The Washington Post tells us that the University of Maryland is investigating
the assaults which took place after the game Saturday.Â
That's a step, but if you read on it's not very encouraging.
The President of Maryland, C.D. Mote, was kind enough to issue a formal
apology, and the Post says that "University officials were besieged with
e-mail messages" from fans of both schools, with at least one threatening
to quit giving money to the school. We heard from three Maryland fans
who made the same threat.
A Maryland official apologized to Mrs. Williams, and is said to be trying to
reach Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Boozer to apologize to them as well.
Now here's where it gets wiggly.Â The Post's Josh Barr says that the
expanded security "did not stop the opposing fans from clashing
However, he offers no evidence whatever of Duke fans "clashing"
with Maryland fans, only the suggestion that they did. If he means they yelled
back, well, duh. It's a basketball game. Fans always yell at each other.Â
And if they retaliated after being attacked, well, as Malcolm X said,
non-violence ends when your fist hits my nose. Duke fans, like Maryland fans,
have the right to free speech, and moreover have the right to annoying free
Debbie Yow says that if upon video review they can identify the perps,
they'll be banned.Â It would be nice if she said and prosecuted where
appropriate.Â We realize it's hard to figure out who threw what, but it's a
big stick to pull out and she should use it. Like two years ago, when her response to
Nate James' family being assaulted was "stuff happens," this is not
sufficient.Â Nor is it sufficient to say they will "try" to stop
the students from throwing newspaper at the opposing bench after
introductions.Â There is no try! Do! Yow has a rep as being a real hardass
but when it comes to crowd control, she is somewhat less aggressive. It may well take a lawsuit for Maryland officials to grasp the severity of the situation. It's unfortunate if it comes to that, but they'd have non one to blame but themselves if it does.
In another personal account, a member of Julio's family sat in the Maryland
section and sends these impressions, which tie in to the tepid response nicely:
Basically, someone in authority at Maryland needs to calm things down at the
beginning of the next home game. There were always a few yahoos in the stands
itching for a fight, but now people are in your face as soon as you walk into
the gym. When the game STARTS that way, it's not surprising when something bad
happens before the end.
You know, I really think that most Maryland fans mean well, and are just wildly
frustrated. (Let's face it, Maryland has won what, maybe 1 game against us in
Cole in the last 15 years? I've been going to games there about that long, and
1995 is the only loss there I can recall. We'd be somewhat less than gracious
under those circumstances, although not to the point of throwing things.) Given
the right encouragement, I think almost all of them would be civil.
Maryland may need to call the police back in, as they did a year or 2 ago. But
what would help most would be an announcement from Gary Williams at the
beginning of the game that he'd like the fans to cheer uproariously but not
throw fists or hardware. A quiet conference with the students behind the bench
would help, too.
One issue I haven't heard anyone raise: Somebody in our section had one of the
laser pointer lights on Saturday and was lighting up officials and players. I
think it's pretty well known at Duke that Coach K doesn't want that sort of
stuff going on - it happened once, he spoke to the crowd about it, and it
Gary Williams could do the same, and it would be more effective than anything
the ushers, the police, or the courts could do.