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SNYDER: Same sordid topic, but Syracuse, Penn State cases differ
The takeaway for Penn State and Syracuse is that might doesn’t make right. Their legendary sports programs and mythical coaches are imposing to individuals who might bear bad news. It’s distressing that accusations alone cause irreparable damage to the accused’s reputation, but institutions and their leaders must take them seriously — which Boeheim failed to do.
Of course he’d be shocked if Fine is guilty. Perpetrators tend to keep their sexual abuse hidden from friends and loved ones.
But as much as you feel for Fine if he’s innocent, there’s an equal amount of empathy for Davis and Lang if they’re telling the truth. Research shows that victims often remain quiet because they fear they won’t be believed, and these guys have plenty of skeptics.
The charges could be “patently false” as Fine contends. They could be the absolute truth, so help them God. Or they could be somewhere in between.
I don’t blame advocacy groups that jump in and take a side such as the New York Coalition to Protect Children. Members addressed the media Monday and called for Boeheim to apologize for calling the accusers liars and intimidating other possible victims.
“So we want the intimidation to stop, we want the tone to stop, and we want the university community to rally around these two men who have courageously stepped forward and risked a lot in their lives to make this issue known,” Rev. Robert Joatson told reporters.
Unlike the Penn State case, we can reserve judgment here. Even if we’re leaning the other way.
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About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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