Bernie Fine Accused of Molestation, Syracuse Must Learn from Penn State Horror

Bernie Fine molested an SU ball boy for years – an allegation that makes Orange Nation’s stomach churn and has forced Syracuse police to begin an investigation. Last week The Fizz asked whether the student displays that happened outside Joe Paterno’s house could ever take place on the Syracuse campus. We posed, WWSD? (What Would Syracuse Do?) The story was to compare and contrast the legacy and public embrace of two college athletic titans  – JoePa and Jim Boeheim. Never did we expect that question to be horrifyingly prophetic. 

Hopefully, it won’t come to this – a toxic soap opera of cover-ups, denial and internal protection. But it’s our jobs as Syracuse alumni and fans to remain as sensitive to a case of child molestation at Penn State as at SU. For the last two weeks we publicly crucified Jerry Sandusky, unleashing verbal venom on a crime that is unthinkably horrific. IF… and we should use the IF… this turns out to be a true allegation, Orange fans cannot stand in support of Bernie Fine. We risk being the ultimate hypocrites, looking to protect everyone’s children but our own. Nor can we rationalize or lessen the import of one or two victims, versus the widespread pain that Sandusky allegedly inflicted. Every life is of the utmost importance. A single case of abuse is one too many.

IF… and we should use the IF… this turns out to be false, SU will still have been the first, but certainly not the last, athletic institution to feel the echo of the Penn State scandal. It seemed all along that the revelations from Happy Valley would unlock other cases, empower other abuse victims to tell their story. Some have believed the structure of youth, high school and college athletics may unfortunately be the type of situation this type of behavior could thrive in. The silver lining of PSU’s horror is it will allow others the freedom to find strength.  

It’s incredibly early to say anything definitively. Let’s just all hope Syracuse as a school, athletic department, student body and fans, handle this with far more sensitivity and grace than Penn State. Who knows if Boeheim knew anything (the victim suggests not). We have no idea if this is the first time the athletic department has heard of this. A former SU basketball player being police chief at the time the abuse was finally reported doesn’t make this look any better.

But as fans, let’s learn from the last two weeks and keep the victims as the priority. Let’s hope Syracuse University has learned a lesson in the handling of such accusations as well. Because the spotlight is about to burn hotter than ever on the Hill. WWSD? Unfortunately, we may soon find out.

Posted: D.A.


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  1. Derek says:

    If so, let the grand jury do what they do. If there’s anything to this investigation, I hope he gets put away for a long, long time. I hope there isn’t though. I can’t abide any sort of abuse, let alone of children. I’d love to be able to support Joe Pa, but it appears he was complacent while having reason to know that abuse was happening right under his noes. I pray that our coaches and university leadership can put children before their careers, unlike Joe Pa (a sincere tragedy) and the rest of the PSU staff.

    I will not support any staff, even if it were our most beloved Boeheim, being complicate in the abuse of the innocent. Root ‘em out, send ‘em to the clank. After seeing the juvenile reaction of PSU, I will not stand idly by.

  2. wayne says:

    He needs to be suspended………now!!!!! Then we worry about the grand jury, I feel sick.

  3. Derek says:

    He’s on administrative leave. Not sure what the difference is. There better not be some sort of PSU re-enactment. Too much b.s. going on down in Happy Valley. I love our basketball program, but I’d rather protect our children.

  4. mr. Alert says:

    Its a sad day in the Cuse let’s hope it’s a lie !!

  5. dunnbeeuhjoo says:

    FYI, my friends who are close to this investigation have disclosed to me that Boeheim is currently under investigation, and the way things have headed it appears he is close to dismissal. This is beyond sad, Boeheim and Paterno need to go to prison for a long time.

  6. Jon W. says:

    I think people need to settle down before making any kind of snap judgments or inflammatory comments. The police are in the preliminary stages of an investigation, so let’s be calm. At this point, it’s a guy and his cousin’s word against Fine’s. There appears to be no credible evidence, as of now.

    As horrible as I will feel for these guys if this is true, I feel just as horrible for Fine if this is all bull. The guy’s life and reputation might be ruined over a false allegation. Think about that declaring him guilty.

  7. Derek says:

    Paterno went after a grand jury found credible evidence. We’re not even close to that here with Boeheim and Fine. This was all investigated and dismissed in 2005. No credible evidence came forward, unlike in the Sandusky case. However, if there is now credible evidence, it needs to all be sorted out before a jury. It all seems a bit fishy and the timing is just too convenient for me.

  8. Kevin says:

    Listen guys… all you have to do is read the article on ESPN.com about this. I know I’m completely and totally biased as a huge Syracuse sports fan and current student at SU, but this is honestly a bunch of bull.

    First of all, why would this Bobby Davis guy go to Outside the Lines on ESPN with this story FIRST BEFORE going to the Syracuse POLICE (or any police for that matter)?

    Secondly, why did he wait until now to FINALLY say something that happened to him in the 1980s? The whole entire time during the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, and last year he couldn’t step forward with this? He picks NOW right after the huge Penn State scandal to conveniently come out with this story?

    Third of all, any critics of Jim Boeheim can say whatever they want about him. Sure, he screams a lot at his players. Sure he isn’t exactly great at handling the media. Sure he may not even be a likeable person to every single person in the entire world (but then again who is?). But one thing is absolutely positively 100% certain: Boeheim is one of the most honest, trustworthy, and dependable people on planet Earth. He never has nor will ever lie about ANYTHING in his entire life… especially something as serious as this. This is a guy (who like Fine) runs various charities and participates in Coaches vs. Cancer events and all sorts of stuff. And it has nothing to do with his image, because I think at this point he neither needs nor cares to uphold any “image” people have of him. His many accomplishments, awards, and accolades have afforded him that. He is a genuinely good person and would NEVER do anything to compromise the school (SU) that he loves more than anything in the entire world. I believe everything he says and when he denied all those allegations that Davis had, I think he was telling nothing but the truth. Put him and Davis in a lie detector test and this “case” will be over in a matter of hours. Plus, Boeheim and Fine have been close friends on and off the court for like 4 decades. I think Boeheim knows Fine better than anybody else does, so if he says he didn’t do it, then he didn’t do it.

    Another important fact: why is it that the ONLY person out the THOUSANDS of kids who have been around Fine and the basketball program over the past several decades that will corroborate with his story is his COUSIN??? Seems pretty fishy to me that EVERY other person denies all of his claims including the coach who was there the whole time but only his “cousin” agrees… yet another coincidence?

    Finally, read the last part of the story online. It says that Davis’ mother was quoted as saying in an interview “Bobby would ONLY go on road trips with the team when those trips didn’t require flying because he absolutely HATED flying and NEVER EVER wanted to do it”. Meanwhile Davis says he was “molested” by Fine during the 1987 Final Four… which was in NEW ORLEANS… I’m pretty sure the FLIGHT from Syracuse to New Orleans was a pretty damn long flight…

    In the end, I think this Davis person must just have some personal grudge against Fine or Boeheim or the basketball program or the city of Syracuse or maybe just the University in general, and he has seen what has happened at Penn State and just sees this as an opportunity to make himself some money and notoriety. What a sad sorry loser that person is. Yeah, everybody lets themselves be raped by a 70 year old man when they are in their 20s because they “can’t control the situation” and yet they go on the air and admit to that… pathetic…

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