Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ex-Duke Coach Pressler aims for a big score against his former team

According to the character played by actor Michael Douglas in the movie “Wall Street,” “Greed is good.” Well, our country and nations worldwide are now experiencing the downside of greed. Companies are imploding, jobs evaporating, and the lifestyles of most Americans are in freefall.

In the midst of this economic downturn, there are still those who are placing their greed before everything else. A case in point is that of former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. According to news sources, Mr. Pressler had been warned to rein in the partying practices of his lacrosse players long before that night in March 2006 that spawned the Duke Lacrosse case. The hiring of strippers, under-aged drinking (and, more likely than not, drug use—although the media stayed away from reporting it), and other misdemeanors and mayhem at that party seemed to give credence to the opinion that Mr. Pressler did not convey the administration's warning to his lacrosse players effectively. Whether or not Mr. Pressler should have been given the boot by Duke is debatable, but an argument can be made to support it.

Mr. Pressler, although he displayed that he lacked a modicum of control over his players off the field, agreed to a settlement in 2007 with Duke University after being cut loose as lacrosse coach. The agreement (of which I believe the monetary amount was not disclosed) included a statement that neither side would make disparaging remarks about the other.

Because Duke was so generous and willing to give each of the three Duke lacrosse defendants seven million dollars (for reasons about which I am still unaware), Mike Pressler, in hindsight, now wants a bigger part of the pie. Pressler and his equally avaricious attorneys have shown total disregard for the financial state of the country and its institutions. In order to get the big bucks, he wants to take Duke University to court with the bogus complaint of being “slandered.”

The supposed slanderous statement made by a Duke University representative to a New York newspaper was, to paraphrase, as follows, “.. the difference between Pressler and the current coach was night and day.” I fail to find anything in that statement that is disparaging. Just because one person is drastically different from another does not mean that one person is good and the other bad. A second statement to the Associated Press which spurred Pressler to conclude that Duke broke its settlement agreement by making a disparaging remark goes as follows, “It was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward.” Where’s the disparagement and slander? Mr. Pressler is grasping at straws to find an excuse to get a "do-over" and try and get more money from Duke University by taking it to court. A man of integrity, in Mr. Pressler’s position, would stick to the agreement that he made initially, and go on with his life (coaching a Rhode Island lacrosse team).

Duke University has no one to blame but itself. Had it put up a fight when the three Duke lacrosse defendants first came around trying to extort money from them, they probably would have prevailed, and all of the subsequent lawsuits that it now faces (along with those faced by the city of Durham) would not have followed. For example, the 38 un-indicted Duke lacrosse players suing the school and city is the epitome of avarice, and makes a mockery of the North Carolina system of justice. A justice system that has been profusely bleeding from a self-inflicted wound because of the destruction of an honorable Durham district attorney, Mike Nifong, and the ridiculous appeasement by the state and university of the three party-going student athletes.

1 comment:

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