Monday, April 10, 2006

Guity Even of Proven Innocent

It seems from DNA evidence that Duke's lacrosse team did not rape strippers that they hired. The story was perfect for the press. You had all these trendy things going in the story. You had rich vs. poor, you had white vs. black, and you even had rape on college campuses. The story couldn't be more perfect except that the girl was lying. So far the story isn't that strange although there was a strange presumption of guilt on the students based on one of the least reliable sources possible. But Duke has refused to undo their punitive actions against the team. The coach has been fired and the season cancelled all because nobody considered that the students might be innocent. It turns out that even DNA evidence isn't enough against the presumption that athletes are all evil rapists. Duke will probably try to justify this on some moral ground but who would they be fooling. If they held every team to this standard Coach K wouldn't be making many more commercials. The story of assault seems implausible from the outset. It assumes that all 46 of the people there are complicit in the crime which makes very little sense. Suppose, for example, that 95% of athletes at the party would not report this assault (a figure which is probably high) there would be an approximately %90 chance that the crime would be reported. Assuming semi-rational behavior, nobody would be that stupid. In fact the history of these assault cases is not so good with Bryant standing out.

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