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Bernie Fine Allegations: ESPN's Journalistic Integrity, Jim Boeheim's Comments Both Under Fire

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At the end of the day, the Syracuse Orange community can talk about Bernie Fine, his accusers and the impact all of this is having on SU, but the Syracuse Police investigation into those sexual abuse claims is what's going to tell the closest thing possible to the truth. And we won't know anything about that for weeks.

Syracuse police will not provide updates until its investigation of child sex abuse allegations against Syracuse University assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine has concluded.

Instead, the police will complete its inquiry and turn its findings over to "the appropriate authorities" while answering questions about the case "at the appropriate time," Mayor Stephanie Miner said in a news release shortly after noon today.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner added, "the accusers, the accused and the community-at-large deserve and should not expect anything less" than a thorough, professional and complete investigation "when such serious and disturbing allegations involving children are brought forward and when the reputations of all involved are at stake."

And so, the situation has devolved into a battle between the District Attorney vs. Mayor Miner & the Syracuse Police.

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says that makes no sense to him, because his office is the only one with grand jury and subpoena powers necessary for a thorough investigation. And he's going to court to try to force police to hand over what they have now.

So in the interim, the focus is shifting slightly from the accuser and accused to other factors, like the question of whether or not ESPN should have reported it in the first place.

Jason Whitlock, very strongly, says no.

...some of us are disgusted by the irresponsible "reporting" used by Mark Schwarz, Arty Berko and ESPN to unfairly smear Bernie Fine and boost ESPN ratings.

Schwarz, Berko and ESPN remind me of Paterno, Mike McQueary and Penn State in one respect. When confronted with a difficult choice, they all did the bare, legal minimum to protect their self-interest. They failed their moral obligation.

The most damning part of the article to me was when it was revealed that the accusations and credibility attached to them didn't even meet the minimum threshold of Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio. Have you read Deadspin in the last three years? I didn't even realize they HAD a threshold.

Speaking of ESPN, check out this Ombudsman report of the failings in their Penn State coverage.

The New York Post's Dick Weiss chimes in to add that, in the post-Duke lacrosse rape case world, Fine deserves the benefit of the doubt until he no longer does.

And here's an interview with a former SU basketball manager who can't believe the accusations. I think it's obvious at this point that if it comes down to character witnesses, Bernie Fine is covered.

Former Syracuse QB Don McPherson sums the whole, sad situation up for everyone:

"Unfortunately now Bernie's name is going to forever be linked to a sex abuse accusation," McPherson said. "And again, if he's innocent of that, it's a tragedy. And if he's guilty of that, it's a bigger tragedy. So there's nothing good out of this story."

Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets near Syracuse University today to protest Jim Boeheim's accusation that the two alleged victims are "liars."

"Jim Boeheim needs to be held responsible by the chancellor of this university to change his tone and to apologize to Bobby Davis and Michael Lang for calling them liars, for telling them that what they’re saying is not true and for intimidating other possible victims who we hope will come forward as a result of the courage that these two men have exhibited," Rev. Robert M. Hoatson said.

While I do appreciate Boeheim's defense of his friend and understand where he was coming from, it probably wasn't the best choice of words. Then again, we know by now Jim Boeheim doesn't care much about that.

Meanwhile, Harold Weber is back with his thoughts on the matter: