Friday, March 31, 2006

I Lead
By Blogger

We're getting ready to go, live, to the Duke University campus, where --------- ----------, one of the men's lacrosse team captains, is set to address the rape allegations that have rocked his team and made headlines across the country. He will not be taking questions, so we'll get you out there for his prepared statement, and then right back to SportsCenter. It appears he's stepping to the podium, so let's take you there right now.

My name is --------- ----------, and I am a senior at Duke University. As one of the captains of the Duke lacrosse team, I lead. Sometimes, that means leading through exhortation. I yell at my teammates, I order them to do things. And the trust and discipline of our squad is such that they follow my orders, just as we follow Coach Pressler's orders. However, more often, I try to lead by example. When we run during pre-season workouts, I work harder than anyone else and push my body to its limit, because if a leader shows any sign of slacking, then it's okay for everyone else to slack. If we're down by seven at halftime, I hold my head high and tell my teammates again and again that we will win, because if a leader shows that he's discouraged, then it's okay for everyone else to be discouraged.

I've arranged this announcement through President Brodhead because, as a leader on the men's lacrosse team, I speak for the team to assure Duke University and the Durham community that we are aware of the gravity of our situation, and that we are cooperating with authorities. As a team, we are embarrassed that one of our off-field activities has resulted in a woman claiming to have been raped. These allegations are serious. It is a gross understatement to say that they reflect poorly on us, even if they are proven false. If a crime was committed, we want nothing less than justice to the full extent of the law on behalf of the victim. In the end, the embarrassment we are going through by being associated with these charges would be nothing next to the pain of having been sexually assaulted.

That said, I have spoken face to face with each member of the lacrosse team, those who were at the house that night and those who were not. Each one has assured me that he is innocent of wrongdoing in this matter. Each one has said that he does not know anything about a sexual assault that night. And I believe them. We have submitted DNA samples to authorities, and based on what my teammates have told me, I am confident the results will show that no member of the Duke University men's lacrosse team was involved in a rape.

We ask for understanding in this difficult time for all involved, and we ask that authorities be allowed to do their jobs. Thank you.

That was --------- ----------, Duke University men's lacrosse team captain, responding to allegations that three members of his team raped a woman several weeks ago. It appeared to me that he left open the possibility that the players believe there was no assault, and he directly proclaimed innocence, which is more than any member of the university has said thus far. Kind of makes you wonder why no one did it sooner. ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack has been following the case...


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