What a blessing to these families that have struggled over a year under the weight of false charges. And yet, as K.C. Johnson indicates, there are some who will never see these boys as innocent, they will always be guilty no matter the evidence. Let's examine how Wesleyan "tenured radical" professor Claire Potter connects Don Imus' racist rants with the Duke lacrosse players (my commentary in red):
That these male lacrosse players at a private university (Wesleyan is private, no? Would Ms. Potter characterize the majority of her students as privileged and white? Or do they not count as privileged if they're female.), almost all of whom are white, have not been repeatedly identified (would Ms. Potter mind backing up her assertion? I guess covers on Time magazine and Newsweek rushing to judgement don't count as being "repeatedly identified")-- in jest or seriously -- as the semi-criminal youth gang that they appear to be (again, does Ms. Potter have evidence of their semi-criminal activities? I'd like to see it. And would she like to explain why the female lacrosse team has been 100% supportive to the men's team?); and that C. Vivian Stringer's squad of public university scholar-athletes, almost all of whom are black and who have consistently carried themselves with dignity and grace, are slandered on national radio, ought to tell us something about selling race and sex in Amerika (Does Ms. Potter really believe what the spelling of America wrongly implies or does she always employ hysteria to support her points?) today. *Who* is innocent? And where are the conservative cultural critics right now who are so eager to purge our public culture of vulgarity? (And one could ask the same thing of Leftists consumed with purging the culture of vulgarity but doing so selectively--willing to get rid of has-been comedien talk show hosts--who can hardly be called conservative [I myself am no fan of Don Imus and thought he was an idiot before his racist comment]--but unwilling to sanction the invective that passes for standard commentary by bloggers, Hollywood types and even self-described liberal thinkers such as herself--and she is not liberal.)Her ignorance of the case is demonstrated when she makes an addendum to her post wondering who KC Johnson is. He just happens to be the most thorough reporter/commentator on the case regarding the legal ramification of Mike Nifong's conduct as well as the concrete reasons the charges are specious against the Duke lacrosse players. Had she done her homework, perhaps she would know this. It is not surprising that her emotion and conviction in her own rightness passes for an informed argument. She feels strongly about this, therefore it must be true.
My point wasn't to get side-tracked by some predictably incoherent rant by a member of the academy. My point was to demonstrate that the Ms. Potters of the world will continue to malign three guys who are wholly innocent of crimes. Even exoneration won't stop them. The real criminals turn out to be the accuser and Mike Nifong, but the soundbite will be "Duke Rape", "Duke Lacrosse". In fact, while I watched Duke play during March Madness, my mind kept wandering to the case. I wondered if the case had affected basketball and other sports recruiting. I wondered if they had to lower requirements to meet enrollment for 2008. In short, I wondered about the institution that could so easily jump on the bandwagon and persecute their own before knowing all the facts. Duke. Rape.
So while the legal system will release Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty, and David Evans tommorrow, these men will forever be attached to a crime they didn't commit. And as Liestoppers notes:
One year ago today, many of us thought the Hoax was over when results from DNA testing conducted at the State Bureau of Investigation were revealed to have exonerated the entire lacrosse team.One year. One year of complete hell for the families. One year and millions of dollars spent on defense. One year of destroyed athletic hopes. One year of delayed professional attainment. A lifetime of ruined reputation.
DNA evidence taken from 46 members of the Duke's men's lacrosse team does not match any DNA material from the woman who claimed she was raped by members of the team at a March 13 party, lawyers representing the players said at a press conference Monday.
Like Shoeless Joe Jackson of Black Sox infamy, these guys will live with this notoriety for the rest of their lives--with one major difference: we know for sure that these guys are innocent, but it won't matter to those only interested in a narrative and not interested in the truth.