clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Maryland Defender

Sally Jenkins of the Post has an article up saying, in essence, that Duke
fans have a lot of nerve complaining about the behavior at Maryland.
That's her conclusion. She has a lot of interesting points to make on the way to
that conclusion.

For one, she more or less pooh-poohs Mrs. Boozer's injury,
saying that well, it wasn't a glass bottle and no skin was broken. 
Well good news then! Apparently either she hasn't heard or doesn't care that
Mrs. Boozer got a concussion and actually had to miss time at work.  But
what the hey, it was a plastic concussion, and that's not nearly as bad.

then goes on to discuss the altercation of two years ago when Nate James' uncle
and father were attacked and defended themselves. Self-defense is, we'd say,
perfectly acceptable in almost every situation and certainly a Marine like Sgt.
James isn't going to back down to some drunken college students.  Ms.
Jenkins, though, paints it as an act of Duke aggression. It wasn't. Maryland fans picked that fight, probably to their regret.

goes on to say that Terp fans have had Cokes thrown on them at Cameron, which is
probably true, though we've never seen it. But we have yet to see a Coke give
anyone in Cameron a concussion, nor can we ever recall seeing violence breaking
out. The sole exception to that, on second thought, was Ademola Okulaja's elbow,
assuming you believe the Duke student's story.

She does point out that an
environment of insult and ridicule exists in the ACC, which is certainly true,
and Duke is the best or worst at it, depending on your point of view. From
Maryland's point of view, of course, the nadir of that sort of thing was the
Herman Veal incident. Veal had been accused of sexual assault, and Duke students
threw panties and condoms at him.  It was a dumb idea on multiple fronts,
not least of all because it enraged Veal and he played very well indeed, but it
crossed the line of what's acceptable and what's not. 

But that was in
1984.  Duke has been pretty consistent about discouraging
outrageous behavior
since then, led to a large extent by Coach K, who goes
to meet with students periodically to address specific situations and to make
clear what's acceptable and what's not. Take for instance, the Loren Wood
situation, and last season's St. John's game, where K and Battier asked the
Crazies not to taunt Erick Barkley who was having trouble with the NCAA. 
We've also heard Coach K threaten to forfeit games if crowd behavior didn't
straighten up immediately. We're thinking specifically of a laser pointer which
someone was pointing at players.

We're not sure, but we can't remember Gary
Williams ever speaking to his crowd about their behavior, but we are sure that
Duke coaches leave their family members at home because they think it's a
dangerous environment.

So yeah, Duke
students chant things and say things, and though we haven't seen it we're pretty
sure Cokes have been tossed too. As Ms Jenkins rightly notes, drinking goes on
at all ACC games, and that leads to that sort of thing.  But to the best of
our knowledge, no one fan has been injured in our lifetime by the Crazies or
anyone else in the gym, and Ms. Jenkins has probably not been to the games where
humanity and compassion  was in great evidence (we wonder if she has ever
been).  There have been
various occasions over the years where someone came to Cameron with a
significant sadness and were treated very kindly. Loren Wood comes to mind, but
we're pretty sure Scott Williams was treated very kindly as well.  Contrary
to the stereotype, heroic performances by the opposition are usually
acknowledged by the Crazies as well.  It's not at all uncommon to see a
tremendous game from a player on the other team recognized by applause. 
Matter of fact we think it happened to Len Bias, whose last game in Cameron was

But to get back to the main point: Ms. Jenkins obviously does not
see a distinction between violent hooliganism and periodic bad taste. So we'd like to propose a simple way to further her education: let her come to a
Duke-Maryland  game in Cameron and sit downstairs in a Maryland
T-shirt.  Then let her go sit behind the Duke bench in Cole Field House
with a Duke T-shirt on.  Our guess is that she would never have the nerve
to do that at Cole.  We can say with absolute certainty that she could do
it at Cameron and emerge with nothing worse than hurt feelings (and possibly a
tossed Coke).