Monday, April 09, 2007

Duke Players Talk (Part 1)

In an interview with their hometown newspaper Duke students Bo Carrington and Steve Schoeffel, members of the 2006 Men’s lacrosse team, tell what it was like for them and their teammates last Spring when almost all media savaged the students while DA Nifong and certain Durham police officers worked the frame-up and Duke’s senior administrators and all but a few of its A&S faculty abandoned their students or outright supported Nifong’s framing.

I hope you read the Charlottesville, VA’s Daily Progress interview story if for no other reason than to admire Covington and Schoeffel’s remarkable maturity. They describe in painful detail Duke’s enablement of the defamation and endangerment of a group of its students who’d committed no crime, and were under relentless attack from some of the most irresonssible elements in the Duke and Durham communities

Carrington and Schoeffel also discuss their expectations for the near future. They’re looking forward to a time not too far off when they and their teammates will be able to say much more about what really happened the night Crystal Mangum made her many false claims.

I want to highlight and comment on a few parts of Carrington and Schoeffel’s story. If you want to read it first, it’s here. I’ll also provide another link at the end of this post.

Their story at dailyprogress. com begins:

Bo Carrington wasn’t wearing anything that suggested he was a lacrosse player. Other than his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, the graduate of Charlottesville’s Covenant School looked like any other student walking across campus.

But on that March afternoon in 2006, Carrington was recognized. Not for whom he is, but for what seemingly everyone on campus - and people across the whole country, for that matter - assumed him to be.

A group of his peers surrounded him and started shouting: “Tell the police what you know! Why are you protecting these rapists?”

It was no organized protest - just a spontaneous demonstration triggered by nothing more than the midfielder’s presence. Two of his teammates had been charged with rape by a stripper hired for a party at a house leased by members of the squad. The campus was outraged and the entire team was being blamed for misconduct.
The writer has it wrong as regards teammates being charged in March; the frame-up hadn’t yet advanced to that point. Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligman weren’t indicted until mid-April, about the time Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead said: “Whatever they did was bad enough." (Brodhead now tells says, “I’m one of Nifong’s biggest critics.")

The writer’s error takes nothing away from another very disturbing example of the harassment, defamation and endangerment the lacrosse players were subjected to at Duke last Spring, and still face from unstable and hateful elements on campus the “Brodhead team” has failed to condemn and where necessary, discipline.

Reading what happened to Covington that day brings many questions to mind. Here’s a few of them:

Was Covington recognized, harassed and defamed by students incited by the “Vigilante” poster and Professor Houston Baker’s racist letter condemning the players, demanding their expulsion, and mocking their Constitutional rights?

Why did some Duke faculty and others at the University we had a right to expect would know better praise and thank students such as the ones who surrounded Covington and any and all persons who produced and circulate the “Vigilante” poster?

Further along in the story we find a mention of the:
March 13, 2006, party where Chrystal Gail Mangum, an exotic dancer hired to perform that night, alleged three team members beat, strangled and sexually assaulted her.
Look at that! The Daily Progress names the false accuser.

What will the Raleigh News & Observer, which published anonymously Mangum’s false accusations against the white members of Duke’s lacrosse team say about a newspaper disclosing Mangum’s name?

The N&O says it wants to protect Mangum’s identify because she is a “victim of sex crimes.”

But the N&O has never explained how it determined Mangum is a victim of sex crimes.

Tomorrow I’ll ask the N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden, that question.

Further on in the story we read:
“We did that [DNA testing] willingly, with the assumption that we had to do this to be sure, and if we could get on with our season and play a game next week, we had no problem walking right in there,” Schoeffel said of the DNA samples, which the players provided on March 22.

The Blue Devils even joked about how a trip to the police station to provide the samples would be a more enjoyable experience than going through a hard day of practice following a defeat the previous night.
The N&O knew the players had been extraordinarily cooperative with Durham Police beginning on March 16 when police first contacted the players.

But the N&O said nothing about their cooperation in its story.

Later in the story:
Schoeffel and Carrington said they still resent the fact that university officials did not include the team in the decision to end the season. To this day, they still haven’t been told what the decision-making process was. (emphasis added)

“We felt like the decision came from up top with absolutely no transparency,” Schoeffel said. “They didn’t bring us through it. There wasn’t any explanation - not even from athletic director [Joe Alleva] - nothing that we knew except everything was being taken from us.”(emphasis added)
Note that the main thrust of what Schoeffel and Carrington have just said is there “wasn’t any explanation.”

Now look at what immediately follows in the story:
John Burness, the senior vice president for public affairs at Duke, confirmed that the players were not involved with the decision and asserted that canceling the season was in the best interest of the school.

“Obviously, we have a lot of information now that we did not have then,” Burness said. “But you’re making your decisions based on the best information you have at the time. Nonetheless, the decision made by the president with the strong support of the board of trustees was made in the best long-term interest of the university and the athletic programs.”
Burness confirms the players weren’t involved in the decision to cancel the season but, at least in the story, doesn’t speak to the players not being told by anyone on the “Dick Brodhead team” why their season, which they reasonably expected could lead to a national championship, was being canceled.

That and Dick Brodhead flying around the country telling alumni groups how well he treated the lacrosse players.

It gets worse as the story continues. You can read it all here.

I may post again on this story. I hope many of you take a look and comment.


kbp said...

Thanks John

As time passes, and we hear more from all involved, it will prolly create more questions than answers.

bill anderson said...


Once again we are confronted with the fact that those in authority acted dishonestly and dishonorably. We have heard NOTHING but lies from the prosecution and police; and now we see that Duke promoted lies on campus.

We need to be honest about who told lies and who told the truth. Unfortunately, these young men have had a terrible lesson in life: People in authority are a bunch of liars when those lies are politically useful.

Anonymous said...

Dear TJN, thank you for all you are doing. You will know why I am posting this.

Sorry John, this is the only way I found to talk to TJN.

A friend

Anonymous said...

So now Burness as well.....why is it that people in positions of authority at Duke can't say they were wrong or they're sorry?

Duke Professors have certainly distinguished themselves over the past 13 months. Houston Baker, Kim Curtis, William Chafe, the list goes on....these people have no business teaching anyone until they admit error and apologize.

I don't know how they can look themselves in the mirror.

HumboldtBlue said...

Stuart Taylor, who is working with KC on the book, had this piece out today detailing another rape case, this one at the Naval Academy. Of particular interest is reading the remarks from the Academy Superintendent and the effect that race-based PC politics have on campuses throughout the nation.

John Byrnes said...


Long time no talk. Long time I don't write much. Drop by my blog if you get a sec. Great things are afoot. Could use your wise input.


Locomotive Breath said...

Contrast with this,0,6720331.column?coll=ny-sports-columnists

Apologize for what?

Anonymous said...


Duke U. and Durham haven't seen
anything yet: after the inevitable
lawsuits, you can bet that the
Lacrosse Players will be heard
on LOTS of shows - radio and tv.
Maybe some of them will have
something to say to the despised
Wendy Murphy - it would be good to
see them pillory her on Greta's
show, face-to-face.


david page said...

There is no need to waste your time contacting Ted Vaden of the N&O any questions. The supposed "Public Editor" does NOT represent the public as a true ombudsman, who investigates complaints by individuals of errors and abuses.

He has time and time again shown thru his
writings that his only job is to deflect honest criticism and cover-up the misdeeds of his holier-than-thou employer. He will only debase himself and embarrass his profession yet again.

If you wish to waste your time, you might ask him why, now that Chrystal's story has changed so many times that the N&O will not publish those parts of their interview that they would not publish for lack of "verification" originally but is very much a part of the story now.

That would really provide the reader with an entertaining 'tap dance", assuming that it would not just be ignored like so many other uncomfortable questions to the N&O.