By Michael McAllister
Many have weighed in on the Bernie Fine allegations. Talk show hosts, former players, former colleagues, current players, current coaches, legal experts, etc. However, what do the fans think? ESPN recently took to the streets to hear
what some fans had to say. Here is what they found:
Current students Anthony Palomba and Rachel Swedburg had this to say in an interview by Myron Medcalf:
Anthony Palomba: Absolute disgust and it was disheartening. The basketball season is just starting and to have to put up with this at the beginning of it is troubling.
Rachel Swedburg: Especially with the timing of everything, it adds a little bit of skepticism. I think it definitely makes you question whether the timing is a coincidence or if these allegations really are true.
Anthony Palomba: Boeheim is a strong spirit and he's a great coach. It's a little troubling because he is putting his neck out. Should these allegations prove true, he may have a little egg on his face because of it.
Rachel Swedburg: The Penn State situation came out and the way it was handled scared a lot of people, upset a lot of people. To put those feelings on this situation, which is obviously a completely different situation, we do need to be thorough and we do need to investigate, and be very aware of the situation. But to put those emotions from the Penn State situation onto the Syracuse campus us unfair, I think.
Fan Mary Phillips told ESPN.com the following, "I Don't believe that for one minute. The other one had more facts."
Another fan, Ed Dunn, echoed similar sentiments. "Nothing's been substantiated, so is this spillover of the Sandusky thing? I don't know. You just don't know. I trust Boeheim."
Jeffrey Kim, a student at Syracuse, said, "I'm pretty sure they're just trying to get attention."
A Syracuse University teacher in the school's women's and gender studies department said, "I think it could've happened. If it happened to me, I don't know that I would've told anybody."
Graduate student Eric Glover said, "You never know what the person next to you really does behind close doors." In a Syracuse.com article by Andrew Tredinnick
, a few more fans voiced their opinion. Jean Sajna of East Syracuse said, "I've been around Bernie for years and he's just top notch. It was something I would never, in a million years, ever thought would be alleged against a person of his caliber."
Scott Marmon of Utica was skeptical, saying, "I thought it was kind of fishy with all the stuff going on at Penn State, it kind of seems convenient that more allegations would come out at another school. If in ’05 they didn’t find anything, then why bring it up again? It’s just a distraction."
An alum of Syracuse, Dale Detcher, said, "I think from Jimmy's standpoint it's just a natural reaction. When somebody has been that close to you for so long and you’ve never seen anything to suggest that there would be anything foul with him dealing with children that would be the natural reaction I would think."
Kathleen Koss of DeWitt even brought a sign to the game against Colgate, which read "Ka-Ching Ka-Ching, They're after Bernie's Bling." Her explanation was, "We just think he's getting a raw deal."
Many fans on message boards have criticized the accusers, claiming holes in their stories such as the inconsistencies in when Bobby Davis first met Bernie Fine
, evaluating the body language of the accusers, and even expressing skepticism that the only other person to come forward is a relative of Davis. Others have tried to suppress any rush to judgment, either way. However, in the vast minority, others on the message boards have supported the accusers, and claimed Davis and Lang have believability.
Jason Whitlock, writer for Fox Sports, has stated several times on his twitter account
that he thinks the way Mark Schwarz and ESPN have reported this situation has been unethical, and irresponsible. Whitlock tweeted today, "Whether Fine is guilty or innocent is irrelevant. Schwarz story is grossly unfair/unethical." He even went as far to say, "Not one ESPN employee can complain if any blog 'reports' any gossip it hears about any of us." He's suggesting that ESPN is running with a story which is simply gossip. He mentioned yesterday, "Have I mentioned I'm shocked Bob Ley would toss his credibility away touching this irresponsible Fine Story?" Saying also, "Have I mentioned Mark Schwarz...should be fired for his irresponsible report on Bernie Fine?" One thing's for sure, Whitlock is never shy about his opinion.
We have reaction from people that are all over the spectrum. If no other evidence other than Davis and Lang's claims ever comes out, this may simply be a case where the truth is never really known, and it's simply something bantered back and forth amongst fans.