Not Victory, but Peace in North Carolina

Last Summer, I POSTED A BLOG PIECE regarding the ongoing, seemingly endless assault on the good name and professional accomplishments of North Carolina Women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance. If you are unfamiliar with the details of the case I humbly recommend that previous post.

I said at the time that the case was finally and tragically going to be heard in a court of law - after almost nine years - last October. Subsequently, UNC appealed for a dismissal to the US Supreme Court which declined to hear the case, but which action forced a rescheduling of the trial (in Federal Court in Chicago) for this coming April.

Then, last month, it was announced that the parties had settled. Rather than $40 million and a court judgment pronouncing the man a pervert, the final litigant settled for what amounts to legal fees and a letter from Dorrance apologizing for occasionally engaging in smutty banter with members of the team. (Though not, notably, the complainant herself)

This is a long ways from the ultimate victory which the plaintiffs are churlishly claiming, but I suppose that after all the crowing from Jenning's father about how all they wanted out of this was the chance for the whole world to hear her stpory in court, they have to say something to explain the fact that they threw in the towel.

The ultimate unfairness of demanding that Dorrance prove a negative - which nonetheless he came reasonably close to accomplishing - has always escaped those for whom no charge of this type is ever misplaced.

As THIS EXCELLENT SUMMARY from The Chapel Hill News points out, all that those of us who were not there have ever had to go on was testimony from some of the strongest most independent women in America, who said all along that it was pretty much hogwash.

Did Dorrance make a mistake? Yes indeed, a huge one, which he has acknowledged and for which he has publicly apologized. It's hard to imagine how someone as intelligent as Dorrance could be dumb enough to think that acting like "one of the guys" with a team of female athletes was somehow a good idea.

But at long last it's all over. Unfortunately, nobody can ever give Dorrance back the nine plus years that his reputation and character have been dragged through the mud, or mitigate the fact that as in all such cases a cloud will hang over his head for the rest of his life.

Just don't let anyone tell you that he didn't pay a price.