As I was falling asleep last night I had the TV on and I heard on the local news that the president of Duke apologized to the lacrosse players and their families. I have no idea if this was national news as I am relatively close to Duke so this may have only made the local media, I also saw an article about it in the local paper and the article is here. He said that Duke should have done more to support their players and to show that the university was behind its students. He said that the university should have pointed out that the young men were innocent until proven guilty. Brodhead, the Duke president, also noted that some faculty spoke out against these young men and he or someone from the administration should have condemned their speaking out. He felt that by not saying anything it was assumed that this was the university's position and not the position of any individual faculty member. He was also bowing to pressure from alumni and players' families, according to the article.
Well I hate to tell everyone, but these young men were condemned by everyone for what was assumed to be a rape case. This was national news and most of the media was talking about how tragic these events were and how these young men should not have been able to hire a stripper on a college campus. The fact that Duke did not say anything should be commended. Brodhead notes, "he was initially concerned that if Duke spoke out too forcefully it might have appeared that 'a well-connected institution was improperly attempting to influence the judicial process." And this is exactly what would have been the case. This was a case for the judicial system to sort out, this was not for any college to discuss. I understand saying they should have pledged their support, but as a college president why would you want to appear to support rapists on your campus?
There is another issue here that bothers me. The fact that the young men at Duke got away with something because they were white and rich. I understand that it has now been proven that the girl in question was lying, but she was still at a Duke lacrosse party and was still stripping for a bunch of college students. She was still hired by these students and it seems that these young men were not totally innocent either. There were reports of racial slurs being thrown at her among other things. I am not condemning the hiring of strippers, I am not condemning young men watching women take off their clothes (hell I like this as much as the next guy), but this case came down to the race of the people involved. If the athletes had been black and the women white and the same circumstances had occurred the same way, there would not have been the same backlash. I am pretty sure that the DA would not have lost his job over it, sure he may have been censured and there would have been repercussions for the shoddy job he did in the investigating of this case, but he would not have lost his job. There would not be people screaming for the president of the college to apologize for the lack of support that was given by the university among them Jay Bilas who is an analyst for ESPN and a former Duke basketball player.
When this happens again and it will happen again, if it hasn't already several times over, where a young women is on a college campus working as a stripper or entertainer or even just at a party and this time she is raped by one or more people, will she report it? Has the Duke lacrosse case shown young women that by reporting rape, your whole life will be put on display and that in the end it is about 50-50 whether they will even be charged, especially if the men are white and you are a minority? This seems to be taking place to close to the Jena 6 case. Will anyone lose their job over what was basically a school yard fight and the whole judicial system overreacted? Will anyone apologize for not supporting these young men from the school or other public forum? This is just another case of where it is good to be white and rich in America, you get separate justice form the rest of us especially the poor and minority.