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In sports, boys need to be men

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The Boston University men’s hockey team, among the most successful college sports programs in the country, is reeling after the dismissal of two stars who were arrested and charged with sexual assault.

It is the latest in a troubling trend for the BU hockey team, whose players are treated like kings and according to some on campus exhibit some of the same entitled behaviors. But it’s taken a non-sports – and female – columnist to point out the “boys will be boys” attitude isn’t playing well in this day and age.

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi today turns the spotlight on BU and its legendary coach Jack Parker after the arraignment in Boston Municipal Court Tuesday of star defenseman and pro prospect Max Nicastro, who pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault. Vennochi says, tied in with the December arrest of then-teammate and leading scorer Corey Trivino on charges of assault and battery and assault with intent to rape after he allegedly broke into a woman’s dorm room, Parker has more on his hands than a “horrible coincidence,” as he said in the aftermath of Nicastro’s arrest.

Vennochi points out that Trivino and another hockey player made a rap video called “Party like a puck star” that featured derogatory names for women and boasts of sexual conquests. BU’s student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, ran a story following Trivino’s arrest reporting that some residents of a dorm said some hockey players in the building routinely behaved in an inappropriate and threatening manner toward women residents.

“How much circumstantial evidence does this coach need?” Vennochi asks.

It’s not Vennochi’s first foray into the male sports world’s diminutions of women. Last fall, she scolded the Patriots for “walking away from Myra Kraft’s legacy” by trading for Albert Haynseworth, who was awaiting trial of sexual assault of a waitress in Washington.

Vennochi was referring to the late team matron’s influence in 1996 of releasing then-high draft pick Christian Peter, who had a history of sexual assault charges when he was a player at University of Nebraska. At the time, the issue was the focus of another female Globe columnist, Eileen McNamara, and the questions she raised led Myra Kraft to insist the team cut ties with Peter.

It also brings to mind the role the Globe’s Bella English had in cleaning up Fenway Park more than 20 years ago. Fenway, especially the bleachers, was not the place for the faint of heart. Regular fights, vicious taunting of other team’s players, including one who had Tourette syndrome, and racial slurs were routine fare from the Bleacher Creatures.

But no one did much until English wrote about the popular new drunken game of Fondle the Doll, where, when the fans would get bored, an anatomically correct inflatable woman was blown up and punched around like a beach ball and fans made lewd comments and simulated sex acts while being cheered on.

“Call it Perverts on Parade,” English wrote at the time.

Eventually, Fenway was cleaned up and made more family friendly, with limits on alcohol purchases and more security in the stands, mainly because of English.

Perhaps the lesson is, when it comes to sports in Boston, boys will be boys. But keep in mind, the women are watching.

                                                                                                                    --JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

A federal judge upholds a Massachusetts law barring protests within buffer zones around abortion clinics, AP reports (via WBUR).

The MetroWest Daily News weighs in on the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on the “social host law,” saying that everyone at a party has a moral responsibility to monitor reckless behavior when alcohol is being consumed.

Sal DiMasi is going to court to recoup $30,000 in retirement benefits. The Phoenix ponders DiMasi’s return from Kentucky.

Steve Grossman isn’t ruling himself out as a candidate for governor in 2014. The state treasurer is also open to legalizing online poker.

CASINOS

A development firm seeking to site a casino in New Bedford is appealing the dismissal of its lawsuit in federal court challenging the tribal set-aside in the state’s new casino law as a race-based preference.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Longtime activist Mel King and Project HIP-HOP Executive Director Mariama White-Hammond argue that Boston City Council needs to discard its traditional ideas about  redistricting in Boston and come up with a plan that insures fair representation for people of color.

Responding to the arrest of a patron for viewing porn, Lynn Chief Librarian Theresa Hurley wants to ban people from viewing obscene material on library computers, but she doesn’t want to use filters that block out sexually explicit words and images. “They block out sites that are useful, like a recipe for chicken breasts,” she tells the Lynn Item.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Sen. Scott Brown is urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to allow women to serve in combat roles, a position that puts him at odds with many fellow Republicans. NECN reports here.

During the debate on limiting abortions, a Georgia state representative introduced a bill to ban vasectomies that result in “thousands of children. . . deprived of birth.” The bill, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, would allow the procedure if it is to avoid a risk of serious injuries or death.

US Rep. Niki Tsongas gives a phone interview to the Lowell Sun from Cambodia, where she is traveling with Cambodian Americans from her district.

ELECTION 2012

Mitt Romney came out swinging in last night’s GOP debate, while Rick Santorum inexplicably waded into the land of earmarks and Congressional minutia. The Washington’s Post’s Aaron Blake assesses the winters and losers. More commentary here. Keller@Large says to Rick Santorum, the Devil is in the details. . . and every other aspect of liberal America. Reporters knew Santorum thought he lost when the candidate popped up in the post-debate spin room.

Romney unveils the latest incarnation of his tax plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column.

President Obama’s corporate tax plan rankles all sorts of businesses, but Republican congressmen say they’re open to negotiations.

Karl Rove dismisses talk of a brokered Republican convention in Tampa, saying “heartthrob” candidates like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, and Paul Ryan face much longer odds parachuting into a convention than they would have had they decided to start campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

GasBuddy.com warns gasoline prices may jump 5 to 20 cents a gallon by the end of this weekend, AP reports (via Lowell Sun).

Amazon agrees to collect and pay sales tax on purchases made by Virginians, the Washington Post reports.

A coalition plans to march on Beacon Hill today -- with stops along the way at Fidelity Investments and other big employers -- to press for more summer jobs for teens.

EDUCATION

WBUR’s On Point analyzes whether charter schools are making the grade.

Scituate’s town administrator said a plan to build a marine and environmental community college in the town was rejected for a variety of reasons including the lack of financial details to build and maintain the college from the school’s backers.

The Berkshire Eagle supports efforts to deal with racially charged taunting at high school sports events.

HEALTH CARE

States that allow the sale of raw milk, a group that includes Massachusetts, experience twice the rate of dairy-related illnesses as states that don’t, Governing reports.

Paul Levy says a New York Times editorial on controlling Medicare costs looks good on paper but falls apart when reality sets in.

Virginia’s governor now wants to amend the state’s pending abortion bill.

TRANSPORTATION

US Rep. Stephen Lynch, whose redrawn district will include Quincy and Weymouth, reversed course after meeting with Coast Guard officials and now says he supports the proposed lift-bridge design for the new span over the Fore River despite local opposition.

An audit of the MBTA Carmen’s Union’s books discovers $74,000 in missing and misappropriated funds. The union’s boss issues a statement refusing to comment on “a private internal matter.”

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

An environmental group seeking to further limit fish catches wants the federal government to declare the fishing industry a disaster so commercial fishermen can seek relief.

Al Gore is being accused of abusing his spot on Apple’s board of directors for personal (green) gain, the Daily Beast reports.
 
Cape Cod is planning to set up a regional wastewater board. Meanwhile, three companies will put $21 million toward the cleanup of the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

Six months after the East Coast earthquake, scientists and emergency management experts say it could have been a lot worse and, among other things, counsel more education efforts to familiarize people with tremors.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A state judge orders the UMass Amherst police department to stop taping conversations inside its headquarters, reports the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (via Lowell Sun).

It was a rough day on the witness stand for the chief prosecution witness in the Mattapan quadruple murder trial, as the defense drew out details of his less-than-upright background.

The grandson of Quincy District Court clerk-magistrate Arthur Tobin, who allegedly pulled the “do you know who I am?” card when he was arrested, was acquitted of assaulting police officers during the arrest but found guilty of other minor charges.

There are many more questions than answers after release of transcripts related to Amy Bishop’s 1986 shooting of her brother -- following which she was released by Braintree police and never charged.

MEDIA

Legendary war reporter Marie Colvin is killed in Syria while reporting on the violence there, the Daily Beast reports.

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