NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Attorney Gloria Allred holds up a copy of a defamation lawsuit as she speaks at a news conference with Bobby Davis and Mike Lang at the Renaissance Hotel in New York Times Square on December 13, 2011 in New York City. The men are being represented by Allred in a suit against Syracuse University, and its former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, for his alleged sexual molestation of Davis and Lang over twenty years ago. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
If you're like me, you've got a lot of burning questions about the Bernie Fine scandal, what's up with Zach Tomaselli, what his comments mean aboutand Mike Lang, and how it might impact the Jim Boeheim defamation lawsuit.
Luckily, I also have all the answers (allegedly).
So, is Zach Tomaselli telling the truth about Bobby Davis?
Almost certainly not. Remember, Tomaselli had lied about literally everything so far. There's no reason to believe that anything that comes out of his mouth is true, let alone something outlandish.
But, I mean, it's possible, right?
Well, of course it's possible, but remember your source. Davis hit the ground running with a denial which was a good sign for him and the smart thing to do.
But, that denial came courtesy of the same reporter who put Tomaselli in touch with Davis, no?
Yes, ESPN reporter Mark Schwarz is the one who reported Davis' denial, which in and of itself, is fine. But, when you realize that the conversation that Davis is rebutting only happened because Schwarz put them in touch, that's where it's like, c'mon, bro.
I'm not a reporter. I didn't go to Newhouse. I didn't take TV Journalism 323: Constantly Re-Tilting Your Head To Give Your Words Emphasis. But, I feel like I have a firm grasp on common sense. And common sense tells me that if I'm an impartial journalist and I put my source in touch with another source, and the interaction between those two sources becomes newsworthy, then I probably need to take a step back in order to avoid any sense of impartiality.
But, what do I know?
So, let's say Tomaselli is telling the truth...how do we know?
Well, if the reporter in charge of this investigation were impartial, he or she would ask Bobby Davis for access to his phone records. Davis said he spoke with Tomaselli "like two" times. A quick check of those phone records would verify that, at least. It might not prove anything definitively, but if the records showed that the two spoke "like twenty" times, well, then we've got a problem.
That's what the reporter in charge of this investigation would do if he or she were impartial.
Hey wait...Davis implied that he knew Tomaselli was making it up. Assuming that Davis then told Schwarz that he thought Tomaselli was lying and Schwarz then passed along Tomaselli to the Post-Standard instead of following up with him or outing him as a liar, isn't that some kind of breach of ethics? I mean, at the very least, if Davis and Schwarz knew Tomaselli was a liar, shouldn't they have said something this entire time? They knew he was a liar and then let his accusations influence firings, search warrants, public discourse and legal actions. That's a little unethical, no?
Well you kinda answered that one already, didn't you?
So, pretend for a second you believe Tomaselli. Convince me.
The search warrants that were served on Bernie Fine's house were done so because of specific mentions of places, things, rooms and items that were obviously corroborated by the accusers. How did Tomaselli know any of that stuff if he's never been there and never met Bernie Fine?
But, that's making a lot of assumptions...
Does this possible development mean that Bernie Fine will never be prosecuted?
Almost certainly. Tomaselli's claims were the only ones still alive that fell within the statute of limitations for prosecution.
It could even have an affect on all of the evidence taken from Fine's home in police searches. The warrants used to obtain the search warrants were almost certainly procured thanks in large part to Tomaselli's testimony. Since all of that testimony is bunk, all of the evidence might be tainted, so to speak.
Legal experts disagree on this point, from what I can tell. There was one defense of still being able to use the evidence that I liked...
"They had no reason to disbelieve him at the time," she said of Tomaselli. "If the search warrant was based on credible information, anything obtained in that search warrant would be admissible in court."
So, what you're saying is, if they believed the information to be true at the time, their public display is still fine because they honestly believed in what they were "saying" at the time.
Man, that sounds so familiar...
Oh, I get it. You're talking about Boeheim, right?
So what's the deal with that? Does this affect his defamation suit?
I'm guessing no, if only because no one actually believes Tomaselli. However, if someone on Boeheim's legal team wanted to pursue it, I suppose they could try to get those Bobby Davis phone records that I mentioned above. I'm doubting they'll want to talk to Tomaselli himself.
You really don't have any hope for Tomaselli to tell the truth?
I present to you, Zach Tomaselli's Twitterfeed. Recent tweets include a story about an 8" furry creature he encountered a few days ago and a "fifth Fine accuser" that was supposed to come forward on March 29th.
Oh and this, too.
In a way, I'm going to miss him.
Did he seriously go after Bernie Fine and Syracuse because we beat Kansas in the 2003 National Title game?
Who knows, though according to his Twitterfeed, he is most definitely a real-deal Kansas fan.
When is he "off the grid?"
Zach is scheduled to enter prison for three-plus years on April 18, so, our time is almost up.
Should we feel bad for him?
I'm not gonna tell you how to feel, but putting all of the terrible stuff that he's done aside, he's clearly a very troubled guy who is in need of serious help. The question for him now is, if Bernie Fine didn't molest him, did someone else do something to him as a child? I don't think he's going to get any help in prison, given that he's going in as a child molester himself, but I guess we'll find out in three or so years.
Hey, what about that Robert Hoatson guy and his mystery Syracuse coach that abused a player?
Yeah, what did happen to that guy?
The Post-Standard just wrote up a whole thing of him and his crusades. The problem for Hoatson at this point is credibility. He championed both Bernie Fine accusers who have since admitted to lying. And as for the accusation he lobbed out there that a current Syracuse coach molested a former player...nothing's come of it since.
If he comes forward tomorrow and claims something new about Bernie Fine or Syracuse, would anyone believe him?
So, with two accusers in the books as liars, another accuser only changing his story recently and both original accusers currently suing someone else for millions of dollars...well...here's the question no one wants to ask at this point...could Bernie Fine actually be innocent here?
You had to hit me with it, didn't you? Here's my honest opinion.
I think that it's clear Bernie Fine had a sexual relationship with Bobby Davis. It's hard to dispute that. The question is, did that sexual relationship occur when Davis was a child? And while I'm not ready to close the door on that at all, I'm willing to allow for the possibility that it didn't.
I don't want to seem insensitive to Davis and Lang and what may have occurred. And I don't want to defend Fine simply because he's associated with Syracuse and Jim Boeheim. But, there are so many variables still out there even in the face of the evidence. Was that the entire audio recording between Davis and Laurie Fine? Was it doctored? What if Fine and Davis' relationship turned sexual when Davis was 17 and not, say, 12? Does that change anything?
You know what keeps creeping into my mind and makes me second-guess everything? It's the dozens and dozens of other kids that spent their childhoods in the Fine household. As far as we know, none of them have come forward with claims of abuse and there have been quite a few to say publicly that they were shocked by the accusations and nothing even remotely close to it ever occurred with them.
Ultimately, the rub is that even if Bernie is innocent, he's not innocent. His name bears a stain that may or may not be earned and that stain will never be undone. He's done the smart thing and dropped off the face of the planet and he would be wise to spend the rest of his life doing the same.
I've given up on ever getting some semblance of concrete truth on this whole matter. Is Bernie Fine guilty? I think he's guilty of SOMETHING, even if he's not guilty of what we're being told. And unfortunately, the person who's going to play the price for it (literally), might be Jim Boeheim.
I've said it roughly 9,000 times, and I'll say it once more: the more we learn about this whole ordeal, the less we know. I guess that's how these things go.