Editor Speaks Out: Where is the outrage?

By on April 17, 2007

Lost in the entire media frenzy revolving around the Don Imus story last week was the news that the rape charges against the three Duke men’s lacrosse players had been dropped.

Remember that story? In March of last year, a black stripper told police that she had been raped by three white men at a party in a house rented by a couple senior Duke lacrosse players. The stripper, a student at a nearby historically black college and mother of two, said she was held down by the three men and forced into having sex in a bathroom.

The story instantly caused outrage and the media went all-out with its coverage. Even though the three players hadn’t been proven guilty of rape, you wouldn’t have known that based on the events that followed.

Two of the players were placed on interim suspension – the other graduated the day before he was indicted. 88 Duke faculty members placed an ad in the student newspaper in which they expressed support for the alleged victim. Wanted posters were placed around campus with pictures of the lacrosse players, the team’s season was cancelled and its coach resigned.

Last Wednesday, 13 months after the story surfaced, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed all charges against the three players, stating the investigation concluded “that no attack occurred.”

Oops, sorry guys.

After having their names and reputations dragged through the mud for more than a year, the three players will have a difficult time getting their good names back. You’d think people would be outraged, but the level of outrage has paled in comparison to the reaction regarding the comments Imus made.

I’m not condoning what Imus said about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. He was wrong and his punishment was harsh; both CBS and NBC (which televised his radio show on MSNBC) fired him.

But who has been hurt more here? As hurtful and untruthful as Imus’ comments were, we’re talking about words said by an aging shock jock as opposed to untruthful rape allegations.

The lacrosse players were treated like criminals even though the DNA tests on all 46 of the team’s white members failed to match any evidence taken from the accuser. For the members of the Duke lacrosse team, this scandal was far more damaging to their futures than some ignorant words from Imus.

So I ask, where is the outrage over what happened to the three Duke lacrosse players?


About Doug Manners