As another sickening allegation regarding a high profile university engaging in sexual misconduct gains momentum I can’t help but feel like the majority, if not all of you, angered and disgusted.
But amidst the obvious outrage of the allegations that Syracuse men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine sexually abused players and students over his long tenure at Syracuse University is another case, like Penn State, where people in a position to stop the abuse did nothing.
And while many people can defend Joe Paterno or even raise questions about how much Paterno did do or how much he knew in regards to the scandal at Penn State, in this case I find no area of defense.
But most of you may have not heard about this, which further illustrates just how low this party is and it’s an entity that we all know by heart. ESPN, the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports”.
In an “Outside the Lines” piece that aired this past Sunday on ESPN, ESPN revealed a taped phone conversation between a former Syracuse student and team “ball boy,” Bobby Davis, and the wife of long-time assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. Fine is now on administrative leave as allegations that he sexually molested at least three accusers (including Davis)
But while the audio on the tape is undoubtedly disturbing, what is swept almost nonchalantly under the rug is the simple fact that this tape was recorded in 2002 allowing a major media outlet such as ESPN over 8 years to bring it to the public light.
Aside from that the media outlet didn’t even bring it to the police or even make mention of it until this past Sunday. They clearly ignored their responsibility to report a crime they knew was happening and even had evidence proving that something was at least worth having investigators look into.
Beyond the obvious outrage and backlash at these actions, I personally asked the following questions to myself:
- If ESPN had reported it, could it have stopped any ongoing sexual abuse or prevented any future abuse/misconduct from happening?
- Why wait over 8 years to mention anything?
- What gives you the right?
For the first question I would say a firm YES. Of course this would have not only stopped this from happening, but undoubtedly removed Bernie Fine from Syracuse where he would be unable to sexual abuse any other students or athletes.
Regarding the 2nd question I can only merely speculate. So take my opinion on the topic, merely as that, an opinion, but it’s hard to ignore the points I raise:
- ESPN Couldn’t “Cash In”: What this means is that well, ESPN wouldn’t be breaking a story that merited their extensive reporting or coverage.
ESPN’s Response: Asked by his own PR staff about the decision to hold back the audio tape for more than a week after the original report, ESPN Senior Vice President & Director of News Vince Doria cited the need to confirm that the female voice on the tape belonged to Laurie Fine.
“When we had the audio in the past we had never been able to confirm that it was Laurie Fine. Part of it was we had no independent video of her and her voice – something we could look at and say, “Yes, that’s her and yes, that appears to be her voice.” This time around when we re-engaged on the story we did in fact have a video we found on-line of her serving a meal to Bernie and a number of young men who may or may not have been Syracuse players. In this video you could clearly hear her. This allowed us to submit the audio to a voice recognition expert, which we did last week.”
As Doria explains it, the key to identifying the voice of Fine’s wife was the discovery of “a video we found on-line of her serving a meal to Bernie.”
Anyone else smell bullshit? ESPN couldn’t do a bit more digging to confirm the audio as being Fine’s wife? Really? But you can certainly do everything in your power to create a media circus on the Penn State Campus right?
- Syracuse Basketball was more important than Reporting a Crime: In 2002-2003 the Orangemen put a team on the court that consisted of Gerry McNamara and future NBA stars Hakim Warrick and superstar Carmelo Anthony and the team who was unranked in the preseason led an incredible run to the NCAA Championship.
So for a sports media outlet this would be a far more “buzzworthy” and “lucrative” story to cover.
On top of that, guess who was airing the majority of these games and the Tournament? ESPN. Guess who had a ton of shows and reporters on the story? ESPN.
So did ESPN protect Syracuse for the sake of reporting an incredible feat in college basketball? You be the judge
In comparison, here is what ESPN had felt merited a ton of TV time over the years on their Network:
- Lebron James’ Decision: A whole television broadcast and special on a basketball players free agency decision.
- Brett Favre Watch: Not once, Not twice, but three times we were plastered with
- Brett Favre’s Ranch: The above also included ESPN reporters camping out at Favre’s ranch and also a non-stop camera outside the Vikings facility to record Favre arriving to the complex (watch below)
So there are three instances in which ESPN decided to put all of their reporting manpower behind what they deemed as “news” but ignored blowing the whistle on a crime.
- What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander: While I did question the coverage of Penn State by ESPN, it still leaves me with another question; Why so much on drilling the Penn State scandal to death, helping to fuel a media circus on campus and extensive digging but fail to even do the same in the Syracuse case?
Furthermore why wouldn’t you use this opportunity to bring the tape and allegations to light?!
Aside from that didn’t ESPN produce long stories (some on 20/20) about the scandals/issues at Miami University, Michigan and Ohio State? So why not Syracuse? In comparison the Syracuse allegations are far more disgusting and actual crimes against humanity. So what’s the reasoning?
- Ignoring a Responsibility: Every journalist, reporter and media person has an obligation to report a crime if they see it happening. They obviously believe they are above this.
- What Gives You the Right?: Seriously, what gives ESPN the right to bury people such as Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary for not doing more in reporting he saw Gary Sandusky sexually abusing a 10 year old boy in the showers, but fail to do so themselves? Isn’t it kind of the same thing?
- ESPN is known for their own sexual misconduct: Take a look at my article I wrote in regards to their reporting of the Penn State scandal, I site numerous incidents where ESPN personnel were accused and involved in sexual misconduct incidents: Read the article here
In conclusion and in my personal opinion ESPN needs to be held accountable here. If you go to their website there is no explanation or report of their own possession of this tape (selective reporting) nor any apology issued for their obvious mishandling.
But what can really be done? Well, I spoke to a representative from the United States Governments website who said you can petition the Attorney General to look into the matter and if enough complaints come in, they may pursue it.
I may at some point launch a petition, but for now, I’d like your opinions on the matter. Of course you are more than welcome to share your thoughts about ESPN’s actions to the Attorney General yourselves:
The Attorney General is Eric H. Holder Jr.
You may wish to contact the Attorney General’s Office by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone or mail at:
Public Comment Line: 1.202.353.1555
U.S. Department of Justice
Attention: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530
25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event
The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.
Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.
The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.
Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.
I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”
In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”
And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,
Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”
Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”
Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”
Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”
Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”
Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.
“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”
About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.
The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.
Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23
Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.
Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
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