Nifong Trial Lets The ‘Dukes Of Hazzard’ Off The Hook

By Boyce Watkins
Updated: June 19, 2007

NEW YORK — OK, Mike Nifong committed misconduct.

I’ll go ahead and say that right now. I recall watching the start of the Duke rape trial last year, as District Attorney Nifong appeared to be as cocky as Star Jones fresh out of liposuction.

My significant other (who happens to be an attorney) watched in disgust, yelling at the top of her lungs “What in the hell is he doing!

You shouldn’t be on TV running your mouth like that!”

That’s when I knew Nifong was in trouble. My girl is not only drop dead gorgeous, she is also a killer prosecutor. Nifong’s mistakes led us down the path to where we are today:

He is an inch away from a jail cell and has been disgraced worse than Milli Vanilli. He has, without question, become the Darryl Strawberry of the legal profession.

What is interesting, however, is how the dirty light shined on Mr. Nifong has taken the focus off the Duke boys, who apparently enjoy drinking till they puke and degrading black women in their spare time.

Since the trial took place, these guys have received high paying jobs on Wall Street, heroic half-time docudramas on national television, and an unprecedented extra year of eligibility from the NCAA.

Most accused and acquitted rapists don’t get such royal treatment. I can’t help but compare this case to the O.J. trial 13 years ago. In both cases, you had an athlete allegedly committing a heinous crime against someone of another race and gender, serious misconduct on the part of the accusing parties, and a questionable history for the alleged victim.

For O.J., the cheating liar was the LAPD and Mark Fuhrman. In this case, it was Mike Nifong, the District Attorney. In both cases, there was strong reason to believe that something happened that night, and in both cases, the accused was acquitted.

In the aftermath, the Duke boys are hailed as American heroes. O.J., on the other hand, has not been allowed to make a living, can’t eat in many public restaurants, and has become the most hated man in America.

Nicole Brown Simpson was not portrayed as a gold-digging cocaine addict. She was portrayed as a beautiful, innocent angelic figure victimized by a brutishly abusive husband.

The woman in the Duke trial was portrayed as a ghetto hoochie slut with no future, taking advantage of clean cut college students.What’s the difference here?

I dare to ask: If these were four black basketball players accused and then acquitted of raping a white woman, would the outcome have been the same?

The proof is in the potato salad, since the O.J. trial says that they would likely be convicted in the court of public opinion, no matter how underhanded the accusing parties might have been.

I believe something happened in that house.

The contentiousness was evident from the witnesses who saw the men yelling the n-word at the women as they were leaving the party.

The men were rowdy and drunk, and even they may not remember what they did that night. Let’s be clear about another fact: Being found not guilty is quite different from being found innocent.

I do not believe these guys were innocent.

Since the alleged victim’s story changed, she has gone into hiding and hasn’t said a word in public. It could be because she is a liar or had amnesia. But it is also quite conceivable that the rich and powerful parents of these privileged students, who have spent millions in legal fees and have millions in their bank accounts have “persuaded” this struggling single mother to step to the side.

After all, she was stripping to pay her way through college, so they could probably bribe her with the money in their glove compartments.

Is it my right to believe that something happened that night, in spite of their acquittal? Yes, it is.

That is exactly what America has done to O.J. Simpson. The Duke Boys are not innocent victims.

They are rowdy, disrespectful, thuggish frat boy alcoholics who abuse women of color.

They are also, ironically, the future leaders of our country. They live in the same spirit as President Bush, and reflect everything that is wrong with America.

I’m done now, you now have my permission to get angry.