and criminal (which it appears she is), why did they invite her into their home? Shouldn't they have stayed away from fraternizing with a criminal element? It's like if you got shot during a drug deal gone bad - did you deserve to get shot? No. But did you invite the consequences that occurred as a result of engaging in the activity? Yes. If you play with fire, you can sometimes get burned.

I also have a hard time figuring out whether these students are "boys" or "men." We are told that they played for the "Men's Lacrosse" team at Duke. But then their parents were weeping on 60 Minutes about how these are just "boys." Which is it? I am having a hard time figuring it out.

The whole "boys will be boys" attitude used by so many to excuse lewd and boorish behavior does have disastrous consequences. Real men make a conscious decision to respect all women - not just their sisters and mothers. Fortunately, these "boys" had wealthy parents to bail them out with a real legal defense. How many poor people are languishing in prison due to false arrest and prosecution? Where is the legal defense and sympathy for those people?

And if these "boys" were such angels, why was one of them convicted of assault in another jurisdiction for a crime unrelated to this case?

The whole thing is just an embarrassment. I have no sympathy for any of the people involved. None.

Posted by: Jan | April 11, 2007 08:19 PM

Knowing the antics of Lacrosse teams... I remain unsympathetic to these boys.

Objectifying women at drunken chaotic parties will sometimes lead to bad consequences. Not rocket science.

To be honest, I'm surprised we don't hear about cases like this more often.

These boys will get a great book deal, and receive high fives from their seedy mates. Enjoy it fellas.

Posted by: Tony | April 11, 2007 08:26 PM

They could afford big bucks lawyers & their parents paid the bill. I'm sorry, I still see these guys as total jerks. Maybe worse.

Posted by: dasm | April 11, 2007 09:03 PM

where is the outrage from the black community against the women who accused these guys? by making these false accusations, she has done more damage to race relations in the durham area than old fart don imus can by making stupid statements on the radio. god forbid a woman (black or otherwise) actually is a victim of such a crime. no doubt she'll be looked at with skeptisism because of what this accuser has done. she's the one who should be prosecuted and made to be held accountable for her crime. if for no other reason than to prevent others from doing the same thing for publicity or money.

and jan, when guys hire strippers, they aren't doing background checks and calling references. i'm not an expert but i've been to a few events like this. many of the women could be of questionable moral character, but others could just be college girls looking to make some extra cash.

Posted by: Where is the accuser | April 11, 2007 09:08 PM

This is great for the Duke 3, I see the system worked for them too. I wonder if white people look at me diffrent now since they see how the our system works.

Posted by: OJ | April 11, 2007 09:14 PM

So what if these guys could afford big bucks lawyers? So they shouldn't benefit from the law because they had attorneys? Do you KNOW that their parents paid for these attorney's themselves? Perhaps they had to borrow money to pay for these attorneys? Do you KNOW what their parents do for a living? Should these college kids be made to pay for their own attorneys? Is there something WRONG with being able to afford an attorney? Is there something wrong with having money in this country? If these kids were poor or middle class we may never have even heard of this case in the first place. Its only because they are being perceived as being priveledged that this case even made the news. By the way, I think even a court appointed attorney could have won this case.

HAVING MONEY IS NOT A CRIME IN AMERICA.

Posted by: Big Bucks Lawyers | April 11, 2007 09:16 PM

This story is emblematic of the broken justice system. There are some crimes, rape/sexual assualt at the high end and DWI at the lower end, where you are clearly guilty until proven innocent. If you do not believe this, then count yourself lucky to have not been arrested for either one. I had the bad luck of being stopped in DC and charged with DWI based on bogus test results. The DA not only will not agree to a lesser charge, but insists I go to jail for 10 days. Yes, this is the same DC where murderers and armed robbers routinely walk with no jail time at all. Thankfully, I have the money and intellectual capacity to spend 10K on a full-blown trial to prove my innocence. Most are not so lucky.

Had these Duke guys been regular Joes with the usual crappy lawyers, they would have cut a deal with the crooked DA and would be doing serious jail time.

Posted by: railroaded | April 11, 2007 09:26 PM

College students are at the in between time of child/adult; sometimes young adults act like adults, other times they are immature; That is the danger of every young adult- which includes these players and the young women they hired- no one was a winner in the incident;
Thinking persons at Duke have been pondering for sometime the student culture at this private school whose motto is: religion and education;
The insightful Will Willimon who was Dean of the Chapel until a few years ago reflected on the hard drinking and casual sex at Duke long before this incident happened. I am no prude, but I do expect a university that prides itself on how "selective" its student body happens to be, takes a good look at what kinds of values it wants in future students- something more than high SAT scores, an ability to pay high tuition bills, and good sports ability should be required;
An off campus beer party with strippers for underage atheletes is not the image I want persons to have of a university which gave me a great education and shaped my moral conscience in a positive light.

Duke University M.Div. 1982

Posted by: tim | April 11, 2007 09:28 PM

Interesting how many feminists and lefties, once the rape charge evaporated, gravitated to condemning the act of hiring strippers.

Please.

The lefties, and some of the feminists, in San Francisco like to call these women "sex workers", whose employment is entitled to grudging respect and government oversight and even government protection.

But it's not just the Left Coast; even Prof. Davidson at Duke initially tried to spin the story as a poor African-American woman working hard (by stripping) to earn a degree and put food on her kids' table. Why, she's just another workin' girl, who works hard for the money--so you betta treat her right.

Now, if these women are "sex workers", "empowered" women who "control their own bodies", who perform a service for a clientele, then why is the clientele criticized for engaging them?

Reminds me of the old feminist broadside against the sexual double standard, circa 1971: "if it's OK for men to seek out sex, but not for women, then who will the men have sex with? How ludicrous that double standard is!"

If it's OK, and empowering, for women to take their clothes off for men to make very good money (out of all proportion to their income potential in the non-stripping real world), then what conceivably is the problem with men hiring those women to take their clothes off for very good money? Are we, perchance, getting a little moralistic, but only with respect to one side of the transaction?

Let's make this clear. There was nothing-NOTHING-wrong with the players hiring a stripper for the night. Or in consuming beer. Were this a group of drunken females who were gawking at Chippendales, the lefties and the feminists would be proudly noting their boldness.

The lacrosse players' judgment, in permitting a black stripper to enter the house under the circumstances is suspect, but that's a separate issue. One might say that in entering such a house, Precious also showed very poor judgment.

Funny again how the lefties try to have it both ways. The lacrosse players--according to the estimable ThugNiggaIntellectual Prof. Neal at Duke (whose professed aim is "intellectually to choke the living s___t out of [his students]")--attacked this woman because they desperately wanted to consume her blackness. But when it became clear that they had specifically asked for a white dancer, they were painted as racist.

Posted by: plaw04 | April 11, 2007 10:09 PM

You're bringing up Pac Man Jones? Please. If he couldn't play football, he'd already be in jail for 20 to life. He's a thug, and aside from idiots on this forum, I haven't heard anyone defend this thug. Not only should he be banned from football, but he should be moved to some place on this earth where it's okay to have run-ins with the law every month or so.

I just want to know what you call a woman who goes to parties and is paid to strip. The media called her a "dancer". I wonder if she does ballet or something more modern? I wonder what school she studied dance at?

Anyway, to all of you women out there... what would you call a women who has DNA from several men in her clothes and in...her? I don't think the term is "dancer", but then, what do I know.

What do you call a prosecutor who will do anything just to get re-elected? I think the word "ho" might be appropriate, but I'd hate to have Al "Tawana" Sharpton come down on me for using that term. Nor would I want Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson to criticize me.

Life was much simpler when you could speak the truth without being "insensitive". I mean, admit it. It's crazy when you look to Don Imus for any insight at all, but it's even crazier to run to Al "Brawley" Sharpton for absolution when you say something "insensitive".

I do believe the world is crazy.

Posted by: Phil | April 11, 2007 10:29 PM

There is nothing illegal about hiring strippers for a party -- and it isn't really "bad judgment" to attend such a party. It's a personal choice, and in evaluating whether or not to attend, one of the criterion surely should not be "Hmmm ... the stripper may accuse me of rape". That's just an outrageous perspective, and a craven attempt to further persecute three young men who have done nothing illegal, regardless of your own prudish peccadilloes.

As a Duke alum, I'm completely ashamed of how the University handled this case. Absolute populist rushing to judgment and completely undermining the idea of presumed innocence. The administration has egg on its face, and it's a complete embarrasment. Duke won't be seeing much alumni contributions from me for quite some time -- poor show, folks.

Duke Law '92

Posted by: Brendan | April 11, 2007 10:31 PM

I'm happy that Nifong is being held accountable for the witchhunt that he held. Now when is Mark Everson of the IRS going to be held accountable for his witch hunt?

"The IRS has frozen refunds for hundreds of thousands of low-income taxpayers without telling them they're being investigated for tax fraud or giving them a chance to defend themselves, the IRS taxpayer advocate said Tuesday.
In a blistering report to Congress, Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said complaints about unpaid tax refunds have soared more than 400% since 2002. Sixty-six percent of those who complained were entitled to a full refund, an investigation by her office found. An additional 14% were determined to be eligible for a partial refund, Olson says.

The issue raises "serious questions" about the protection of taxpayer rights and might constitute a violation of due process of law, Olson charged in her report."

Posted by: McLean | April 11, 2007 10:36 PM

My guess is Nifong was/is a born-again crusader or southern Baptist fundamentalist type out to make an example of those evil white university liberal types. Am I way off? Anyone?

Posted by: WrongNifong | April 11, 2007 10:46 PM

I am puzzled by those who seem to be saying that the hell the three indicted Duke lacrosse team members have had to endure this past year is somehow warrated because they attended a stag party which featured a stripper.

Any culutral anthroplogist who has studied male bonding practices knows that stag parties featuring female "entertainers" have been around since the dawn of history. They are "guys night out." They allows male participants to laugh, joke, make fools of themselve, forget about life's stresses and, in the process, bond with each other. The female "entertainers" (or strippers, if you like) are not really that important.

Posted by: Doug | April 11, 2007 11:32 PM

Doug is right - let the guys have their fun, beginning with his mother and any sisters or other female relatives of his. After all, it's just harmless, ain't it?

Everyone is all for strippers unless it's one of their family members that's doing the stripping. If it's so harmless, why don't you encourage your female family members to join in the fun as strippers? It could all be consensual, and they would be doing these guys a great favor by allowing them to have their bonding experience! Nothing wrong with that at all! Come on, don't be such a prude!

Posted by: Jim | April 12, 2007 12:48 AM

What anyone else suffers is immaterial to these young men. They were victims. Let's see you get charged with rape, lose your career, get your name dragged through the mud, spent inordinate amount of money & stress and see how YOU feel. It is not these boys fault that the system fails other young black men. To act like they should feel lucky is utterly absurd!
And why the "Whether or not you agree that the students are "truly innocent" the fact is that there really was no there there in the sexual assault case against the young men." Why the quotes around truly innocent??? You illustrate the point---you can't unscramble an egg. These poor kids will always have some taint due to this reckless prosecution. And to act like their families are rich, so what's the harm---are you insane or merely insensitive? I am willing to bet that it was a HUGE sacrifice for those parents to be sending their kids to Duke. And, BTW, Duke failed them too.

Posted by: MJ | April 12, 2007 01:42 AM

Jim: I don't ask my sisters to become strippers for the same reason I don't ask my brothers to become Jim. It would be beneath their capabilities.

Posted by: John | April 12, 2007 02:31 AM

20-year old men/boys, poor judgement, not considering potential consequences. Pretty much a given, isn't it?

Parents--your sons are all doing similar things, no matter how angelic they are in your presence.

I was 20 once--I was a lot luckier than the Duke players, or even Pacman Jones. I didn't get caught after any of my foolish escapades--and I was a comparatively bookish nerd!

Posted by: Bill | April 12, 2007 08:50 AM

First, you failed to mention the reactionary behavior of the Duke faculty and administraion who presumed the guilt of the accused. Why is the stripper described as mental? Seems to me she ran a pretty good scam, that takes smarts. Also, can we now publish the name of the stripper? She is no longer a valid rape or assualt victim.

Posted by: pappy | April 12, 2007 09:45 AM

The prisons here in Louisiana hold many black people who were convicted and sentenced on flimsier evidence than was brought against the white boys. These people entered guilty pleas because doing so entails a much shorter sentence than a not guilty plea. Perhaps they would rather be at a news conference discussing their year of trauma. Who knows?

Posted by: fmb0229 | April 12, 2007 09:52 AM

If stripping is such a respectable occupation, I wonder that my father didn't encourage me to go into that field? There were too many media portrayals in the last year about how stripping was a perfectly acceptable way for women to pay to college these days. (I didn't catch any that suggested men should finance education by this method.)
Come on. I managed to pay for college with grants, students loans, and the income I made from waiting tables with ALL of my clothes on.
These guys were not lucky, and the liar who started this mess should have her mug flashed all over the news every night for a year as restitution.
The worst part of this whole case is that it will make it that much tougher for a REAL rape victim to seek justice.
Aren't black women outraged as well?

Posted by: Jane | April 12, 2007 10:22 AM

This case isn't going to hurt these young men in the long run because they will be protected by their color and finances. What the girl did is not right, but to say the
young men will be scarred for life is so not true. Since when does does a mountain fall from being chipped at with a wooden stick? In other words, there is nothing that anyone could ever do to topple white privilege in this country or in the world.

*The white man says he*s losing the country. If y*all are losing, who*s winning? It sure is not us!*
--Chris Rock

Posted by: WhatWillBe | April 12, 2007 11:35 AM

Man, this is all about racism, jealousy, and greed...pure and simple.
Nifong screwed up bad. He too is a liar. He knew he didn't have the goods when he did not release the DNA evidence to the defense. Why? He got caught, and was doing his best to cover his own butt.
Why were they charged in the first place? Lack of character and integrity on the part of Nifong and his peers in THAT DA's office.
I was extremely dissapointed in how the administration at Duke handled this case.
There sure was a rush to judgment in many quarters regarding this. Why? Because these 'rich white boys' were 'rich and white'. Hey, how many poor kids can afford to go to Duke?

Posted by: Wondrous Moose | April 12, 2007 12:16 PM

I want Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, two professional protesters, to meet with/apologize to the three young men. PLUS, meet with/apologize to their parents.

Posted by: Sue | April 12, 2007 12:43 PM

The most valuable thing to come out of this whole cluster-fuc% was that, hopefully, many people got to see how sweet a sport lacrosse really is...even without the rape.

Posted by: CW | April 16, 2007 01:17 AM

Cohen, I only wish that a civil lawsuit could be brought against you and your cohorts in the media. Why ? For being such wormy, weaseling, jerka**es, and in your case - trying to shift the focus of this scandal, to other defendants who do not have the resources available to these "lucky", rich youg white boys. That's on the peripheral, and it's a different issue for a different day. Right now, the issue is their innocence, and how morons like yourself in the media contributed to the condemnation of 3 innocent men.

Posted by: AndrewCohenIsAnIdiot | April 16, 2007 06:17 PM

AG Coopr said "No evidence - Innocent " not insufficent evidence. Nifong is getting his and hopefully the post will let you and Araton pound the streets for a job, Mrs Graham would be disgraced at your writing and Ben Bradley would fire you. There are no words to express the disservice you have done to the WP, Donny Graham and Bo Jones. Circulation is going down because the writers can not be depended upon to tell the truth. Your condesending manner is appalling and the readers are showing their displeasure with your product by walking with their qyaters.

Posted by: lynp | April 27, 2007 01:00 AM

I must add to my comments - I retired to Vegas - Pacman and thousands of thugs invaded my town on the NVA All star weekend. Your hero Pacman was in a strip club when a in shooting incurded. The bouncer who was shot has never regained consciousness and is a quadraplegic. I have lost sympathy for the greater good, largely due to this kind of writing.

Posted by: lynp | April 27, 2007 01:11 AM

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