Media hypocrisy at its finest? ESPN roasting Paterno for not reporting abuse, meanwhile they had tapes confirming Bernie Fine abusing kids and didn’t report it

Let’s be honest, I don’t watch sports news often, it’s not exactly relevant to my website. I haven’t heard a PEEP about the newest “coach fired for molesting little kids” story until today because it’s not getting the same mainstream airtime as the Sandusky case so it’s taken a week or so for me to hear about it. But man oh man, I’m really, really mad. And I hope you guys are mad as well after reading about ESPN’s blatant hypocrisy. First off, some back story for those of you unfamiliar with what’s going on…

Syracuse associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine was fired from the coaching staff, and it turns out there are some child abuse allegations that are behind everything. The victim, Bobby Davis, now 39 years old, has been trying to get ANYONE to believe his story for over 10 years. And my guess is the only reason people are listening (and reporting it) now is because of the Jerry Sandusky media coverage.

Davis has claimed since 2002 that Bernie Fine molested him as a child for over a decade. There are also 2 new victims coming forward with abuse claims, but that’s a whole other story. Back to Davis, the police couldn’t do anything without proof, so he called the coach’s wife, Laurie Fine, and legally recorded their phone conversation in which she admitted she knew about the abuse, witnessed some of it, that she was sorry it happened, and that she thinks it happened to other children. You can listen to the audio here. Even with the audio, the cops said they were past the statute of limitations (5 years) and no charges could be brought. Davis then contacted ESPN and sent them the audio, hoping they’d pick up the story. They didn’t.

I read through the article to see if they gave an explanation of why it wasn’t reported, and I noticed this little blurb in the article:

Davis first gave the tape to ESPN in 2003. At the time, ESPN did not report Davis’ accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story.

After a second man said this month that he was also molested by Fine (that man is Mike Lang, Davis’ step brother), ESPN hired a voice-recognition expert who said the voice on the tape matches the voice of Laurie Fine. The call was made and received in states that don’t require both parties to consent to a call being recorded.

So let’s talk about that for a minute, because it makes me really, really angry. The line ESPN did not report Davis’ accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story” is troubling. There is NO new information today than there was in 2003, so why is ESPN OK reporting on this story now? Oh, right, now they have the voice recognition expert saying Laurie Fine was 100% the person on that audio. But the problem is THEY’VE HAD THAT AUDIO SINCE 2003 AND COULD’VE HIRED AN EXPERT TO EXAMINE IT THEN. So this really isn’t new information. It’s information they should’ve had in 2003. And should’ve reported as a news story back then.

To those of you that think ESPN shouldn’t have reported this as news because it’ “libel,” that’s simply not the case. I can see how it would be libel if it was simply a victim coming forward with claims, with no proof, and the police weren’t filing charges. But there are cold hard facts. Fact #1, a victim went to ESPN on record saying it happened, Fact #2, the abuser’s wife confirming she witnessed the abuse happening. Fact #3, knowing the cops couldn’t press charges because the statute of limitations expired.

That, right there, is a story. A legitimate story. So why wasn’t it reported? Who dropped the ball here? Using the “we couldn’t confirm it” excuse is BS. #1, ESPN runs stories all the time based on hearsay. #2, there were 2 sources in this case, which should be enough for a story. #3, the media reports all the time about facts surrounding a case, but doesn’t offer judgment on whether or not the crime took place. ESPN can report that the victim came forward, that there’s audio of Laurie Fine, etc, without actually saying the crime took place. If there are facts like this surrounding a case, it’s not libel. If anyone would be getting sued for libel, it would be the victim and Bernie’s wife for claiming he committed a crime if he didn’t actually commit the crime. ESPN is allowed to report people are making those claims, and has audio confirmation of both sources. That’s not libel. That’s journalism.

Does this seem really fishy to anyone but me? I don’t know why ESPN would want to cover up a story like this, but it seems like a complete failure in not only journalistic integrity, but a failure in being a decent human being. Whoever heard those audio tapes at ESPN and decided the public didn’t deserve to hear it should be fired. That guy has been coaching 8 years since ESPN got those tapes. 8. YEARS.

Sure you can argue that ESPN reporting this in 2003 wouldn’t have changed anything. The abuse already happened. But after seeing the aftermath of the Sandusky fiasco, we know that’s not true. A LOT can happen from media coverage. Victims come forward. People lose jobs when they’ve handled situations wrong. Police work harder to bring charges. Sure, it’s unconventional, but the media can use used to bring justice when it’s not available otherwise. And I think that’s what the victim was looking for by sending the audio to ESPN. If this supposed monster wasn’t going to jail, he at least wanted people to know. So he gave the media proof. And the media still didn’t share it.

But why? Just because there weren’t charges? Does that mean this guy still deserves a job working with young men? Does that mean parents don’t have a right to know? If ESPN and other media outlets would’ve circulated this story in 2003, this guy wouldn’t have have been coaching up until this year. I mean, think about that.

I just don’t understand how ESPN can report for days and days and days calling for the resignation of Joe Paterno for not reporting information information his assistant coach saw. But then they think it’s OK to not report information like this, when there’s SO MUCH proof. I mean, that phone call audio? Seriously? You’re just going to sit on that for 8 years? You don’t think that Syracuse University should hear that? Or that potential players should know about it? Or Syracuse fans? Or parents of children that are going to be around that guy?

Out of these two horrible failures of the system, who comes out looking more foolish? Paterno had information from another coach who saw something. Joe Paterno didn’t see anything. Joe Paterno didn’t talk to a victim. Joe Paterno didn’t have audio tapes. Yet Joe Paterno was fired and is being crucified in the media, INCLUDING ESPN. Meanwhile ESPN had audio and on-record quotes from a VICTIM confirming abuse took place and they swept it under the rug and didn’t fact check the validity of the audio until 8 years later. So if you ask me, ESPN looks way worse here. Yet everyone is acting like they acted appropriately, and I don’t get it. I really, really don’t.

I guess according to ESPN, it’s not worth reporting unless multiple children are molested. One kid? Ehhhhhh… the victim is probably lying. They need a second victim,  then and only then will they hire a voice-recognition expert to determine whether or not the tapes are legit. Glad to know that’s how journalism and BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING works.

It’s a shame this story will most likely go unnoticed because ESPN is such a monopoly in sports reporting. Of course they’re not going to harp on their own screw up. I’m really hoping some of the mainstream media outlets pick up on this and hold ESPN accountable to encourage that some action is taken, AKA people need to get fired and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

UPDATE: Here’s an article I found entitled “ESPN reporter explains why Fine tape wasn’t released in 2002” yet, ironically, the reporter explains nothing about why it wasn’t released in 2002. So… that was productive? It almost seems like he’s indicating ESPN didn’t report it because the alleged acts were past the statute of limitations to PRESS CHARGES. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t HAPPEN. Again, that’s NOT an excuse.

I just read here that the statute of limitations for this type of abuse is 5 years, so when Davis came forward in 2003 with the tapes to ESPN and the police, no charges could be brought, even with the confirmation audio with Bernie Fine’s wife. ESPN seems to be indicating this is why they didn’t report it, but that still makes no sense because IT STILL HAPPENED. Just because charges can’t be brought doesn’t mean you don’t have a story.

UPDATE 2: The totally unhelpful article I linked in the last update is the only article showing up in a Google News search questioning ESPN’s reporting. Everyone else is glazing over it and accepting ESPN’s explanation. Why isn’t anyone talking about this or upset about this?

UPDATE 3: A third victim named Zach Tomaselli has come forward after seeing all the media coverage. He claims he was abused by Coach Fine in 2002 in a hotel room. It’s possible charges MAY be able to be taken out against Bernie Fine since the statute of limitations changes to 10 years when “an adult arranged for a child to be transported across state lines for the purpose of sex” which is supposedly the case here.

UPDATE 4: Props to the farker that spotted this not-so-ideal photo over at Huffington Post. Don’t see it? Look again. Took me a second glance.

UPDATE 5: As of yesterday there were no articles similar to mine. After being picked up by Reddit and Fark, I did another Google search and found writers expressing similar concerns on TheBigLead, HollywoodReporter and Courier-Journal. If anyone else spots another article, let me know. I hope bigger news organizations start asking questions, and get answers from ESPN on why they didn’t break this story 8 years ago.

via ESPN

36 responses

  1. Jin Slagg

    To the author of this blog. Yes it does suck that it happened, but it is not ESPN’s job to report it. If the mother and the son had concerns about it, then THEY should have been the ones to report it. It is not the responsibility of ESPN. Why do you seem to have this issue with network? Why is there no mention of the son and child doing it? I truly feel that your so-called “outrage” is misguided.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    • Jin,

      I think you’re missing the point of my post. My point wasn’t that ESPN should’ve reported this to the police, that was already done by the victim. My point is that this should’ve been reported to us as a NEWS story. Action would’ve been taken by the university, who apparently didn’t know about this until now.

      When the police can’t do anything for a reason like “it’s been too long since the crime occurred,” I feel it’s still the responsibility of ESPN to report that story as news instead of sweeping it under the rug. It would’ve been justice via media since it wasn’t available through the law. Truth is truth. This evidence is there whether cops can use it or not. There’s no reason it shouldn’t have been a story.

      Thanks for reading.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    • Anonymous

      Because this is the same network that took two weeks to invade a campus and smear an 84 year old coach for not going to authorities — which he actually did — when they had done virtually the same exact thing themselves.
      I don’t think it is any coincidence that a plurality of ESPN people went to Syracuse and that they didn’t report it originally.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    • You are an idiot. It is not their job??? No it is their duty because it could have happened happen again, and that is what members of a civilized society do. Why does he have an issue with the Network, because as he stated, their behavior was hypocritical. They crucified Paterno who was not even culpable and had far less to go on. It is easy to look in hindsight and say it the PSU case is worse because of magnitude. That is what a fool would do. It is much harder to go back and look prospectively to see what should have been not kmowing what was to come nor what was going on. That is an objective look. His outrage is right on point…the hyocrisy of ESPN.

      December 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

  2. Adam

    I get the outrage… but ESPN was not culpable in the same way Penn State was culpable. In Penn State’s case, a member of their staff was responsible for the abuse, the abuse was reported by a staff member, and the abuse was investigated by staff… and never reported to the police. In ESPN’s case, the matter had ALREADY BEEN REFERRED TO THE POLICE, WHO CHOSE NOT TO PURSUE THE CASE OR INVESTIGATE FURTHER. When the police chose to do this, they indicated there was no possibility of getting a conviction. It is not ESPN’s job to form a lynch mob and declare Fine guilty based on a piece of shaky, uncorroborated evidence. ESPN is not “Dexter.” Imagine if a news organization had to report every allegation that was sent to them? We’d have the witch trials all over again.

    Think about what happened in the Duke lacrosse case… that’s what happens when the media jumps on a story– and there was more evidence there than there was here.

    ESPN has no duty to re-report something already reported to the police in order to punish someone for an alleged crime in the court of public opinion.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    • Adam,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Sorry if I didn’t articulate my opinion clearly in the article, as you can see I’m not a journalist, but like I said to Jin in another comment, I think you’re misunderstanding what I meant by “ESPN should’ve reported it.” I meant they should’ve reported it AS NEWS. To the people. To parents. To the sports community. Just because charges weren’t passed down because of a statute of limitations doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be privy to information ESPN had.

      For example, if this Jerry Sandusky case were different, and the police were past the statute of limitations so they couldn’t charge him, it would STILL be a story because a journalist knew there WOULD’VE been charges had it been reported sooner. He still would’ve been fired had victims come forward and the same evidence been available. The allegations are still there to be reported as news. When you go to the police with something and they can’t press charges, that’s where it stops. They don’t alert your employer. It doesn’t go on your record. They don’t tell your family. It’s a secret that can go away FOREVER unless someone besides you tells people.

      And unfortunately because no charges were filed, Bernie Fine was able to keep that a secret. Except IT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A SECRET because ESPN knew about this 8 years ago. And my point is that ESPN should’ve taken the information they had and at least reported it as news, or handed it over to Syracuse, so it would open an investigation at Syracuse so this guy wasn’t around kids. Possibly recruiting at high schools, participating in charity events, coaching kids, etc.

      While the law has a statute of limitations, I doubt Bernie Fine’s contract at Syracuse would allow this type of behavior if it goes unreported for 5 years. Even if it was 50 years ago, conduct like this obviously isn’t appropriate and he would’ve been out of the job and a known predator, at least receiving SOME type of justice and preventing parents from letting their kids be with him alone. And that’s my point.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      November 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      • Mari

        1. Sandusky was not on the staff at PSU when McQueary caught him.
        2. Allegations about Sandusky had been brought to the police years before he was caught at PSU and the case was closed.
        No diff than what happened at Syracuse. But yet ESPN on their high horse felt the need to destroy the name of one individual – joe paterno. Most media didn’t like him because he wouldn’t do things their way. ESPN and the individuals who knew about the allegations are just as responsible as Paterno.

        November 29, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    • Also, I disagree there was more evidence in the Duke case. There wasn’t an audio of one of the guys’ wife saying she saw the abuse happened. That’s different. That’s FAMILY. That’s a story.

      I just feel like information like this shouldn’t have gone unreported. There’s no reason why ESPN is OK reporting it now, and not then. None at all. Nothing has changed.

      November 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    • Bob Griffin

      Adam, you are wrong on a key point. Sandusky had not been a member of Paterno’s staff for over two years when the alleged shower incident occurred. He last coached in the Alamo Bowl at the conclusion of the 1999 season.

      It is also ironic that you cite the Duke case as an example of bad things happening when the media jumps too soon and/or too hard on a story. The grand jury report in the Sandusky case is intended to support the charges made. It is not intended to summarize all the key facts from over two years of testimony. Yet, most of the media has had no compunction with making damaging assumptions regarding Paterno’s and McQueary’s actions following the what was reported to have happened in the showers. Several ESPN reporters/commentators (I really can’t tell the difference anymore) blithely stated that Paterno must have known about the 1998 investigation and more. I have asked a county prosecutor if the police would have had any reason to report the 1998 investigation to Sandusky’s boss and he said “absolutely not”.

      Regarding the tape, ESPN knew that Davis had not given the police the recording. It seems irrelevant that Davis could have given the police a copy or that the statute of limitations had expired considering how much “outrage” their commentators (and others) expressed by saying other victims could have been spared in the case of Sandusky.

      So I agree with you that a news organization should not form “lynch mobs” but at least in ESPN’s case they could have facilitated an investigation in the Fine case. As for the Sandusky case, ESPN provide the rope and horse for Paterno.

      November 29, 2011 at 1:44 PM

  3. lischap

    I think the journalists have to make a few things much more clear. When did a journalist first learn about and/or hear the tape? If it was during the earlier investigations, why did ESPN not provide all the information they had when they first started writing about Fine a week or so ago.If the journalists did know about the tape but failed to include it in the story, I think it is fair to say that they manipulated the story and set up Boeheim and others who they asked to make statements while knowing that those they asked to make statements did not have the full story. Last, there were available experts to evaluate the veracity of the statements and the validity of the tape in 2002. If they had already heard the tapes prior to 10 days ago but are claiming they waited this time to have the tape authorized they have lost credibility. Once they planned to post the story they should have provided the public with all the information they had. They could have alerted the public to the fact that the tapes were not yet authenticated. It is a matter of journalism, ethics, truth in reporting and, most importantly, if journalists knew about the tape but failed to consider it or include it in the story, one has to ask if they are also culpable if children were abused after the tapes was discovered. If ESPN had the tape, not mentioning it in their very first story about 10 days ago, and maybe even failing to consider it in 2002 suggests that they betrayed the public’s trust. They need to clearly answer these questions.

    November 28, 2011 at 11:44 AM

  4. Basim

    Great article. Just wish more would write about this obvious ESPN double standard in reporting.

    November 28, 2011 at 12:34 PM

  5. Rob

    Very good write up. The moralists at ESPN were awfully high on their horse regarding PSU. Now they are (un)strangely silent. There is a simple explanation for their failure to run with this story… Syracuse has a large number of alums working at ESPN. Disgusting!

    November 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

  6. Shawn

    Great article. I love how people are saying that its not ESPN’s job to report these alleged acts and they are in no way culpable in this case the way those involved at Penn State are. Well I call BS. During the Joe Paterno crucifixion ESPN relished in pointing out that although Paterno did what he was legally obligated to do, he did not do was he was morally obligated to do there by allowing X number of years to pass in which Mr. Sandusky could molest unknown numbers of children over that time. So how is Paterno’s moral obligation any different than ESPN’s? They said that Paterno was the face of Penn State and in being so he had greater responsibility to do the right thing, the morally right things. I think we would all agree that ESPN is the face of the sports news world. I’m not saying that ESPN is in anyway legally culpable. I’m just saying that everything that they used in their media firestorm to bring down the giant that was JoePa now applies to them in this case. Those who live in glass houses….

    And for Adam’s comment earlier about no one going to the police with the info, you’ve been misled by the media machine that is ESPN. Joe Paterno took the information he had to Gary Schultz, head of University Police. Espn would like you to know him as Gary Schultz, interim senior vice president for finance and business, which was the position he held when this all broke recently but at the time of the incident he was the head of University police. But that is ESPN’s style of reporting.

    November 28, 2011 at 1:23 PM

  7. Shawn

    I also forgot to mention that Syracuse was on their way to winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in 2003. I wonder how much of a factor if any that may have been in their decision to not do what was morally right? IJS

    November 28, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    • Damn. I didn’t even consider that.

      That’s convenient timing.

      November 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM

  8. Kar

    Nice writing, full of excellent questions.

    And Shawn! Yes! This has been driving me crazy! Schulz being head of the Penn State Police is not reported by ESPN, or anyone else but the LA Times as far as I have seen. The Penn State Police have 46 officers. They are not the traffic cops you see on on game day, they are full fledged badge carrying, armed police officers. They have the same rights and responsibilities as a municipal force, by a special PA law, and are often former municipal officers who came to the University for better pay, better benefits, and more resources to investigate crimes. They have detectives on that force, and it would have been the force with jurisdiction. Paterno may have felt he did report it, and he may have been under the impression an investigation was in progress. Just a thought.

    ESPN went to no one.

    Jim Boeheim belittled the alleged victims, and vehemently defended Fine.

    November 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM

  9. Anonymous

    SU Basketball won the NCAA championship in 2003 which was their first national title and Boeheim’s first. ESPN aired all 64 tournament games and much of their “journalists” are SU alum and former players and I am confident that ESPN was financially motivated to protect Syracuse’s reputation at that time…they had no new information when they reported 2 weeks ago than they had 8 years ago. In fact, they appeared even less credible in their initial report 2 weeks ago in comparison to the facts in the Penn State Case. It makes no sense that they would not report this information in 2002/2003 especially considering the implications that could come of this case even if the statue of limitations has expired – doesn’t ESPN realize that the statute is STILL expired, yet the matter is being investigated? As for Laurie Fine, ESPN, The Post Standard…to be made aware that abuse occurred and do nothing about it does not make you responsible for the first victim, but it makes you responsible for every victim after that.

    November 28, 2011 at 3:48 PM

  10. Ztrehk

    I feel like I am in a hidden area whispering my true feelings afraid that the MAN will find me and bring me Down. It is nice to hear some perspective that Mainstream has not cast it’s EYE upon yet, hopefully it will so I won’t feel like I am one of the few people think that Paterno was crucified in order to make others feel better about there own sins.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:17 AM

  11. Dennis

    You are exactly right!!! ESPN day after day spoke of the moral thing (not legal) that those involved in the Penn State case should have done. However, they now are facing the same Moral judgement criticism for not reporting this to the police or run a story based on the information they have. No one knows if anyone else was abused in the Syracuse case. And yes ESPN is so powerful and yes the NCAA gets so much money from ESPN that they will not criticise ESPN over this. It all stinks!! If it smells like it, it usually is it.

    And one more thing. Who is Jim Boemheim to say he is no Joe Paterno. That was a low blow for someone who does not know all the facts in the Penn State and Joe Paterno case. Send out the bad karma and you will recieve.

    Great article. This story needs national attention. ESPN and ABC will hide it but it is all of our responsibility to be load and insistant that hypocrits should be exposed no matter who they are.


    November 29, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    • Mike

      Yes, Boeheim is no Joe Paterno…

      November 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

  12. Anonymous

    ESPN doesn’t air NCAA tournament games. It’s a little network named CBS,

    November 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

  13. Anonymous

    ESPN doesn’t air NCAA tournament games. They are aired by another entity altogether, CBS.

    Paterno’s mistake was allowing Sandusky to hang around after the accusations (and confession) came to light. In fact, wasn’t he allowed to work youth camps after the fact? I was staunchly in defense of Paterno at the beginning. He did, after all, inform the authorities as he should. Then he allowed him back as if nothing had happened. I wouldn’t want a person like that around my program in any capacity. But he was clearly welcome.

    I’m not sure what happened a few weeks ago to bring it to light.

    There is, however a distinct difference between accusations (SU) and a grand jury indictment (PSU). Reporting personal accusations is risky and journalistically dishonest. Could you imagine the lawsuits if ESPN aired a false accusation similar to this? Media has first amendment rights, but they do not have the right to slander/libel any person or entity. Great care has to be taken when considering these things.

    I’m not saying that they don’t report blind accusations. I have no evidence either way.

    The real villains in the PSU case are the detectives and lawyers who let Sandusky slide.

    And those of you who think the media disliked Paterno are absolutely clueless. He was lionized when other coaches would have been fired.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    • Bob Griffin

      I really wish people would check some facts before they try to introduce a new point. Sandusky had his own camps. He did not work at the Penn State camps. It is worth noting that some of Sandusky’s camps took place on Penn State branch campuses. That is probably what you are thinking of. Some people’s next question is probably “Why did Joe allow that?” but then those people are making the assumption that Joe had any say or knew about it. So why did the athletic department allow it? That is a good question. My best guess at this point (and if anyone repeats this,indicate it is a guess) is that the few people that knew of the 2002 incident but were not involved in Sandusky’s sports camps, or they had some limited involvement but felt it wasn’t their place to bring up allegations they considered sketchy, or they simply wanted to turn a blind eye. But we don’t know exactly who those people are (that knew of 2002 and had a connection with Sandusky using PSU branch campuses) and what they knew.

      November 29, 2011 at 4:30 PM

  14. Frustrated Fan

    I totally AGREE with you Bethany. I watched all of this unfold on the news last night and was disgusted with how this is being presented by the media vs. the PSU Scandal. You even notice they haven’t mentioned Syracuse Scandal or come up with another name. The tapes are something that the news and the public can wrap their heads around, as there is little to interpret. For the PSU case, bits and pieces are released, but for the most part, the details that would stitch the whole PSU thing together for the public, are purposely being withheld because all of it’s under investigation. This however, doesn’t stop the media and ESPN from running many stories with their take on things. The Syracuse tapes are a story indeed. Even if Bernie can’t be charged or convicted, the twisted relationship of the boys and the Fine family <(no pun intended) should have been released. If ESPN had pushed to get an interview with Bernie in 2003 they could have maybe gotten him to crack and STOP.

    I get the whole Duke thing. You need to check sources before careers and the lives of youth are destroyed. I think this is an example of ESPN being journalists when it's convienient on one hand and sitting on their tail on the other. They messed up, but also have to realize that a judgement call was made by them, just as others in the PSU case apparently made. No one comes out a winner.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:13 PM

  15. Anonymous

    I want to spackle Sara Walsh

    November 29, 2011 at 6:59 PM

  16. Shawn

    I truly wish people would know the facts about the PSU case and what role Paterno really played but I can’t blame anyone outside of PSU Alums and central PA for not knowing the facts cause ESPN decided to ignore the facts in many instances involving this case in order to make Paterno seem more like the villian they wanted to make him out to be.

    To the Anonymous poster who responded with this:

    “Paterno’s mistake was allowing Sandusky to hang around after the accusations (and confession) came to light. In fact, wasn’t he allowed to work youth camps after the fact? I was staunchly in defense of Paterno at the beginning. He did, after all, inform the authorities as he should. Then he allowed him back as if nothing had happened. I wouldn’t want a person like that around my program in any capacity. But he was clearly welcome.”

    For your information Sandusky was allowed the privileges to use the facilities on campus due to a retirement package approved by the Board of Trustee’s. Therefore Paterno has no say in what Sandusky can and cannot have access to. He can voice his opinion to the BoT but any action to revoke Sandusky’s privileges lies solely with the BoT. But there again ESPN has the nation believing that Paterno let this man run rough shot over the football facilities with a bus load of adolescent boys. Just like ESPN failed to mention that Gar Schultz was Head of University police at the time the original incident was reported. Instead they like to refer to Schultz as vice president for finance and business which makes it look like Paterno didn’t tell the University Police just by the title alone. ESPN chooses to report inaccurate or misleading information in order to make everything more dramatic. not just in this case but in normal every day sports news. They are pretty pathetic anymore.

    The bottom line here is that ESPN did exactly what they vilified Paterno for and actually its worse cause they had not just a witness but the victim and audio of Mr. Fine’s wife admitting to and apologizing to the entire thing. Those are cold hard facts. If ESPN was so worried about slander and a lawsuit then why are they running the story now whith no new facts. Nothing in this case is different for ESPN than it was in 2002.

    JoePa had hearsay and could have done more to stop a monster. ESPN on the other hand had a victim and an admission by the wife on tape, those are cold hard facts and chose to do nothing thereby allowing the syracuse monster to keep on doing his thing. If any victims sue Paterno in a civil suit then I pray that a victim in the syracuse case does the same to ESPN. They deserve everything they get for their vilification of Paterno. Not saying he does or doesn’t deserve it, but now they shoe is on the other foot and all is relatively quiet in Bristol

    November 29, 2011 at 10:45 PM

  17. Tim

    Fox News agrees with you Bethany, although they aren’t necessarily taking the hypocrisy angle:

    November 30, 2011 at 12:02 AM

  18. Beren

    This is really quite simple. ESPN had a long parade a-holes that hate Joe Paterno stand in front of a microphone saying that if you have any information about child abuse, you go to the police….no exceptions. ESPN had information about child abuse and did nothing.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:32 AM

  19. Wes longacre

    This is an excellent posting. I could not agree more. It is outrageous the hypocrisy of espn. They dedicated story after story to the penn state scandal, nailing paterno for not doing more. Now they are trying to make excuses for they themselves Not doing more. What a joke. It is extremely ironic that they were largely response able for joe pa’s firing. Now
    They are covering there own ass’s. What happened to defending the victims. You are right to say joe pa heard of the allegations second hand, he never talked to any victims . Espn had direct conversations with the victim. Joe pa wasn’t given a pass for not being able
    To corraberate

    December 1, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    • Wes longacre

      Heads need to roll at espn.
      I hope a main stream media outlet picks
      This story up.

      December 1, 2011 at 7:28 PM

  20. Shawn

    I doubt anyone else will pick it up and call ESPN out but Dan Patrick has

    December 6, 2011 at 12:58 AM

  21. Well it’s January 22, 2012. ESPN has continued to shed Joe Paterno in the worst light that it can. Some ESPN talking head asking Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins how Paterno could not understand his answer about “rape and a man” in an inteview of the guy 85 yoa, undergoing radiation and chemotherapy and on death’s doorstep. ESPN and most of the rest of the so called sport’s “JOURNALISTS” write that Paterno agreed to talk to Jenkins to gain sympathy from the public and describe her depiction of him in a wheelchair and in bed during the interview as her being sympathetic to him and being used by his “handlers”.

    The guy does the second part of the interview in a hospital bed that he’s been in since and now the sport’s “JOURNALISTS” are inaccurately reporting his death prematurely just hoping they are the ones who get the “SCOOP”.

    ESPN and the rest of these jackals are interested in one thing and one thing only, MAKING MONEY. They will sensationalize and stylize any story to evoke the most emotionally raw response they can just to get the story rolling to keep the idiot viewers watching so they can show the ratings to their advertisers and generate more $$$$.

    And the result? An 85 year old man who has run the cleanest program in Div I sports for almost 50 years, cares as much about them getting an education as in winning games, works for a quarter of the $$ received by his peers and gives most of it back to the school – is villified by an ill-informed public based on incomplete facts. Sandusky is indicted as he should have been, Schultz and the former AD are indicted for not reporting and following up on what Paterno and McQuery told them and with lying to a grand jury. AND THE MEDIA MAKES THE WHOLE THING ABOUT WHAT PATERNO DID WRONG!

    He takes the high road and says he is heartbroken for not doing more. In reality, if he inserted himself into any follow-up he would have been seen by the same “JOURNALISTS” as trying to influence any investigation for a guy who worked for him for 30 years.

    And he spends the rest of his days second guessing himself for not doing more after trusting others to do their jobs.

    By the time I finish and post this, a great man may have left this Earth having his name forever tarnished without benefit of a full disclosure of facts. The one thing we do know is that he affected positively the lives of thousands of people who played for him, followed his teams and PSU and who appreciated the things he stood for. He probably made a mistake in not asking what happended to the matter he reported to his superiors but that’s all he did wrong based on the facts that are known at this point.

    But that my friends is how things are done in this day and age. This is what America has become.

    I, for one, long for the days when the Cronkite’s and Brinkley’s stood for what journalism should be and when men like Joe Paterno were judged on thier life’s work rather than the one mistake they made. If there were more men like Joe Paterno in this country I’d be a lot less pessimistic about the country where my children and grandchildren will live.

    My prayers are with you, Joe Paterno. May your suffering soon be over and may a just God judge your on the entirety of your life’s work.

    You were, PENN STATE!

    January 22, 2012 at 7:12 AM

  22. Kevin Choi

    I’ll keep this short, ESPN knew of accusations and had some proof of child abuse and did nothing. Seems like a few employees failed to live up to their moral responsibilities as human beings.

    If something like Penn St, happened at ESPN, which network would report it? ABC? They are partners with ESPN. ESPN? Doubt it. It’s not hypocrisy…it is called ridiculous.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:17 PM

  23. Anonymous

    No mention of Bernie Fine this time around. I keep asking myself this question, “What if it had been Bernie Fine who continued to molest children instead of Sandusky?”. It easily could have gone that way, and ESPN would be as culpable as Penn State is.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:31 PM

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