In his interview, Feinstein didn’t confine his criticism to the three players. He also blasted the Brodhead administration for not resuming the season after April 10, 2006 DNA tests revealed no matches to any lacrosse player.
People of good faith can disagree over this decision: it seems to me that Nifong and his allies among the potbangers, Group of 88, and Herald-Sun had so poisoned the public atmosphere that Duke could not have guaranteed the players’ safety.
But this criticism is particularly rich coming from Feinstein. In a May 8, 2006 article—nearly one month after the DNA reports came in—Feinstein didn’t mention his belief that the season should have been restored as soon as the DNA tests came back negative. In fact, he wrote, “Whether Duke plays lacrosse next year really doesn’t matter.”
But he did reveal the key to the case in that May article: if in 1998, Duke had chosen the candidate that John Feinstein had preferred for its vacant AD’s position, “this never would have gotten to this point.”
There are many lessons to be learned from this case. One of them, however, is not that Duke, or any other academic institution, should make a habit of listening to John (“I don’t think I’ve been proven wrong”) Feinstein.