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

February 24, 2012 | Drew Forrester


When something went wrong in George Huguely’s life, he didn’t have to figure out a way to work his way back to someone’s good graces.  No one ever put a foot up his ass and made him straighten out.  So he always got his way.

And on the night of Yeardley Love’s death, Huguely went to her bedroom door and found it locked.  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.  He didn’t turn away that night because he didn’t care about the law…because on every occasion that he violated it, some member of the legal system soft-peddled him and he left the courtroom snickering under his breath.

He never learned his lesson, as the prosecuting attorney pointed out during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Until last Wednesday night in Charlottesville.

The summary of this story is simple: Scores of people are waking up somewhere this morning and saying to themselves, “If only I would have reached out to George…or Yeardley.  If only I would have taken the whole thing more seriously.  If only I would have stopped recruiting athletes for a half-a-day and paid attention to the serious nature of this situation.”

George Huguely V is now a convicted murderer, but he’s no more a killer than a kid you see walking through White Marsh Mall today with his high school letterman’s jacket on and a cute girl walking beside him.

Killing wasn’t in Huguely’s blood as a youngster or a teen-ager or a lacrosse player at Virginia.

But other things were, like alcohol and anger and lack of self control.

And everyone around him knew those things were boiling inside of him and no one did anything to help him.

I don’t feel sorry for Huguely and his 26 year sentence because he got what he got based on what the rules of our country allow. He’s very fortunate it wasn’t more.  Perhaps twelve completely different people would have given him 60 years behind bars.

But I do feel sorry for him in the sense that it’s now quite obvious that all the bravado, good looks and charm he possessed weren’t nearly enough to save him from the worst of his demons.  And I hate to think about what he’s going to endure in the state penetentiary.  It won’t remind him of the Landon School, I can assure you of that.

Even homecoming kings wind up in jail.

And homecoming queens wind up dead.

It’s a shame no one reached out to really try and help them.

That’s what I’ll take from the whole thing.  We all need help.

We need to give it.  And, sometimes, take it.


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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