Let me start by saying we bleed Orange in our family. My daughter will graduate from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School this spring. My wife graduated from Syracuse. Her parents met, married and had their first child at Syracuse. That child went on to graduate from Syracuse too. We love everything about the school.
When the story broke on November 18th that there were allegations Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine had molested two boys from the late 1970s to 1990s, my heart sank. The reaction was not in response to Syracuse being in the middle of a scandal. It was in response to two boys being subjected to unimaginable, life-altering abuse.
It appeared the University acted swiftly by placing Fine on administrative leave while the charges were investigated. I can’t speak to how they responded when the allegations surfaced back in 2005, but in observing this recent scandal it appeared Chancellor Nancy Cantor was going to do the right thing. That was until Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim opened his ignorant trap and Chancellor Cantor chose to look the other way. Not only did Boeheim support Fine, but also verbally attacked the accusers. The ignorance was an endless spewing of vile commentary:
“I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years…. Bernie has my full support.”
This is so laughable. Any childmolestor over the age of forty has been known by someone for over forty years. That doesn’t make them a non-childmolester.
“It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he (Bobby Davis) has told. You don’t think it is a little funny that his cousin (relative) is coming forward?”
Hmmmm….no I don’t think it’s funny that more than one person in his family was abused. Can you repeat the joke Jim, I think I missed it.
“The Penn State thing came out, and the kid behind this is trying to get money. He’s tried before. And now he’s trying again. If he gets this, he’s going to sue the university and Bernie. What do you think is going to happen at Penn State? You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits? I’d say about $50 million. That’s what this is about. Money.”
Congratulations Bonehead….’er…I mean Boeheim, your reaction is the exact reason why kids being sexually abused don’t tell anyone — they fear nobody will believe them. Chancellor Nancy Cantor should have fired Boeheim on the spot. Instead, she did nothing and in doing so let all kids being sexually abused know that yet another adult would not step in to protect them. Way to go Nance. You now have orange blood on your hands and have spattered it all over the University and those who love it.
Fast forward to the morning of November 27th when ESPN broke a story that included secret recordings of Fine’s wife speaking to knowing about the abuse and saying Bernie “has issues.” All of a sudden, Boeheim has a mouthful of crow and in trying to choke it down releases a very well scripted, cover-his-ass statement:
“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”
In football they call that a Hail Mary. Not sure what the term is in basketball, but one thing is for sure, it seemed to make Chancellor Cantor happy. Today she stated:
“Coach Boeheim is our coach; he’s getting the team ready tonight. We’re very pleased with what he said Sunday night, and we stand by him.”
She must have consulted the Vatican on how to handle this mess. Why else would she choose to stand by a guy who verbally attacked a boy — yes he was a boy when this happened — who was sexually abused for years by a sick pedophile. There is no other way to slice it — in supporting Boeheim, Chancellor Cantor is saying “we value our coach more than we value the sexual abuse victims.” And because Chancellor Cantor represents Syracuse University, it is Syracuse University saying “we value our coach more than we value the sexual abuse victims.” Shame on Chancellor Cantor and the Syracuse Board for allowing Jim Boeheim to keep his job. All three should be terminated before Syracuse’s reputation mirrors that of Penn State.
What do you think?