One of the reasons that the Duke lacrosse case became a national news story was because of the allegations that racism had been involved, in the alleged assault or in other events that night. The alleged use of racial slurs, including reported use of the word "nigger", was a particularly controversial part of the story. The investigation of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office found that there were indeed racial slurs made on the night in question by both sides, but that the exchange was more limited than rumor or unsubstantiated media reports had depicted, and was initiated by Kim Roberts, not by the lacrosse players.

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