In lacrosse news, with Reade Seligmann appearing in court for some procedural
stuff, Judge Ron Stephens took swift and firm control of the circus, warning
folks in the courtroom that he would jail anyone who decided to talk in court,
refusing to reduce Seligmann's bond, granting the defense the right to look at
the accuser's cell phone records, and saying that while he respected the
"seriousness of the case," that "this case is
not going to jump ahead of the line of all the other cases we have."
Duke grad John Feinstein takes a whack a the piÃ±ata of Duke lacrosse,
quickly dismissing the facts on the ground and moving in to eviscerate the Duke
administration, calling for the firing of Joe Alleva and Vice President Tallman
He also refers to his advocacy for the late Tom Mickle as the replacement for
former athletic director Tom Butters, something which he obviously felt
passionately about, then and now.
We were somewhat startled by how that transition played out, frankly, and
while Feinstein says that a number of influential people pushed for Mickle, who
was universally regarded as innovative and a creative thinker, there was, for
reasons we have never understood, a very strong reaction against his
candidacy. It reached a point of nastiness, frankly, and it bothered us at
the time because a) we felt he had earned a lot of respect, and b) there was a
level of meanness directed against him which we never associated with Duke, with
even Mickle's wife taking some abuse.
But be that as it may, Nan Keohane's first choice for A.D. was neither Mickle
or Alleva, but rather a guy whose name we forget but who was either at Iowa
State or ended up there.
His candidacy was deeply opposed by many in the athletic department, again
for reasons we weren't privy to. But he bowed out, and Alleva got the job.
Feinstein is also correct when he criticizes Alleva for calling the situation
"an unfortunate incident." We've long thought the use of the
word "incident" was about as Orwellian as you can get. Massacres
are called incidents in our world. Bizarre.
But it's easy to see how someone might use it. Everyone else does.
We don't know what was in the report Tallman Trask read, so we can't comment
on that (if anyone can get it to us, we'd like to read it).
But what struck us about this is Feinstein's intense reaction to the idea that he was
simply advocating for Mickle as A.D. because they were friends. Pretty
clearly, Mickle was qualified for the job. But that's not to say that both
points can't be true: he could have sincerely believed that Mickle should have gotten
the job, and also been deeply offended that his friend was turned down.
We have heard this story for a long time - that Feinstein soured immensely on
Duke after Mickle was turned down. And anecdotally, his writing about Duke
before Alleva was hired (think: Forever's Team) was much more sentimental than
it was after the fact. In recent years, he has had a number of pointed
comments about Duke. It could just be that he has always seen Alleva as a
disaster, of course, and nothing more than following his gut instinct (or
possibly insider's knowledge he gained from Mickle).
We don't know and we aren't suggesting anything, either. But it's not
an irrational supposition to sup, just as it's fair to point out that
Feinstein's motives towards Duke since Alleva's hiring have been the subject of
serious doubts among many Duke fans - indeed, it's so commonplace that he felt
forced to address it himself.
But at the end of the day, when all this is over, Duke will never, ever want
to deal with this sort of thing again. Whenever that point of reflection
comes, there will certainly be changes. It may or may not involve firing
people. But once the crisis is past, things cannot be the same.
Incidentally, we've always been grateful to Feinstein for taking a cold call
from us on a Thanksgiving, when we had a beef with Art Chansky. Feinstein
had written that Chansky planted a story in the Herald-Sun for Dean Smith,
saying that UNC couldn't possibly beat Duke. Chansky denied it, so we
asked John who his source was. He said it was Dean himself. He also
gave us a few choice words for Chansky which were blunt and hilarious and
unfortunately cannot be repeated. But they were truly fun to listen to,
and he was very gracious to us, not least of all because we interrupted a family