Scandal saddening

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:02 PM ET

It's been a frustrating and saddening few weeks for brothers Devan and Taylor Wray.

The Calgary Roughnecks defenders, graduates of the Duke University lacrosse program, have watched as the team they once played for has come under siege amidst allegations of rape and racism.

It got worse yesterday when Duke coach Mike Pressler -- under whom both Wrays played -- tendered his resignation which was accepted by university brass.

Pressler, who had spent 16 seasons at Duke, brought the Edmonton brothers to the university and played a pivotal role in their development, leading to their National Lacrosse League careers.

"For coach Pressler to sort of take the fall for the alleged actions of a few players (is awful)," said Devan. "I can't say enough good things about Mike Pressler and what he did for myself and my brother and everybody I went to school with absolutely loved the guy. He was a great coach and a great person."

The Wrays won two ACC championships playing for Duke in 2001 and 2002 and completed their degrees at the North Carolina school.

"The most disappointing thing for me is there are some pretty dispicable allegations against the lacrosse team but that's all they are right now -- allegations," said Taylor. "For coach Pressler to be resigning before the facts (is wrong). The allegations are absolutely in no way a reflection of coach Pressler as a man or the way he always coached us to be respectful men. It breaks my heart to see him go."

Taylor is still living in North Carolina, serving as the assistant men's lacrosse coach at Queen's University at Charlotte. That's only two hours north of Durham, where the ongoing police investigation into allegations by a stripper who said she was raped at a Duke lacrosse party has fuelled racial tensions and anger on and off the university's campus.

The stripper, who is black, alleges her attackers on the team are white.

The Duke lacrosse team was ranked No. 1 in the nation coming into the season for the first time and following Pressler's resignation yesterday, the school officially cancelled the rest of its season.

The scandal has become a media circus in the States, garnering plenty of print and airtime from major networks and CNN programs to Tuesday night's Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

While both Wray brothers stressed the allegations are horrible and if true, must be punished, Taylor said the condemnation directed at the Duke lacrosse team before a single charge has been laid is upsetting.

"It makes me never want to talk to another person in the media ever again," said Taylor. "They've spun this thing so out of control. It infuriates me.

"It's a soap opera," he added. "They're playing up the idea that the Duke lacrosse team is a bunch of racists. It's absolutely untrue. I played there and I know what our team was about and what that program is about. The things that have been put forth in the media are so completely one-sided it frustrates me."

Some fear the scandal has shed a nasty light on not only Duke and it's lacrosse team but the sport in general.

"They're painting with a pretty wide brush in terms of lacrosse players in general," said Taylor. "It's cast a spotlight on the sport but the wrong kind of spotlight. Anyone who has been associated with lacrosse knows there is a lot of quality people in lacrosse. Sure there are some bad apples but there are in any sport."


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