DIW readers had quite a few additional suggestions for quotes that could have made the Top 32 Countdown of most outrageous lacrosse case statements.
First, three items for which I should have found room:
1.) “‘It’s the same old story. Duke up, Central down.’ Hall said he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted ‘whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.’”
--NCCU student government leader Chan Hall, to Newsweek reporter Susannah Meadows, April 2006.
2.) “Yeah, I’d love to see it [the document].”
--Linwood Wilson, interrupting defense attorney Joe Cheshire’s press conference, June 22, 2006, to deny Cheshire’s claim that a document in the just-handed over discovery material had Crystal Mangum telling inconsistent stories and suggesting she was raped by other than three men.
The next day, Cheshire faxed Wilson a police report from Officer Gwen Sutton, who recorded Mangum’s inconsistent assertions (including a claim that there were five, not three, rapists). Cheshire noted, “Since you are the District Attorney’s Investigator, the press could have assumed—falsely, as it turns out—that you had actually read your file. I can only assume your motivation in questioning my assertion was simply ignorance. A simple reading of your file might solve that problem in the future.”
3.) “I always thought that [Mike Nifong] was a very ethical person.”
--Linwood Wilson, in State Bar deposition, April 2007. This is the same Linwood Wilson who gave up his PI’s license after myriad ethics complaints against him.
Other memorable quotes, in no particular order of ranking:
4.) “This goes to show that justice can’t be bought by a bunch of rich white boys from New York.”
--Former Durham Democratic Party official Harris Johnson, celebrating Mike Nifong’s victory, Election Night 2006. As with Chan Hall’s statement, no one from the city’s political, academic, or media leadership rebuked Johnson for his comment.
5.) “Quite a number of people have assured me that the ad said the students were guilty, but if you go back and look, that’s not what the ad says.”
--Richard Brodhead, on the Group of 88’s statement, January 2007.
No, the ad (described by its author, Wahneema Lubiano, as about the “lacrosse incident”), just unequivocally stated that something happened to Mangum; and thanked people who had declared the players guilty.
6.) “I don’t know why counsel for the defense would think there was anything of evidentiary value on that cell phone.”
--Mike Nifong, in court, May 2006. The ex-DA, obviously, had no interest in this information.
7.) “There was evidence of DNA of Seligmann [sic] who lived in that house [sic].”
--”Commentator” Georgia Goslee, MSNBC, 7 August 2006. Of course, there were never any DNA matches to Reade Seligmann, and he did not live at 610 N. Buchanan.
8.) “I’m very comfortable with our coverage. From the beginning, we’ve felt this story had two main elements: one was the allegation of rape; the other was the general behavior of a high-level sports team at a prestigious university.”
--New York Times sports editor Tom Jolly, April 23, 2006. Jolly oversaw the paper's first month-plus of guilt-presuming coverage.
9.) “If the rape and kidnapping charges do not hold up, the story doesn’t end. The Times should be prepared to continue covering what is done about the racial-insult allegations, given the prominence of the team and the university.”
--Former Times “public editor” Byron Calame, April 23, 2006. Prosecutorial misconduct? The media’s rush to judgment? Professors betraying their profession? Not the story if the charges collapsed, according to Calame.
10.) “She was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air.”
--Washington Post columnist Lynne Duke, May 24, 2006.
11.) “It’s impossible to avoid thinking of all the black women who were violated by drunken white men in the American South over the centuries. The master-slave relationship, the tradition of droit du seigneur , the use of sexual possession as an instrument of domination—all this ugliness floods the mind, unbidden, and refuses to leave.”
--Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, April 25, 2006.
12.) “Having said something other than ‘no comment’ in the first place, it’s kind of like going into Iraq. It’s not a question of if you’re right to go in there. It’s a question of is it right to leave things a mess at this point in time?”
--Mike Nifong, April 2006, battling Bill (“Emmett Till”) Chafe for inappropriate analogies.
13.) “When the children of privilege feel vividly alive only while victimizing, even torturing, we must all ask why . . . The imperative to win, and damn all collateral costs, is not peculiar to Durham—and it is killing us.”
--Allan Gurganus, April 9, 2006, New York Times.
14.) “The lacrosse gals, 30 of 31 of whom are white, are apparently free to martyr their male lax mates . . . Does cross-team friendship and university pride negate common sense at a college as difficult to gain admission to as Duke? Has anyone—from the women’s lacrosse coach, Kerstin Kimel, to the Duke president, Richard H. Brodhead—reminded the players of the kind of behavior they are staking their own reputations on?”
--Times columnist Harvey Araton, May 2006. After the case ended, Araton refused to apologize.
15.) “Something happened on the night of March 13th—something so compelling that Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong was prompted to say, 'This case is not going away’ . . . We know that the two women were abused . . . The Duke scandal should lead colleges across the country to hold searching discussions about racial and sexual stereotypes, exposing the myths that entrap so many. But it shouldn’t take the brutalizing of a mother of two to raise these issues.”
--Former two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, April 2006.