UNC Campus Life: Why We Still Hate Duke


It seems that every generation of Carolina students has its unique moment that best symbolizes why we will always hate Duke.  In the early 90’s, it was the Laettner stomp. Christian Laettner attacking a defenseless player will be the moment that UNC students (and everyone else that hates Duke) bring up when describing their antipathy for Duke. Another is when the Cameron Crazies chanted “Orphan!” at Scott Williams after the UNC player lost his parents.  These moments aren’t brought up by ESPN, the media, or anyone else outside of the group of people that hate Duke. There’s some unexplainable bias towards Coach K  and Duke in the media where  ESPN (particularly Dick Vitale) always brings up K’s classiness and the atmosphere in Cameron.  Again, each generation of Carolina students has their “Duke” moment and ours was right after the buzzer beater.

Following the game on the 8th, a few minutes after Duke had triumphantly left the court, Austin Rivers returned and saluted the student section (the risers) and then promptly flipped them the bird.  No one can ever prove this, but countless students in the risers swear that he gestured at the crowd while they were merely feet away from him.  There’s no video of it and it will no doubt be dismissed by anyone outside of the ACC as UNC fans simply making something up to tarnish the reputation of the “classy” Duke team that is so well coached.  That’s part of the reason that we’ll forever remember it. If he gives the finger and is promptly called out on it, then Duke gets what they deserve–condemnation on a national level . But that will never happen. This is Duke that we’re talking about after all: the golden child of the NCAA world that rose from nothing and has become one of the most historic programs in a short two decades.

UNC hates Duke not just because they’re our rival but because there’s a blatant media bias that sweeps their terrible behavior under the rug. It a rivalry where each side takes joy in each other’s suffering. When Duke loses to some random team, it’s as if Christmas came by surprise. We find solace in their misery not because we’re “bad” people but because so many of their accomplishments are lauded beyond belief.  Case and point: the ACC Play of the Week recently was Austin Rivers’ buzzer beater–and rightfully so, it was an amazing shot.  But one should remember that a week lasts seven days and it was still being regarded as the Play of the Week as late as  the 23rd.  If UNC does the same thing, it too will be blown up on television and the Internet, but the media will just as quickly forget.

So while I doubt this article will convince anyone out of UNC that Duke is the villain of the story, we’re simply trying to convey what drives the hatred.  It’s the obvious referee favoritism, the flops, the inherent arrogance, the Cameron Crazies being described as the “best fans in the nation,” Coach K being regarded as “America’s Coach,” and the media bias that infuriates us.  We hate them not because of their behavior and ethics, but the fact that outside of North Carolina, the world condones it.

As much as I hate Duke, I’m thankful for them. I am thankful for such a program that so many UNC students bond over hating.  We look at Duke, and regardless of class, creed, or background, we come together.  On game days against Duke, the feel on campus is something wholly unique to UNC/Duke.  For a few hours every year, the student body comes together as a family. We are part of something bigger than ourselves, something many of us may never experience again. We so much want to see Duke lose in the Dean Dome, that we’ll do anything to get a ticket (I myself offered the naming rights of my first born).

Every story needs its villain.  The antagonist that drives conflict, the character that we love to hate.  Duke is the Joker to UNC’s Batman. The Hans Gruber to our John McClane.  The Moriarty to our Sherlock Holmes.  We hate Duke because, to us, they’re evil. And we’ll hate them and everything they stand for until the day we die.