Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Years Ago Today: The “Hooligans” Story

A March 29, 2006 Raleigh News & Observer story headlined:

Duke puts lacrosse games on hold

Duke's president announces the suspension by saying it's not time to play
included the following:
"I would like to think that somebody who was not in the bathroom has the human decency to call up and say, 'What am I doing covering up for a bunch of hooligans?' " Nifong said. "I'd like to be able to think that there were some people in that house that were not involved in this and were as horrified by it as the rest of us are."
The entire story’s here.

During the five days before it published the “hooligans” story, the N&O’s barrage of biased, racially inflammatory and sometimes deliberately fraudulent Duke lacrosse coverage led many people to view the players as a bunch of drunken, racist, privileged Duke students, three of whom were guilty of gang rape and other crimes which their teammates were helping cover-up by stonewalling the police.

Just the day before the “hooligans” story ran, an N&O editorial praised the woman for her “courage” in coming forward while on its front page the N&O published the “priors” story listing the names of 15 of the players and the prior charges for minor offenses brought against them.

Little wonder then that many people thought Nifong was understating when he called the players “hooligans.”

Looking back three year, it’s clear Nifong and the N&O with their smearing of the lacrosse players set in motion a lose, lose, lose situation.

Each Duke student on the lacrosse team will bear an undeserved stigma no matter how decent his life may be.

Nifong wound up being disbarred and jailed for a day as a result of his shameless and reckless pursuit of a frame-up. The State Bar charges that served as the basis for his disbarment included as specific reference to his “hooligans” statement.

The N&O’s reputation has suffered because of its lacrosse coverage. It will surely suffer even more if, as seems very likely, there’s discovery in the suits brought by the lacrosse players and that discovery is made public.

I can think of only one positive outcome involving the use of “hooligans.”

In a spirit of proud opposition to Nifong, those who worked the frame-up attempt with him, and their enablers at Duke and elsewhere, a group has taken on the name Hooligans. The group includes people who have done some of the best Duke lacrosse case reporting and commentary.

If you don’t already know about The Hooligans, you can “meet” many of them at Liestoppers Meeting.


Anonymous said...

Though one would have no way of knowing for sure, I would have to think that DIW and Liestoppers as well as JinC provided some comfort to those lacrosse players and their families during the darkest hours of 2006-7. To realize that they were not alone, that there were many out there who were able to sift through the lies and innuendo and to see from the get go the "case" for what it really was - a hustler who felt that she had secured an easy mark and who would be aided and abetted by those who saw in the hustler an opportunity to further their own agendas.
The "Hooligans" and the many who follwed and posted on DIW and JinC inspired others to follow the travesty that was occurring in Durham and to speak the truth when presented with an opportunity to do so. One has to believe that in no small way those who continue to follow the case and who write about it are applying some small heat that will eventually result in penalties (financial) that will be sufficient enough to cause real change to occur - not just at Duke, not just in Durham, but at college campuses across this nation; police departments and prosecutors' offices; as well as the mainstream media who, let one never forget, were so willing to run with what they saw was a trifecta story - race, gender, and class - and yet were so unwilling to ask even the most rudimentary questions - instead they were willing to take a two-bit prosecutor's word (a prosecutor who was unwilling to even meet with his "supposed" victim) as the gospel truth.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday,the mom of a lacrosse player called me as she was upset that a teacher at her little girl's school commented that the Duke team was a bunch of horrible boys. When she confronted the teacher, he rudely proclaimed that he knew this to be the truth because his wife is on the Duke Alumnae Board. So here we are-a full three years after the tragedy-travesty and Duke is doing nothing to support these kids who were at the time Freshmen who had nothing to do with the "whatever they did is bad enough"-hiring strippers. I'll have to call the lawyers tomorrow and tell them. This will follow our children forever because the Duke leaders perpetuate it AND promote it. Colin and Reade suffered the most-no doubt-but Duke continues to treat the whole team exactly the same.