Bernie Fine Won’t Be Charged: Did Syracuse Act Too Soon in Firing Him?

The Fizz believes SU did the right thing by axing Bernie amidst allegations.


“Nobody has shit to say to you. How stupid do you feel now?”

Bernie Fine’s daughter Shiela, to the Post-Standard

How are we all supposed to feel? Bernie will not be brought up on any charges. The investigation is over, and the feds will not ring him up. But the stain on his reputation is forever. His coaching legacy obviously tarnished. He is without a job, and much ability to live a normal life (at least in CNY).

The university says it was right in firing Bernie last year. But John Wallace says he feels vindicated, ecstatic and happy that Fine was never found guilty in a court of law. Can it be both? Can SU have done the right thing, even if Fine is not technically guilty of anything?

I think so.

An employer has the right to terminate employment if the employee is damaging their business in any way. And there’s no doubt the soap opera that surrounded Fine’s history and relationships were rocking the university in a way never before seen.

Employment is not always a virtuous bond. Companies do not necessarily need to stand with morality or the idea of doing what’s “right” in its business dealings. It would be a nice world if it worked this way. But it’s not the real world.

Corporations have decisions to make based on profit, brand and PR. Many times, individuals get run over by this Mack truck of the bottom line.

Essentially, keeping Fine employed or standing in support of him through the investigation and as the controversy brewed would’ve hurt the Syracuse in many regards. Keeping him on payroll (or the bench) would’ve only ratcheted up the heat and fervor on a program that was chasing a title. It would’ve continued to strangle the student-athletes that had nothing to do with it. It would’ve dragged Syracuse University through the same muck of Penn State, when obviously it’s clear they were two completely different entities.

It’s a harsh reality, but it’s earnest. The Fine Scandal brushed aside old buried cobwebs, and showed us the massive dysfunction in his family. It doesn’t appear it was the extent of the original allegations, but the Fine clan clearly had closets full of skeletons.

ESPN and Mark Schwartz should feel hollow and guiltty for chasing ratings and sensationalism with its handling of the information. And Bernie can feel some degree of vindication with this decision. But he needed to be removed by SU. He had become a giant anchor on the program.

Fine’s background was an old dark place that needed to have some light shined on it. And Syracuse needed reason for space from that. In the end it was the right decision, no matter today’s findings.

Posted: D.A.

19 Comments on this Post

  1. D.A. your post makes a lot of interesting points. Look I’m not going to say that I have all the answers here, because I don’t. You tell us that Bernie’s past needed to be opened for everyone to see and investigate. I ask why? How is digging up his past going to change history? Will it change day to day living now and into the future? My answer is no. Hell the liberals want us all to think and is teaching it in schools across the nation that being homosexual and or lesbian is a normal way of life. I see young(same sex)people walking the streets and kissing each other and holding hands after they get out of school. So I ask again,how is bringing up Bernie’s past going to change anything?

    This story has been been investigated thoroughly,by the University twice,Syracuse Police Dept.,Onondaga county District Attorney’s Office and finally the Federal Government,with all coming to the same conclusion. They all found nothing wrong, except a couple of accusations by a couple of liars and a couple of so called drugged up men who was clearly looking to make a quick strike and make millions of money off of them.

    I would like to hear what that professional lawyer who likes destroying people (Gloria Alred)has to say about this case now. Shouldn’t you be doing an interview with her and letting us all know about what is going to happen? No matter what the out come Bernie will never be a coach again and has moved from the upstate area,I think things are going to take a serious turn for Bobby Davis and his half brother and maybe they both should think about moving from the upstate area also.

    However, I do see a law suit coming against the university for wrongful termination and lawsuits coming against ESPN for defamation. I hope he takes them for all that he can get.

    Just letting you know what I feel here on. and by no way am I making any kind of threats against anyone.

    I do hope that he takes ESPN for all their worth.

  2. Ron,
    First – you’re a long time, well-liked member of the Fizz commenting fam. But please leave your personal politics off the site. This is about sports. Be sensitive to the fact that many people don’t agree with your viewpoint. I run the site. I’ve built it from the ground up every day for more than 4 years. I will not stand by and have readers alienated by political nonsense.

    Second – I think it was a good thing Bernie’s skeletons were brought to light because SU was being forced to deal with distractions behind the scenes, but would never be allowed to remove Bernie without explanation. SU had to do an investigation of its own, answer questions from the P-S, and local authorities. Of course JB knew of these types of allegations. The tape, the bizarre nature of Bernie’s marriage. These are all things that shouldn’t have to be dealt with, but Bernie couldn’t be removed b/c then people need to know why.


  3. Really???? This is how we are going to start the year. Hopefully this is the last of beaten to death rehashing of the Fine saga. As it relates to SU basketball, I personally don’t care if he is guilty or innocent, statute of limitations has passed nothing could be done if he was guilty…..As it relates to the Cuse, the greater injustice would have been to learn they covered up a situation they were aware of much like Penn St did.
    I personally am proud of how the University I love handled it. Now for the love of all things Orange can we please forget Bernie ever existed???

  4. D.A; My personal politics haven’t come into play here at all. I’m just trying to share with everyone DA what’s happening in our schools today. Just about everyday you read in the papers where another state is legalizing same sex marriage. I’m just relaying the message as it is coming out.

    Look,I don’t care if anyone agrees with my opinion or not,I feel that Bernie Fine got the wrong end of the stick here. That’s all,period. His past doesn’t concern me and I really didn’t need to find out about it by listening to the local news or reading it in any publications or reading about it on any web sites such as the Fizz.

    I know that you must read and follow what is written here on a daily basis. I also know that you and I have had personal discussions about my loyalty as a Syracuse Fan in the past. If you tell me that you want me off of this site,don’t hesitate,let me know. It’s not going to hurt my feelings one bit.

    But when you tell me to leave, please remember that I was responding to your post. To me it should never have been put here in the first place. It’s been quite on this subject,for almost a year, why even bring it up. I was sick of reading about it when it first happened. By bringing it up you’ve opened a can a worms again and yes people do have different opinions on it.

    I said earlier that I was leaving this site at the end of the year. I wish you well,it’s been fun.

  5. boxman1016

    I have to agree with you that I did not sense any politics in your post.This is an opinion page, isn’t it? I read ten times the politics at With DA’s overbearing opinions every time somebody says something he disagrees with, it’s no wonder nobody leaves a reply. I don’t blame you one bit for leaving. I very rarely read it anymore just because of Mr. thin skin.

  6. As usual, I don’t agree with Ron ..haven’t yet heard from his friend!
    This is a sports site…Bernie was a sports figure..I know him and attended Cuse when he was a basketball manager.. I was surprised by the charges and disappointed the national press decided to leverage the Penn State horror show into beating up on Cuse/Bernie. That’s what the media/lawyers do these days.
    Ron’s personal problem with other peoples personal decisions has nothing to do with child abuse! Being branded , as Bernie was is a disgrace. These charges don’t go away. He and his family have a reason to be bitter.
    Child abuse is a serious issue. Heightening the concern/oversight around our children’s sports involvement and those who particate with them is a good thing. The media and lawyers are a disgrace and they owe Bernie/ the reader/sports an apology.
    Ron and others like him should know this isn’t a gay marriage/ homosexual issue.

  7. Russell MacEachern

    I don’t come here for political commentary just to interrelate w/other Cuse fans on all things “Cuse” sports and Ron’s cooking tips and I really don’t care what Bernie is doing now as long as its legal and private.Im not a judge nor jury and not familiar enough w/Bernie to speak on the topic.Let’s try and get past it!!btw “Cuse” kicking but at the half against the “ville”….Go “Cuse”…politics aside Ron has many friends on this site Cuse17!!


    @Cuse17;your right Cuse were never going to agree on anything. bobby davis said he was molested when he was in his 20’s and into his 30’s. That doesn’t make it child abuse,but that’s only my opinion.
    I know you like ripping me on some of or almost all of my comments as much as I like ripping you for all of your foolish replies. I enjoy the banter,and I really mean I enjoy the banter. Cuse you shouldn’t get mad or jealous of a couple of people becoming friend’s on a sports web site. If Russell were ever in trouble and needed help,I think that I would be the first to stand next to him and support him.

    @boxman1016,you must be a new member here. Thank you for your comments.

    As far as the Bernie Fine saga goes,I’m going to let it straighten itself out in the court of law. I said it and posted it a year ago, when all is said and done and no one has found any wrong doing on his part. The lawsuits will start to get filed. I hope he takes ESPN and the stupid pundits who did the reporting to the cleaners. I hope their lives get destroyed just like they’ve destroyed his.

    Thanks again for ALL OF YOU COMMENTS,we need to move on to football and how well Syracuse played on Saturday and start making plans to vgo bowling at the end of the year.

  9. Dear Ronette:

    Being a liberal leaning center way in my old age I don’t agree(a usual) with your thoughts. And I disagree with DA at times because the media protects HCDM/dougie to much. But maybe not after the Louisville game!! To be honest right now I’m not sure what the right decision was about SU firing Bernie. As usual time will answer that question. It did help the BB program move on and you can’t fault that. But also, if Bernie was a pawn to these two jokers his life was screwed up. I hope after time someone can help clear up this mess. But I do feel strongly that suing SU is not the right thing to do. Bernie really has not been as ass about this whole thing. But his wife has. JB could help Bernie at least explain what really happen. But JB being JB he’ll play his quiet game. While Bernie his family member of JB’s famed BB program twists in the wind. We need to move on and we will move on. For the sake of SU BB. But we also need to feel for Bernie. If innocent god help him or guilty god help him!!!

  10. @terrie;I knew you had to be damaged goods just by the way you bitched all of the time. I also figured out your political views long ago. Always putting people down,never having a good word to say about anyone or anything. There was nothing the Syracuse Football Team or Coach Marrone could have done to please you. I knew then you had to be a Liberal.

    How sad you must feel knowing that your brain is the size of a ant’s brain and when you make a statement,isn’t saying to much to any of us. Again how sad.

  11. Ronette hope there’s hope for you?? You forget my fandom for Ryan and his QBing skills. As for HCDM/dougie he’s improving but we’ll see on him. Not really negative other than opinion. You need counselling on your mental state. I worry for you. You might end up like Russ your hero!! Or on a milk carton!!

  12. @Terrie;all I can think about while reading your foolish messages is the 1963 song sung by Peter Paul and Mary “PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON”. You know the one who lived by the sea. I know you think about the white sandy beaches along the shore line of Onondaga Lake as the ocean front.

    What a fool.

  13. I would usually let it go but this is typical Ron re writing history. The two boys accusations surround events starting in the late 80’s when they were ball boys.
    Ron…get your facts… True or not…and I choose not…Bernie is a Sports figure…it was CHILD abuse. We need to take note and in today’s world take cautions that we ignored in years past.
    Get over you personal issue and spare us your ignorance!

  14. Cuse17,your right,they did indeed say it all started when they were ball boys,and it continued into their 20’s and early to mid 30’s. No proof of the early abuse what so ever,only accusations. NO PROOF. One thing is for sure,the only thing that has come out is that we all were informed that Bernie Fine and Bobby Davis has had homosexual tendencies for a long time. so now we know that Bernie is a gay man. Who in sam hells creation wanted to know that? I know that I didn’t. Believe me,I know the facts of this case. I’ve read it and discussed it with earnest people for a year now and you have nothing new to tell me.

    So why not let the courts decide the matter after the law suits get filed. It’s going to be interesting to say the least,very interesting.

    So whom do you think is showing who the ignorant one is/ Great question isn’t it? Get lost man,get lost.

  15. @Cuse17;one other thing,this story is old man and I made my feelings known over the weekend. You see it’s people like you and Terrie who want to keep the thing alive by making stupid post like thw one above.

    We’ll see who has the last laugh on this matter after the law suits have been settled.

    So let the story die here man,move on to other things that you like complaining about, so I can tell you just how foolish you really are.

    Have a nice day and I hope that you don’t choke on your vomit.

  16. I guess you can’t spare us your ignorance!
    I done with this …you know what you are..

  17. @Cuse17;my ignorance is a hell of lot better than the garbage your trying to spread here.

    I’m glad that you’ve decided to drop your so called intelligent responses to the people who definitely know what their talking about.

    That’s probably the best thing you’ve ever done. By,by.


  18. I’m glad Bernie wasn’t charged but the university was prudent in firing Bernie. No chance should have been allowed that might drag the school and its program through mud like Penn State. Bernie’s life was ruined the moment the accusation was made. No one can come out the other side of that kind of mess clean.As it stands the school and Jimmy are clean and the we can go on from here in tact with our reputation. Certainly our situation is different from the PennState cesspool.We can be thankful for that and remember Bernie as that chubby lump that used to sit next to Jimmy all those years.

  19. This basically answered the condition, thank you!

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