One remarkable pattern about this case has been the steadiness of those who rushed to judgment last spring and now not only refuse to admit any error, but continue to cling to the moral judgments they adopted last spring, when their statements or actions presumed that a crime occurred.
Take, for instance, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and head of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition. Shortly after the announcement that the first DNA tests came back negative, the two-time presidential candidate treated the news as blasé, in a column entitled, “Horror and Truth”:
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.” Indeed, he asserts that the lack of DNA evidence "doesn't mean nothing happened. It just means nothing was left behind." The District Attorney is putting the case before a grand jury.
“These facts,” continued
- “This was the first time [Crystal Mangum] had been hired to dance for a party.” False.
- “The one African American on the team wasn’t there.” False.
- “We know that the two women were abused.” False.
- “What happened? We don’t know for sure because the Duke players are maintaining a code of silence.” False.
Then, to show his support for Mangum,
But if it were a hoax?
More than a year later,
Actually, of course, they were declared innocent.
Three times he was asked whether he would apologize to the players for his spring 2006 actions; three times he refused. Instead, he continued the character assault. It was, he chided, a “very hazardous party,” indeed an “orgasmic(!) party.” He continued: “There’s no moral value in that party”—as if anyone had claimed that there were.
The people to blame were the players themselves: “They did put themselves at risk, and therefore they had to pay a real social price for it.” Anyhow, their parents had enough money to get them off, whereas a “lot of people” don’t have the resources and go to jail. Jackson did not say if he had offered to use Rainbow/PUSH funds to pay the college tuition of those who had falsely accused any other people.
When asked point-blank by host John Williams whether he had made a mistake,
John Williams: “Are you going to admit to them [the lacrosse players] that you made a mistake; and that your mistake had consequences, unintended, to them?
: [Pauses.] I didn’t make a mistake. Jackson
My appeal was for the truth to come out. We did not indict them. We said, let the truth—do not spare the investigation.
[So that’s what
Because this happens much too frequently, John, where the rich prey upon the poor, where men prey upon women.
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At another point in the interview, he again retreated to vagueness, contending, “After all, this is a pattern in the South.”
What’s the chief lesson of the case?
I would say that the act of men luring women with their moneys for their private gratification—we must admit that is unethical . . . and highly risky. Therefore, that very act is ill-advised. And you put yourself in a very perilous predicament. And they did.