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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Duke Case: Pressing On and Petering Out


Jon Pessah at ESPN provides some background and perspective on people caught up in the Duke mess:

[Matt] Zash used to think he'd follow many of his former teammates to Wall Street, but now he's decided to become a college coach. He's talked about a job with Pressler, who recently signed on at Bryant University, a Division II school in Rhode Island, but doesn't know if the timing is right. Bryant doesn't offer a graduate degree in education, and Zash wants to get a master's. Still, if Pressler can't find anyone else, Zash will go...

Zash still can't grasp how it got so out of hand. Did he and his teammates party hard? Yes. Did they drink before they were 21? Yes, like so many others did before football games and at the big drinkfest on the last day of spring classes. Did they make stupid mistakes? Yes. Does that make them capable of gang rape? How, he wonders every day, can anyone at Duke think the answer to that is yes? ...

All of which saddens Zash. He wants to remember Duke for what he thought it was, not for what he and the others feel it's become. He wants things to return to normal, but he's no longer sure what normal is. "I never thought anything like this could ever happen at Duke," he says. "I never thought we could be treated this way. How can I look at Duke the same way?"

How can anyone?
Peter J. Boyer at The New Yorker cranks out another Duke story. It is more about Brodhead, Duke, the Duke faculty, and the fallout from the case than about the actual case.

More about people like Peter Wood, Orin Starn, Stanley Fish, Phillip Griffiths, John F. Burness, and Elizabeth Chin.
Peter Wood and Orin Starn were among those who believed that the lacrosse scandal represented a rare opportunity for Duke.
Sorry, Mr. Boyer our interest in Wood and Starn has completely petered out. What about the gross injustice and the framing of three innocent young men? Any chance you will use this rare opportunity to show some journalistic cojones regarding that matter?

But, any story that keeps the pot stirred about this injustice has to be counted as a positive.

Months later, unanswered questions haunt Duke [Jon Pessah | espn.com, Aug. 28, 2006]
Big Men on Campus [Peter J. Boyer | NewYorker.com, Aug. 28, 2006


After re-reading the Boyer New Yorker article with a coffee refreshed brain it clearly comes across as well written homage to Richard H. Brodhead. Evans, Seligmann, and Finnerty are just mentioned in passing as characters in this great drama that engulfed President Brodhead.
Brodhead remained so thoroughly the literature professor as to embody the type—shy, prone to a slight stammer, but speaking in long, elegantly formed passages, filled with literary allusion...

academic heavyweight...

When I asked Brodhead how his experience at Duke has informed his thinking about the place of big-time athletics in the university, he cited Homer...

Brodhead, who had been trying to maintain a balance between avoiding prejudgment and satisfying the mounting pressure for action...

Less than a week later, Brodhead convened a press conference, and announced that he was reinstating the lacrosse program. "I am, I know, taking a risk," Brodhead said, in lifting the suspension of the team...

Brodhead reflected on all that had happened as we chatted in his office in July, and said that it brought to mind Shakespeare’s "Othello"...
Oh the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that landed on poor Richard Brodhead. Brodhead is not a hero in this tragedy he's a vacillating, wimpy Shakespearean fraud.