Bernie Fine Scandal: Former Syracuse Basketball Players Voice Support

The accusations leveled against Syracuse Orange assistant coach Bernie Fine have brought a lot of talking heads out of the woodwork.

They've also brought a lot of former Syracuse players out of the woodwork as well. And all of them are standing by their former coach.

Rony Seikaly, who if often referenced as Fine's greatest reclamation project while at Syracuse, cannot imagine Fine is guilty.

"Bernie would never do such a thing," Seikaly said in a telephone interview in Miami. "I vouch for Bernie. There is no way something like this could ever happen in my eyes. No way."

"Completely ridiculous," Seikaly said. "Do people want a quick buck or something? I spent four years with Bernie, every single day. I know what kind of guy he is. He's just a very helpful guy. He was the glue to Syracuse basketball. He's still the glue 20 years later when you're already gone. He keeps in touch with every single player. He's that kind of guy."

The Daily Orange spoke with Eric Devendorf, who mirrored the same reaction:

"I think it's a lie," Devendorf said. " … I've been to his house numerous times. I'm good friends with his son and his family. Bernie is a great person, and I was always able to come back and talk to him. He did a lot of things for me off the court besides basketball, so it's not even in his character to even do something like that. It seems like a lie to me, the whole thing seems real fishy."

George Hicker, a former Syracuse University men's basketball player and a member of the SU Board of Trustees, echoes the same sentiment:

"I've been around him in every imaginable circumstance in life," Hicker said of Fine. "And there is no chance, no chance these allegations are right."

"I know them. There's no way this kind of stuff is going on," Hicker said. "Boeheim never saw anything, this guy is lying, and Bernie never did it."

And Derrik Coleman took to Facebook last night to share this support of Fine:

"To all my fb people and my SU family I’ve been knowing Bernie Fine since I was 14 going to SU Basketball Camps. I know how it feels to be accused of something and everybody is speculating I support Coach Fine 100% in my time at SU and still to this day I’ve never seen any indication of what he’s being accused of."

Then there's Fine's former colleague, Tim Welsh. Welsh sat on the same bench and traveled with Fine for years so his thoughts are pretty legit:

"Every road game Syracuse played during my three years at Syracuse, my roommate on the road in the hotel was Bernie Fine. I've shared over probably, at least over 1,000 meals with him in my lifetime," Welsh said on SNY. "This guy has an impeccable reputation, that's all I can tell you about him and I don't know anything about what's been said tonight, I can't put my arms around it right now...he is one of the most respected people in college basketball."

Former SU team manager Sam Carello was with the team when these alleged crimes took place and he adamantly denies them.

"People that know Bernie will know it didn't happen," Carello said. "But the people who don't will think he's guilty. It's not innocent until proven guilty in this society anymore."

"What's really sad is they've just ruined a guy's career without investigating it further," Carello said. "I was one of the people they interviewed back in 2005 and stuff. You didn't find anything there. Now, just because of this Penn State stuff and the media, you get a media blitz to ruin this guy's life without any accusation except one guy claiming this and no evidence."

And of course, Jim Boeheim is an attack dog in defense of his longtime assistant and friend.

Like the Penn State scandal, the Syracuse community is coming out in support. Unlike the Penn State scandal, the person they're supporting is the one being accused of the crimes. That might not prove anything, but it means something.

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