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Pack Attack 

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Dear Hot Type:

Did Carol Slezak, at the very least, consciously distort her Lambeau Field racism story?

You be the judge:

Reread the last 2-3 paragraphs of her original narrative. (The complainants rush out of Green Bay in a panic, literally in fear of some sort of mob action, and then make it home "safely"--Slezak's term--to Skokie and Evanston.)

Consider that version of events in light of Ms. Ranger's admission in last week's Hot Type [February 15] that she'd told Ms. Slezak about lingering at a Green Bay-area Red Lobster after the game and meeting a very nice white lady. This story, at the very least, is factually at odds with the description of a panicked postgame escape to safety. More pointedly, it dampens the dramatic effect of the entire tale. Slezak left it out. I wonder why?

As a native of Green Bay and Chicago resident for 20 years, I've followed Ms. Ranger's story closely from the start. Contrary to the inference of your most recent items, most Green Bay officials conceded (read all of their statements, in context) that someone must have said something somewhere. They're not stupid: no one can prove the nonexistence of racist remarks from a group of 60,000 people. That's why they've invited her back, expressed a general apology if something happened, etc.

But what people are challenging is Ranger's inference that anywhere from dozens to hundreds of surrounding fans must have been making racial slurs in the stands. I've attended games there for 35 years. Are there jerks, drunks, idiots, and racists? Sure. But if a group of people had been overtly making racial slurs, security would have been called. (I can remember security being called when a Green Bay fan simply waved a "F*** Chicago" T-shirt in front of offended fans recently.) And yes, some honest citizens would have come forward since to report such activity if they had, in fact, witnessed something like that. To my knowledge, no one has.

Because the whole story seemed subjectively knitted together, some Green Bay defenders have doubted the complainant's credibility. As you documented in Hot Type [February 8], she's virtually obstructed the investigation from the get-go. There were other reasons for doubt: she linked together some really specious events (restaurant service on game day stinks for everybody) to support her point; she used odd examples ("Go back to the projects" isn't an expression that would be used in northern Wisconsin); she's had no public corroboration from any of her friends; her seatmate seemed strangely detached from all the abuse, to the point that he left her alone among her abusers; she never cell phoned her skyboxing sister to share her concerns; etc. I wonder why?

Stop, says Chandrika Mahadeva in last week's Hot Type: it's unfair to entertain any doubts about Ms. Ranger's story. On the other hand, we should doubt all of the police interviews with people in the stands. Here is Ms. Mahadeva's new evidentiary standard, and I quote: "Were these all men? Were they all white? Were they all drinking? Were they all Packers fans?...When you're asking the perpetrators, the culprits as it were, 'Did you victimize her?' what answer are you going to get?" So now EVERYONE except Ms. Ranger is assumed to be a liar.

For the record: the cops interviewed both men and women from surrounding seats.

For the record: both blacks and whites, cops and noncops, were at the one interview Ms. Ranger deigned to grant. All said they had doubts about her story.

For the record: As of February 18, Slezak hasn't had a column since February 3. I wonder why?

William Schober

Chicago

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