Duke's week gets WAY worseA story that has somehow traveled under the radar for almost a week is just starting to creep out into the open.
Last week the Duke lacrosse team held a bachelor party in which two strippers--both black, both students at nearby North Carolina Central University--were allegedly heckled with racial slurs shortly after the dancing began. They say one was then taken away from the nearly 50 players present (after being told they would be dancing for just a handful) and led into a bathroom where she was allegedly beaten, choked, and raped.
Even though the players have stonewalled the authorities, the University is taking action. 46 of the 47 players were forced to give DNA swabs, and the season has been canceled. It is worth noting that Duke is the #2 team in the nation.
The race of the strippers is notable because the Duke lacrosse team looks like almost every other team--no matter the level: 46 of the 47 players are white. The black player was not made to give a swab because the strippers said the attackers were white.
Lacrosse has always been chock-full of the same types that later commit the white-collar crimes like Enron: rich, white kids whose only possession greater than their wealth is their cockiness and general sense of untouchability. The only difference between them and what they will become thirty years down the road is a total misunderstanding of consequences, a dangerous ingredient.
We still live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty. There are a few aspects of this case that do not paint things positively for the stud athletes:
1) Duke's severe--and admirable, in the face of passive institutions--actions. If they thought their students were innocent, they would not have taken the drastic actions they have.
2) Rich, white, cocky athletes paying $43,000 a year to go to an almost all-white school in a town, Durham, where half the population is black. Mix that with two black students from the low-income community, and you've got yourself some old-fashioned, Southern-style racial tension.
3) The aforementioned teflon sense of many rich 21-year-olds, combined with the fact that none are cooperating with the authorities.
A tragic story that we all hope comes to a swift, fair conclusion. Monitoring...