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• We are shocked by the allegations, which are both tragic and horrific.
• The reported circumstances and allegations are contrary to the overall character and culture of the sport of lacrosse, which emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and respect, among many other qualities.
• The reported circumstances and allegations are an aberration and should not call into question the culture of an entire sport. Lacrosse, like all sports, is not immune from human tragedy.
Yet the profile emerging of Huguely doesn't exactly splinter the stereotype of the entitled lacrosse player. Born George Huguely V, the scion of a prominent Washington, D.C., family that made its fortune in lumber and building supplies, he grew up in the opulent suburb of Chevy Chase, Md., and attended the Landon School (motto: Virtute et non vi—"By virtue, not by force"), an expensive private academy in Bethesda. At Virginia he was known for prodigious drinking. One local watering hole held a promotion: Anyone who sampled every beer on its extensive tap list got a free mug. Huguely was one of the first to claim the prize.
In 2007 he was charged with underage possession of alcohol in Florida, where his family has a $2 million vacation home. The following year he was arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest outside a fraternity house at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. After shouting obscenities and threats and scuffling with a female officer, he was finally subdued by Taser—though, remarkably, he had no recollection of the incident later. "He was by far the most rude, most hateful and most combative college kid I ever dealt with," arresting officer Rebecca Moss told The New York Times last week. Huguely received a 60-day suspended sentence and six months—probation, was fined and was required to perform community service and take a substance-abuse course. He was also required to disclose the arrest to the University of Virginia. He did not.
Huguely also demonstrated obsessive behavior toward women besides Love. A fourth-year UVA student told SI last week that earlier this year Huguely approached her at Boylan Heights and obtained her phone number. "He was cute, and he was charming when he was sober," she says. But before they met in person again, Huguely bombarded her with text messages, sometimes as many as 20 in one hour—"never before 3 a.m.," she says—asking to come to her apartment. "I'm kind of freaked out right now," she says.
Huguely's combative behavior extended even to teammates. The Washington Post reported that last season Huguely slugged a sleeping teammate whom he believed had kissed Love.
UVA lacrosse coach Dom Starsia, whose father died last week, declined to be interviewed for this story, but surely he will be asked to explain how so many warning signs were either missed or ignored.
If Lacrosse Nation wanted to suggest an embodiment of the sport's virtues and fend off an indictment of an entire culture, it could scarcely do better than point to Love. Her uncle Granville Swope was an All-America UVA lax player in the '70s. Her father, John Love, also went to Virginia but left school to join the military and never graduated. When John died of cancer in 2003, Yeardley, then 15, placed a lacrosse ball in his casket and, friends say, made it her mission to play for UVA and obtain the degree her dad never earned.
Yeardley began playing lacrosse with her father at age five and starred in high school at Notre Dame Academy, near her home in Cockeysville, Md. She compensated for her lack of height with an outsized heart and endeared herself to coaches and teammates alike with her genial personality. "Yeardley was the core of our team, our laughter," recalls her Notre Dame coach, Mary Bartel.