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On The Norwood Allegations

By this morning the story about UNC's Brian Norwood will be all over the
place. 850 The Buzz will likely jump in with both feet, in their usual zeal for
sensationalism.  We'd like to take a minute to just talk to you guys about
it and encourage you not to participate in the sleazefest.

We did link to it, because it is newsworthy and fairly astounding, not to
mention upsetting, but gang raping a child, whether it is statutory rape or not, isn't a good opportunity to make fun
of one's rivals, and we won't be doing that. First of all, he's been charged,
not convicted. Secondly, if there is a guilty party here, it's Brian Norwood,
not the University of North Carolina.  This is a nightmare for a lot of
people, and a lot of very good people are no doubt in anguish over this,
including the girl and her family and people in Norwood's family who love him
and who likely never imagined him capable of what he has been accused of, and we
have no interest in making things worse for any of them. Can you imagine
anything worse than your child being so accused? Can you imagine how it would
feel to hear - or read - the things which are going to be said?

It's a lot of fun to have a rival like UNC, and it's fun to pick on things
like Eddie Griffin's comments about Phil Ford, or Dean's tics, or maybe even the
football players who got in a brawl on Franklin Street.  Sometimes we get
some pretty fun stuff thrown back at us (sometimes not, too, but that's what a
rivalry is for), and we've made some nice UNC friends.

What we'd like to say to you guys is this: this is most emphatically not
grist for the rivalry.  It's ok when they make fun of Greg Newton; it's ok
when we make fun of Makhtar, it's ok to call Eric Montross ugly.  The
Laettner-is-gay stuff we'd argue is out of bounds, but then they'd argue the
Ford rumors are, too.  But some things we can all agree are out of

When Loren Woods was having emotional problems, Duke fans were incredibly
supportive and he heard the applause and appreciated it.  We would ask all
you guys this - it's ok to comment on it, it's ok to discuss it. But it's not
something the University asked for, nor did Carl Torbush.  What Norwood
stands accused of is his burden alone. There are schools out there who would
knowingly recruit a guy like that and would likely argue that a "second
chance" is important, never mind that the kid helps the coach keep his
job.  We don't think for a minute that UNC would, or did. 

Let's invent a term now - the Woods standard: when there are serious human
costs involved, let's show compassion and restraint. We'd just like to encourage
all Duke fans to not use this as a source of ridicule.  The University of
North Carolina is not at fault for anything Norwood may have done, and given the
grossness of the allegations, we think it's just far, far better to let it be.
And please don't forget at the middle of all this is a child who will have to go
to court and crawl her little self up in the witness stand and be
cross-examined. There's enough going on without a bunch of bizarre posts going
online making it worse.  Pretty clearly, and quite explicitly in the case
in Yosemite, people are now committing crimes in order to become
celebrities.  That's not the case here, but the other half of the dynamic,
your half, is in play. Do the decent thing and turn away and let the courts
handle it.

Note: the Greensboro paper quotes an SBI officer as saying that nothing in
this case can be construed as gang rape.