Lacrosse players ‘Duke’ it out against court

By Jason Radka
May 4, 2006

The Duke University lacrosse team has been under the national microscope for an alleged rape between players and a stripper on March 13. However, there are multiple other underlying quagmires besides the rape charge. According to Newsweek, “sex, race, a raucous party, a rape charge and a prosecutor up for re-election” are all aspects of the case that raises the public brow, besides the fact that Duke University establishes itself as a school with an elite sports department.

One question that can be raised to students is do college athletes believe they have a special immunity to law-breaking behaviors since they are a direct representation of an institution?

According to Newsweek, 15 out of the 47 players on the roster have been cited by the police at some point in the past three years, whether its be a misdemeanor or public underage drinking. Some students don’t believe that the Duke lacrosse team was taking advantage of its school’s high-profile, high-respected sports department as athletes. Mike Canino, a Rowan University marketing major takes a moderate stand on the situation.

“I don’t think it had to do with them being college athletes. Sometimes when people drink, things get out of control. I think things just got out of hand when they were partying.”

In a recent Newsweek article, it was also said that the “antics of the lacrosse team had attracted the notice of administrators at Duke, both for raucous tailgating parties before football games.”

In regards to behavior of student athletes during the party, David Gross, a Stockton College business administration major, said, “As student athletes, they should have never allowed themselves to get put in that situation, regardless of what actually happened.Sometimes it appears as if student athletes think they are above the rules somehow. They should have exercised better judgment.”

The case is still up in the air and is heated on all levels. Two players were indicted on April 17 for rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. The indicted, Reade Seligmann, 20-years-old from Essex Fells, N.J. and Collin Finnerty, a sophomore from Garden City, N.Y. were two young and underage students in the prime of their life that were indicted and are now facing charges with first-degree forcible rape, sexual offense and kidnapping.

Some students are taking a very neutral side on the case as more information is released to the public. Jeff Gaul, a Burlington County College communications major, took a very middle of the pack stand.

“In my mind, the jury’s still out on this one. It doesn’t seem to me that there is enough evidence that points to these two, but on the other hand, it seems that there might have been other counts of rape involving the suspects,” Gaul said. “It seems to me that these days, society is all too quick to point the finger of blame at young male college students whenever possible. Until all the facts come out, I won’t take their guilt for granted.”

Many college students from different institutions across the country believe that this story is very much up in the air. However, a striking fact that came back in favor of the Duke Lacrosse team is the DNA testing. All but one player on the Duke lacrosse team was tested, and all tests came back negative. Andrew Orsino, a West Virginia University athletic coaching major, has trouble ignoring those facts, and considers the rest of the case an attack on college athletes.

“With the DNA tests coming back negative for the players, I think it’s just someone out to get back at a player or group of players for some prior incident that may have occurred.”

Orsino also added reiteration.

“What better proof is there than scientific evidence [DNA], which is telling us that they are not guilty. Are we supposed to take the word of a stripper or proven scientific laboratory evidence?”

College students, at least in the case with the Duke lacrosse scandal are split down the middle in their thoughts about being advantageous with their title as an athlete. As for the rest of the case, it’s up to the jury.

Posted to the web by Brian Coary

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Jason Radka

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