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In Defense of Bernie Fine (Editorial)

FingerLakes1.com - By Jim Sinicropi
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 @ 11:17 am

When I first heard the news of a report on ESPN.com alleging sexual abuse of a former Syracuse ball boy by longtime assistant coach Bernie Fine, my heart sank. My initial impression was, that if there's smoke there's fire. I was horrified at the thought of my beloved Syracuse University being thrust into the same type of quagmire that is currently playing out at Penn State.

After following this breaking story into the early morning hours of Friday, I have come to some conclusions.

First, Bernie Fine is completely innocent of these allegations. Second, ESPN should be ashamed of themselves and needs to pay for their tabloid style reporting of this non-incident.

The two alleged "victims" are spinning tall tales that were not able to be verified in 2003 by ESPN, and in 2005 by a four month internal investigation by Syracuse University. There is not one shred of evidence, except the word of these two men, that corraborates their story.

I am waiting for their to be another victim, an eye witness account, another family member who supports these two, ANYTHING to back up these wild accusations. This will never come because these two former ball boys are flat out lying.

To think, that ESPN is so willing to ruin a man's life over conjecture and speculation is appalling. Any reputable journalistic entity would require more evidence of their claims before plastering Bernie Fine's face on national TV next to the words "sexual abuse" or "molestation".

Lets look at the Penn State incident. There were multiple eye witnesses, an assistant coach, a janitor, parents of victims. More are coming forward every day. Child molesters generally don't just perform their heinous acts on one or two individuals. In fact, it is estimated that the average sexual predator has 100 victims. If Bernie Fine is a child molester, there will be other victims coming forward shortly. We shouldn't hold our breath waiting for this to happen. There were no other victims when ESPN investigated in 2003 and when Syracuse investigated these claims over four months in 2005.

I am taking a dangerous stance in this editorial as there can be nothing worse than dismissing the claims of someone brave enough speak about the fact they were molested by another man in their childhood. What I am claiming, however, is that if molestation of this nature had occured over a 25 year period, that there would be more evidence, victims, and witnesses that would have come to light during the multiple investigations conducted. There have been none, and I believe there will continue to be none.

I am further compelled to compose this piece after reading the comments of those coming to Bernie Fine's defense. Jim Boeheim wasted no time in vehomently dismissing the allegations as lies. If for one second, Jim Boeheim, or any of his former players or staff believed that Bernie Fine was capable of these acts, they would be foolish to offer up such a staunch defense.

What is more likely than these allegations being proven true, is that they are proven false. When that time comes, hopefully sooner than later, and Bernie Fine is vindicated, I pray that Syracuse University and Bernie Fine sue ESPN and persue retaliatory action to the fullest. You cannot put a dollar amount on the damage that ESPN has done to Bernie Fine, the Syracuse basketball program, and the Syracuse University community.

 Jim Sinicropi

President, FingerLakes1.com, Inc.
Syracuse University '95

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