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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

In Praise of Ryan McFadyen

Ryan McFadyen was screwed by the administration of Duke University during the rush to judgement phase of the Duke lacrosse case. Ryan McFadyen was on the 2007 All-ACC Academic Team. His letter to Bill Anderson helps to put things in perspective.

Ryan McFadyenBill Anderson / LieStoppers forum:
Letter from Ryan McFadyen -- I received the following letter from Ryan McFadyen last night, and have been asked to share it with the Blog Hooligans. I think he is a fine young man who was unjustly treated in this whole affair.
Dear Mr. Anderson,

In response to your piece, “In Praise of Ryan McFadyen”, I would like to first say a very belated thank you. Among the more than 90,000 hits my name generates on a Google search, your article is the only one that speaks highly of me and highlights the difficulty of my situation over the past year and a half. To this day I still remember the expression on the faces of my younger sisters on the morning of April 5th. . The television was illuminated with my picture and the news anchor made a remark about what a disturbed person I must have been. Though you did not live through my ordeal, you seem to understand what I have gone through, and further you were able to see through the negative stereotypes that were being associated with my name.

Since I can remember, I have always believed that actions speak louder than words. Still to this day, I regard this statement as true. However, over the last year and a half I have learned first hand of the power the written word possesses. It is through this same medium that I would like to correct and highlight several things I believe the public should know.

It is almost seventeen months ago today that my e-mail went public, the language of which I will never forget. I have heard it repeatedly from the day it was first released and never could have imagined the criticism I would receive because of it. As you pointed out, Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho is part of the curriculum here at Duke, is taught by a number of professors and familiar to numerous students yet President Brodhead still found my reference to the novel “repulsive”. While I can agree that the book nor the movie is for the faint of heart, I wonder how my university President would respond to the lines from the of the actual novel. I quote from page 304,

I start by skinning Torri a little, making incisions with a steak knife and ripping bits of flesh from her legs and stomach while she screams in vain, begging for mercy in a high thin voice, and I’m hoping that she realizes her punishment will end up being relatively light compared to what I’ve planed for the other one. I keep spraying Torri with Mace and then I try to cut her fingers with nail scissors and finally I pour acid…(Ellis)

The scene finishes when Patrick Bateman, the main character, reaches sexual nirvana with the decapitated head of the girl around his genitalia. Within this context, I understand the sexist and homicidal themes of the book reflect poorly on myself given the circumstances of last spring.

It must be understood, however, that my email was written wholeheartedly in jest and in no way did my teammates or I intend to act on the references I made. Further is was a private email send to my closest of friends all of whom understood the reference and immediately passed it off as a joke. After a night where, as you said, a number of us felt “ripped off,” I wrote my email not out of anger for what had happened but instead to break the tension that arose from the now-infamous party. Had I known then how the following weeks would unfold, my e-mail would have been drastically different. Hindsight is indeed 20/20 and, in this case, rife with sincere compunction.

I understand the assumptions that can be made from reading what I wrote and again, I regret ever writing such an ill-thought and immature joke. I apologize sincerely for the anguish this may have caused and stress that I never meant for such things to happen. I would also like to emphasize the fact that nothing I did involving the email or the money mentioned in Dave Evans’ written statement was illegal.

The next important issue I want to touch on is the means by which the Durham Police Department obtained my email. While I cannot say with certainty that it was obtained illegally, I cannot be certain that it was not. Further, the cancellation of the external investigation into the Durham Police Department’s handling of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case only raises my suspicions. I also call into question Duke University’s involvement, though at this time I have no concrete evidence of wrongdoing, only suspicions.

Although I can continue to point blame elsewhere, I must correct the idea that I was given a choice about what would happen next. While I do enjoy the image you paint of me in the police station telling Sergeant Gottleib that I would rather suffer than send my innocent teammates to jail, I was actually never taken to the station and presented with this choice. Instead, the police used a bogus conspiracy to commit murder charge and elementary scare tactics while searching my dorm room and car in an attempt to get me to say anything to incriminate my teammates. At one point a short, balding officer even put me on the phone with Sergeant Gottleib, who threatened me saying physical force would be used to gain entry to my car if I didn’t help the officers find it. (I had at this point still not seen a search warrant.)

Ultimately, the shame I have brought upon myself and the indignity I have brought upon my family, friends, The Delbarton School and Duke University overshadows the wrongs of those against me. I regret the consequences that have stemmed from my actions and accept full responsibility for what I did.

Obviously I am grateful for the chance to once again play the sport I love with the men I am proud to call my teammates. In the upcoming seasons my teammates and I will do all that is possible to demonstrate the responsibility and professionalism that will eventually become synonymous with Duke Lacrosse.

I have always tried to do what is right and would never condone the alleged action that is said to have occurred in the house that night. I fully support my indicted teammates and wish them all luck in the future. To this day I have never been fully be able to express my true feelings on what happened in the spring of 2006, though I have tried many times. I want to again thank you Mr. Anderson for giving me a chance to express my feelings and set a number of issues straight. I wish you health, happiness and look forward to talking to you in the future.

Ryan McFadyen

TalkLeft: Letter from Ryan McFadyen
TalkLeft: In Praise of Ryan McFadyen

Duke Men’s Lacrosse Places 15 On 2007 All-ACC Academic Team -- Duke led all ACC schools with its 15 selections, as seniors Fred Krom and Michael Ward, juniors Bo Carrington, Chris Loftus, Ryan McFadyen and Michael Young, sophomores Mike Catalino, Sam Payton and Steve Schoeffel, and freshmen Parker McKee and Max Quinzani also received all-conference academic recognition.

LieStoppers: 15 Duke LAX Players Named to All-ACC Academic Team