OK, I’m paraphrasing a bit. But a little more than a week after Jason Whitlock called ESPN’s Mark Schwartz, “morally bankrupt” for his role in bringing the accusations against Syracuse assistant hoops coach Bernie Fine to national attention, the Worldwide Leader is facing criticism of an entirely different sort. In the view of The Daily Beast’s Allen Barra, the network didn’t do nearly enough to sound the alarm concerning Fine. “Turn on an ESPN channel today or go to its website,” argues Barra, “and you’ll find someone taking a bow for ‘breaking’ the Syracuse story. What you won’t find is anyone stepping forward to answer the question of why, for nearly eight and a half years after receiving the Bobby Davis-Laurie Fine tape, they did … nothing.”
Did it really take ESPN that long to find other samples of Laurie Fine’s voice? Could they not have sent a reporter to Syracuse or knock on her door to try to get a statement from her? Even a verbal rebuff would have given them a voice sample. Where, in fact, did ESPN get these extra voice samples, and why did it take so long?
Perhaps because until now no one at ESPN was trying?
Penn State lost a university president, a legendary head football coach, an athletic director, and a school administrator because they heard allegations of sexual abuse and did nothing to investigate or follow up. Who, I wonder, at ESPN—the network, the magazine, or the website—had knowledge of the Syracuse allegations—allegations of boys being raped—and decided not to pursue them?
Who at ESPN is the equivalent of a board of trustees who will now step in and do the right thing by firing those responsible? Because this time boys weren’t raped just because the good old boys looked the other way. This time, boys were raped because the good old boys who were supposed to be watching the good old boys looked the other way.