A March 29, 2006 Raleigh News & Observer story headlined:
Duke puts lacrosse games on holdincluded the following:
Duke's president announces the suspension by saying it's not time to play
"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.