University of Virginia Lacrosse Player's Death Plays Out in Public

Lacrosse Stereotypes Back in the Headlines After Virginia Tragedy

Love's murder and Huguely's arrest has sparked a heated debate online, on college campuses and in the media about "jock culture," and the stereotype of lacrosse players as hard-partying, white and privileged.

The popular sports blog Deadspin.com, which often takes edgy positions that spark fiery debates in its comments section, took it one step further and boiled it down to this question earlier this week: "Are The White Boys of Lacrosse Predestined to Be Dicks?"

But backing up a few steps – what is the stereotype of a lacrosse player?

Surf internet message boards and blogs and you'll find a composite of a preppy, white, upper-middle class athlete from a private school somewhere along the East Coast. Need a picture? Pastel shorts, wrap-around sunglasses and flip flops. Proclivity to drinking and partying? That is part of the overall image as well.

In the wake of his arrest, details about Huguely's dark past are coming to light. The Virginia senior has a lengthy criminal record that includes multiple arrests for public intoxication, underage drinking and a 2008 altercation with a police officer who says Huguely threatened to kill her.

The Virginia men's lacrosse team is now coming under greater scrutiny for its off-field behavior. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that eight of the 41 players currently on Virginia's men's lacrosse team, including Huguely have been charged with alcohol-related offenses during their careers at the school, according to court records.

Cottle admitted that the reputation of lacrosse players "sometimes is accurate, you hate to say it," and said perhaps the sport has had a "checkered past."

Deadspin.com's Katie Baker surmised that one origin for the stereotype is how "white and homogenous the sport is" and said that any story involving a problem in lacrosse will have "an added 'class' component."

She wrote that "insularity" – because of the geographic and socioeconomic concentration of athletes - breeds some of the pack mentality and generic stereotyping.

"The new lacrosse freshman on campus probably knows half his team already, as well as half the women's team," Baker wrote. "Think about the person who grew up in upscale suburban Baltimore, for example, went to an all boys school, was good at sports, got involved in lax, which in these "hotbeds" really is the hot thing, and ultimately got recruited at 4-8 schools, all good ones, most likely, and all places where he probably has former teammates there to tell him how SIIIIIIICK it is."

Huguely fits into that stereotype of a lacrosse player. He hails from a prominent family and was a star multi-sport athlete at the Landon School, a tony all-boys prep school outside of Washington D.C. that costs nearly $30,000 a year. Coincidentally, one of the three accused Duke Lacrosse players also went to the Landon School. Huguely was a senior in high school when that occurred.

Cottle and others in the lacrosse community took issue with the depiction of collegiate lacrosse players all coming from a handful of elite prep schools.

"The first problem that I have is the stereotype that they're all private school kids," the Maryland coach said. "This is a sport where there is a wide range of private schools that participate and probably a high percentage of the private schools that participate are at the high end of the sport and that's probably why it's perceived the way it is."

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