What will it take for the MSM to stop smearing the falsely-accused Duke lacrosse players? Judging by the performance of ESPN's Steve Weissman this morning, legal exoneration is not enough.
Introducing an ESPNNEWS item on a lacrosse game between Duke and the University of Virginia, Weissman claimed that three years ago, the Duke team had been involved in "a devastating scandal," and that while the accused players had been exonerated, "the questions remain."
Weissman, looking for a hook to intro the story, went for the cheap moral equivalence between the false charges leveled against the Duke players, and the murder charge against a UVA player in the death of a women's lacrosse player.
STEVE WEISSMAN: It's a mere game that brought Duke and Virginia together Saturday, but it's life that will keep their programs forever linked. Two of the top lacrosse teams in the country, dealing with two of the worst stories college athletes have faced in recent memory. Just three years ago, the Blue Devils were involved in a devastating scandal in which three players were charged with sexual assault. All three were exonerated, but the questions remain. Now with one of their teammates charges with murder, it's the Cavaliers searching for answers.
If there was a "devastating scandal" in the Duke case, it was that surrounding Dem DA Mike Nifong, ultimately disbarred and convicted of a crime for his rush to judgement and unethical and illegal mishandling of the case. And if "questions remain," they revolve around why the so-called Gang of 88—Duke professors who issued an Open Letter supporting students who had issued a "wanted" poster displaying photos of the lacrosse team members—have failed to ever apologize for their celebration of slander.
But that didn't stop Weissman from suggesting that the onus remained on the exonerated Duke players.