Report: Former Yale basketball player defends Brett Kavanaugh amid questions about his drinking history

On Sunday, Chad Ludington, a former Yale men’s basketball player, issued a statement to the New York Times that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was not truthful about his drinking history during his Thursday testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  After watching the Judge discuss his past behavior during a Fox News interview and under oath in front of the judiciary committee last week, Ludington felt it was civic duty to come forward to tell of his experience drinking with Kavanaugh during their undergraduate years.  In addition to the Times, the former ballplayer planned on telling the information to the FBI in Raleigh, N.C, on Monday.

According to a report at Yahoo.com, Kavanaugh, a Yale undergraduate from 1983-1987, tried out for the Bulldogs’ varsity team in the fall of 1983, but was cut by then-coach Tom Brennan.  After time spent playing on the junior varsity basketball team and reporting on the varsity program for the Yale Daily News, Kavanaugh attended Yale Law School from 1987-1990.  Following his graduation, he became a clerk for Judge Walter King Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a fellow with the Solicitor General of the United States, a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a member of Ken Starr’s Office of the Independent Counsel, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, an associate of the White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, an Assistant to President George W. Bush, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and a nominee for an Associate Justice position of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Charles, or Chad, Ludington grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C. but attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.  His father, also named Charles Ludington, attended Yale and went on to become a professor of English Literature and American Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  The younger Ludington was a 6′ 8″ center/forward, who played on the varsity team from 1983-1987.  In his four seasons with the Bulldogs, he played in 62 games, averaging 6.4 minutes, 1.1 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.  Following his graduation, he played professionally in Paris for one season before being traded to a team in Spain. Instead of playing in Spain, he traveled throughout Europe and China before coming back to the United States.

After arriving stateside, Ludington became a prep chef in a Connecticut restaurant then moved between Paris and Chapel Hill as he researched the genealogy of an American family.  Following the completion of that research, he went to graduate school at Columbia University, where he studied modern British and Irish history.  He then moved to London to coach JV basketball for an American high school.  After two years, he came back to the U.S. in 2000 and completed a history Ph.D. in 2003, then headed back south to teach at North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina State and Duke.  Since 2009, he has exclusively been at North Carolina State as a Teaching Associate Professor.  He has published two books, The Politics of Wine in Britain: A New Cultural History in 2013 and A Long Shadow: The Story of an Ulster-Irish Family in 2017.  His third novel, Food Fights: How the Past Matters in Contemporary Food Debates, is due later in 2018.

Ludington joins Liz Swisher and James Roche as former college alums challenging Kavanaugh’s statements about his drinking during his time in New Haven.  In his testimony and interview, the judge has noted that he did drink beer, but that he never did it to the  point of blacking out, ruling out the possibility that he had forgotten about any incidents of misconduct.  In his statement to the Times, the professor stated in part, “For the fact is, at Yale, and I can speak to no other times, Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.

Swisher told CNN, “”There’s no problem with drinking beer in college. The problem is lying about it.  He drank heavily. He was a partier. He liked to do beer bongs. He played drinking games. He was a sloppy drunk. He was more interested in impressing the boys than he was in impressing the girls. I never saw him be sexually aggressive, but he definitely was sloppy drunk.”  Roche, one of Kavanaugh’s two first-year roommates, released a statement that mentioned in part, “Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year. We talked at night as freshman roommates do, and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends. It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk,”

However, Dwayne Oxley, a floor mate of Kavanaugh’s in Yale’s Ezra Stiles College who knew him well, noted, “I never saw him in a state where he wasn’t in control.”  Chris Dudley, a three time first team All-Ivy member and future 16-year NBA forward, was one of the people involved in the bar fight described by Ludington.   According to a Monday article in the New York Times reviewing the police report of the September 1985 fight at a bar called Demery’s, a 21-year-old man accused a very tall man, later identified as Dudley, of hitting him in the ear with a glass and Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him “for some unknown reason.”  In the report,  two men witnessed Mr. Dudley throwing the glass, but he denied the action.  Additionally, Mr. Kavanaugh did not want to tell the police if he threw the ice or not.  The report did not say whether anyone was arrested, and there is no indication that charges were filed.

When contacted by the Washington Post to find out if Kavanaugh had any problems with drinking, Dudley stated, “I went out with him all the time. He never blacked out. Never even close to blacked out.  There was drinking, and there was alcohol. Brett drank, and I drank. Did he get inebriated sometimes? Yes. Did I? Yes. Just like every other college kid in America.”  He also pushed back on the negative stories, telling Buzzfeed, “When he went out Friday nights, I was usually with him. I never, ever saw him blacked out, never… Brett would drink, but he’d also be the guy who never missed a class. There’s a reason he was top of his class.”

1 thought on “Report: Former Yale basketball player defends Brett Kavanaugh amid questions about his drinking history

  1. Forget about his sloppy drinking. The temperament Kavanaugh displayed before the Committee in defending himself was unprofessional and highly partisan. This man apparently cannot control himself even when sober. He belongs on Fox, not the Supreme Court.

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