Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State Football v. Duke Lacrosse

Okay, so I was gritting my teeth not to write this because ... well, because why make trouble, right?

But it has to be said.

In the late spring and summer of 2006, the New York Times and other media half-wits went looney tunes over the fact that the Duke administration did not do enough to punish, horsewhip, castrate, etc. the young men of the lacrosse team. Selena Roberts and Nancy Grace stand as having behaved in ways that were especially intemperate. (No really, just take a minute and watch the Nancy Grace thing. It's worth it).

But... our President said "whatever they did do, it was bad enough." Our coach was fired, and the season was ended. The team was humiliated, and subjected to a variety of threats and psychological harassment.

AND THEY HADN'T DONE ANYTHING! There is no evidence that they did anything at all, other than foster under-age drinking. (Hiring strippers is legal, no matter how much you might disapprove on hypocritical moral grounds.) (There may have been racial epithets, according to the woman who said she was raped but wasn't.)

No assault, even. More people died at Chappaquidick than at that house on Buchanan Ave. in Durham. More sexual assaults occurred in the Arkansas Gov's mansion in 1988 than at that house on Buchanan Ave. in Durham.

And now... well, now we are all hearing a little, pretty late, pretty little, outrage about Penn State. At Penn State there WAS a rape... of a child, by an adult. And the administrators did nothing. When finally Joe Pa was fired (unbelievably, his compromise was to finish out the season. nice.), the students actually rioted to protect him. No "castrate" signs.

So, if it's football, there is no race element, and the offender is a pedophile, we'll remain calm? Because it's okay to protect football coaches, because they are more important?

Okay, yes, I understand there has been no trial, no admission of guilt. But there appears to be an eyewitness, Mike McQueary. And he TOLD THE ADMINS, INCLUDING JOE PA, WHAT HE SAW! There was an obligation to go public immediately, and given what was known the coach had to be fired and turned over to the police. The defense "there has been no trial" is only true because Penn State systematically suppressed evidence and kept back information. We'd know by now, if the trial had gone forward, about guilt or innocence. I mean, even the devil was appalled.

Joe Pa, we hardly knew ye. How could you possibly have allowed this to go on? All you haters who were mad at Duke... are you proud, now? This is one hundred times worse on every dimension. Except on the guilt of the "bad guys" dimension, where it's infinitely worse, because there are actual bad guys.


Jim O'Toole said...

The media was one thing, but some members of the Duke community piled on, too. Run into Tom Crowley there lately? Is he still sitting on the tenure board?

Anonymous said...

This should be in the Chronicle.

Chris said...

Wow, just wow.
Recall there appeared to be witnesses in the Duke Lacrosse case too. How did that work out?
It is really disappointing to see someone who vocally opposed the overreaction of the Duke administrators so quickly support the Penn State decision to fire everyone within arms reach of this story.

Chris Conover said...

I confess I too am puzzled. Either people are innocent until proven guilty, in which case the administration should be neutral until the legal process has played out, or they are not (in which case, apparently: fire at will).

To the degree the administration was complicit in a cover-up, this complicates matters. But there's a world of difference between coming clean--albeit it way too late--which means letting the legal process run its course, and a rush to judgment based on a presumption of which competing accounts are correct in this instance.

Eyewitness accounts are notably unreliable. The whole point of the legal process is to sift through ALL the evidence to determine who did what to whom and what punishment should be accorded.

Anonymous said...

Equally baffled by the description of the reaction as "calm." It led the national news for over a week and it's still on the front page. In the scandal's fourth day, Penn State fired their president, who wasn't accused of anything illegal, and their revered symbol, who was actually praised for his actions by the attorney general.