Saturday, May 8, 2010


The death of University of Virginia (UVA) senior Yeardley Love and the absolutely absurd characterization of her passing as a “Lacrosse Murder” begs the attention and response of all fair minded folks. The media and yet another well intended but soppy university administration moved to the brink of failing to consider the needs of the many while engaging a sophomoric attempt to deflect any potential legal proceedings against them. At least, that’s the way some folks see it.

The University as reported by NBC on the Today Show offered to cancel the remaining men’s and women’s lacrosse seasons in deference to the tragedy. Sharon and John Love courageously opted to continue the seasons which we suspect is what daughter Yeardley would have earnestly wanted. The University’s sincere though wholly inappropriate gesture would have had ramifications not unlike Duke University’s arbitrary and capricious decision to cancel their whole 2006 lacrosse season. What if in an understandable emotional angst the Loves had accepted the offer?

This incident is bad enough with two young people apparently involved in a love affair (albeit a physically abusive one ending tragically) without it further negatively affecting those not involved. The courts will eventually untangle all this and we will know the truth. Let them do their work unencumbered.

In the meantime George Huguely, 22, of Chevy Chase, Md., also a senior at UVA has been charged with first-degree murder and now appropriately sits in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

In a feeding frenzy not unlike the Duke Lacrosse scandal several years ago, some in the media have embraced an associative mania where truth appears to have been all but ignored.

Yes, Love played on the UVA Women’s Lacrosse Team while Huguely played on the UVA Men’s Lacrosse Team. So? They were also attending the same university, lived in the same state, country, continent, planet and universe and probably had many other aspects of their lives in synch. So, why the rush to invoke “Lacrosse” as the common denominator? Well, it conjures up memories of the whole Duke tragedy and with the insinuation after all is said and done (despite studies to the contrary) that the culture of lacrosse is the real culprit. Bottom line – sells papers or bytes or whatever…

Hank Kurz, Jr of the Associated Press in his May 3, 2010 piece entitled, Female Lacrosse Player from Cockeysville Murdered included the following line,

“By coincidence, Huguely attended the same prep school as at least one of the Duke Lacrosse players who were accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a team party. The charges later were dismissed.”

Kurz not so subtly dredges up all the faulty logic stirred and fomented by Durham, NC District Attorney Mike Nifong who was eventually disbarred and jailed for his part in the Duke Lacrosse Scandal. Reality: There was no basis in truth for any of the allegations made against any of the Duke Lacrosse Players and yes, even while the charges were dismissed, the State of North Carolina went even further by declaring the players “Innocent” and victims themselves. Any attempt to connect these two incidents is nothing more than sensationalism intended to distract from the truth and sell newspapers.

Daily writer Whitey Reid in his May 4, 2010 article, Player’s Death Raises Question About Season Ahead offers the following quote as the basis for his article on whether UVA was going to participate in post season tournament play.

“In 2006, the Duke men’s lacrosse team elected to cancel its season in the wake of a scandal involving several of its players at an off-campus party.”

Yikes! Let it be known (AGAIN) that the Duke Lacrosse Team never elected anything. Duke University in the person of Duke President Richard Brodhead wrongfully fired Head Lacrosse Coach Mike Pressler and then arbitrarily cancelled the lacrosse season with no positive input from anybody in the lacrosse program. Brodhead assumed the worst and made a judgment based on bias, ignorance and injustice influenced by an agenda driven portion of his faculty. Duke and Brodhead have paid mightily in dollars and lost credibility for that implausible lapse in judgment. But now several years later comes a couple of journalistic yahoos who choose to bait the hook and wait and see who bites. Well, it’s me and I am having none of their malarkey.

Let’s be very clear about this whole terrible incident. This was not a “lacrosse murder” as has been characterized, nor did the University of Virginia cause this tragedy. If we are to believe what the authorities are saying - it was a senseless, grossly immature, violent and shocking act the nature of which will be best determined by judge and jury.

As for the so called journalists to especially include Whitey Reid and Hank Kurz – someone should yank their writing permits (Hmmm) or at least hold them accountable for their lack of professionalism and their blatant attempt to resurrect a negative groupthink. We shall say it one more time. No crimes were committed by any members of the Duke Lacrosse Team and to invoke them in this case is to foment disinformation and hysteria for the sake of yellow journalism. Reid and Kurz have compromised their public trust…

We grieve the tragic loss of Yeardley Love and pray for justice for all involved. We also pray for a more insightful and responsible approach to the reporting of the news of the day. Most of all we pray that if the physically abused and threatened cannot escape the bonds of a violent relationship then the strong will step forward and start that process. The warning signs were everywhere and conspicuously so. The question should be why didn’t someone step up? That question now unanswered may be the rest of this story. No more winks and nods… Sleep well Yeardley.


Ned Buxton


Walter Abbott said...

Excellent perspective, Ned!

This crime had nothing whatsoever to do with lacrosse, or any other sport - it was a crime of passion, allegedly committed by a person romantically involved with the victim.

The same type crime has happened since the dawn of mankind, and will continue to as long as the human race populates the earth. Usually it rates a two-line mention on page B-17, if that.

The ONLY reason this story made “news” is the lacrosse hook. It gives folks in the media an opportunity to get even for the ass-whipping they took after the Duke Lacrosse Frame, when they helped gin up a near-lynching.

That’s all this is, nothing else.

Quasimodo said...

"But now several years later comes a couple of journalistic yahoos who choose to bait the hook and wait and see who bites."

As long as the full story of the attempted frame-up of the Duke players isn't known, that case will be dredged up time and again. There is a slim chance that the current lawsuits will force testimony under oath about the actions of the university administration (which is alleged to have abandoned its students, whom it knew were innocent, in order to save its PR image); if so, that will demonstrate even more the extent to which the Duke case didn't resemble "boys gone wild" so much as Scottsboro.