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)
There were a lot of things that could have come out of the Laurie Fine press conference, and most of them had Syracuse Orange fans shaking in their boots. The reveal that she is suing ESPN, reporter Mark Schwarz and producer Arthur Becko for "spitefully destroyed Laurie Fine's reputation" during its coverage of the sexual abuse allegations against husband Bernie Fine, was something of a best case scenario for us.
In a short statement, Fine claimed that ESPN's lies have resulted in her being forced to live in seclusion for the past six months, and that she fears she will no longer be able to engage in the charity work that she has enjoyed for decades. She also stated that her husband is behind her and the lawsuit "100 percent."
"It is impossible for me to describe what ESPN has taken away from me," Fine said.
To drive home the tragedy of the situation, Fine's lawyer added that "She can't even go to Wegmans." Now, ESPN, you've gone too far...
So, what about the audiotape? It's "doctored, substantially inaudible, and entirely speculative", which many people have wondered since hearing it.
How bout the claims she had affairs with and support Syracuse basketball players? Those claims are "false because [Laurie Fine] never had a sexual relationship of any kind with any player on the Syracuse basketball team. No current or former player has stepped forward, or been produced by [ESPN], claiming otherwise. Defendants knew there were no such players before maliciously publishing Davis' story."
Fine and her lawyer also lobbed out there that ESPN acted with "absolute malice" and "attempted to capitalize financially on the story in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State". Oof.
Laurie also added that Bernie is behind her and her lawsuit "100 percent." Interesting.
ESPN for their part is standing strong. "We haven't had the opportunity to review the complaint. We stand by our reporting." Of course, that reporting includes facilitating a relationship between Zach Tomaselli and Bobby Davis, which led to search warrants and other real-world movement that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
Read the lawsuit here (PDF) and get ready for the fireworks to start up again. Couple key questions to ask yourself...
- If the allegations are true, it's strange that she would put herself out there like this and Bernie would implicitly support it, no?
- If it comes out that the audiotape is doctored, how do we look back on Syracuse University's firing of Bernie Fine?
- Will Bobby Davis, Mike "Casual Friday" Lang or Gloria Allred make a statement?
- Will Wegman's step up and invite Laurie Fine to shop at one of their fine establishments?