Thursday I published Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns?
The post linked to a recent NY Times story which included this:
Duke canceled its 2006 season after eight games in the wake of rape and sexual assault accusations against three players. The charges were later dropped. Kennedy, an associate athletic director, wrote about the campus and news media firestorms, detailing the death threats, angry protests and safety concerns that forced the university to cancel the season. (emphasis added)I questioned whether Kennedy had made such a claim largely because I didn't recall Duke citing safety concerns when President Brodhead announced the season's cancellation on Apr. 5, 2006.
Included in Thursday's post was a detailed response by BN to The Times' report regarding Duke and player safety as a reason for the season's cancellation.
BN is a JinC Regular who's closely followed and often commented on the hoax, the frame-up attempt and its ongoing cover-up. What he's said has stood up.
Regarding Duke possibly cancelling the lax season because of, among other reasons, concern for the players' safety, BN cited a number of sources (including Duke sources)which at the time discussed reasons for the cancellation.
None of them mention the safety of the students on the lacrosse team as a reason why Duke canceled the season.
I told readers I'd do an independent check of what BN said. I should also have said in Thursday's post that I'd check with Kennedy and John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations, asking them if they could direct me to any published statement at the time by a Duke official citing player safety as a reason for the cancellation.
I'll email Kennedy and Burness later today and let you know what they say. As is my usual practice, I'll offer to publish here their responses in full.
Right now I can tell you this concerning my a first-read of news stories and editorials that appeared on Apr. 6 and 7 in the Raleigh N&O, the Durham H-S and Duke's student newspaper, The Chronicle, concerning the cancellation: none of them mention student safety as a reason for Duke's cancellation.
I want to do a second-read before I say I'm certain those newspapers make no mention of player safety on those dates. I also want to take a look at what WRAL reported.
That said, the following is typical of what I found during my first-read:
The N&O's Apr. 6 report, under reporters Jane Stancill's and Anne Blythe's bylines, begins:
Duke University lacrosse coach Mike Pressler resigned Wednesday, the same day a search warrant revealed new information about a lacrosse player's behavior and the rape investigation related to a lacrosse team party last month.The remainder of the N&O's report's here.
Hours later, university President Richard Brodhead announced the appointment of five groups to investigate campus culture, student behavior and the lacrosse program.
Brodhead also terminated all lacrosse activities immediately and canceled the rest of the season. When asked whether he had fired Pressler, Brodhead said, "Let me just say that when he offered his resignation, I quite agreed that it was an appropriate step."
No matter what happens with the police investigation, Brodhead said, the university must respond to misconduct by lacrosse players, which included underage drinking, hiring exotic dancers and, according to a neighbor and police reports, racial slurs directed at black women.
"There is a body of behavior that's already established, and it's there for us to deal with, and every day we learn more about it," Brodhead said in an interview Wednesday. "It's just time to take action on what's there before our eyes." ...
Nowhere in N&O's report does it state or suggest concern by President Brodhead and Duke for the students' safety was a factor in the university's decision to cancel the season.
Here are excerpts from the N&O's Apr. 7 editorial concerning Brodhead's statements and actions of Apr. 5, including his cancellation announcement:
Wednesday, Duke University began to take more serious steps in response to what had become a worsening crisis of public confidence and a monumental embarrassment to the university. President Richard Brodhead shut down the men's lacrosse program, accepted the coach's resignation and launched the university's own search for the truth about campus culture.The entire editorial is here.
His necessary action was a response to the fallout from allegations of the horrible crime of rape involving Duke lacrosse players and a now-infamous off-campus party. …
Two statements attributed to lacrosse team member Ryan McFadyen, the revealing of which has inflamed an already volatile situation, illustrate why the university's rhetoric alone failed to reassure people.
At a march against sexual violence last week, McFadyen expressed support for the cause in an interview with the campus newspaper, The Chronicle. But in a message from McFadyen's email address shortly after the March 13 incident came an astonishingly vulgar threat against "some strippers."
Brodhead and the community at large learned of the message together this week when a sealed search warrant for McFadyen's dorm room was opened.
Sickening and repulsive, Brodhead called the email, and within a few hours, Duke University was shaking to its foundations.
Not a moment too soon, the president named groups to investigate the values Duke teaches its students, its disciplinary procedures, the lacrosse team's past and his own administration's response to the rape allegations. "It's just time to take action on what's there before our eyes," he said. ...
Like the N&O's report of the previous day, its editorial neither states nor suggests player safety was a concern influencing Brodhead's and Duke's decision to cancel the lacrosse season.
For that matter, editorial page editor Steve Ford and his staff themselves express no concern for the players' safety. Yet they had good reason to do so.
The players had been subjected to threats from the CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE haters, Wanted and Vigilante posters were circulating at Duke and in Durham, and just the day before a group of Duke faculty took out an ad in The Chronicle which, among other things, thanked the haters for doing what reasonable people knew were actions that were making an already dangerous situation more dangerous.
I plan to post again tomorrow on the question of whether concern for the lacrosse players' safety was a factor in Duke's cancellation of the lax season.
In the meantime, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the comment thread of Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns?