NEW YORK - FILE: Assistant coach Bernie Fine of the Syracuse Orange looks on from the sidelines during their game against the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City. According to reports on November 27, 2011, Syracuse University has fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine over allegations of child molestation. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Bernie Fine saga continues to be a gross, disturbing, troubling and confusing chapter in the Syracuse Orange sports story. And not always for the obvious reasons.
I'm kinda surprised Bobby Davis and Mike Lang haven't made any public statements in the wake of Floyd VanHooser's admission that he made up his claims that Fine molested him as a child. Not because it damages their specific accusations, but because is damages the perception of those accusations in the court of public opinion.
Those away from the details of his drama only know that there are four accusers and that one is a liar and the other has more holes in his story than we can keep track of.
Jason Whitlock has been keeping a close eye on the developments since Day 1. Like many of us, he openly questioned ESPN's role in the news and what, exactly, was being put out there. With the fourth accuser's story now debunked, he's going scorched Earth on everyone.
The last official thing we heard from federal investigators looking into the Fine allegations is that they had been reduced to opening a tips hotline. As far as we know, no credible accusers of Fine have surfaced. Two criminals — one of whom has admitted to lying — and stepbrothers with highly questionable credibility sabotaged a 37-year coaching career.
What left Bernie Fine so vulnerable?
Homophobia. If he is indeed gay, he couldn’t coach major college basketball as an out-of-the-closet gay man. He would have to keep his lifestyle a secret and, perhaps, in an attempt to land a head-coaching job, construct the perfect American family.
Of course, it's only fair that we recognize the positives to all of this. There might still be questions about the Fine accusations but there's no denying that sexual abuse is a topic that won't stay buried now.
"I think there's probably more awareness and more conversation now than I ever remember in the past, and so of course it would be my hope that we can maintain this level of conversation," Bregman said. "And not miss the opportunity to continue to educate ourselves, to improve awareness and to do more to keep children safe in our community."
Finally, a tip of the hat is due to D.A. William Fitzpatrick, who initially said that "there is no fourth victim," got vilified publicly for it and it now proven correct. Credit where credit is due.