Blue Devils earn their moniker

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

When I was at West Virginia University (1979-83), I used hang out a hole-in-the-wall bar called Redbeard’s. The bar couldn’t have been more than about 8 to 10 wide (wide enough to have a bar, stools and a path behind them to walk) and about 40 feet long.

It was a rugby/lacrosse bar. Being more of the rugged indoor type, I of course, did not participate in these activities. Redbeard’s, however, was close to my apartment, regularly had quarter beer nights, never played disco music and also had darts. Growing up in small town West Virginia, it was what I had imagined heaven must be like.

It was usually a quiet place, that is until game days. Then when the game would be over, the players would pile in muddied and bloodied and rowdy and drink for hours. It seemed like a lot of fun and I often sat there throwing darts (or more often waiting my turn after being thrown off the floor by the athletes) wishing I had been born with an ounce of athleticism so that I could take part in the camaraderie.


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But I couldn’t. Nobody could unless you were a member of the fraternity.

We’re seeing that bond now at Durham, where members of the Duke University lacrosse team are refusing to talk to authorities about the alleged rape of an exotic dancer by three team members. Authorities recently took a DNA cheek swab from all but one team members.

News reports seem to be focusing on the “privilege” angle (It costs $43,000 a year to attend Duke), that these guys think they are above the law, but I think it’s more of an athletic bond these guys share.

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that these guys would stick together. They are the roughest, toughest characters there are n even if they were born with silver spoons in their mouths. They are not unlike Marines or Army Rangers in the fearlessness and the bond they share. It’s not the same in football, baseball, basketball or other team sports.

This morning I saw where Duke officials canceled the remainder of the lacrosse season over the atrocity, which, I think, while probably justified, is the height of hypocrisy. They implemented this final solution to the lacrosse program for one reason: lacrosse does not generate cash for the school. Do you think they would have canceled the season if it had something like this happened to the basketball team? Not by a 3-pointer.