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Friday, June 8, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — June 8, 2007

Updated — today's items:

Mike Pressler fired by Duke on April 5, 2006Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Duke, ex-coach settle up -- Mike Pressler, the former Duke University lacrosse coach who was fired amid allegations that three members of his team gang-raped an escort service dancer, has settled a lawsuit with his former employer.

John Burness, a spokesman for Duke, said the settlement was reached in late March or April. He refused to release details of the agreement, which he called "an amicable, fair financial settlement."

Pressler, who built a national powerhouse lacrosse team during his 16 seasons at Duke, has written a book about his experience...

related:
Rick Riley, Sports Illustrated (April 2007):
Then on April 5, 2006, Pressler says, Duke athletic director Joe Alleva called him in and said, "Mike, I've got to let you go." Which was amazing to hear, because only a few months earlier Alleva had given Pressler, the 2005 NCAA Coach of the Year, a rich three-year contract extension.

"But, Joe," Pressler pleaded. "You stood up before my players and said you believed it never happened. The DNA is coming back any day. Wait for the truth."

"It's not about the truth anymore, " Pressler says Alleva told him. "Its about the faculty, the NAACP and the special interest groups." (Alleva did not respond to SI's calls.) So after a 153-82 record and a 100% graduation rate in 16 years, Mike Pressler was canned...

...Would Pressler ever go back to Duke? "After what those folks did to us?" he says. "What those people did to those kids? To go back under that leadership? No, I couldn't do that."

But the question is: When does this fine man who did absolutely nothing wrong get his apology? Where are the mea culpas from Nifong? From Alleva? From Duke president Richard Brodhead?
discussion:
LS forum: Pressler settles with Duke U, Duke pays fired lacrosse coach
KC Johnson: Pressler Settlement Announced
FreeRepublic: Duke, Ex-Lacrosse Coach Reach Settlement
TalkLeft: PRESSLER SETTLES WITH DUKE U

Christy Hammond, Behind the Jersey blog:
Former Duke coach reaches settlement -- I was pleased to read that the former coach for Duke Lacrosse has reached a settlement with Duke . . . Duke University has reached a financial settlement with Pressler. I feel it’s the least they can do after refusing to stand behind their head coach and not supporting him during what had to be an absolutely awful year for him...

related:
Aaron Beard, AP/WRAL:
Duke, Ex-Lacrosse Coach Reach Settlement -- "Coach Pressler is an excellent coach and did a great job building the Duke men's lacrosse program," John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs, told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately last spring it was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward.

"We regret the negative consequences this decision had on Coach Pressler. He and Duke reached an amicable, fair financial settlement in which Duke recognized his contributions to the lacrosse program and the circumstances of his departure."

Lee Southren, Pressler's agent, declined to comment Thursday night...

Pressler is the only Duke official who lost a job as a result of the case, even though an internal university investigation concluded he was the only school employee to take significant action when accusations of wrongdoing - including disorderly conduct and public urination - emerged about the lacrosse team.
------
KC Johnson:
The Group as Great Teachers? -- In short, despite Baker’s hints, there is no evidence that Duke students are beating down the doors to take classes from most of the Group; or that Group members are somehow better teachers than other Duke professors.
-------
Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun:
City appoints four more to lacrosse panel -- City Council members announced four more appointments Thursday to the 12-person committee that will investigate how Durham police and District Attorney Mike Nifong handled the Duke lacrosse case.

The new appointees are Durham lawyer Ken Spaulding, former Durham mayor and state Sen. Wib Gulley, former Durham County Sheriff Roland Leary and Durham Crisis Response Center Executive Director Aurelia Sands Belle.

Council members announced the picks during an afternoon work session.

The four will join former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard, former Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies, and police chiefs Darrel Stephens of Charlotte, Pat Norris of Winston-Salem and Jim Fealy of High Point.

Three appointments are still pending, those by council members Thomas Stith, Howard Clement and Cora Cole-McFadden. Members are supposed to finish the selection process by today.

Spaulding, like Whichard and Gulley a former state legislator, got his appointment from Mayor Bill Bell. He is a member of one of Durham's most prominent business and political families, and once headed the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.

His legal practice has focused mostly on civil matters, including land-use issues.

Bell acknowledged that Spaulding had donated money in the spring of 2006 to Nifong's re-election campaign, but said he didn't believe that created a fatal conflict of interest...
discussion:
KC Johnson:
The Unbalanced Panel -- Diane Catotti’s appointment of Aurelia Sands Belle—a figure who seems unable to affirm that a rape did not occur—raises obvious conflict-of-interest problems: the Durham Rape Crisis Center over which Belle presides not only received a six-figure grant from the DPD but helped train the very police force whose conduct is under investigation. It seems as if Catotti’s only goal is to produce discord within the inquiry, thereby helping to cover up the abuses associated with the case.

KC Johnson:
Catotti Strikes Again -- City Councilwoman Diane Catotti—who has thus far displayed a preference for shielding the police from outside scrutiny, retrying the rape case, and ensuring hard quotas on any investigative committee—has made a panel selection that fits all three elements of her agenda. Catotti has nominated Aurelia Sands Belle to serve on the police inquiry board.

This is the same Aurelia Sands Belle who penned a guilt-presuming April 11, 2007 press release about the decision of “Attorney General Roy Copper[sic]” to dismiss all charges and declare the players innocent...
-------
Tony Soprano, LieStoppers blog:
Video: Nifong's Dream Police -- Nifong's Dream Police [youtube.com]
------
Michael Gaynor:
Richard Brodhead targeted Hershel Parker before Duke Lacrosse --
"Rushing to judgment is part of Brodhead's character. The circumstances at Duke merely brought out what anyone who knew his history could have predicted: that he had led a sheltered existence that never had called forth a display of force derived from a personal history of striving and achieving and mastering difficult information and complex ideas. As the writer in the Providence JOURNAL said, Brodhead caved and failed. The wonder is that anyone thought he might behave differently than he did." -- Professor Hershel Parker
... Mr. Brodhead definitely is not as harmless as he looks.
-------
Forum topics of note:
LS forum: Where this is all headed -- The North Carolina "justice system" will next year still be the corrupt collection of lawyers that it is today. Stephens, Titus and Hudson will still be judges in good standing a year from now, collecting plaudits from those who might one day have to appear in their courtroom.

Duke U will write ever how many checks for ever how much money is necessary to make it all go away. They've already done so with Pressler and will shortly do the same with the rest of the aggrieved parties. The G88/Brodhead axis will still be entrenched. Ditto for DUMC.

Durham will do whatever is necessary to whitewash any blame that may attach to the DPD. The newspapers are already on board with this deal. Gottlieb, Himan and all the rest will still be rousting Dukies a year from now...

The North Carolina legal system is for the most part a collection of black-robed meter maids collecting money from the citizenery, especially the less fortunate. It is self-perpetuating, self-policing and self-funding...
------
Meredith Shiner, Duke Chronicle:
Seniors still unsure of 'what's next' -- Riding in the backseat of a taxicab in the nation's capital last Wednesday, Duke head coach John Danowski and his son Matt learned that their up-and-down ride with Duke lacrosse could be taking yet another dramatic turn.

The two Danowskis were in Washington D.C. for the Tewaaraton Award banquet, where Matt was named the National Player of the Year. It seemed like a fitting end to the career of one of the most prolific points scorers in ACC history-except that it might not be. During that one brief taxi ride, John Danowski received the phone call informing him that the NCAA had granted 33 of his players, including Matt, with an extra year of eligibility...

Because the NCAA decision was not made before graduation and the team members received their degrees, their only option if they want to return to school and play lacrosse is to enroll as graduate students, John Danowski said.

"There are a lot of issues here," he said. "First, is there a program that the students are interested in? If you're not interested in returning to school, then lacrosse is really secondary. Second, is it possible to gain acceptance into those programs? And third, would it be financially feasible for your family to support your return?" ...

Danowski believes five or six students will choose to return to Duke, and that "it's Duke or nowhere" for most of the players, who are free to use their additional years of eligibility at any school outside of the ACC (because a transfer in-conference requires a player to sit out a year)...

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