Among the skeptics now about what he calls "the spectacular charges of
gang rape" involving Duke lacrosse players is Frank
DeFord. But that doesn't mean he's letting Duke - or the lacrosse team
- off the hook.
In fact, he has some sharp criticisms of scholarship athletes in general and
a pointed criticism of President Brodhead's actions, or more properly speaking,
wonders if any college president would do the same to a revenue sport.
It was a long time ago, but it's worth remembering that UNC dropped the
hammer mightily on their beloved basketball program after the point shaving
scandal of the early 60's. But that was, as we noted, long ago.
DeFord also has some strong thoughts on race in sports and some kind comments
for Hank Aaron and Joe Louis, who had much more difficulties in their day than
anyone does now.
In the Sturgis Journal,
Dave Cramton wonders who will apologize first after "...a
school has been tarnished, a program is in disarray and athletes have been
stripped of an opportunity."
S.I.'s Phil Taylor, who has impressed us in the past, is
looking for one good man to cut through everything and get to the truth,
whatever the truth actually is, which seems about right. No one would want
an innocent person to go to jail; likewise, no one would want someone guilty of
this sort of crime to go free.
Not everyone is interested in finding the truth, though. In the Central
forum, one woman asked "Why is Duke Medical Center allowed to investigate,
to check this female? This is a conflict of interest. I believe info has
been tampered with."
D.A. Mike Nifong properly rebuked her. In our experience, and not just
at Duke, people who work in medicine are a breed apart, and it is inconceivable
to us that someone would manipulate test results for any reason, much less for something as trivial, to be perfectly frank, as a lacrosse team.
At the end of the day, the main thing is to find the truth about what happened and to administer justice to whoever deserves it. If it turns out that evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt that members of the team raped this woman, if we were on the jury we'd vote for the maximum possible sentence. If it turned out that the accuser is lying, we'd also vote for the maximum possible punishment. Now that race has become a central pillar of this cultural argument, finding the truth, much less a just solution may be impossible.