In the Crease: Lacrosse and the Law

In his regular Saturday column, lacrosse analyst Dan Fleuette discusses and comments on the latest news from the world of lacrosse. Be sure to check this space every Saturday at Breitbart Sports for incisive analysis and news of all things lacrosse. 

The Game That Wasn’t

Duke showed up at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium for a matchup of the top two ranked teams in the country. If the game were only thirty minutes it would have been exciting, but Duke may have forgotten that there was another half to play when they returned from the locker room.

Maryland rode a 4-1 second half advantage to an easy-looking 10-6 win. Senior Tewaaraton Award-candidate Mike Chanenchuk netted 5 goals and an assist for the Terps. Jordan Wolf, also a Tewaaraton candidate, and Case Matheis added two goals each for the Blue Devils.

Maryland is now 4-0 on the season, scoring 56 goals in that time. Saturday’s 10 goal output was the lowest of the season. Goalie Niko Amato was rock solid with 17 saves on 23 shots on the day.

Maryland is looking impressive early in the year. Maryland’s next ranked opponent isn’t until March 22, when they could easily be 7-0. They should try to take advantage of it. The next stretch for them is a grind against North Carolina, Virginia, Hopkins, and Notre Dame to end the regular season. So far, they’ve been up to the task.

Many Years A Slave

The Academy Awards last Sunday was the latest stop in the journey of Producer Anthony Katagas that has seen him go from the lacrosse field to Oscar winner as producer of 12 Years A Slave which won Best Picture honors at Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Katagas graduated Western New England University in 1992 and played lacrosse for four years as a goalie, winning all Pilgrim League honors.

According to the NCAA release:

“He still tends a tough net, too, having also led his masters squad to the championship last summer at the Vail Lacrosse Challenge and winning all-tournament team honors. He also is an organizer of the annual Brooklyn Brawl, a tourney for New York City-area teams.

In July, his team will compete in the Over-35 division at the World Lacrosse Games in Denver.

“It’s a fair statement to say we are one of the best masters teams in the world and we will get the chance to prove it,” he said. “I’ve still got the lax bug -- love it more than the movies, to be honest.”

LAX and the Law

Earlier this week, we reported on the Appeals Court of Virginia decision upholding the murder conviction of UVA lacrosse player George Huguely V, who was found guilty in 2010 of the second degree murder of his former girlfriend, UVA Lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

The murder of the beautiful student-athlete weeks from graduation ignited national outrage and attention on the cover of People magazine. Love was brutally attacked while she slept. A second-degree murder conviction resulted in a 23-year sentence for Huguely.

Huguely had a long history of alcohol and physical abuse prior to killing Love. On February 27, 2010, just a few months before the murder, Huguely was accused of choking Love, for which he later apologized in a letter, saying, "I'm scared to know that I can get that drunk to that point where I cannot control the way I behave or act." Huguely's letter to Love also stated, "I'm horrified to think that I was using physical force to keep you in my room. I'm so sorry."

 

Other emails uncovered during the investigation are even more ominous, as their relationship grew more contentious. After a series of emails Huguely wrote, “That is so so f***ed up on so many levels. I should have killed you."

 

The fact that both Love and her killer were lacrosse players added an element of drama to the coverage of the events as they unfolded. While this drama may be good for salaciousness and ratings, it warps the public perception of the game, and the effect of the greater good that the lacrosse community does each year.

 

The One Love Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and educate the public to the dangers of Intimate Partner Violence, was formed by Yeardley Love’s family in the aftermath of her death, and reflects the spirit of lacrosse much more closely than the cowardly acts of a drunken, angry young man.

 

There is a long history of lacrosse taking action and reaching out to help others. When Hofstra’s Nick Colleluri was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005, rather than dwell in self-pity, Nick bravely jotted down a vision for his legacy, which manifested as the HEADstrong Foundation, a foundation “dedicated to assist[ing those navigating] the harrowing ordeal of cancer by sharing our experience, lending guidance and providing essential services with emphasis placed on sustaining and improving quality of life during the process.”

 

In a conversation with his mother just before passing away, Nick talked about the lacrosse community, saying “Mom, I need you to take the Foundation to where it needs to go. “Don’t question anything,” he told her. “[The lacrosse family] is my brotherhood. They won’t turn their backs on you.”

 

There are numerous other drives, charity, foundations, initiatives, and examples of the lacrosse community pulling together to help themselves and others. Almost every week there is an event to benefit cancer patients, teammates injured in auto accidents, under privileged children, and many other causes.

 

Lacrosse teaches the value of hard work, teamwork, leadership, and heart. These charities and foundations deserve to have their work highlighted more in the press, if only to give balance to the occasional and notorious high-profile cases that sometimes dot the media landscape.

 

The Nifong Effect

According to the Herald Sun in Durham, NC, “Two former Durham Police Department detectives say a 2013 N.C. Supreme Court decision should trigger the dismissal of a malicious-prosecution lawsuit against them in the Duke lacrosse case.


“The ruling changed state law on the question of whether cops and other people can be liable when a prosecutor decides to charge someone with a crime, attorneys representing former Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and former Investigator Ben Himan said.”

At issue is whether former Duke players Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty, and David Evans, can move forward with a lawsuit alleging that “police and city officials conspired with former District Attorney Mike Nifong to frame them.”

In 2006 some Duke lacrosse team members hired Crystal Gail Magnum to perform as a stripper at a party. Magnum later claimed that she was sexually assaulted by members of the team.

The case drew a firestorm of coverage around the world, as Nifong said the alleged actions were racially motivated. Magnum is black, and the Duke players were white.

Despite flimsy evidence, and constantly shifting accounts by Magnum, Nifong went ahead with the prosecution. As the facts, or rather, lack of evidence, came to light the focus of the investigation toward prosecutorial misconduct. “It was revealed that Nifong and DNA lab director Brian Meehan conspired to withhold exculpatory DNA evidence from the final report submitted to the defense team.”

The case was eventually dropped, and Nifong was subsequently disbarred, and sentenced to jail time.

Magnum is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for the 2011 murder of her boyfriend.  

 

Army Lacrosse Player Deploys to Afghanistan

Jeremy Boltus, former Tewaaraton Award Finalist for Army, and Major League Lacrosse Rookie of the Year, has deployed to Afghanistan, according to Lacrosse Magazine.

Boltus, who finished his Army playing career second all-time in program history in points (214) and assists (124), dropped all the way to an eighth-round pick of the then-Hamilton Nationals in 2011, because of concerns about his availability given military commitments. But he was named MLL rookie of the year after tallying 30 points in just 12 games.

Boltus, who played for the Denver Outlaws last season, has juggled his Army commitments with professional lacrosse, though it hasn’t always been easy. 

"Your military commitment is your first priority … But you also want to be able to commit to your team. Sometimes you have to call and tell them that you just can't make it on a given week. Even though everybody understands, you still hate to do that."Boltus gave this send off tweet thanking the lacrosse community for his opportunities.

“Had a blast the last 3 years playing the greatest game with the greatest group of guys. Appreciate all… instagram.com/p/k7SNTkGM3r/

Breitbart Lacrosse wishes Boltus and all our military deployed overseas safe travels and a quick return.

Game of the Week

There are two this week:

#17 Albany at #10 UMass.

UMass defense is ranked #6 nationally in defensive efficiency. They’ll need every bit of that efficiency as they match up against the #1 possession offense in Albany.

And #3 Duke visits #5 Loyola.

After a disappointing loss to Maryland last week, Duke looks to bounce back against 4-1 Loyola. Game will be broadcast on CBS Sports at 6PM EST.

Games on Tap here.

For tips, tricks, press, email breitbartlax@gmail.com

Twitter: @breitbartlax


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