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Cleaning up a Fine mess

Saga of ex-SU assistant a cautionary tale in many ways

Once that happened, and once Penn State was shamed, the next step was clear. If anyone, in any sports setting, had a story of abuse, they were going to get aired, regardless of validity or statutes of limitations.

You know the rest. Media hordes camped out in front of Fine’s house. Columns and commentators, overflowing with self-righteousness, castigated everyone in sight, especially Boeheim. The vitriol, even from some in our community, was nonstop.

And then…..two previous Fine accusers claimed they made up their stories of abuse. Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, the main accusers, also went silent. Months passed, the investigation dragged on, and ultimately ended with Fine legally exonerated, but professionally ruined.

This is not to say that SU was wrong in firing Fine. As a private institution, they can hire and fire whomever they want, and given the hysteria this caused, it’s difficult to fault the university for acting in the way it did….and then, admirably, not going further, despite the outcries.

The takeaway from this whole saga is twofold. One part is aimed at our profession, which never seems to learn from its excesses and desire to make waves, even at the expense of finding out the whole truth.

It’s quite telling that ESPN, after spending weeks and all kinds of air time trumping up the Fine accusations, dismissed with the end of the case in a matter of hours. To heck with the damage it caused, once attention and ratings and site hits are achieved, move on to the next controversy.

Wait a minute here. What about responsibility? What about admitting, at the very least, that the accusations against Fine deserved a fair amount of scrutiny? People already have a general, and widespread, mistrust of the media, and part of it is because we never, ever like to admit that we might be wrong about anything. Once in a long while, a little humility is called for.

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