2003: Laurie Fine Verified Same Tape ESPN Buried

In 2003 ESPN received an audio tape from Bobby Davis, who alleged that it included the recorded voice of Bernie Fine’s wife.

ESPN buried tape that Laurie Fine confirmed in 2003 had her voice on it

(Laurie Fine verified voice on tape in’03. Where was World Wide Leader?)

In the tape, Laurie Fine acknowledged her husband’s sexual abuse of a child - Davis himself - on multiple occasions while also confirming that she thought there were more molestation victims who had been targeted by Bernie Fine.

On Nov. 17, 2011, ESPN first broke the news of the allegations against Fine by Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang, though ESPN did not acknowledge the existence of the audio tape until last Sunday. ESPN’s acknowledgement of the tape - and its contents - quickly led to Bernie Fine’s firing by Syracuse University. The revelations of the tape also produced a backtracking statement from Jim Boeheim, who had earlier cited his 48-year friendship with Fine in calling Davis and Lang “liars” who were “trying to get money.”

As part of a Q & A done with ESPN VP of Public Relations Josh Krulewitz about the network’s coverage of the story, ESPN Senior Vice President & Director of News Vince Doria justified not reporting the allegations made against Bernie Fine in 2003 - which included the audio tape in which Laurie Fine acknowledged her husband’s sexual abuse of a child - thusly:

“based on that tape which we had not generated; which we had no real knowledge of how it was made and Bobby Davis’s story – which was one person with no corroboration – we felt in 2003 that the material we had did not meet the standards for reporting the story.”

But Laurie did, in fact, “corroborate” the allegations made by Davis at that time - to the SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD: in 2003 confirm that it was indeed her voice on the tape to the SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD:

After we heard the tape, we approached Laurie Fine. She admitted to phone conversations with Davis.

The bedrock defense from ESPN’s Doria in not reporting the existence of the tape when ESPN broke the story on Nov. 17, 2011, was that he and his colleagues had previously been unable to confirm Laurie Fine’s voice on the tape.

When we had the audio in the past we had never been able to confirm that it was Laurie Fine. Part of it was we had no independent video of her and her voice – something we could look at and say, “Yes, that’s her and yes, that appears to be her voice.”

So why did it take eight years for ESPN to do what a local Syracuse outlet did immediately after receiving the tape?

Because ESPN never contacted Laurie Fine directly. Not in eight years. Not even after it finally broke the story two weeks ago!

The only attempt Doria reported this week that ESPN ever made to contact any member of the Fine family came after it broke the story in 2011 - and even then ESPN didn’t reach out to the Fines directly.

Doria:

At the same time we felt we really wanted to go to the Fines [in 2011 after ESPN broke the story]and present this evidence to them and give them the opportunity to respond in order to be as fair as possible. We tried on several occasions to contact Fine’s lawyer and the communications representative for the law firm got back to us and listened to our request where we told him we had some new information that we wanted to present to the Fines to get their side of the story and he promised to get back to us but never did.

If Vince Doria’s newsgathering organization did, at the very least, attempt to contact Laurie Fine or her husband directly it would now most certainly report that fact. It - and Doria - hasn’t.

While the Post-Standard also errored by not reporting the story in 2003 - or providing the tape to police at the time - at the very least it reached out to Laurie Fine directly who, “ … admitted to phone conversations with Davis, confirmed portions of the recording were accurate, suggested the tape had been doctored ...”

Not only did ESPN place children in peril after it did not report an audio tape of Laurie Fine acknowledging her husband’s molestation of a child - and more victims - to the police in 2003, ESPN showed gross journalistic negiligence by not trying to directly contact the Fines before deciding to bury the story at that time.


Add in ESPN’s wildly disingenuous “lack of corroboration” and “voice verification” defense for not publishing the story in 2003, and leaving out the tapes from its initial story 2011, and we are surely witnessing the darkest moment in sports journalism history.

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Audio: Boeheim’s Comments On Syracuse Radio

Tuesday afternoon Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim appeared on his weekly radio show in Syracuse on ESPN 97.7 FM with co-hosts Steve Infanti and Chris McManus.


During the five minute interview, Boeheim was not specifically asked about the situation involving former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, who is currently under investigation by Syracuse and Federal authorities following accusations that he molested multiple boys.

When asked during the show about preparation for Syracuse’s game tonight against Eastern Michigan amidst “distractions“, Boeheim said, “It’s the same as it is every week. The players have no distractions. They aren’t a part of anything. It’s stuff that happened a long time ago.

Boeheim was also not questioned today about the apologetic statement he released Sunday night through the school after previously calling Fine’s initial accusers liars” who were “trying to get money.”

When asked during his radio appearance today about the “emotions he was feeling“Boeheim said, “[the players] expect the coaches to be focused when they come to practice.”

Boeheim, who backtracked off his own initial accusations of Bobby Davis and Mike Lang after Fine was fired on Sunday, received a statement of support today from Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

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ESPN: Worldwide Leader in Endangering Children

Strong statement?


Watch.

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Why Didn’t ESPN Give Fine Tape To Authorities?

Today ESPN released excerpts of a tape-recorded phone conversation between the wife of Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine and a man who claims Fine repeatedly sexually molested him beginning when he was in the seventh grade.

Despite wife of Bernie Fine acknowledging abuse and saying there could be other victims, ESPN didnt turn taped phone call evidence over to authorities in 2003

(Fine acknowledgement of abuse not enough for ESPN to give tape to cops?)

The audio, recorded on Oct. 8, 2002, includes Fine accuser Bobby Davis, now 39, discussing his alleged molestation with Laurie Fine.

Throughout the call, Laurie Fine acknowledged the abuse - and her husband’s unwillingness to own up to what amounted to serious, criminal behavior.

Laurie Fine to Davis:

“I know everything that went on, you know. I know everything that went on with him … And you trusted somebody you shouldn’t have trusted …

“Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he’s somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind.”

When talking about Bernie Fine’s unwillingness to give Davis $5,000 to help him pay off student loans, Bernie Fine’s accuser said to the wife of the Syracuse basketball coach during their 2002 phone call, “It’s not about the money.”

Laurie Fine then replied, “It’s about the d—. I know that. I’m just telling you for your own good, you’re better off just staying away from him.

Fine’s wife later said during the taped call that her husband wasn’t worried about the legal repercussions of his alleged sexual abuse of children because, “he thinks he’s above the law.

Also during the call, Davis asked Fine’s wife: “Do you think I’m the only one that he’s ever done that to?

Laurie Fine’s response to Davis: “No … I think there might have been others …

Today the Syracuse Post-Standard may have confirmed Laurie Fine’s suspicions about her husband’s further sexual abuse of children with a new report of a 23-year-old man now accusing Fine, on the record, of molesting him in a hotel room in 2002 during a Syracuse University basketball team road trip.

In its report today, ESPN justified not going public with the Davis allegations in 2003 - which include the taped phone call of Laurie Fine - thusly:

Davis first gave the tape to ESPN in 2003. At the time, ESPN did not report Davis’ accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story. After a second man said this month that he was also molested by Fine (that man is Mike Lang, Davis’ step brother), ESPN hired a voice-recognition expert who said the voice on the tape matches the voice of Laurie Fine.

ESPN also reported that after it broke its initial story of the accusations against Bernie Fine on Nov. 17, 2011, “Davis shared the tape with Syracuse police, one of several law-enforcement agencies who have opened an investigation into the case.

After the ESPN report today the SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, which previously reported that it was first contacted by Davis in 2003 about alleged Fine abuse, indicated that it was provided the tape as well:

Bobby Davis taped the 47-minute phone call with Laurie Fine, the coach’s wife for 26 years, on Oct. 8, 2002 and provided the tape to The Post-Standard shortly after. … After a six-month investigation, The Post-Standard did not publish a story about Davis’ allegations or the tape in 2002 because the newspaper could find no witnesses, enough corroborating evidence or a second accuser.

The Post-Standard, like ESPN, did not report today why it did not turn the tape over to authorities.

Pete Thamel of the NEW YORK TIMES reports Syracuse University indicated today that it was never made aware of the tape. The school recently reported it investigated the claims made by Davis in 2005.

While ESPN and the Post-Standard both have indicated why it did not publish the allegations made by Davis against Fine in 2003, it has not yet commented on why it did not turn over the audio tape to Syracuse law enforcement in 2003.

Considering it had possession of hard evidence of the wife of Bernie Fine acknowledging that he may have committed sexual abuse against children - and that authorities were unaware of Fine’s possible continuing criminal activity - ESPN and the Post-Standard not providing such evidence to law enforcement at the time is, at best, morally reprehensible.

At worst? Culpable.

Time will tell.

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Being Men Of Orange Can Oft Lead To Irregularity

Nothing to do with Linus Pauling or Jim Boeheim’s substitution patterns:

Syracuse Orangeman Irregular Double EE Tshirt

Next stop: Port-au-Prince.

As Paulus Gets Booed, Star WR Leaves Syracuse

Not surprisingly, the Greg Paulus Experiment has failed to go according to plan. Paulus was serenaded by a chorus of boos last week as Syracuse lost 28-7 to Cincinnati in a game that was somehow more boring than the final score would indicate. The impetus behind the booing was largely that the offense was anemic last week; Syracuse didn’t take many shots downfield, and the underneath throws they did attempt were largely bottled up by the stingy Bearcat defense.

Mike Williams Peaces Out
(Mike Williams, seen here hating life.)

The DAILY ORANGE, Syracuse’s campus newspaper, noticed the lack of offensive aggression and wondered why the team wouldn’t at least try to go deep to their stud wideout Mike Williams (game stats: 4 catches, 34 yards, 0 TD), since that’s his specialty and all. Williams, it would seem, wondered that too; he just approached first-year head coach Doug Marrone and, in Marrone’s words, “removed himself from the team.” Hoooo boy.

Read more…

NBA Player Jumps In River To Save Woman’s Life

Because it’s unlikely that a member of the Sacramento Kings is ever going to get any media attention for something they did on a basketball court, rookie forward Donte Greene decided that he needed to make a splash off the court.

Donte Greene

And make a splash he did. During Memorial Day weekend, Donte jumped into the American River near Sacramento to save a woman who had fallen off of her boat and couldn’t swim. Greene let the world know about his heroics via Twitter (of course), but genuinely seems humble about the whole thing. Greene used to be a lifeguard and said that his instincts just kicked in when he saw the woman struggling in the water.

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Speed Read: Orange Top UConn In 6 OT Classic

So where were you when one of the greatest college basketball games of all time was played? For those of you on the east coast, the answer is probably “asleep.” Unless you were at Madison Square Garden, where, at 1:22 a.m., the buzzer sounded for the final time as Syracuse beat UConn 127-117 in six overtimes in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Syracuse beats UConn

It was the longest game in Big East history, and came up just one overtime short of tying the longest game in the history of college basketball. And it was nearly over an hour and a half earlier. Eric Devendorf buried what appeared to be the winning three-pointer at the regulation buzzer, sending the Orange into a frenzied celebration. But then came the review, and a long review it was. And after talking it over the refs decided this shot didn’t count:

So on we went to a second overtime. And a third. And a fourth. And so on. UConn led in each of the first five OTs but couldn’t close it out. Syracuse finally took the lead in OT number six and pulled away.

To put the whole thing in perspective, the game lasted three hours and 46 minutes. There were 70 minutes of basketball, and Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn played 67 of them. Flynn had 34 points, 11 assists, and six steals. UConn had five players in double figures…in rebounds.  Four guys on each team fouled out, so guys who don’t even normally play were in the game for the final OT. Astonishingly, Jim Calhoun didn’t keel over at the three hour mark.

UConn loses

The previous longest game in the Big East Tournament was the 1981 final, which went to three OTs. Syracuse beat Villanova 83-80, and the game featured Leo Rautins, whose son Andy was the key to Orange’s win last night. Andy Rautins hit a three with 10 seconds left in the third OT to tie it up yet again, then hit another early in the sixth OT to put Syracuse up for good. Somehow, the Orange have to recover and play tonight against West Virginia.

The busiest day in conference tourney action saw some other big names fall, and some bubbles burst.

Pittsburgh, Kansas, and Oklahoma were among the victims of the quarterfinal round in their respective tournaments. Pitt was run out of the Garden by the Mountaineers, while Kansas was handled by Baylor and Oklahoma clipped by rival Oklahoma State.

The best finish of the day prior to the SU-UConn battle was earlier in the day at MSG, when Villanova blew a huge second-half lead to Marquette but rallied to get a buzzer-beating layup by Dwayne Anderson to crush the Golden Eagles 76-75:

It was the only basket Anderson had all game.

Meanwhile, Miami (FL) probably is on the outside looking in after getting blown out by Virginia Tech. Rhode Island needed a good showing in the A-10 tourney for a shot at an at-large bid, but instead lost to Duquesne. Kansas State came up short against Texas, Vegas was dumped on its home floor by San Diego State, and New Mexico flamed out against Wyoming. And finally, Northwestern, seeking a first-ever bid, turned a late 49-47 lead into a 66-53 loss to Minnesota in the Big 11 tournament.

Northwestern

(Not yet, guys)

• As a guy with an iPhone who is obsessed with the NCAA Tournament, this is the best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world. For $5, streaming video of every tournament game. Boom.  Thank you for brightening my day, MEDIA DAILY NEWS.

Mark Prior’s trying to come back yet again. And yes, everything that’s happened the last five years is still probably Dusty Baker’s fault. Put the frying pan down, Cub fan.

• Your daily economic downturn update: Posh Spice Beckham has, shockingly, been spotted by GABBY BABBLE wearing the same outfit in public … TWICE. This follows news that hubby Dave has had to come up with $3 million of his own cash to pay the Galaxy part of the loan fee owed by AC Slater…err, Milan. Are the good times over?

Posh Spice Victoria Beckham

• Buried in this story about Johan Santana throwing a couple of good innings for the Mets today is the revelation that Tim Redding, who the Mets have guaranteed $2.25 million to this year, can’t get anyone out. He gave up nine runs and three home runs in two innings against the Marlins yesterday, after failing to complete a full inning in an outing against the University of Michigan on Sunday. (He gave up five runs in that game, including back-to-back jacks. To college players.)

Jason Richardson had a bad 20 seconds in the Suns’ loss to Cleveland last night. First, he attempted a 360 dunk that was blocked by LeBron James. Second, the refs didn’t call a foul even though Bron Bron clearly hacked him. Third, he got a T for complaining. LeBron had a triple double, with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 calls nobody else in the league would get. Video of the play:

• It’s Friday the 13th for the second consecutive month. To commemorate the occasion, HOME RUN DERBY picked the all-time team of guys who wore (wear) #13. The only excuse to put Blue Moon Odom and Nate McLouth on the same team

• JUICED SPORTS sat down for a 25-minute interview with Bill Laimbeer, who says that Isiah Thomas liked practice about as much as Allen Iverson does.

• UNPROFESSIONAL FOUL has the story of Danny Mountain, an up-and-coming soccer star whose career was cut short by a tragic injury. But he picked himself up off the deck and got it together … in porn. Now he’s “acting” six days a week and is married to porn starlet Eva Angelina. And yes, Danny Mountain is actually his real name. Here’s one of the few pictures of Ms. Angelina we could actually run on this site:

Eva Angelina

Chad Cordero will be looking stupid in a Mariners cap this year, according to the SEATTLE TIMES.

• WALKOFF WALK implores you, adult fans of the (Devil) Rays, to not wear this replica AL Champion ring in public. Apparently, every fan at the April 14th game will get one. And, since it’s still April baseball in Tampa, they’ll only be handing out 47 of them:

Rays AL Champion Ring

(Photo by James Borchuck, St. Pete Times)

Which team’s NCAA seeding was hurt most by its performance on Thursday?

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Is The Top Prep RB Transferring For Pregnant GF?

The number one ranked prep running back in the nation is transferring to a new high school in Lincoln, Neb., although he claims it has nothing to to with recruiting. David Oku is switching from Carl Albert HS in Oklahoma to East HS, and in the overanalyzed world of recruiting, fans from both Nebraska and OU are up in arms.

David Oku

But Oku says he’s not considering either of them, and that his list is made up of Auburn, Tennessee, Syracuse, and Ole Miss. To make this sideshow even more bizarre, the current buzz has it that his move has something to do with some “extracurricular activities” he got up to on an official recruiting trip. Let’s visit the seamy underbelly of the Internet rumor mill, with photo evidence, after the jump.

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Former ‘Cuse Star, NBAer, Busted In Cocaine Ring

For someone who was drafted by Philadelphia and plays in Reno, it’s ironic that Damone Brown chose placid Buffalo in which to get in trouble. The NBA D-Leaguer was indicted this week by a federal grand jury in connection with a cocaine ring.

Damone Brown

Brown is accused of leasing a safe deposit box where $170,000 in drug profits were held. Naturally, he was released by the Reno Bighorns, the D-League affiliate of the Kings and Knicks. He’s been released on his own recognizance pending a federal hearing, which means the Celtics can sign him before the deadline and have him available for the playoffs.

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