Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Profile: Bernie Fine


For the record, Zev wanted to stay away from this whole scandal as much as humanly possible, but Fine forced us into saying something (yeah, we know, not the first time. Anyway....).

So rather than spend a whole lot of time, we've crammed it all here. Feh. Let's just move on and hope this is the last of the revelations. However, I do have one last question for the faithful:
Can anyone explain to me the difference between what Joe Paterno did and what Jim Boeheim didn't do? Because I'm not sure why Paterno has been demonized (fired, legacy destroyed, name removed from the Big Ten trophy) and Boeheim has been left to move on with his life. I've yet to see that adequately explained.

In any case, Fine was suggested by Don from LA (who actually wrote us a nice poem about it), Bruce from Cambridge (who is probably our all time leader in suggestions), along with Ian from NY and Mark from Indiana (who seem like nice people, what with the suggesting and all, but who we have nothing interesting to say about). Thanks for the suggestion, guys!


  1. The difference is that Paterno knew about the allegations as far back as 2002 and chose not to go to the police allowing Sandusky to continue to sexual assault children for another 8+ years(allegedly...).

    Boeheim, on the other hand, made a monumentally asinine statement but didn't help further a coverup and enable a predator. Based on media reports (and that's always a dangerous thing to do) Boeheim didn't find out about this until every else did.

  2. But Paterno DID report it up the chain of command, as was his responsibility. Boeheim simply turned around and called Fine's accusers liars. I'm not saying Paterno deserves a medal or anything, but I'm not sure he deserved to be burned at the stake either. Nor does Boeheim deserve to be let off scot free.

  3. The issue is the ramifications of their respective actions (or inactions). While Paterno did meet his minimum legal obligations, his decision not pursue the matter further by going to straight to the police, meant that an (alleged) serial predator was able to continue molesting children.

    Boeheim's statements, while callous and ill considered, didn't result in any further children being assaulted.

    I'm not saying that Paterno deserved to fired or that Boeheim doesn't, but the situations are substantively different.

  4. My previous two comments come with the standard "we still don't know all the facts yet" disclaimer.

  5. Matter of degree. Was the investigation hampered by Boeheim's attitude? Knowing his knee jerk reaction, is it possible that people previously came forward but were turned away?
    Paterno, for his part, actually went further than Boeheim in that he treated the accusation as creditable. He did the bare minimum, no doubt. But we also don't know exactly what he heard or how he heard it—if he goes to the police and he's wrong what happens then? We just don't know enough details to say "Yes, he aided and abetted.
    Personally, I think this has gone from reasonable investigation to witch hunt. And while they're not the same case, to argue that Paterno was a monster and Boeheim an innocent bystander is a dangerous oversimplification.

  6. You larger point, that it's a case of what did they know and when did they know it. Based on what has been reported (which is what public opinion is based on) Boeheim didn't learn about what was going on until the same time everyone did. It's possible that Boeheim could have discouraged other investigations, but there is no evidence for this.

    The other thing to remember is that Sandusky has actually been charged. While it is likely Fine did what he was accused of, he will never stand trial (the DA in case announced the statute of limitations has expired) meaning he has a stronger claim to being innocent.

    Sandusky, on the other hand, has been charged on 46 counts (6 of which were just fired today) and has been subject to a grand jury summary that honestly is difficult to read (if you haven't read it, then don't, truly disturbing stuff), which means more details have been reported.

    Really, if you want to compare Boeheim to anyone, then Spanier is the better subject. The thing that did Spanier in was his almost surreal decision to release a statement offering his "full and unconditional support" for his AD and VP after they had been charged with covering up the rape of a 10 year old on university property by a former employee. (Of course even that is an imperfect comparison since no charges were filed in the Fine case)