Just as Yale’s men’s basketball team landed in the national spotlight for all the right reasons — a first spot in the NCAA national tournament since 1962, and then a win — the Bulldogs also earned a heavy dose of infamy for the sudden forced departure of team captain Jack Montague, who was expelled for sexual assault allegations via a Title IX complaint. Now Montague’s former high school coach is coming to his defense, accusing Yale of engaging in a modern day witch hunt.
In a letter to the editor sent to BrentwoodHomepage.com, the local news outlet from Montague’s suburban Nashville hometown, former Brentwood basketball coach Dennis King artfully compared the scenario that has unfolded in front of Montague as a latter day manifestation of the Salem witch trials some 325 years earlier.
Here’s just some of what King wrote about Montague’s perceived persecution:
Expelled Yale basketball captain Jack Montague is a modern day Giles Corey. He’s the victim of a Title IX witch-hunt, where his dreams, reputation and future employment are being ‘pressed’ out of him with the same cowardly, irrational piety shown by those Puritan zealots of an earlier New England. …
I believe that due process will eventually clear Jack’s name, that he will be granted his hard-earned diploma, and that he will move on to share his considerable gifts with the world. But I’m not sure how he will ever be compensated for the emptiness and infinite heartache of being torn from his teammates during their once-in-a-lifetime quest.
If justice triumphs, I hope the Yale administration is pilloried in the press and their immense endowment takes a sizable hit. It would only be fair since they burned Jack Montague’s basketball dreams at the stake!
Those are very inflammatory comments. They speak to King’s personal devotion to Montague and the impact he had at their school. It also underscores why his Yale teammates remained loyal to their former captain seemingly as long as they could, until their very future and safety within the Yale campus environment was in question.
No one will ever know just how guilty or innocent Montague truly is, but one thing is certain: He has plenty who are furious he didn’t get the chance to represent his school in its biggest moment after dedicating years of his life to get there.