I am trying to not comment on what is going on at Syracuse right now, I really am. I am trying really hard to let it play out and not comment until all the facts are out. There is too much contradicting information out there right now to even try to figure out. And I am admittedly emotional, as a Syracuse alum who met her husband there and continues to be a huge fan.
However, I couldn’t keep from commenting about this shoddy “commentary” from ESPN writer Tim Keown. It’s one among many, but I found parts of this one particularly ridiculous. My rant here isn’t about the alleged victims, about Bernie Fine, or even really about Boeheim as much as it is about this terrible piece of writing. This is not meant to be a defense of anyone or anything, but it is an attack on bad “journalism” (it hurts to even call it that). I realize it’s a commentary, but this is a professional journalist, a “senior writer” in a national forum. This is terrible.
We don’t know for sure yet what happened here. But what we do know is that ESPN has been irresponsible at the least in its handing of this story. I have no problem commenting about that at this point. ESPN’s credibility on this is pretty much garbage at this point, but it still makes me mad that this stuff is allowed out there. In this particular case…
…the reflexive and near-violent defense of Fine by Jim Boeheim…
Near-violent? Really? Can you say “sensationalism?” Boeheim called the accusers liars and he gave his theory on their motives for lying. Can you please explain which part of this is “near-violent?” Can you please point out exactly where Boeheim gets near-violent, nearly threatens violence, anything that would justify the use of the words “near-violent” to describe his reaction? Irresponsible? Yes. Harsh? Yes. Near-violent? That’s ridiculous.
By the end of this past weekend, after a third alleged victim had come forward and Laurie Fine’s recorded words had been made public, Boeheim apparently had undergone a dramatic change of heart. A change of heart, it should be added, that was not nearly as vociferous as his initial tirade.
A change of heart? I would hope so after new developments. I also had a change of heart after the new developments, as did most people. It was enough for Fine to go from suspended to fired. Boeheim stated in his defense of Fine that he would defend his friend of 50 years until evidence came out to convince him otherwise. That makes sense. That happened. And as soon as the slightest evidence came out that might support the allegations, Boeheim did as he said he would. He apologized. He deeply regrets any insensitivity in his statements. And no, you don’t tirade when you are dealing with accepting that a life-long friend may be guilty of heinous crimes you just defended him for. The rest of us were reeling after the taped conversation came out, I can’t imagine being the man who just put his own reputation on the line for a friend he trusted. And you don’t tirade when you are acknowledging that previous statements were too harsh. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Maybe people at ESPN didn’t have a change of heart since they already knew about those recorded words, which were “made public” by ESPN after sitting on them for nearly a decade… We’ll save that for later.
At first, Boeheim blamed the potential victims — strongly, in no uncertain terms.
You make it sound like Boeheim blamed the potential victims for what might have happened to them. Nice job trying to make it sound that way with your misleading use of the word “blame.” That’s a strong word that you do use in uncertain terms.
He called them liars. He questioned their motives for allegations he strongly did not believe and that had been unfounded in previous investigations. He believed they were lying. They still might have been. One tried to implicate Boeheim with comments about Boeheim seeing him in Fine’s bed and giving him weird looks like he knew it wasn’t right. Boeheim denies this ever happening.
Boeheim: “I know he’s lying about me seeing him in his hotel room. That’s a lie. If he’s going to tell one lie, I’m sure there’s a few more of them.”
If that’s the case, he has every right to call the accusers liars, especially at that point. Say he called them liars, say he harshly accused them of having money-driven motives. He did that. Don’t make it sound like something else, like he blamed them for what might have happened.
Seriously, how many grown men repeatedly travel with young boys who aren’t their children and stay alone with them in hotel rooms?
There have been numerous people who have said that Bobby Davis was thought of as Bernie Fine’s adopted son. He lived with him. He vacationed with his family. Davis himself has alluded to these things. If that is the case, it would really not be all that odd for him to be staying with him. As far as I know, Mike Lang does not claim to have stayed in hotel rooms with Fine and the third victim claims to have once and his father says that is a lie.
In light of the additional accuser and Laurie Fine’s words, victim support groups and at least one national columnist are calling for Syracuse to discipline or even fire Boeheim because of his initial response.
You do realize that this national columnist you link to is a known sensationalist who probably should have been fired himself over reckless accusations and words more than once, right? Like the time he made unfounded accusations against Urban Meyer and called him a “bad, bad guy.” He had to take that back. Or the time he decided to take sides and call Gary Williams a “little tiny little petty human being” over nothing but unfounded accusations. He had to apologize for that too. He also thought Ben Roethlisberger should not have been suspended by the NFL because the allegations of sexual assault against him were just allegations and no charges were filed. So I guess he also thinks Bernie Fine should still have a job at this point. So let’s just agree to ignore anything that he has to say…
A case definitely could be made that his job should be payment for his cavalier and thoughtless words.
So what you originally called “near-violent” is now “cavalier and thoughtless?” Good job contradicting yourself in your own writing. Plus, if we are firing people over “cavalier and thoughtless words,” not many people would be left with jobs…including you and the national columnist you chose to reference above.
How about firing people for sitting on potential evidence of the allegations? That sounds more like something to be fired for. Any of your colleagues looking for new jobs yet?
Can you spend nearly 40 years working with someone and never truly know him? Can the all-consuming nature of coaching big-time college athletics blind someone to a person’s true nature?
And this may be your most ridiculous statement of all after calling Boeheim’s statement “near-violent.” Yes, yes you can. Just like you can parent someone for 30 years and never realize they are being sexually abused. Or you can be married to someone for years and never know they are cheating on you. Should I keep going? Yes, you can be close to someone for 40 years and never truly know them. We like to think that’s not the case, but it happens all the time in all possible situations. Don’t be stupid.
It’s clear that Boeheim — in true kinglike fashion — was reacting out of a sense of betrayal.
Kinglike fashion? Really? Boeheim himself will tell you that he has no power over anything other than what happens on that basketball court. Even before this, when he was questioned on the move to the ACC, he said that he was not consulted and should not have been. That certainly does sound kinglike, doesn’t it? Absurd. Good job trying to up the drama though with words like “kinglike.”
…and finally the creepiest thing of all: a 2002 recorded phone conversation in which Fine’s wife adopts a shockingly casual tone regarding the entire operation.
The creepiest thing of all…the recorded phone conversation that your news organization (and I use that phrase lightly) knew about and sat on for almost a decade. Shockingly, casually sat on. Wow. How about you write a commentary about that?
During the university’s 2005 investigation into Bernie Fine’s behavior, Laurie Fine reportedly helped stifle its progress by claiming the allegations were lies. In light of the recorded call, in which she seems to acknowledge her husband’s aberrant behavior without explicitly naming it, she comes across as a possible enabler.
Helped stifle? Oh…you mean like ESPN did by not letting anyone know about this phone conversation? Enabler? Well then, what does that make the organization you work for that kept quiet about the conversation in question? Laurie Fine does sound like a sick person in the recorded conversation about “aberrant behavior.” ESPN sat on that conversation about “abberant behavior” you seem to like referencing so much.
ESPN and all of its “reporters” should be very careful about throwing stones in the direction of anyone right now.
Actually, I guess this shoddy piece of “journalism” is the least of ESPN’s offenses regarding this case.