This morning we read how Yale Daily News, "Gutsiest Campus Newspaper of 2011," sat on the story of perfect Yale quarterback Patrick Witt's sex assault scandal for two months. Now, a humorous coda to their silence: We hear that YDN actually considered calling on wealthy alumni to charter a jet for the campus hero, so he wouldn't have to choose between the Yale-Harvard game and his Rhodes Scholarship interview.
A member of YDN's Managing Board who is involved in the editorial-writing process tells us that editor-in-chief Max de la Bruyere "pitched" the private jet editorial around the same time they reportedly heard about Witt's sexual assault accusation. The private jet editorial didn't make it into print, either. De la Bruyere
declined to comment on it. [See update]
Witt's sexual assault accusation was a remarkably open secret: After the New York Times reported last night that Witt may have dropped out of the Rhodes due to the sex scandal, not loyalty to Yale football, staffers on the Yale Daily News listserv admitted to knowing about the story for months. You'd think someone would have spilled the beans sooner?
Update: Max de la Bruyere writes in:
First off, the claims about the editorial are absurd. However, that narrative sounds like the story of Florida State's Myron Rolle — a story I repeated to many people when I heard about Witt's situation.
Second: I did know by late November that there had been an informal complaint filed against Patrick Witt. The student who filed it chose to keep it informal, though she had the option of making a formal complaint. I decided to respect the discretion that she opted for when she made that choice. As a student paper dealing with unproven allegations and an informal complaint, we chose to honor the woman's wishes and Yale's process for such a complaint.
Third: I never declined to comment for your original blog post. I'm sorry it took me a few hours to get to your email.
Max de La Bruyère
I asked whether "absurd" meant the pitch didn't happen, or some other part of the story was whack. I'll update if Max responds.
[Image of Witt via AP]