One striking element of the reaction to the lacrosse case has been the general willingness of those who rushed to judgment (i.e., the Group of 88, Selena Roberts) to attempt to cover up what they did in spring 2006—rather than simply apologize for their rush to judgment—and the willingness of their apologists (Charlie Piot and Robert Zimmerman are the best examples here) to accept their after-the-fact rationalizations even when those rationalizations directly contradict contemporary documentary evidence.
Add former SI columnist Jeff Pearlman to the latter list, based on this interview with Tyler Hissey:
Tyler: With her book coming out, Selena Roberts continued to take a lot of heat for her Duke Lacrosse columns. Despite evidence proving that Roberts got the issue dead wrong--the story was about the systematic abuse of innocent young men being railroaded by a corrupt prosecutor and a media willing to rush to accuse, not the oppression of minority women--she has not only refused to apologize, she continued to make baseless assertions in defense of her view while promoting her tell-all book about Alex Rodriguez. As many bloggers and Jason Whitlock noted, it was tough to accept any fact from an unnamed source in her book without a grain of salt after his refusal to take accountability for her Duke columns. You wrote a couple of posts defending her career, but, in light of this Fire Joe Morgan-style analysis courtesy of Duke case expert K.C. Johnson, do you feel any differently on the matter?
Jeff: I don't, because I don't think what she wrote was nearly as terrible as people made it out to be. If you read her work at the time, it's more an attack of the culture, not the athletes themselves. And she was right, in that regard. [emphasis added] That said, would I have handled the aftermath differently? Probably. The one thing I've learned the hard way in this business: Acknowledging shortcomings almost always goes well in the long run. Again, I didn't think her stuff was nearly as offensive as many do. But clearly it was taken in a certain way--one I don't think she intended.
As the link to DIW pointed out, even accepting her absurd after-the-fact rationalization that she was writing about the “culture,” not the “crime,” Roberts was factually wrong in what she had to say about the team’s alleged “culture” in her March 31, 2006 column. In that column, it’s worth remembering, Roberts mentioned not the players' alleged racism or sexism but instead claimed that the team’s anti-snitch “culture” explained why none of the players had cooperated with police—even though the captains had fully cooperated with the police and the players’ attorneys were begging rogue DA Mike Nifong to examine their exculpatory evidence.
I can see where Pearlman would want to defend a friend. But describing Roberts’ column in a blatantly misleading fashion is far beyond the requirements of friendship.