As the blog winds down, I thought it might be worthwhile to recall the most outrageous quotes of the case. The countdown will culminate on Friday.
The last two days’ posts featured #32 through #17; today’s takes the countdown from #16 through #9 on the list of most outrageous:
16) “In the moment when the ad came out, I did not hear from one colleague that there was something wrong with the ad.”
-- Statement author Wahneema Lubiano, discussing the origins of the Group of 88’s ad—and unintentionally revealing the groupthink that plagues some quarters of the Duke campus.
15) “I’m not going to allow
--Mike Nifong, at a candidate’s forum, April 12, 2006. At a similar forum, he added that people should vote for him because he’d rather do what’s right than what would get him elected.
14) “We are eager for our students to be proved innocent . . . which is all the more reason why we require the legal system to proceed in a fair-minded, even-handed, and speedy fashion.”
--Duke president Richard Brodhead, response to Friends of Duke’s summer 2006 letter, inverting the American system of justice on its head.
13) “The best course for all concerned is to continue down the current path to trial and, we hope, to justice . . . It would be better for the players to have an opportunity to prove their innocence at trial.”
--Bob Ashley’s Herald-Sun, editorial, Nov. 10, 2006, inverting the American system of justice on its head. After the case ended, Ashley claimed that his paper’s editorials always stressed the presumption of innocence.
12) “There is no rush to judgment here about the crime—neither the violent racial epithets reported in a 911 call to Durham police, nor the harms to body and soul allegedly perpetrated by white males at 610 Buchanan Boulevard . . . How soon will confidence be restored to our university as a place where minds, souls, and bodies can feel safe from agents, perpetrators, and abettors of white privilege, irresponsibility, debauchery and violence? Surely the answer to the question must come in the form of immediate dismissals of those principally responsible for the horrors of this spring moment at Duke. Coaches of the lacrosse team, the team itself and its players, and any other agents who silenced or lied about the real nature of events at 610 Buchanan on the evening of March 13, 2006.”
--Houston Baker open letter, March 29, 2006. Baker subsequently would be welcomed by
11) “I bet one or more of the players was, you know, molested or something as a child.”
--Adjunct law professor Wendy Murphy, “CNN Live,” May 3, 2006. Murphy later explained that she viewed her role on cable talk shows not as presenting the truth. “You have to appreciate my role as a pundit is to draw inferences and make arguments on behalf of the side which I'm assigned," she stated. “So of course it's going to sound like I'm arguing in favor of 'guilty.'”
10) “This episode has touched off angers, fears, resentments, and suspicions that range far beyond this immediate cause. It has done so because the episode has brought to glaring visibility underlying issues that have been of concern on this campus and in this town for some time—issues that are not unique to Duke or Durham but that have been brought to the fore in our midst. They include concerns of women about sexual coercion and assault. They include concerns about the culture of certain student groups that regularly abuse alcohol and the attitudes these groups promote. They include concerns about the survival of the legacy of racism, the most hateful feature American history has produced. Compounding and intensifying these issues of race and gender, they include concerns about the deep structures of inequality in our society—inequalities of wealth, privilege, and opportunity (including educational opportunity), and the attitudes of superiority those inequalities breed. And they include concerns that, whether they intend to or not, universities like Duke participate in this inequality and supply a home for a culture of privilege. The objection of our East Campus neighbors was a reaction to an attitude of arrogant inconsiderateness that reached its peak in the alleged event but that had long preceded it.”
--Richard Brodhead, April 5, 2006, “Letter to the Duke Community.” This document—the president’s last major public statement on the case before the first two arrests—could easily have served as a campaign flyer for Nifong’s primary campaign. In his 2,377 words, he never once mentioned the presumption of innocence; or that the lacrosse captains had voluntarily given statements, DNA, and their e-mail passwords; or that the team members and their attorneys wholly denied all allegations.
--Det. Ben Himan, recalling Mike Nifong’s reaction after the DA’s initial briefing on the case, when the officers involved relayed to the DA the myriad weaknesses of the case. A few minutes after this meeting, Nifong began the first of his 50-70 media appearances expressing his certainty that a heinous rape had occurred.
Tomorrow: the countdown concludes, with quotes #8 through #1.