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Some Interesting Lax Notes

A few lacrosse notes: first, for those who have said they'd like to help, Friends of Duke is hosting a lottery for a Chevy Tahoe. Their are only 1000 tickets (at $100 per), so your odds are actually not that bad.

And second, Joan Collins has a profile up about Susan Pressler, wife of former lacrosse coach Mike Pressler, who has a book coming out soon about the case. That makes at least three books by our count, including one which is due out about now (we can't remember the author), and K.C. Johnson's book, which is due out later in the year.

Meanwhile, a controversy over an editorial at NCCU is brewing: Solomon Burnette engages in some inflammatory rhetoric, titling his column "Death To All Rapists" (if he's really that ambitious, the NC Sex Offender & Public Protection Registry lists some people within walking distance of campus whose doors he could knock on) and urges "retributive correction." Apparently the irony of suggesting lynch mobs escapes the history major, but what can you do?

Burnette's rhetoric, as we said, is inflammatory, but even so, he gets ahead of himself at some points:

  • You could certainly argue that the strippers were hired for the purpose of exploiting them, but since the players asked specifically for white or Hispanic strippers, suggesting they were hired for "...the explicit purposes of racially denigrating, disrespecting..." them is simply not correct.
  • The comparison to the Abner Louima case is absurd. Louima was violently attacked with a broomstick and required extensive surgery. Suggesting a broomstick as a sex toy, while crude and ugly, is not in and of itself an assault.
  • Certainly there were racial insults hurled. But Kim Roberts hurled one herself (and first), compounding it with a sexual insult. No one is going to justify racial taunts, but if you want to avoid them, it's probably better not to toss them around yourself.
  • The reason "People in power and those without disbelieved..." Crystal Mangum was pretty clear: there was no evidence and her story kept changing.
  • While they published the editorial, Central's student paper has more or less washed their hands of it. They posted a comment suggesting you forward your comments directly to Burnette.

    Incidentally, Burnette has a substantial rap sheet of his own, but he claims he was railroaded (scroll down).

    In Durham.

    By the district attorney's office.

    Where Mike Nifong worked as an assistant D.A.

    Irony, as we said, is clearly not his strong point.

    Meanwhile, more rational people are apologizing for their comments and public stances about the case. The Rapper Common, who will be performing at Duke this week, says that "I want to say first of all that I apologize for accusing people wrong that didn't do it."

    And the News & Observer's Ruth Sheehan, who says she understands Mike Pressler holds her responsible for his dismissal, has also apologized, albeit somewhat defensively. No need to be defensive. At least she acknowledges her rush to judgment, which is more than many members of Duke's faculty have done. For those who are considering doing so, here's some advice from a professional. Go ahead - you'll feel better, and people will respect you for 'fessing up!

    And over at KC Johnson's blog, Harvey Araton of the New York Times, who earlier ripped the women's lax team for their support of the men's team, isn't apologizing for anything. Saying he's "absolutely not" sorry for what he said, he argues, rather that "I am a commentator and I do not expect people to agree with what I say, or think.”

    That's fine, but he based his whole arguments on falsehoods. At the Times, sadly, that's no longer a rarity (see Jayson Blair & Judith Miller, in addition to the grossly slanted lacrosse coverage).

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the bar's displeasure with Mike Nifong is ratcheting up sharply.