The allegations are gross and, if true to any extent, provides us with another incredibly upsetting story that sullies a proud college athletics program and makes us feel terrible for the victim.
But three days after the news first broke regarding Syracuse's long-time assistant head coach Bernie Fine and his relationship with, a former Orange ball boy who is now 39-years old, it appears that no other people have come forward to corroborate the alleged abuser's story. Davis continues to remain steadfast with his allegations, though, shooting down the initial claims made from Jim Boeheim.
Basically, we're well on our way to a harsh war of words that could force people to take sides and divide a community.
Here's a rundown of public response's since ESPN first ran the grim Outside the Lines story. If this were a see-saw, both sides would be equally weighted.
- Boeheim was incredibly quick to get ahead of a potential crisis management mess by pushing aside any sort of PR canned answer statement. The face of Syracuse University immediately got on the phone and called Davis' story a "bunch of a thousand lies." He added that Davis was likely simply out to get money.
- Davis responded to Boeheim's statement by saying he simply didn't want this sort of stuff to continue at Syracuse or any other school. The idea that this is purely about money is essentially incorrect, as multiple legal experts have told the media that civil lawsuits in the state of New York must be filed within one year of the alleged offense, or within a year of the victim's 18th birthday. We're well beyond both here.
- Fine has publicly responded by calling the accusations "patently false," and acknowledged that this entire ordeal will be difficult to overcome in an "allegation-based society." He's unfortunately correct, as there may not be a crisis manager in the entire world who can get the court of public opinion to ever forget about this.
- David Rubin, a professor of media law at Syracuse, told the Daily Orange that he thinks ESPN was unethical running this story on the heels of the Penn State scandal. Just because the sexual abuse of children is currently hot-button issue, doesn't provide proper grounds to blast out a report that could cripple Bernie Fine and the entire university.
- Former Providence head coach and SU assistant Tim Welsh declined to opine on the situation, but did provide us with what appears to be unbiased facts that seem to help Fine's case.
- Nation of Orange has identified a few inconsistencies in Davis' story as to when he first met Fine. Was it over candy or when playing basketball in the park?
There's a sense that we're getting awfully close to a major shift in this story. Either the next report we hear will be in defense of Bobby Jones to solidify his story, or another prominent Syracuse community or college basketball member will quell the allegations by defending Fine, thus adding another body to his roster of defenders.
Right now, Bobby Davis is telling a great lie or Bernie Fine did an exceptional job of covering up something disgusting. The longer this story carries on, the worse off we all are.