Seeking a title but not “vindication”

The Baltimore Sun’s story on this weekend’s lacrosse final four round is called “Year later, Devils seek first title, vindication.” That may be the story the Sun wanted to write, but is it the real story?
Duke’s coach, John Danowski doesn’t think so. His theme has been “You play lacrosse because you love to play, because you love each other, you love the university and that’s it.” He told the Sun:

Winning or losing a game doesn’t mean you’re a good person or a bad person. In this particular case it would be easy to think that it does. But it’s not how you perform on an athletic field for two hours.

The Sun did find a player and the parent of another player to use the “V” word. If you think about it, though, “vindication” came when the case against the three former Duke players fell apart. If Duke loses tomorrow or on Monday, it will still be the case that the lacrosse program did not give rise to a rape. And if Duke wins the title, it will still be the case that the program, and especially the three former players, suffered greatly and unjustly.
The experiences the team has gone through, and the emotions generated as result, may give Duke an edge in the tournament. But “vindication” seems like the wrong word here.
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