"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
We’re learning more from Coach Mike Pressler and others about what happened last March and April at Duke.
In a Newsday story about Don Yeager’s “It’s Not About Truth,” reporter Graham Rayman recounts [excerpts]:
"The thing that might be most disheartening to me is that ... the only people that have stood up and apologized ... were the players," Pressler says in the book. "The adults in this picture -- the faculty, the administration -- they haven't apologized for anything." …A few thoughts --
Duke president Richard Brodhead and athletic director Joe Alleva both were criticized. The book also reveals that Pressler and the team kept a secret list of people they felt had wronged them, dubbed, "The Grail."
Tom Butters, a former longtime Duke athletic director, also takes university officials to task in the book. "I know I am probably stepping on toes when I say this, but it was absurd," Butters says. "I wanted someone to step up for Mike and those kids."
Duke spokesman David Jarmul declined to comment on the book because it has yet to be issued. "From his first statement in March 2006, at a time when many seemed to accept the truth of the district attorney's charges, President Brodhead repeatedly emphasized the need for the students to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise within the legal system," Jarmul said.
At the outset, back in March 2006, the book says, Pressler and other Duke officials were so convinced that the allegations would go away that they gave bad advice to the players.
For example, co-captain Dan Flannery says that the assistant dean of students, Sue Wasiolek, told him, "Right now, you don't need an attorney. Just don't tell anyone, including your teammates or parents, and cooperate with police if they contact you."
The following day, eight police officers showed up at the North Buchanan house, frisked the players, searched the house, and took them to the station for interviews and DNA tests.
Flannery now blames Wasiolek's advice for what followed. "We believed, albeit falsely, that these people would look after our best interests," he says in the book. When Durham police called Pressler on March 20 and asked for an informal meeting with players, the coach agreed.
Pressler admits in the book that he told the team not to tell anyone about the meeting. "I was told to keep it quiet," Pressler said. "Everybody. . . thought it was going to go away. There was no reason to bring more attention to it. So I interpreted that being, 'Hey, guys, it's going to go away, let's keep it in-house here. Don't tell your parents yet, don't tell your girlfriends. Keep it in house.'"
But some parents already knew and demanded a postponement.
At times, the book says, Duke officials expressed support for the players in private, but not in public. On March 24, Pressler met with Athletic Director Joe Alleva, along with other Duke officials and the team captains. Alleva told them only that they would be punished for throwing the party.
The next day, Duke president Richard Brodhead decided the team would forfeit two games.
In an emotional five-hour meeting with the team's parents that followed, Duke officials said they believed the players' accounts. But on March 26, Brodhead ordered the suspension of all future games. …
The Newsday story confirms earlier reports Sue Wasiolek, dean of students, told students not to contact their parents.
Former AD Tom Butters speaking out publicly is a new and important development. Team Brodhead has tried to perpetuate the “we’re all on the same page” myth when in fact there have been many sharp differences within Duke’s leadership.
Friends who usually get things right say Brodhead is coming under increasing fire for what most Duke insiders realize was the bungling of the crisis last March and April and a none too effective PR campaign since to convince people “Problems? Not here.”
I’ll post more on Pressler’s book later today. Also, more about divisions within Duke’s leadership.