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Don't make Huguely a poster child for student athletes

Colleges and UniversitiesJustice SystemYeardley LoveGeorge Huguely V

I am writing in regard to the front page stories from the Sunday edition about untimely death of Yeardley Love. In the article highlighting the facts of the case against her former boyfriend, George Huguely ("Huguely jury to begin deliberation Wednesday," Feb. 19), I was disturbed, as a former student athlete, coach and educator, to read the defense attorney's statement "he is what you get; he's a boy athlete." I was disgusted by this all inclusive statement that was clearly made to convince the jury that Mr. Huguely's behavior was the norm in the athletic community. My hope is that at least one member of the jury is or was an athlete and is as equally disgusted by this statement.

Sport at any level teaches the importance of hard work, commitment and teamwork, not how to participate in or excuse violent or disturbing behavior. I am sure that most college graduates can recall "that guy" who was a bit too aggressive and violent when he was drinking and whose volatile nature was unnerving, and he was not always an athlete.

I was also bothered by the slant of the longer article that focused on college drinking as though this was to blame for Ms. Love's death ("Huguely trial highlights alcohol abuse at colleges, universities"). Is drinking an issue on college campuses? Yes, but so is anti-social behavior, and obviously the combination of the two can be deadly. The real root of the problem is the lack of education and resources to handle such behavior. Which is surprising considering the unique combination of stress, freedom, and self-discovery faced by college students.

My question is, where was the intervention? His teammates describe his drinking and behavior as out of control, so why was he enabled and allowed to continue to represent one of the finest universities on the field? These are the real questions and the card to be played in "the blame game."

Clearly, too often we are told and encouraged to mind our own business. However had somebody made it their business to intervene and address Mr. Huguely's behavior, and not blame it on alcohol or the fact he was a male athlete, prior to May 2, 2010, this letter would have no cause to be written.

Christine McKeldin, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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