Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Despite Crisis, 'Duke Lacrosse' Apparel Sells Like Hotcakes"

I can't find the source for this. I think it's the Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20, 2006

Despite Crisis, 'Duke Lacrosse' Apparel Sells Like Hotcakes

Duke University has gotten a load of bad publicity in the last month over allegations that members of its men’s lacrosse team raped a stripper they had hired to perform at a party, and this week two of the players were indicted (The Chronicle, April 14 and April 19). Why, then, are sales of merchandise carrying the name and logo of “Duke Lacrosse” going through the roof?

ESPN’s Web site is reporting that sales have tripled or quadrupled in the last month, and local store owners are having trouble keeping the hats, T-shirts, and jerseys in stock. One obvious reason for the boom is the success of Duke’s women’s lacrosse team, currently the No. 1 team in the country. The gear, after all, doesn’t say “Duke Men’s Lacrosse.”

But that can’t be the only reason. Is it possible that the buyers are using their purchases to show solidarity with the men’s team at a time of legal peril, moral crisis, and institutional danger? Americans have been known to make political statements with their purchases before, from “Buy American” campaigns that stretch back to the 1970s to the many people who bought copies of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in 1989 without any intention of reading the book after Ayatollah Khomeini called for the novelist’s death.

Whatever the reason, someone is making a lot of money on that “Duke Lacrosse” apparel.


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