Saturday, June 23, 2007

"It's Not About the Truth" by Mike Pressler

“It’s Not About the Truth” by the former head coach of the Duke lacrosse team, Mike Pressler, is an engrossing and enlightening read.

I thought that I had paid attention throughout the process, and still learned a great deal and picked up some keen insights.

The book chronicles the events from the phone call to escort service up to declaration of “innocent” and the start of the 2007 lacrosse season.

Major and bit players in the drama are profiled and their actions recounted in a documentary/narrative style that is easy to follow and comprehend.

The University bureaucrats (starting with President Brodhead) showed no profiles in courage and abandoned the team, its season and Coach Pressler in a show of politically correct CYA.

The AD is revealed as a cowardly marionette whose word was not his bond.

The 88 faculty members (20% of the Duke staff) who took out a full-page “social disaster” ad in the student newspaper openly flew their agenda flag. A huge rush to judgment before the facts were known.

As egregiously as the university acted in forsaking the team and coach, the actions of the DA (Mike Nifong) and the Durham PD were enough to prompt two ethics charges from the North Carolina State Bar. Trial starts this week.

Nifong’s rush to judgment was motivated by his desire to be elected in the 2006 DA race.

The book points out that he never spoke to the escort (complainant) until about eight months after the supposed incident.

The book does show where the profiles in courage reside.

Ironically, it is James Ammons (Chancellor at the historically black college NCCU), who was the initial public voice of reason…being the first to say “don’t rush to judgment.”

Coach Pressler and his family proved to be a rock of stability in all the turmoil for the team. After speaking with the Senior Captains, he knew they were speaking the truth…and never wavered in this belief.

While the AD was not supportive, the other coaches were loyal to the lacrosse team.

The legal team was incredible. Joseph Chesire V said he knew after three minutes that Dave Evans was telling the truth, and proceeded accordingly.

The members of the team and their parents are the real heroes. The anguish and anxiety they all suffered waiting for the third indictment had to be excruciating. Lives were turned upside down for over a year.

They banded together and never lost faith in one another. That not one underclassman transferred showed a great leap of faith to a university that did not show the same loyalty.

It took a lot of bravery, trust and faith for the parents to send their sons back to Duke.
“The Truth” kept their resolve intact.

Anyone who saw the address Dave Evans gave on May 15, 2006 knew he was speaking from the heart and meant every word he said. It was a powerful moment.

If you watched him speak and did not know he was truthful you should not play poker, as every tell was there.

There are some of us who never vacillated in believing in the innocence of the team. I still feel apologies are owed by many to Coach Pressler, the defendants, the team and the parents.

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