In an upcoming book about the Duke lacrosse rape scandal, former coach Mike Pressler accuses university officials of caving to pressure from intense media scrutiny and protesters both within and outside of the school.
Pressler says university officials initially promised to stand by his team following the party where Crystal Gail Mangum said she was gang raped in March 2006. Instead, Pressler said, he was forced to resign and university President Richard Brodhead suspended the season.
Those steps on April 5, 2006, helped harden public opinion that Mangum’s rape allegations were true almost a year before Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed sex offense charges against three players, declared them innocent and described the escort service dancer as an unreliable witness.
In one passage, Pressler, now the head lacrosse coach at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., also rues the damage to his own reputation after 16 years as Duke’s coach: ‘“Until a year ago,” Mike Pressler lamented in early 2007, “if you looked my name up you found stories about good lacrosse. Now, if you Google the words ‘Mike Pressler,’ ‘Duke,’ and ‘rape’ you'll come up with more than one hundred thousand hits. Those stories will be out there forever.”’
Entitled “It’s Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered,” the book marks Pressler’s first extensive comments about the scandal and offers his account of the meetings between parents, team members and university officials that took place before his resignation. It is one of two books on the Duke lacrosse case that will go on sale June 12, with a third scheduled for release in September.
Written by Don Yaeger, the book is comprehensive overview of the case, quoting dozens of key characters in the real-life drama. It is not a first-person account by the former Duke lacrosse coach, who gets a partial credit under Yaeger’s name on the cover: “with Mike Pressler.”
In another passage, Pressler describes an early-morning meeting with Duke Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who tells the coach the team’s season will be canceled.
“ ‘...Joe, you told the players and the parents you believed their story, you believed in them, you believed that they were telling the truth.’ “Alleva look right at me and made the statement I’ll never forget as long as I live: ‘It’s not about the truth anymore,’ he said.”
Friday, May 04, 2007
The News & Observer's Jim Nesbitt previews former Duke University Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler's book, “It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered,” in today's paper: