One of the lesser covered aspects of this story is how the other 44 players on the 2006 team have reacted. They could have lashed out intemperately at their (myriad) over-the-top critics. Or they could have turned inward, relieved that they weren’t chosen in the “Russian Roulette” lineup, and simply gone on with their lives.
Most have taken neither course. On campus, lacrosse players joined dozens of their fellow undergraduates in the Duke Students for an Ethical Durham effort, which sought to increase voter registration for the November election. In the classroom, the team had a collective GPA of 3.45 in the fall semester. The petition of the Economics professors, meanwhile, served as a reminder that not all arts and sciences faculty at Duke are hostile to the players.
Most of the graduated seniors, meanwhile, have remained engaged with events in
One of the graduated seniors forwarded to me the letter below, which he sent out early in the new year.
Personal character has been very much an issue in discussions about Duke. Since March 14, compare the behavior of members of the lacrosse team to that of, say, Houston Baker, or Alex Rosenberg, or Wahneema Lubiano, or William Chafe, or Karla Holloway, or Grant Farred. There seems to be little doubt as to which group has displayed the most character in responding to this affair.
Dear Friends and Family,
2006 is a year I will never forget. This past year I graduated from Duke, started a new job in
─ and unfortunately lived through an incredible travesty of our justice system. As you may know, three of my close friends were wrongly indicted on charges for which they are absolutely innocent. This injustice continues to this day. New York
I am writing to ask you to join our family in contributing to the Legal Defense Fund for these three young men. As you can imagine, these three families have been taxed to their emotional and financial limits. The cost of defending their innocent sons approaches five million dollars combined. Your support will convey to these families that you stand by them in their fight for truth and justice.
Please know that your thoughts and prayers this past year were greatly comforting to me. I am fortunate that I was able to move on with my life. It is troubling to think there was a one in fifteen chance it could have been different considering the random nature of the charges. For three of my friends, their future is for now on hold as they are placed in the fight of their lives.
Enclosed please find an addressed envelope for the Legal Defense Fund, pertinent information for making contributions and an editorial that I believe accurately reflects this experience.
I appreciate your consideration of this important cause.