Compassion After Penn State Makes Questioning SU Allegations Tougher

This is a time of swimming emotions for Syracuse fans and alumni. My guess is you’re scattered and all over the place personally. We all learned an important lesson from Penn State in sensitivity to the horrors of sexual abuse. For the last two weeks, we’ve all stumped for a greater understanding of the problem, more compassion for the victims, and harsher punishment for the abusers. Yet, with this wind at our backs we are forced to address the same allegations at our own school.

How do you assess yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you use more critical judgement than you would others? Do you rationalize some of it because it’s far harder to grade yourself? This is the quandary the Syracuse community is faced with.

There’s no doubt, some of this looks dubious at the moment (admittedly, we’re less than a day removed from the initial report). The Post-Standard, ESPN and the university all investigated the story back in ’05 and none could corroborate the accusations.

The Fizz’s Coverage of the Allegations

We’ve seen a string of victims at Penn State resist any public notoriety. No names, no faces, no news interviews. Even the mother of one victim had her face blacked out and identity hidden when she spoke on camera. For Bernie Fine’s accusers, Bobby Davis and Mike Land, the stepbrothers are front and center, lights, camera, action on ESPN. This is, of course, not enough evidence to dismiss the allegations.

If you’re looking for evidence to believe in Fine, Jim Boeheim has been your best reason. He has immediately denounced it as lies, identified a motive (money in the wake of the Penn State coverage), and thrown full support behind his assistant coach. This is obviously much different from Joe Paterno, who had distanced himself from Jerry Sandusky even before it became public, had removed some of his privileges (not nearly enough) and admitted his own mistakes last week in not doing more at the time.

Former SU players have all immediately supported Fine also (then again, I’m sure former Nittany Lions at first glance disbelieved). If you’re leaning towards believing the accusations, there’s red flags there as well. Boeheim has said he’s never been inside Fine’s hotel room. That seems virtually impossible when you’ve spent 40 years traveling to games and events together. The Post-Standard reports multiple boys have stayed with Fine over the years (which unfortunately after Sandusky is no longer seen as a good deed). The police chief at the time of the accusations years ago, when it died a quick death, was a former Syracuse basketball player.

These are still two very different cases. Sandusky had been charged with 40 sex crimes. Fine has been accused and the investigation has been reopened. The impossible part to predict is whether more kids come forward against Fine. The best thing I’ve seen from the Syracuse community is patience and a resistance to make any grand proclamations. It shows we’ve all learned lessons from the severity of the PSU scandal, and become more compassionate toward the crimes of sexual abuse.

Naturally, as an SU alum I’d like to hope this isn’t true, but understand we cannot be hypocrites if the facts stack up. It feels like public opinion is questioning whether Davis and Lang are just acting out a money grab. Unfortunately, as Syracuse fans, even if we feel this way too, it’s hard to declare it for risk of sounding ignorant and tone deaf. Three weeks ago, maybe we all just disregard this as extortion. But the PSU scandal taught us many lessons, primarily to be attentive to this type of accusation. Meaning the growth we’ve all gone through is actually making our personal turmoil greater.

Posted: D.A.

Filed Under: FeaturedHoops


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  1. Derek says:

    I’m with Coach Boeheim. You wanna put that on the air? Put that on the air.

  2. tony says:

    this is nothing more than an attempt at a money grab. after the PSU scandal the kid decided he needed more to his story and needed to implicate the school, so he found his relative and made accusations against the head coach. brillant.

  3. Carlton says:

    I will choice to belive a man that has coached an help young men over 2 guys that sound like they have a axe to grind. For one isnt jbs son a current ball boy? If they did cover it up in 05 y would u bring around his own familey around somone he knew had a problem? Also it seems funny every time this has been brought up(03 an now) its been extremely convenient. 03 syracuse basketball riding high after its 1st nc and then a few weeks after the news happend at psu. Really makes u think. I also dont see jb reactin like this if it was. Look at how joe pa has acted. Hes never come out like jb has to defend the person on their staff in question. Its best though to wait an see what happens with the legal system but from what we know right now these ppl look like bold face liers. An know matter how this plays out its extremely sad.

  4. jeff says:

    talk about irresponsible sensationalism by ESPN. I did not hear the word allegation used by Mark Schwarz once. he bought the whole story and putting Lang on as a witness is a joke. Did you see those eyes? He conveniently didn’t ask him why he didn’t support Davis’ claims back in 2002-3 and 2005. I hope Schwarz isn’t a Newhouse grad

  5. Carlton says:

    Sorry for the typos not easy to post from a phone.

  6. mr. Alert says:

    Davis & Lang look like two drunks you can see it in their eyes , its all about getting rich !!!!

  7. kevin says:

    mr alert I agree thats what i was thinking first time i saw them both eyes glazed over and faces bright red. but seriously this makes me lose most my respect i have ever held for espn, instead of being cautious due to what they have learned in such cases like the duke lacrosse story where they jumped the gun and made america think innocent people were rapists monsters, they gobble this story up with no evidence whatsoever ever and use the guys relative (who said they never got along which is also contradictory to there stories) as now major evidence that this really happened. Read dana oneils article, which is basically the main one on espn mbb, where she calls this exactly like penn state, never even notions this may be false acusations, and says at the end “this is real this is a real scandal”. Also Mark schwarz is flat out saying the words of these two are facts, talk about level headed unbiased responsible journalism give me a break. I am not saying all of espn is to blame because of guys like jay bilas and dick vitale are saying this is hard to believe and warns to wait and see before jumping to conclusions because of possible false allegations. ESPN missed the boat on the penn st thing and now seeing a potential media goldmine and go all in against fine with no reliable sources, evidence, and just stories that dont add up when you think about it.(tim welsh hotel roomate of fine during the same time period these allegations happend “at least once a day”) The other sport media outlets are all saying espn jumped the gun and many of their anaylist calling this highly irresponsible journalism. Also as to the opinions on this site, reporters that have travelled with the team have said, beoheim doesnt leave his hotel room for anything during trips, he sits in his room and read books, so that isnt as hard to beleive as it seems. Another fishy point espn never even brings up is that in the psu situation has there even been one victim to even attempt to make there name or family members name public? yet this guys MO from the begining has been to get the medias attention. Whatever the case really is the rest of this orange team has nothing to do with the situation and should get us fans support more then ever, they are a team with national champ talent and we need to route for them more then ever in the midst of these lies. They will be champs!

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