Syracuse Head Coach Should Probably Stop Talking Now

Illustration for article titled Syracuse Head Coach Should Probably Stop Talking Now

When two men came forward to accuse Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting them as children, head coach Jim Boeheim called them money-grubbing liars. Then he apologized. He should have stopped there, but now he's saying he doesn't regret defending his friend.


Boeheim initially said accuser Bobby Davis was telling "a bunch of a thousand lies" and that he and his fellow accuser Mike Lang "saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money." On Sunday, the day Fine was fired from the university, Boeheim apologized, saying, "I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse." According to the New York Daily News, Chancellor Nancy Cantor cited this apology when expressing support for Boeheim against calls that he too be fired: "We're very pleased with what he said Sunday night. And we stand by him." Unfortunately, Boeheim kept on talking. At a post-game news conference last night, he said of his initial liars-and-extortionists comments:

I supported a friend. I think it's important what I did. I'm proud I did that. I've known him for 46 years. We went to school together. I think I owed him a debt of allegiance.

It is possible to support a friend without publicly calling alleged child abuse victims liars — Chancellor Cantor herself, in a letter to the Syracuse community, affirmed Fine's right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty while still emphasizing the university's commitment to taking the accusations seriously. Boeheim, instead, chose to lash out. He also appears to be engaged in some preemptive buck-passing, saying, "ultimately, the head coach is responsible for everything he can control. But, outside the program, I have little if any control over what an adult does."

Fair enough. But multiple men now say they were abused while on team trips with Fine, trips Boeheim presumably went on too. If these allegations are true, it will be hard for Boeheim to claim he bears no responsibility — and hard for him to justify his attacks on Fine's accusers.

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim Has No Regrets Over Defense Of Former Assistant Bernie Fine [NY Daily News]



I watched this press conference, and I think what Boeheim had to say was perfectly respectable. An investigation into the matter several years ago went nowhere, so at the time of his initial statement Boeheim had no reason to believe that his friend had done anything wrong. When further accusations surfaced which were damning enough to cause the university to fire Fine, Boeheim apologized for defending his friend and said he would suspend further judgement till he found out more about the case.

What the hell do want him to do? What would you do? Would you really turn on your friends because someone you don't know or trust says they did something bad? I wouldn't. I'd stand by my friends until someone provided me some reasonable evidence of their wrongdoing.

And he's the coach! His job is win games! He has a busload of ego-sensitive, hormonal, giant, immature student athletes to keep in line. He delegates shit out to other people, he can't be everywhere all the time.

I was pretty annoyed, during the press conference, by some of the reporters who kept asking him the same questions which weren't questions at all, but accusations, that he had already answered. How many times did they need to hear that he's waiting for the outcome of the investigation to make up his mind? Isn't that sort of behavior the kind of thing that our justice system is built upon? Why is that answer so hard for them to accept?

All the stupid little Nancy Graces need to shut the fuck up and settle down. They're so hungry for another scandal that they're not even interested in waiting to find out what happened.

Just because it's college and it's sports, doesn't make this case the same as Penn State.