Taylor Virden, a McDonogh graduate from Ellicott City who is a member of the women’s lacrosse team at Duke, is at the center of a race-related controversy at the university that was exposed Monday.
The athletic website for Duke showed members of the team dressed up as characters from “The Little Rascals” for Halloween, and Virden was dressed as Buckwheat and wore blackface, which as you know, is highly offensive.
According to Deadspin, the photo was removed Monday morning, presumably after the university received complaints. It has been replaced by another photo of the Duke women dressed up, one without Virden in it.
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A four-year starter at McDonogh, Virden was a team captain during her senior year of high school. She was named first-team All-Metro by The Baltimore Sun as a junior and a senior while leading McDonogh to consecutive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships.
“The Duke Women’s Lacrosse program celebrates Halloween with an annual gathering. This year, some of our costume choices were insensitive and entirely inappropriate. No offense was intended, but that does not matter because we should have realized how these choices would be viewed by those outside of our program. On behalf of our coaching staff and our student-athletes, we apologize to anyone we may have offended and understand while we believed we were making decisions in good fun, we should have been much more sensitive to the implications of our actions.”