Hopefully, this is the last we hear about the Duke lacrosse team
THE Associated Press account of the game began this way: "It would have been a wonderful story ..."
But would it have?
Duke as national champs?
Instead, Johns Hopkins stopped the fairy tale, kept Duke from winning the national championship yesterday in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse.
Oh, well. That's a shame.
Sorry. Forgive me. But have I been the only one left with a bad taste in his mouth over all the recent lacrosse coverage, ESPN special reports, stories, highlights on TV? Something about it didn't feel right. I couldn't even watch it.
All the talk about "redemption"? I didn't want to hear it.
When people first said the lives of the accused would never be the same, even after they'd been cleared, I didn't believe it then. But now I wonder.
Because lacrosse may be a wonderful sport, but as of this moment it still gives me the creeps.
Rather, Duke lacrosse still does. And all of this talk about redemption and happy endings and their being the sentimental choice.
A wonderful story, Duke winning it all?
It was a terrible thing, their being railroaded with false accusations of kidnapping and rape that marred, then canceled, last season, and threatened to send three young men to prison. An awful thing. An unspeakable thing. An unimaginable thing.
All charges were dropped, of course, because they were lies. And the prosecutor didn't just believe the lies, he allegedly engaged in ethics violations -- he was accused of withholding of evidence, lying to the court -- in order to try to make the case.
Thankfully, after about a year, the truth came out.
It was official. They were Innocent.
But they weren't innocents.
We forget that. It was a nightmare come true -- you can't imagine anything worse happening to you than what happened to them. And nothing excuses that. Nothing. Never. Never. Never. Never.
But there was a reason people believed it.
These guys were widely regarded around campus as a bunch of bullies and boozers and punks. They'd had a number of brushes with the law -- about a third of the team had faced criminal charges. One of them wrote about killing and skinning strippers in an e-mail.
These are the fresh-faced All-American boys starring in this "redemption" story, playing before record crowds cheering for a feel-good Hollywood ending. America's team.
I'm glad the truth came out at last. No one deserves to have that happen to them. No one. Never. Never. Never. Never.
They are Innocent.
But they're not innocents. Seeing them celebrated this way hasn't felt right.
It would have been a wonderful story?
Would it have? I'm glad we didn't have to find that out.