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who left Duke in protest after the lacrosse case became public, and
who has had quite a bit to say about it both in public, where he memorably
ripped the lacrosse team and the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial
violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us," and by responses
to e-mails, two of which were released by the recipients, is no longer saying
much about the case. Asked to comment now, he declines through a
university representative.

The two e-mails which we have read were, to be charitable, not kind. One
was from someone who wrote a polite but pointed letter, asking him if he didn't
in retrospect think he might have been wrong. The answer was fairly harsh
and insulting. Certainly he has the right to answer his e-mail in whatever
way he'd like, but that's poor form.

However, a mother of an unindicted player wrote him to discuss her anguish over
the case, and the increasing likelihood that the charges are false, and his
response to her was to call say that the lacrosse players lived like farm
animals and that he was sorry that she was the mother of a farm animal.

A cruel response to a woman who has suffered and who is guilty of nothing.
Houston Baker is a highly regarded scholar, but verbally assaulting an anguished
woman is just base behavior not worthy of, well, a farm animal. Here is
the relevant exchange from the mother's e-mail:

"Over the past eight months, much of the evidence has revealed that the three
falsely indicted young men have been the victims of rogue DA Nifong. They have
been denied due process and are the victims of a possible conspiracy. Whatever
you believed in March, I am sure you must be questioning the actions of DA
Nifong. Therefore, I respectfully request that you join Pres. Brodhead in asking
for a special prosecutor. In addition, I respectfully request you petition Pres.
Brodhead to allow Collin and Reade to resume classes this spring.

"Our paths may have been different, but I am sure all of us seek the truth and
justice. This can only be accomplished with an impartial prosecutor. Collin and
Reade, along with Dave, have had to put their lives on hold due to a false
accusation. I trust that with the filing of ethics charges by the NC State Bar
and the Conference of District Attorneys calling for DA Nifong to recuse
himself, we can all agree that justice can best be served with Nifong’s

And Houston Baker's reply:

LIES! You are just a provacateur on a happy New Years Eve trying to get credit
for a scummy bunch of white males! You know you are in search of sympaathy
[sic] for young white guys who beat up a gay man [sic] in Georgetown, get
drunk in Durham, and lived like “a bunch of farm animals” near campus.

I really hope whoever sent this stupid farce of an email rots in .... umhappy
[sic] new year to you ... and forgive me if your really are, quite sadly,
mother of a “farm animal.”

  • The
    Pilot (Southern Pines): Nifong Has Caused Enough Damage
  • Gray,
    Newsday: Gender and race touch raw nerves
  • DUKE