Saturday, February 10, 2007

ATAF and Character

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 Durham. Some attended various court hearings; others participated in the recent mothers’ march. Others have done what they can to raise money for the legal defense fund.

One of the graduated seniors forwarded to me the letter below, which he sent out early in the new year.

Dear Friends and Family,

2006 is a year I will never forget. This past year I graduated from Duke, started a new job in New York ─ 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.

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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I truly admire how these young men have handled this entire affair. I am proud my child is a fellow student. Unfortunately, the administration and some faculty have left me disappointed and dismayed.

Anonymous said...

It is good to continue focusing on the ongoing cost of this ordeal to those who have been the victim of this hoax.

It is important to get some kind of acknowledgment from from the faculty and administration at Duke that a terrible injustice has been done to the three indicted students, the rest of the lacrosse team and the fired coach.

Any decent action on the part of the school begins with that acknowledgment.

Anonymous said...

This one brings it back home. His one in fifteen comment sent chills down my spine. Sometimes the blog topics, while important, miss the human side.

The behavior of the indicted and unindicted lacrosse players is quite a contrast leftist, meta-narritave, culture of aggrievement faculty at Duke.

Anonymous said...

I suggest we start calling this situation the Duke LAX Frameup by a lying accuser aided and abetted by corrupt officials. Not the Scandal and not the Hoax.

Anonymous said...

Character counts. If a greater fraction of individuals in our society truly held to standards of conduct reflective of even moderately developed character, everyone would be better off. Far too many play the zero sum game or put shortsighted perceived self-interest ahead of all else, to the detriment of themselves and all others. These are then held up by themselves or others as examples to follow.

A functional system of justice would serve as one check on this sort of thing, by showing that there are consequences for acting without character -- but really, this is part of social development and best taught by positive example. This is one reason why it is in everyone's interests for the truth to out, for those who's profession is distorting the truth to be exposed, and for the heroism of those who stood against the wrongs done on so many levels to be recognized.

Ironically, those who were framed as the vilest miscreants have been shown to be in very rare company indeed, by showing character.

Anonymous said...

A far cry from the 'Animal House' picture painted by all the mainstream media in the first months of the hoax.

Another a good lesson not to take agenda driven 'reporting' as fact.

Anonymous said...

"Ironically, those who were framed as the vilest miscreants have been shown to be in very rare company indeed, by showing character."

Ironic indeed. Oh so ironic.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

1 in 15 chance of being accused of a rape that never happened?

2:03 - you aren't the only one with chills down your spine.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

It is nice that these guys are good people. Their parents should be proud. But it is irrelevant to the global issue here.

The state should not be able to railroad ANYONE. The state should not be able to railroad anyone whether they are Louis Farakan or David Duke. Certainly that these guys are good guys made more people rally to them, but that is in some ways unfortunate. We really should rally to anyone the state is trying to deprive of liberty unjustly.

Anonymous said...

False rape accusations:

The percentage assumed varies widely - from a low of 2% (the "Susan Brownmiller" number) to 60% (a study done in the Air Force). A professor at Purdue named Eugen Kanin also found very high numbers (over 40%) in a study.

I have heard long-term police officers say that they came across a high percentage in their careers, but most were stopped in the initial stages, because the complainant's story was simply not credible many times - if the complainant then admits it, the complaint obviously vanishes at that stage.

It's an area worth investigating - Tawanna Brawley and Gary Dotson are two famous cases that come to mind.

Anonymous said...

My sister lives in Garden City, NY, where the Finnertys also reside. The people there are well-off, but only a few of the most wealthy can spend millions of dollars on legal bills, or anything else, and not be really strapped.

Nifong has put these families in a tremendously stressed and difficult position. The Duke 3 deserve all the financial support they can get. I hope with all my heart that they'll recoup all their expenses, and more, from the City of Durham, once the assault case is thrown out of court.


Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the letter profiled in today's column has been very effective in raising funds for the legal defense fund, otherwise known of as the Association for Truth and Fairness.

If every player on the Duke lacrosse team, and every other person with a concern for this case, would send such a letter to only ten of their relationships, it could make an enormous difference in offsetting some of the horrific costs of the defense.

There are many good people around this nation who care that the falsely indicted young men receive justice. Many only need to be asked, and they will be more than willing to do what they can.

A personal letter, along with an enclosed addressed envelope, is very helpful.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with identifying, considering, studying, or teaching the extent to which our educational, political and legal systems have in fact been agenda-driven through history, with the result (and also, no doubt, the intent) of empowering some people at the expense of others. In fact, I think it is something that people need to think about.

But shouldn't the point of the exercise be to identify, consider, study, and teach that phenomenon as something to be exposed and corrected for the benefit of everyone, rather than to be identified and perpetrated into the future -- only now for the benefit of those who claim that their agendas were not benefited before?

It's the difference between seeking truth, which requires enlightened inquiry and reasonable consideration of facts, and seeking payback, which does not.

Which one is more appropriate for our educational system and our justice system?

Is that really a difficult question?

Dave in CA

Anonymous said...

I suggest everyone read the UNC opinion article regarding the defense fund established for the players. It can be found at It is entitled the "Rich get richer."
Interesting to read how UNC views the fund.

Anonymous said...

The rich get richer

To many of us on this side of Tobacco Road, Duke students are synonymous with rich, spoiled whiners trying to earn their place in Northeastern aristocracy by attending the University of New Jersey-Durham, but even they sometimes need financial help.

The Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a stripper are facing ever rising legal fees even though it appears they're not guilty But now they're getting help. We just wish that more people who are wrongly accused could be afforded the same aid.

A nonprofit corporation has been set up to help to recover some of the $3 million the parents of the accused have spent on legal aid.

While it's always admirable to offer financial assistance to someone who appears to have been wrongly accused, we wonder where this nonprofit group was for the thousands of people who are wrongly accused and convicted of crimes every year.

Where were they for Brandon Moon, who spent 17 years in prison on rape charges before DNA evidence cleared him.

Where were they for Kirstin Lobato, twice convicted for a Las Vegas murder despite the fact that she cannot be placed within 170 miles of the crime.

Or for John Spirko, who received a stay of execution to evaluate new evidence; or for Tony Ford, who also was granted amnesty because new DNA testing might clear his name.

Or for Winston-Salem's own Darryl Hunt, who was exonerated three years ago for a wrongful rape and murder conviction for which he had spent 18 years in prison.

Because the Duke lacrosse players attend a high-profile, predominately white, private university located in a majority black area steeped in a history of racism, this case was brought to the attention of the nation and the world.

But the media appeal of this specific case does not mean that the players are any more qualified to receive aid.

It is great that they are getting help, don't get us wrong, but we wonder where the help is for the other thousands who are prosecuted every year for crimes they didn't commit.

Hmmm, so because there are some who have been exhonerated based on DNA evidence etc, there are thousands who are prosecuted for crimes they didn't commit?

Let's have some real statistics on that, please.

Anonymous said...

3:49 --

Rich Get Richer

Anonymous said...


The opinion you reference is held by many. The young men will without a doubt have millions coming from the civil suits afterward.
Borrowing against a mortgage or just plain borrowing money until then is not a life and death matter.
When many people lose their homes and everything they have worked for just to pay medical and hospital bills, you must understand that a lot of people don't look at this situation as dire. The boys' families have money. They of course do not want to spend all of their savings on attorneys in this case, but we all are faced with such matters from time to time and most have no "fund" to help.
If people want to contribute, fine, but don't make it seem as if they have no resources. Many are working in many ways to see they get justice.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Tar Heel commentary is childish. By that logic, if you help any victims ever, you are guilty for not helping all victims. As for Duke being predominantly white, so is UNC-CH. It is the latter which has had to operate in the past under federal supervision. It is UNC-CH which has a history of institutional racism, which lingers today in statues and named buildings on campus, and in the history of litigation toward admission of African-Americans and it lingers in the emblem of the Tar Heel, a tribute to confederate soldiers who fought in defense of the slavemasters--many of whom kept slaves as servants while students in Chapel Hill. Calling themselves Tar Heels is the same as flying the Confederate flag.

Anonymous said...

I have on occasion wondered why "Arts" and "Sciences" belong in the same conversation. It seems to me that "Arts and Garbage" would be one appropriate grouping, "Science and Engineering" another - though "scientists" tend to look down their noses at applied programs. Anyway, to list class/race/gender nonsense together with, oh, economics for example, just doesn't seem approipriate; and it boosts the credibility of the former (by association) to something above zero, where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

I wish KC wouldn't use his blog to appeal for donations. There are plenty of other places to go to get this information.

Anonymous said...

The blog today is not about raising donations. It is about recognizing character.

There are some who rush to judgment, and follow false prophets in lies that feed their preconceived biases.

And then there are others, who do not attack others, but who go out of their way to help those in need.

What will you do to help?

Anonymous said...


You're a stupid pos. Just how many classes under the Duke hog Wahneema did it take for you to write that ignorant racist diatribe?
Universities everywhere should not be conned and coerced into destroying the images that are their history.
By that logic, every black person in Durham should be forced to pay reparations toward Reade, Collin, and Dave for their blatant anti-white racism that has been used to harm their lives.

Anonymous said...

" Duke Extortion Conspiracy "

Anonymous said...


Most of us will contribute. The issue is not to be made to feel that you must. It's like those telephone solicitors. You want to contribute to worthy causes to help others, but you don't want someone else to tell you to do so.
Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

It's like the one "pot-banger's" sign said - now, to her chagrin;

"Real Men tell the Truth"

In this case, the 'young' men are the only individuals who told the truth at every step.

And... for good measure they apologized too - for what in PC parlance would be described as an "age-appropriate mistake"- hiring strippers.

Reponsibility in this case has been inverse to "authority".

Yes KC, Durham is in WornderLand.


Anonymous said...

Here's the way I see it. Highlighting the defense fund instead of keeping it low key for avid supporters only feeds the critics and those who want the Duke students to pay for something they didn't do.
Look at this objectively, not the way you feel about it personally. There are so many people who have nothing, no money at all to pay for lawyers. When they are wrongly accused, they stay in jail for months or years until the case is heard. Then they have to rely on a state appointed attorney who isn't always the best.
To continue to make a big deal about raising money for the lacrosse players only makes it seem that people are making sure they are given gold-plated treatment, right or wrong. No one should want that. It feeds the trolls in Durham.

Anonymous said...

Character........and class, neither of which the Duke 88 possess.

Anonymous said...

I'm becoming unenamored with the term "hoax." "Hoax" implies a prank. This is an ugly, malfeasant railroading.

Anonymous said...

KC you did a wonderful job of highlighting the character of members of the lacrosse. As you indicated, many have worked behind the scenes to see that justice is done in this case. Those of us who have children at Duke want to know how these young men are doing and how this case has affected them. And yes, keep reminding us that THE DEFENSE FUND IS IMPORTANT to help these families cope with these legal fees. How could onej possibly object to writing about it. Keep at it, KC

Anonymous said...

TO 5:31PM---

Excellent point. Many of us have used "hoax" too often. That word is a bit light for what has been done to the Duke3.

Months ago I said that the only rape that can be proven in this case is the one perpetrated on three Duke athletes by an unethical district attorney.

The lacrosse players have more accurately been "raped" of a great many things.......and throughout it all they have shown great courage and character.


Anonymous said...

To JLS at 2:30,

The ultimate responsibility now lies with the people of NC, through their legislative bodies. If they don't act, don't push their legislators to disable this system in favor of one with oversight and the needed checks and balances, then it's clear the people of NC are not of the same mettle as a small gathering of young men from other states.

It's up to the people of NC to press this issue beyond the political interests of their elected state representatives.


Anonymous said...

I very much doubt the accused will ever be able to recover millions they spend (if they sue Durham or NC). People who spend years and years in prison, and are exonerated, many times are paid a few millions at best. So, contributing to defense fund makes sense to me. As for people who are complaining about it-nobody is forcing you to donate.
If you think there are other more worthy causes-by all means, donate there. What is stopping you?

Anonymous said...

4:03 It seems to me the UNC article is simply another class warfare, possbily soon to be bitter and angry, student.

I donate freely to those I choose, both time and money, and that is my business, not others. In that sense I'm elitist, as we all are - everyone.

One can define elitist in many ways, but at the end of the day one is free to choose how they marry, where they send their children to school, where they live, work, and even who they associate with. Some call it elitism, others call it freedom.

Anonymous said...

TO 6:00PM----

¡ Muy excellente !

Magnifico !


Anonymous said...

from a non-lawyer/retired professor: When I reflect on the character issue and the group of 88, I think of the allegations of grade retaliation by Curtis against LAX player Dowd. Grade retaliation is the mortal sin of teaching faculty, and is indicative of a total lack of character. The 88 want due process for Curtis no doubt, but they hung the LAX players out to dry.

Anonymous said...

4:24, KC Johnson can say anything he wants on his blog - that's his prerogative, it's his blog. He is not employed by anyone to do this, and does not receive funding to maintain this site. So he is beholden only to himself. He blogs on this issue because he thinks it's important. If he thinks raising money for the ATAF is worth his time to write about, then that's what he will do.

You can wish what you like, but KC has never advertised his blog as anything but coverage of what he deems important about the Duke Lacrosse case. If he wants to write about it, he will. He owes you, me, and everyone else reading this no explanation of the topics he covers.

Anonymous said...

The Gang of 88 and many others are attempting to deconstruct character and more.

The discussion of the young men's character reminds me that the Boy Scouts are fighting the similar battles, against like-minded deconstructionists on numerous fronts.

Ironically, Scouting has done much, for many, many years to help boys regardless of race or status. Many times the boys need Scouting more than the Scouts need the boy.

What Scouts learn, among many other things, are to be: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thirfty, brave, clean, and reverent.

One wonders how many of the Gang of 88 were involved in Girl or Boy Scouts, vs. how many of the Lacrosse team players.

Anonymous said...

6:00 "how they marry", should read who...

lol, not much interested in hearing a rant from Edward's blogger...

Anonymous said...


You have made the point that I have been emphasizing for months. Just who has been telling the truth since the party? It sure as heck has not been the "adults" associated with Duke University.

I think that the issue of the character of Houston Baker and Karla Holloway is self-evident. These are people who portray themselves as the eternal victims, yet have created a string of victims in their wake, and when someone points out the obvious, they scream "racism" and "sexism." The same goes for a number of other people associated with Duke and with the governments of Durham and North Carolina. Just who are the liars and who are the truth tellers? I think we know.

Anonymous said...

I think the critics of this effort miss the point and fail to understand the purpose of the Association for Truth and Fairness. Supporting this cause and highlighting the gross miscarriage of justice in Durham will serve many purposes.

First, it will put renegade, win at all costs prosecutors on notice that this behavior is not tolerated. Second, it will hopefully bring about legislation to ensure this type of malicious prosecution never happens to ANYONE ever again.

The UNC article highlights many miscarriages of our justice system that are troubling and unfortunate. It is sad many of these individuals did not have the resources to defend themselves, or have friends with the passion and resources to start a similar effort to the ATAF.

The hypocrisy of these critics is laughable, I think the NAACP and other causes missed an important opportunity to further their cause by highlighting and expressing outrage at this perversion of our justice system, it would give immense publicity and credibility to their efforts. Their opposition to the ATAF and dropping of the charges further discredits their cause and credibility in my opinion.

Supporting the Association for Truth and Fairness will serve to highlight prosecutorial abuse and hopefully work to ensure this type of injustice never happens to any American, black or white, poor or rich, ever again.


Anonymous said...

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

Hoax: Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.

Seems an appropriate term...

--Lumpy Gravy

Anonymous said...

The thread covering the move to remove Nifong seems to have had very few comments so I am revisiting the issue here.

Although the filing of the petition was covered well by the local press, initially, it was very brief. No surprise, really.....given that Orlando Hudson is the judge who will hear the case.

He said that he would wait for the State Bar to resolve its ethics case against Nifong before taking up the petition.

How novel. How very predictable. Well, big bad Orlando, that won't be until JUNE!!!

If only there were a different judge in place perhaps what needs to be done in this case would finally be done: Get Mike Nifong the hell out of any position of authority.

It bears repeating over and over and over.......Orlando would move his big butt like lightning and remove anyone who has performed the way in which Nifong has if we were talking about black men accused of a crime.

That's why Durham is famous for its revolving door down at the courthouse. If you're a criminal or a rapist or a drug dealer in Durham.....and if you're black......"no problema, hombre". You'll be back out on the streets in no time.

I got my fill of the abstruse and banal Orlando Hudson during the high profile Peterson case.

He's got the charisma and the appeal of a gnat caught on a piece of ice at an outdoor picnic.

He'd be running about and sweating like a girl in a gymnastics class if he could remove a DA for going after some brothas.

That's the scum of Durham and it's hideous beyond measure. I am perplexed as to how anyone living in the Triangle for any length of time would have believed that filing a petition such as this in Durham would have played out any differently than it has.

Durham will have to have justice rammed down their racist throats before all this is over.


Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 4:46 PM

" Duke Extortion Conspiracy "

Yes, for starters.

Hostile work environment harassment on campus is another.

Anonymous said...

Democrats rule, Dude! Can't wait until they have all the power in the government! Then things will be sweet!

Fire away, loons - the red meat has been tossed. Red as in commie, get it?

james conrad said...

off topic a bit but heres a guy in new orleans who just missed the death penalty, spent 18 years in jail. he just got a judgement for 14 million against orleans parish and former prosecutersjudgement day

Anonymous said...

7:42PM - Sweet!

Anonymous said...

Debra 6:52, you are absolutely correct. Beth Brewer knew exactly what she was doing. She knew that the Courts would drag their ass on this complaint, but they cannot do it without the exposure you referenced in your post. They are racist thugs in judicial cloaks. Their days are short.

Anonymous said...

OK Cedarford, they are not asking hungry children to donate their milk money.

Anonymous said...

The accused are STILL facing 30-year prison terms. And there still exists the very real possibility that the Special Prosecutors now assigned to examine the case are primarily focused on still finding SOME KIND OF CHARGE to get this case to trial, and not on a search for justice.

The lacrosse case is a political trial; and in political trials, noise counts. If you want to get involved in helping raise the noise level (and maybe saving three innocent defendants from wrongful conviction, and an entire town/county from a corrupt oligarchy); please sign the following; and if you could find space to mention this somewhere, it could be a great help :

Petition to Attorney General Cooper of North Carolina to end the hoax :

Petition to the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department to investigate
corruption in the Durham city administration :

Petition to Attorney General Gonzales to investigate civil rights violations and hate crimes in the Duke lacrosse case :

Unknown said...

What an important post thank you.
They say sometimes in life its the struggle that makes the man
I believe that the duke lacrosse team , their families and friends have shown what character is.
the young man wrote in his letter
"our justice system"
"their fight for truth and justice"
Made my head swim , his call for ME to join in what that young man rightly called OUR fight.
I thought of MLK
calling the nation to rightessness
To the "leaders" popoing the fundraising
cause the families are "rich"
Beyond contempable.
In life its usually the minority who set the tone.
And the duke cause will help all the helpless i believe. Cause it matters , courage does.
It gives hope to that black mother in durham whos son is rotting in jail cause he had to settle cause the powerful people said so. Those "leaders" huh?
Im sending a check and a prayer and im waiting for my duke lacrosse hoody to wear proudly in san francisco.

M. Simon said...

Here is how you make permalinks:

<a href="url">text to display</a>

replace url with:
leave the quote marks

replace text to display
Duke Fever

Duke Fever

Anonymous said...

I gave ATAF $100, no questions asked. I'd be willing to fork over a little more if they would sell shares in the civil suits. That is, if the lawyers get 1/3 and I pay for the lawyers fees, shouldn't I get my cut?

Justice ain't free. That is no joke.

Michael said...

re: 7:42

Good news for sure. How did they get at the current and former prosecutors? I hope Coman is paying attention.

Anonymous said...

To 9:12
Email petitions carry absolutely no weight with any governmental entity. If they even see it, they's just hit the "delete" button. Petitions in general are only effective if the signatures and address are verifiable as residents/citizens or voters. You're wasting your time getting a bunch of people to sign and forward petitions to Cooper or Easley or Gonzales via email. A personal letter carries some weight--try it.
Outerbanx Phantom

Anonymous said...

9:12 At first I thought it appropriate to get the AG involved, but I'm more of a states rights kind of guy and think NC needs to work this out themselves.

We must have confidence that the system works. Having the AG jump in now is not healthy.

Having said that, I hope the boys are exonerated fully, and fast. And I hope they do not negotiate any settlement that keeps them from exposing those that abetted this fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Is brodhead still in place???



Anonymous said...

but IF donations from Duke alumni to the defense fund instead of Duke meet or exceed legal costs AND there is good prospect of hefty, major lawsuits coming - is this the best use of my charitable dollars??

My personal view, as a non-Duke alum, would be that the most effective donations to the fund would be those made by Duke alumni, with voided copies of their checks being included in responses to donation solicitations from the university.

Were I a Duke alum, I would send all donations to anti-Angry-Studies groups (ATAF or otherwise) until Duke had cleaned up its act; the exoneration of the students would not end the diversion of my money.

Anonymous said...

You guys forgot the duke lacrosse player that was drunk and had a pot bong in the car and was caught in Chapel Hill about 6 weeks into the case. He was charged with DUI and Drug parenphenilia.

why am I surprised?

Anonymous said...


ESAD, you petty-piling-on pig!

White Boner said...

The cost of defending their innocent sons approaches five million dollars combined.

Not to re-hash an old argument, but anybody who thinks that the defense attorneys are eager to abandon this kind of revenue stream is blind, deaf, dumb....and definitely not an American.

The players are innocent, and the defense attorneys seem to be doing the tactical part of their job pretty well (although it'd be hard to screw this case up). But given their total compliance in the prosecution's delays, I strongly suspect that they're greedily milking these families (and now the generous donors) for every possible penny.