Over the years I’ve covered countless sports stories and a few “cops and courts” leads along the way.
When the two intersect, it’s rarely a pleasant situation. And even from a distance, the one emotion left in viewing the tragedy surrounding the death of University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love is profound sadness.
Her violent death apparently coming at the hands of UVA men’s lacrosse player George Huguely is tragic enough on its own. Two lives – two families – are now inexorably tied by horrific circumstances far separated from the on-the-field excellence both Cavalier squads have exhibited in recent years.
There have also been huge questions that have cropped up, such as why students are required to self-report their run-ins with the law to school officials. This came to light when it was revealed Huguely didn’t report a public drunkenness arrest in 2008 where he was subdued by a taser after threatening the life of a state trooper.
I’m sorry, but are you serious?
I was 20 years old once too. Running to school officials to voluntarily tell them about a run-in with police is about as likely as a snowstorm in July, regardless of the consequences. Of course Huguely should have followed the rules, but there’s no doubt in this case the law is tragically flawed.
Huguely’s mother has now publicly expressed disbelief at the happenings of the past week. No parent expects their son or daughter away at college – especially one with talent in a high-profile setting – to go from a life of promise to a possible life in prison.
For Love’s family, the pain is palpable. During funeral services Saturday in Baltimore, Father Joseph Breighner of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen did not shy away from the nature of Love’s death.
“Two thousand years ago a young Jewish rabbi named Jesus died a senseless, violent death,” he said. “All he did and all he preached was love. This past week a woman has died a senseless, violent death. Her name was Love. And love is what her life is all about.”
I’ve been to Charlottesville, Va., and the UVA campus many times. It’s a picturesque place steeped in the Jeffersonian tradition of its founder. This will not be a short recovery for a proud campus and top-drawer academic institution.
Sympathies ultimately should be expressed toward both families. For two athletes who spent much of their lives trying to win on the field, victory is painfully absent here.