SYRACUSE Talk about dark. It doesn’t get any darker than a grown man taking sexual advantage of young boys. But it gets worse.
It’s so unimaginable, it’s so deep a betrayal — not only of a coach’s role but of basic human decency — that nobody knows how to handle it.
So everybody freaks out.
The accused assistant coach’s head coach blames the blamers.
The district attorney lashes out at the chief of police.
The mayor blasts back at the DA, while the daily newspaper and the university dance gingerly around the fact that they’d looked into the awful allegations years ago and did nothing.
After a particularly ghastly taped telephone call wafts across the public airwaves, the university finally fires the assistant coach despite the fact that he’s yet to be officially accused of any wrongdoing.
And the head coach talks about it all at a post-game press conference at which he insisted he wasn’t going to talk about it.
Instead, the head coach tries to laugh it off. He smiles and smirks throughout that SRO media meeting and jokes about what his wife makes him for dinner.
The head coach’s forced grins makes viewers cringe.
How could he react so cavalierly to these revelations? So offhand, so casual, so happy-go-lucky?
The answer is that it’s so thoroughly disgusting, you either have to laugh or cry. And the head coach wasn’t going to cry. The next day, he was loudly criticized by locals and nationals alike who found his sneering offensive.
In the past, when the issue was something as relatively minor as missed free throws, the head coach had often dug in his heels and slashed back at mean-spirited media.
Not this time.
But this time we weren’t talking foul shots. We were talking foul behavior.
Instead, the head coach went humbly in search of answers.