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Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Duke women's lacrosse to wear 'innocent' sweatbands

Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. -- In a show of solidarity with the Duke University's men's lacrosse team, members of the school's women's team plan to wear sweatbands with the word "Innocent" written on them.

The university canceled the rest of the season for the highly ranked men's team because of a woman's complaint she was sexually assaulted in March at a team party where she had been hired to perform as an exotic dancer.

The women's plan to wear sweatbands on their arms or legs was reported Wednesday by The Herald-Sun of Durham. The teams plays Northwestern in the NCAA semifinals Friday.

"We want to win a national championship for ourselves but definitely also for the university and the men's team," junior Leigh Jester told the newspaper. "They don't really have a chance to play their season, which is a shame."

The women also invited former men's lacrosse coach Mike Pressler to speak to the team after a practice Tuesday. Pressler resigned last month amid the scandal.

Women's coach Kerstin Kimel told the newspaper that Pressler's message to her players included believing in themselves and looking at their season aside from the troubles faced by the men's team.

A university spokesman said Wednesday that the school had no objections to either the sweatbands or the invitation to Pressler.

"They don't clear those things with us ever," said John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs. "We're not sitting here looking over people's shoulders quite that much."