Sole Black Duke Lacrosse Player Says White Teammates Stereotyped

ByABC News via logo
October 30, 2006, 9:36 PM

Oct. 31, 2006 — -- He is the only African-American player on the 47-man embattled Duke lacrosse team and the youngest man in the group.

In his first, exclusive interview with ABC News, Devon Sherwood said that his three white teammates who have been accused of sexually assaulting a black woman had been stereotyped by class and skin color.

"It's almost a reversal," Sherwood, 19, said in an interview today on "Good Morning America."

"'Well, their daddies are gonna buy them the big-time lawyers, and they're gonna get off. We can't have that,'" Sherwood said that critics have said.

"It's just been all the stereotypes. I've even been stereotyped for being rich, being on full scholarship, [being] not in touch with my own black community at Duke. It's terrible to find yourself being stereotyped," Sherwood said.

"And you're like, 'Hold on. This couldn't be much further from the truth,'" he said. "You know? So it's just amazing that the things you see and that [were] going on in this case and how the reversal from black stereotype to now rich white, privileged stereotype."

In the interview with ABC News' Chris Cuomo, Sherwood shared his views on his teammates, his own experience, the prosecutor in the case, race issues, and the night of the now-infamous off-campus party when the sexual assault allegedly occurred.

All three defendants insist they are innocent of the charges. Their trial is expected to begin next spring.

Sherwood said he found it "impossible" to believe that the rape allegations are true.

"I'm 100 percent confident," he said. "I know nothing indeed happened that night at all."

Asked how he could be so sure if he wasn't present when the alleged attack took place, Sherwood said he knew the defendants well enough.

"I don't hesitate," he said. "I believe in the character of my teammates. I believe in the character of specifically [the three defendants]. I would never ever doubt them or think, 'Well, are they lying?' I would never do that, because I believe in them."

Sherwood was at the party the night of March 13, and stayed through the dance, but then left with other underclassmen, he said.

"It was kind of boring to be quite honest," he said. "We were just sitting around. And there was nothing to it. It was very boring. I was itching to get out of there, because it was. I'd rather be going to sleep personally to tell you the truth."

He learned about the rape allegations a couple days later at a bowling alley with the other team members.

"Everybody's having a fun time and I just looked over my shoulder. And I saw four captains talking to our former coach. And we knew something was wrong," he said. "We were like, 'What's going on? Did the coach find out about the stripper party or what?'"