Kane: Lacrosse team story highlights new principle taking hold in US 

White players dominate men’s college lacrosse, which makes them prime candidates for white-male bashing. So I wasn’t too surprised when the May 24 edition of People magazine had a cover story about Yeardley Love that contained the following quote:

“There was ample suggestion that the elite lacrosse culture did little to curb bad-boy excesses.”

Love was a member of the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Virginia when she was killed May 3. Her ex-boyfriend, UVA men’s lacrosse player George Huguely, has been charged with her murder.

It looks as if editors at People magazine applied a principle that’s only recently taken hold in America: Never pass on an opportunity to bash a group of white males.

Huguely is the only one who deserves bashing in Love’s death, and that’s only if he’s guilty. But with one quote, the editors decided to slip some white-guy bashing into the story:

“There was ample suggestion that the elite lacrosse culture did little to curb bad-boy excesses.” “Elite” can be translated into “white males” and “suggestion” tells us nothing.

A better word — one more in accord with the principles of journalism — would have been “evidence,” but People’s reporters provided little. They wrote that students weren’t “reassured” by university officials’ denial of any abusive actions Huguely may have taken toward Love, and that “many” students “had plenty to say about the lacrosse team.”

People reporters quoted only two of the “many” and didn’t give their names. One said the team “was known for partying.” Another said, “They have parties three times a week. The day after the murder, I saw them with a 12-pack of beer, a cheap one. That’s all they ever drink.”

So the “bad-boy excesses” turned out to be partying and drinking cheap beer? Are the editors of People magazine kidding us?

The editors at People must have jumped for joy when the UVA men’s team — sans Huguely — lost in the semifinals of the national tournament. But those editors couldn’t have been too happy: UVA lost to Duke, which in 2006 became the bunch of white guys to go through the bashing wringer.

The issue then was the alleged rape of a black stripper. The charges turned out to be false, but the revelation came only after several reputations were ruined.

There was talk in 2006 of an “elite” lacrosse culture with “bad-boy excesses.” The charge was spurious then, and it’s even more ridiculous now. The next time editors at People magazine choose to indulge in white-male bashing, they should at least produce better facts to support their goal.

Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to Sudan.

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