Local News

Former Duke Lacrosse Player Offers Take On Recent Rape Investigation

Posted May 5, 2006
Updated January 7, 2007

— Rape allegations at Duke University have raised questions about the culture at the school and specifically the lacrosse team. WRAL talked with a former lacrosse player who was contacted to give input to a Duke committee investigating the program.

These days when many people see Duke lacrosse players, they think scandal.

"It's disturbing. The notion of guilty until proven innocent has been there since day one," said former Duke lacrosse player and team captain Michael Keating.

But when Keating sees the team, he sees pride.

"I'm a very, very proud alumni. In public, I wear my Duke lacrosse team shirt," said Keating.

Keating, who is from Pennsylvania, played lacrosse at Duke all four years and graduated in 2001. Keating and four other former players interviewed people and helped gather information for a Duke committee that is investigating the program. Their goal was to show that former players had gone on to be productive members of their communities.

They are pleased the committee recommended the program continue, but are not sold on the committee's assertion that the "lacrosse culture" is rife with disciplinary problems fueled by alcohol.

"I don't agree with the culture that has been labeled to it. Coach (Mike) Pressler has instilled, always stressed honor both on and off the field," said Keating.

For Keating, one of the hardest things about the ordeal is watching his former mentor, Pressler, lose his job and face public criticism.

"There are two figures in my life who are most influential; first my father, second is Coach Pressler," Keating said.

Keating said he and his fellow lacrosse alumni believe the rape allegations against two players are false, and they are hoping for justice.

"I think in time it will come out that these men are innocent," said Keating.


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