Friday Mud asks: How can we make sure the Huguely-Love tragedy never happens again?

February 24, 2012 | Drew Forrester


And that means we need help as senior citizens looking to enjoy the fruits of our lifelong labor.  We need help as middle-aged parents of however-many who are trying to balance the books, enjoy their family and stay healthy long enough to see our children grow up.  And we need help if we’re in our early twenties and trying to figure out how to really attack this thing called life.

George Huguley V thought it was about being brought up in a big home with lots of fancy cars and country club memberships, serving as a prelude to the real fun that comes with most of that — heading off to college where you can enjoy just about any excess you want without supervision.  And when you’re the homecoming king and the quarterback of the high school football team and then Virginia comes around with the opportunity to play lacrosse, it’s like hitting the lottery…twice.

George Huguely V couldn’t handle the college lifestyle.

I’m keenly aware that plenty of people date in college and never, ever resort to the type of wild – and ultimately, criminal – behavior of Huguely and Love.

The situation in Charlottesville is definitely (and thankfully) the rare exception and not the norm.

But that doesn’t absolve the adults who had to know this sort of combustible relationship had the potential to end in harm.

Where were they?

No one, regardless of age, is above help or intervention if the situation calls for it.  There’s an adult in your community right now who is in need of someone stepping in and saying, “Hey, bud, enough is enough.  You need to get some help.”

In George Huguely’s case, his disregard for authority and obvious fondness for excessive drinking should have been warning signs – real ones – that he needed professional help.  Run-ins with the law, explosive moments with his own family and, as his teammates testified, a growing dependency on alcohol in college should have been more than enough reason for someone close to him to put a halt to his dangerous behavior.

Maybe some people tried to help.  Or, perhaps, Huguely V had aggravated his friends and family so much that none of them had the energy to guide him in a better direction.  That’s certainly possible.  You can only try to help someone for so long until you say, “You’ll have to figure this out on your own.”

It would appear, though, that no one tried hard enough to get Huguely V (and Love, too) the help he needed.

And yes…it’s easy to sit back and say, “To hell with him, he was 22…an adult…he knew full good and well what he was doing with his life.”

I remember what it was like when I was 22.

I was an adult, too.  I should have known what the hell I was doing.  But I didn’t.

His teammates took the stand and painted a sorry picture of Huguely V.  They all commented about his drinking and several admitted they were planning “an intervention” just days before the murder of Yeardley Love.

That intervention was needed the winter before…or in the Fall…or even the previous summer.

But everyone was too busy.

Too busy with work.  Or school.  Or lacrosse.  Or their own life.

Where on earth were the coaches during all of this mess?  They don’t live under a rock, although their negligence in cases like this might lead you to think otherwise.  Was winning so important and so time consuming that none of the coaches (for either team) had time to take a moment and say to either Huguely V or Love, “You know, I’m hearing some disturbing things about your drinking and your relationship with (Huguely/Love) and I think we need to sit down and map out a strategy to get you the help you need before something really bad happens.”

Everyone around both of the people involved in this horrible situation knew the truth.

They knew George Huguely V was no good for Yeardley Love.  And it wasn’t because Love turned out to be a bad fit for Huguely. That girl’s name could have been Amanda Smith or Danielle Jones.  Sure, Love’s own lifestyle and some of her mistakes helped fuel the bitterness that grew between them, but at the end of the day, Huguely V was no good for Love or any other girl because of his dependency on alcohol, his disregard for authority and the personality changes that accompany behavioral traits like those two.

Where was a judge to slap Huguely V around after one of his brushes with the law?

Perhaps had someone in court sent George a REAL message at some point along the way, this whole thing could have been avoided. But it didn’t happen that way, probably because the case wasn’t important enough for a judge to fret over while his or her daily schedule filled up with more meaningful stuff like dope peddling and domestic violence.

On every occasion that George Huguely’s behavior landed him in court, the sentence wasn’t nearly harsh enough to cause him any worry.

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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Julio Purcell Says:

    Drew, Thanks you for your very insightful analysis of a terrible tragedy. Julio

  2. Colleen Says:

    Lacrosse has gotten it’s fair share of bad press in recent years, but perhaps we need to look at another commonality amongst these children.  The private schools in Maryland are among the finest in the country and we are fortunate to have these resources at our disposal.  Attending a private school in the Baltimore – DC corridor, as with many places in the country, is practically a guarantee of lifelong friendships, business connections and a full social calendar.  But perhaps what needs to change in our schools today is the predominant focus on the social.  Perhaps it is time that we move away from what has possibly become an over emphasis on unity in our high schools.  In addition to creating some very positive results, this “team mentality” has also seemed to encourage an abundance of conformity, resulting in children who travel in packs and attend a never ending stream of social events.  Where are the lessons about individuality and the gift of time spent alone?  What about personal boundaries?  Perhaps we have been so busy organizing dances, parties and sporting events for our kids that we’ve run out of time to teach them about the alternatives.  Perhaps we can start now. (DF: Excellent points. Thanks for sharing.)

  3. Oriole85 Says:

    We’ve had our fair share of disagreements about much lighter stuff(yes, the Orioles saga pails greatly in comparison to this). But I think you were right on with most if not all of your points here.

  4. Dave Says:

    Thanks for writing this piece. There are so many lessons to be learned from this tragedy, but first and foremost, pay attention parents!!! Actually have some kind of clue as to what your kids are doing!!! I guess I’m preaching to myself as I have a young son and daughter and this case will forever be a reminder for me.

  5. barry Says:

    this was one of your best blogs you have ever if only parents and even more so COACHES will pay attention this might be averted in the furure.

  6. Al Says:


    Thanks to you for talking about this case in a fair and respectful manner concerning all that surrounds this tragedy in a non sensational manner. You really helped me see past this crime and how it’s not specific to Va, lacrosse, or whatever other excuses I used to keep this at arms length. Before you started discussing, I thought this was just a sad story that couldn’t happen, or at least I hoped would never happen in my life or to someone I care about.

    But you helped me look at this in a different light, and that by pretending it couldn’t happen in my world actually increased the possibility it could. I have a daughter who is a freshman in college, and I’ve tried my best to discuss this case, the factors, and warning signs.

    Once again WNST has transcended sports and done us all great service by talking about sports, our communities. Very few understand how those two intersect and reflect on each other.

  7. charlie Says:

    drew, not that you have a lot of free time, but if you ever do, take a look at the novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe. . . It covers a lot of this ground (and it’s hard on several subcultures, doesn’t focus on lacrosse), especially the entitlement/hard-drinking/no consequences collegian mindset which in this case had such an awful outcome.

  8. Marty S. Says:

    Drew, Very well said. I agree 100% that someone should have noticed the warning signs, and taken action to work with these 2 young people. There were plenty of opportunities to intervene along the way. As a result of this very tragic story, I certainly will try harder and pay more attention and work with my kids.

  9. Cliff Says:

    That was a great blog about this terrible tragedy, Drew.

    Alcohol abuse (prescription abuse, drug abuse also) is a terrible thing. I’ve seen instances where alcohol can turn a ‘nice guy’ into a raging monster. It certainly is not an EXCUSE for some of the things that happened next. But it most certainly is a REASON.

    The only way to ‘police’ it is to police yourself and those in your inner circle. Mr. Tierney is trying to ‘police’ some of those in his inner circle and I wish him every success in doing it. But – there is always going to be that one ‘nice guy’ that is going to ignore his problem until something tragic happens to himself or others. It is probably developing right now somewhere; and if somebody in his ‘inner circle’ doesn’t intervene — the whole tragic story will unfold in the headlines in the future. So sad.

  10. Steve Says:

    Drew, well said…Excellent piece of writing!

  11. Dan Says:

    “Someone with common sense and regard for the law would have turned around and left. Not Huguely. He kicked her door down. And then he killed her.” … ( just like he’s seen on TV a thousand times )since he was 8 years old. There’s a reason Budweiser pays over a million Dollars for 60 seconds of your time during a football game. Their message on TV influences people to do things. Buy their beer. Good luck on reversing what we have taught our young people for the past 40 years . Dan

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. As The World Reacts To The Huguely Verdict, Tierney Knows Best | Lacrosse All Stars Says:

    […] there have been traditional media stories, and there have been cautionary posts like the one from Drew Forrester on WNST, in which the author feels bad for everyone.  However, NONE of them capture the situation like […]

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