Vince Doria

ESPN Senior Vice President & Director of News Vince Doria discusses ESPN’s reporting on the Bernie Fine allegations.

FR: What led you to initially report the Fine allegations earlier this month?

Doria: For the first time we had a second alleged victim come forward to talk on the record about what he claimed had happened between he and Bernie Fine. Along with that, we had a source who indicated to us that the Syracuse Police and the University Police were discussing re-opening this investigation – which the Syracuse Police did do prior to our running the story. Those two pieces of information, coupled with what we already had from Bobby Davis and the tape we had, convinced us there was credibility to these allegations and so we went ahead and reported them.

FR: What makes this story particularly challenging journalistically?

Doria: This was originally brought to our attention in 2003. Bobby Davis was a young man who had a story involving a respected high profile assistant coach at Syracuse. A man with no previous track record of this kind of behavior. It was one man’s story. He offered us three people who, Davis said, could either corroborate his story or assert that they in fact had also been sexually assaulted by Bernie Fine. Those sources either told us that was not the case or would not talk with us.

Bobby Davis also supplied us with a tape recording he made. He made this tape recording without our involvement, we were not present when the tape was made. The tape purported to be a phone conversation between Bobby Davis and Laurie Fine, Bernie’s wife. On that tape, Laurie Fine talked in disparaging terms about her husband, Bernie Fine, and as prompted by Bobby’s conversations, discussed her beliefs and her suspicions that her husband had been involved in sexual episodes with young boys.

It was clearly a damning tape in terms of her characterization of her husband but much of it was her thinking and beliefs. She never directly acknowledged to have witnessed any of these actions first-hand. So 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. This is consistent with how we have viewed these types of stories in the past.

FR: What was the basis for introducing the Bobby Davis/Laurie Fine audio tape 10 days after your initial report on the Fine allegations?

Doria: 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.” This time around when we re-engaged on the story we did in fact have a video we found on-line of her serving a meal to Bernie and a number of young men who may or may not have been Syracuse players. In this video you could clearly hear her. This allowed us to submit the audio to a voice recognition expert, which we did last week.

At the same time we felt we really wanted to go to the Fines 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. We were preparing to likely report this on Tuesday, November 29. We were going to give the Fines and their lawyer until the beginning of this week to respond. When the Syracuse Post-Standard story broke over the weekend of a third alleged victim, a victim whose sworn affidavit had reportedly triggered the house search that had taken place by federal investigators earlier last week, we felt the story had now risen to the level where we were comfortable putting the tape out. In discussions, we believed that we had given Fine’s lawyers enough time to respond and they had not done so.

FR: What is the role of a journalist relative to an investigation like this and involvement with authorities?

Doria: From a professional standpoint our role as a journalist is to seek out information and vet that information and when we’re satisfied with the credibility of that information to report it to the public. It’s what journalists do. It’s not necessarily the journalist’s role to go to the police with potential evidence that at the time we didn’t believe was strong enough to report ourselves.

We also were aware at that time that Bobby Davis had gone to the Syracuse Police in 2002 and told them about these allegations and he had been told by them that the statute of limitations had expired. So we were fully under the impression that the police had been made aware of the story and had decided not to pursue it.

All journalists could be asking themselves this very same question: What role should journalists play in providing information that may or may not have been reported? It’s complex and something we must continue to evaluate.

  • chrisfyall

    Thanks for this.

    In what ways did ESPN approach or question Syracuse University officials during the process of the network’s original investigation? Did reporters formally or informally seek comment? Did they share the tape, or share knowledge that the tape existed?

  • Flarnzack

    More like you were getting scooped by other news outlets and had to throw the tape out there to get your ratings.

  • Tony Gebicki

    Weren’t there any moral obligations on ESPN’s part to report this to the proper authorities? If not, please explain why, in light of your stance that Joe Paterno & Mike McQueary, who did exactly what they were supposed to do, failed in their moral obligations at Penn State. It sure sounds like you guys are pure hypocrites after all your moral preaching the last few weeks. As journalists you follow rules, but you certainly don’t practice what you preach when it comes to morals. Your parent company markets its products to kids & their families. I don’t think they deserve the trust from parents, grandparents & families in light of the lack of good moral judgement by one of its companies. I pray that no additional children were abused while the tapes were under cover.

  • Ian

    No mention of ESPN apparently sitting on the tape rather than sharing it with law enforcement officials.

  • Randy Jordan

    I have decided to not re-new my ESPN insider membership. I have done so because I’ve found that ESPN doesn’t believe in professional or personal ethics. They also don’t believe in equally applying their crude sense of morality. You knowingly disregarded evidence that could prove child molestation and rape. You claim you did so because your sense of “journalistic integrity” felt it was needed to “corroborate” this story with the people involved.

    In doing that, you now have the gall to say that this was ethics,morals, and a sense of integrity on your part. ESPN is somehow heroic when it does this, yet when Mike McQueary does this, you claim he enabled a child molester.

    This is a double standard of epic proportions. ESPN does not hold itself to the same standards it wants to hold others to. Don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining. ESPN is just as guilty as a Mike McQueary, a man who’s life will never be the same because of the drive by reporting of ESPN.

    I could only imagine if you were held to that same standard.

    Good bye, and good luck ESPN.

  • David Ritter

    Never in the history of humankind has there been a more blatant example of hypocrisy than the sanctimonious attitudes of all the “journalists” at ESPN pounding mercilessly at Joe Paterno…while they had in their possession similar information on Bernie Fine of Syracuse and SAT ON IT. What about the children, ESPN? You should be fired in disgrace like you all demanded of Joe Paterno. At least Paterno reported it immediately. What did you do? NOTHING! This takes pathetic, cowardly journalism to a new level. Impressive.

  • Erik

    The explanation from Doria makes no sense. The fact is that ESPN was provided an audio tape from Bobby Davis that contained what Davis alleged to be Laurie Fine admitting that Bernie Fine molested Bobby Davis. ESPN had “potential” knowledge of a serious crime that had been committed. Regardless if the voice was actually Laurie Fine or not, ESPN knew it was alleged to be Laurie Fine and ended up sitting on the tape for several years rather than let real detectives (i.e. the police) determine if the tape was authentic and determine if a serious crime was committed. What it comes down to is that ESPN held onto evidence proving a serious crime for several years rather than do the “right” thing and bring it forth to the crime experts – BIG MISTAKE!!! ESPN – Stick to sports and not law enforcement!!!

  • Dave

    Over the past several weeks, ESPN viewers have been subjected to the moralistic diatribes of your on-air personalities lambasting Joe Paterno for his “moral failings” for not “doing more” and reporting alleged child sex abuse to police.

    Now we learn that ESPN itself failed in taking any action on direct evidence provided by a victim of Bernie Fine in 2003. Mark Schwartz, in an interview with the local CBS affiliate in Syracuse, admitted that ESPN did NOT take this evidence to the police. And now we learn from Mr. Doria that it’s not “necessarily” the role of “journalists” to go to the police.

    Hypocracy thy name is ESPN.

  • Ted Moseby

    Sorry, not buying the corporate spin. You have spent the last three weeks preaching about the moral obligation to protect our kids. Offering a legal alibi for your actions in the Syracuse case doesn’t meet the high moral standard you expect of others. It’s also Interesting that the journalistic rigor that Mr. Doria touts above was not practiced when others were being accused of not doing all they could to protect our children. Then the standard was “faster and angrier”, because ratings were at stake. Now when your ox is being gored you want to remind us of journalistic standards. Again, sorry, not buying it. What goes around, comes around . . . Just didn’t expect it to be this fast.

  • RM

    The hypocrisy runs deep on this one. How could the network be so collectively holier than thou when covering Paterno and yet sit on evidence that should have been turned over to police 8 years ago?

  • Ben

    Doria: 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.”

    Doria: From a professional standpoint our role as a journalist is to seek out information and vet that information and when we’re satisfied with the credibility of that information to report it to the public.

    -So ESPN couldn’t have asked Mrs. Fine for an interview in 2003 and gotten a voice recording? Wouldn’t that have helped tie up that loose end? I’m glad that W & B didn’t give up so easily! With the potential impact to the victim’s lives, ESPN needed to try harder. People are calling for Boeheim’s job at this point. How long before someone calls for a boycott of ESPN for their portion of this?

  • Buster Kirby

    Mr. Doria, This does not cut it. ESPN had evidence that clearly could have prevented 8 years of a predator molesting children. Only a single week prior, without all the facts, your network dragged an entire University out into the street and played Judge, Jury, and Executioner – Particularly for Joe Paterno, a person who quite possibly had far fewer facts in 2002 than your own network held re: a strikingly similar case in 2003.

  • NittanyLion21

    Still waiting for ESPN to go 24/7 outside Jim Boeheim’s house.

  • MAH358

    If ESPN sat on this for 8 years because it didn’t have a corroborating witness till now, why did it lambast Penn State when there is still no second witness to corroborate Mike McQuery’s specific accusations, or even a victim who has come forward to say they were the boy in that shower? Since ESPN has vilified Joe Paterno for allegedly not meeting his moral obligations to help potential victims of child abuse, did ESPN not fail to meet it’s own moral obligations under the exact same circumstances, i.e. alleged abuse of minors? ESPN did the exact thing it accused Joe Paterno & Penn State of (i.e. not report allegations of abuse to the Police), but is telling everyone to do as they say and not as they do. If this had happened to a rival news outlet you would baying for their blood 24-7 and calling for all them to be fired, asking how it was possible they could NOT have known having been there so long. I know you will never publish this, but I hope you can at least feel a little sham at your employer’s hypocrisy after reading this, unless like so many of your co-workers you are also a Syracuse alum, in which case I can understand your desire to suppress this story.

  • Tom

    I still don’t understand why this couldn’t be brought to the attention of police in a discreet way- the first time. Does the role of a journalist trump any moral responsibility of reporting alleged child sexual abuse?

  • mike112233

    funny. ESPN ripped Joe Paterno to shreds for not going above and beyond he legal duties and going to the police himself. hypocrites.

  • thomas

    Why is ESPN not calling for Jim to resign or trashing Syracuse the way they did to Joe Paterno and Penn state?

  • Jason

    Well explained and mostly justified. There’s only one part that gets me: “It’s not necessarily the journalist’s role to go to the police with potential evidence” … While I agree with that to a certain degree, it also creates a double standard. There were many journalists pointing a finger of guilt at Joe Paterno when it’s not necessarily the coach’s role to go to the police with potential evidence he can’t confirm. If the media desires a higher moral calling from Paterno, it should hold itself to the same expectations.

  • Grant

    So because the cops said the statute of limitations expired they didn’t explore the claims, ESPN thought it best not to pursue? Quite the team of “investigative” reporters, Woodward and Bernstein would be proud. Mane there’s too many SU alums working in Bristol.

  • Buster Kirby

    This Article is great. I’m so glad ESPN did everything the right way. I’m done worrying about whether they met their moral obligation now (Let’s see if this comment gets past the moderators…)

  • kstone

    I understand that you didnt want to publish this or run a story on it, but what stopped you from contacting the police?

  • Jesse

    Vince,

    In regards to not turning the tape over to Syracuse Police – what makes ESPN more qualified to vet potential evidence against a child molester than the police?

    How is it morally responsible to sit on evidence that professional investigators would be better prepared to analyze, especially considering that conceivably they should be able to more easily acquire a reliable voice sample of Mrs. Fine than an entertainment company?

    What would you say to those who would draw comparisons of ESPN’s role in the potential coverup of evidence of assaults by Mr. Fine to the actions of those in power at Penn State who sat on evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Sandusky?

  • Aaron S

    ESPN failed and allowed child sex abuse to continue. I cannot believe that Disney would allow abuse of children to continue.

  • RTfromIL

    Also, notice how the article does not mention a reporter’s “moral” obligation to report suspected child abuse. ESPN was all over Penn State with “Who knew what and when did they know it?”

    That is what I want to know from the ESPN directors: what did you know and when did you know it?

  • Dan

    “We also were aware at that time that Bobby Davis had gone to the Syracuse Police in 2002 and told them about these allegations and he had been told by them that the statute of limitations had expired. So we were fully under the impression that the police had been made aware of the story and had decided not to pursue it.”

    -Isn’t this basically what Joe Paterno did? Except ESPN sat on actual recorded evidence versus hearsay? Shouldn’t ESPN burn like Paterno?

  • Greg

    I’m sorry, but your commentators have been saying since the Penn State scandal broke out that regardless of the situation, if you know of children being abused, you need to report it to police. Your commentators have pointed to the fact that Joe Paterno could have prevented more of the same crimes. And somewhere up the ladder, you’ve lost this message. You can’t criticize Paterno for not doing the humane thing and then say “Well, we’re journalists, so it’s not within our realm to go to the police.” And, with all do respect, an OTL investigation is NOT a police investigation. Maybe some of the people Bobby Davis listed would have been more willing to talk to police than reporters looking for a story.

  • Hugh Campbell

    I have the same concern that ESPN did not give a copy of the tape to the authorities. All Davis did was talk to the police, he didn’t give them the tape. If the police had the tape this might have been long over and not still in the news. A news organization does have an obligation to notify the police when a possible crime has been committed and they have evidence to that effect.

  • AJ

    @Ian has a great point. If ESPN even had a suspicion of criminal wrong doing how can they not forward this to authorities?

  • Derek

    For the past few weeks, I listened to ESPN analysts speak that Joe Paterno fulfilled his legal obligation but did not fulfill his moral obligation in his uninspired effort of reporting Mike McQuery’s story of Sandusky.
    Well, I guess ESPN and their reporters on this story fulfilled their journalistic obligation, but it is on similar parallel in which ESPN did not fulfill their “moral obligation.”
    Mike McQuery was the smoking gun in the Penn State case. This taped conversation is the smoking gun in the Fine case (hence, his immediate termination following Sunday morning’s revelations). Both have been sitting out there and held onto by two powerful entities for 8-plus years, Joe Paterno and ESPN. Please do not condemn or demand answers from Penn State if ESPN is going to take similar response into why they did not go to the authorities with the taped conversation. Both Joe Paterno and ESPN put young children in harms way with their discretion.

  • Steve Graham

    Why didn’t someone @ ESPN follow-up quicker to get a recording of Laurie Fine’s voice? No follow-up for 8 years?

  • Kelley

    So ESPN gets an uncorroborated report of child abuse by a well known assistant coach, but since it was uncorroborated it is okay that they did not go public with it or pass it on to the police. Joe Paterno hears an uncorroborated report of child abuse by a well known assistant coach (which he does in fact report to the head of the University Park Police Department) and ESPN leads the charge to get him fired. ESPN had physical evidence in the form of a legally made tape in which two people with knowledge of the incidents discuss it. Joe Paterno only has the story of a grad assistant who did not even tell him what exactly he had seen. I’m sorry ESPN, but how do you justify holding Joe Paterno to a higher standard than you hold yourselves to? You are a group of reporters, and yet all of you failed for eight years to report allegations of child abuse to ANYONE. I think you need to stop vilifying Joe Paterno for doing more with less information than you had.

  • Mike

    The only way to find out what Laurie Fine’s voice sounds like is a video on the internet?

  • Tom

    So basically ESPN did absolutely no work in trying to gain audio to verify the tape against in 2003, and only bothered with it this time because someone googled Laurie Fine and the audio fell into their laps.

    Where’s the journalism element in this? How do you sleep at night knowing that your incompetence allowed a predator to continue to act without restriction for 8 additional years?

  • epac

    Obviously ESPN would have hidden the Watergatte Story, too, until it would boost their ratings.

  • Mark Fox

    I appreciate ESPN responding to the inquiries from various sources that asked ESPN to explain your role during the initial allegations by Bobby Davis in 2003. Although you may have met any obligations (for ethical and truthful behavior) in your role as journalists, I would compare your relative lack of investigation into the allegations to that of Joe Paterno. It seems that you performed a perfunctory investigation and chose to ignore some strong evidence that the allegations were valid.

    It is plainly evident to me that the woman on the tape knew far too much about the inner workings of the Fine household to have been anyone but Laurie Fine. Even a casual listening to the tape (which I have not heard all of) indicates that the voice inflections, murmurings, interruptions and language used are authentically spontaneous and virtually impossible to have been faked.

    This leads me to believe that those at ESPN who evaluated the allegations did believe they were valid, but chose not to pursue the matter further. In my mind, the tape is extraordinarily strong evidence of the validy of the allegations, and for ESPN to have closed their pursuit of additional corroboration is at best lazy, and at worst complicit to the abuse.

    Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion.
    Mark Fox

  • Dave

    I’ve loved watching ESPN for over the years but I have to say that I am thoroughly disappointed that at the very least the tape did not get into the police’s hand for them to authenticate 10 years ago. The lame excuse of journalistic integrity is just not good enough for me. I will do everything in my power to avoid watching espn as much as possible.

    At some point the story doesn’t matter and it just shouldn’t as protecting people means more.

  • Dave Margolis

    For eight years, ESPN did not approach Mrs. Fine and ask her if the voice on the tape was hers.
    EIGHT YEARS.

    How dare you present yourselves as caring responsible journalists when no conclusion can be drawn from your inaction other than that you did not want to damage a source of revenue.

    Your chronology is purposely vague, but one can gather that, of the three people Davis referred you to, one of them–and possibly TWO of them–refused to speak to you. They did not say “Bernie Fine did not do these things.” They didn’t even offer a “It doesn’t sound like Marty” or “I never had any suspicions.” They pointedly refused to speak to you. And that was enough for you to walk away from the story?

    And now you have the nerve to tout ESPN as a paragon of journalistic integrity?

    HOW…DARE…YOU!

    Fine has not been tried yet, nor has he been charged. However, if he is guilty of these actions, ESPN is culpable for any molestations he may have committed since 2003. And, in a way, ESPN is worse–Fine may have committed twisted, sick acts, but ESPN’s covering them up was motivated by money and nothing more.

  • Mike R.

    How is ESPN sitting on the audiotape and not going to police any different than Paterno/Penn State not going to police with report?

  • Mimbster

    As a fan of Syracuse University athletics, I am quite saddened by all these unfolding stories. I hope this doesn’t drag on and on b/c obviously, Jimmy Boeheim’s image has taken a hit. So whatever happens in light of the evidence, I hope the appropriate actions is taken so that life can continue. It would be quite dramatic and bittersweet if da Cuse were to win the NCAA title this year.

  • Paul

    Vince, very disappointing how you did not see a need for ESPN to hand the tape over to authorities years ago. Very hypocritical.

  • ChrisGar

    Given all the criticism of JoePa on ESPN for not doing more — how can ESPN defend sitting on this tape for 9 years ?

    It doesn’t seem consistent.

  • Chris

    How is ESPN withholding this tape any different than the Penn State coaches hearing about alleged molestation, and not reporting it? ESPN needs to take a long look in the mirror and recognize that through their inaction, they have made it possible for other young boys to be victims.

  • Mike

    ESPN is no better than Paterno. You could have easily verified the voice long ago. All it would have taken was to record a call to her under the pretense of an interview on another matter. What you are doing now is covering your tails for doing nothing when you had a VICTIM with a corroborating TAPE explaining being sexually abused by a current assistant coach. Don’t you feel you have any responsibility to take the next step and report this to law enforcement? Don’t you feel any responsibility to the future ball boys for Syracuse working with Fine? If any abuse is shown to have occurred since 2003 you should be held to the same standard Paterno was. I am also sure if this happened at a school in any other region of the country your would not have covered it up. Pathetic.

  • Scott

    Interesting that ESPN no where in this interview mentions a “moral obligation” to stop child abuse. Yet in another recent story many ESPN employees commented on the moral obligation vs legal obligation of the participants. Where is the outrage from Mike Golic and Jay Bilas and the others towards ESPN on this story? When ESPN was broadcasting Syracuse basketball games for the last 8 years and Bernie Fine was court side, did ESPN not have a moral obligation to tell someone what they knew? How many other people were abused because of ESPN’s lack of action? Legally they appear in the right, but what about the ‘moral obligation’ we heard so much about from ESPN during the Penn St story? Or were they protecting their product? Why wait 8 years for the voice expert, couldn’t that have been tested and validated in 2003? Seems like if you are going to play the morality card in one story, you need to play it consistently, no?

  • Matt

    ESPN and/or it’s reporters and producers should be held just as liable as Joe Paterno and the Penn State administration for holding that tape. The US Attorney’s Office should seek action against Mark Schwarz and ESPN personnel who knew about the tape, yet did not disclose it to anyone in law enforcement.

  • LOONEY

    Perhaps the head coach basketball coach of Syracuse would like to take back his “PATERNO ” remark like all of the other remarks he has made–its easy to nail someone else–with no proven knowledge but “not me,take my word its gospel”—-I am sorry for the victims but I detest the head coach, trying to save his rump at the expense of the victims .” I never knew, even if I did live across the street and sat next to the “creature” at every game–I am the head coach I know everything -except about the “creature”!!! ESPN,with its exposing of these creatures, probably saved many young men and boys from the pain associated with dealing with “creatures” !

  • Mike smith

    Espn / Disney had this tape for 8years and never took it to the DA or STATE POLICE?!

  • Jon

    Has ESPN consulted with legal counsel regarding its deliberate decision not to report Mr Davis’ allegations or broadcast the audio tape in 2002?

    If so when was the last day ESPN received counsel from its lawyers regarding their role in this story? Did ESPN conduct an internal review of its decision not to report these allegations between 2005 and before the Sandusky grand jury report?

  • Graham Murphy

    It’s disgusting that ESPN has reported so extensively about this and appears to be complicit in covering up the crimes. How in the world doesn’t a self respecting journalist NOT turn over the tapes, involve the authorities on alleged criminal acts involving the victimization of children? I think the Feds should include ESPN in their investigation for criminal conduct!

  • Jason Whitlock

    How is ESPN different than Paterno in concealing information from the police?

    • Josh Krulewitz

      Thank you for your comments. We appreciate the feedback. The idea behind ESPN Front Row is to provide some insight into our decision-making process. We will continue to do that going forward on a wide variety of topics.

  • Steven Rodrigo

    ” It’s not necessarily the journalist’s role to go to the police with potential evidence that at the time we didn’t believe was strong enough to report ourselves.”
    —————

    Let me see if I have this straight. So it’s ok if the Journalist doesn’t go to the police with ‘potential evidence’ of sexual abuse however if a legendary coach doesn’t go to the police, he is morally deficient?? Am I missing something here. Joe Paterno reported the matter to his superiors and it was up to them to report the matter to the police however news organizations, ESPECIALLY ESPN, absolutely crucified him for not doing more such as going to the police. Sorry sir. I’m not buying it and you can’t have it both ways. Given ESPNs reporting on the Penn State scandal, you’re as guilty as Paterno is by not reporting the matter to the police.

  • ken urtz

    I watched Bob Ley this am in regards to the Bernie Fine story. bob reported that the search that happened at Fine!s resident happened due to new allegations of Zach Tomesselli a new victim. I have one question for ESPN. Why didn!t you report all of the facts that this new witness has been discredited by his own father. His father called his son a liar and also said his son never went to Pittsburgh. It appears to me that ESPN has the same self serving journalism (ratings) as the National Enquirer. You all should ashamed of yourselves. In my opinion you are not the world leader of sports, you are the world leader inaccurate reporting and deserve the same fate as Selena Roberts, never to be heard from again. May Selena Roberts and Vince Doria rot in hell.

  • John

    So ESPN has reams of “reporting” with nearly EVERY reporter on staff posting an article about what happened at Penn State and the individuals involved. And yet in this case, where ESPN is directly involved AND had just as much moral responsibility as those it pilloried at Penn State, we get next to nothing. No reporting to speak of. No admission of responsibility or self-examination like what was expected elsewhere. Some high standards, ESPN.

  • MS

    “From a professional standpoint our role as a journalist is to seek out information and vet that information and when we’re satisfied with the credibility of that information to report it to the public. It’s what journalists do. It’s not necessarily the journalist’s role to go to the police with potential evidence that at the time we didn’t believe was strong enough to report ourselves.” … but you failed a moral obligation as the abuse continued. Sound familiar? As more victims come forward, you need to accept accountability for these inactions!

  • Davis WIlliams

    As investigative journalists, did you attempt reach out to Mrs. Fine or Bernie Fine to corroborate the taped conversation? If not, why not?

    How have these events changed your “best practices” moving forward? Thank you.

  • Leslie Nicholas

    I believe ESPN reporters accused Joe Paterno of a lack of morality for “not doing more.” They called for, and received, his head. It is ironic at best, and disingenous at worst, that ESPN did not do more. You did not report it to authorities because you only had one victim! Go back and listen to the moral indignation of a Scott Van Pelt or a Doug Gottlieb over Paterno’s inaction, and then re-read the article above. A great many heads at ESPN need to roll.

  • Joe

    An accusation that includes a tape recording of a witness corroborating said accusation is MORE THAN ENOUGH to contact Syracuse Police, the U.S. DOJ, and Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees. Saying a person needs to molest TWO people for it to be worth pursuing is ridiculous. Come clean ESPN, you messed up, you did the wrong thing. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it. Shame on you. How many other kids were put in harm’s way because of your silence? You better hope there isn’t a victim who was abused chronologically after you decided to sit on the tape. I don’t know how the civil case against you would play out, but we all know in our hearts that you should be guilty.

  • Aileen Dingus

    “So 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. ”

    Soooo… one person reporting something, with no corroboration, isn’t enough to do anything about. But one person reporting something, with a follow-up to authorities, is enough to hang someone out to dry? Good to know.

  • KingDoofus

    ” It’s not necessarily the journalist’s role to go to the police with potential evidence that at the time we didn’t believe was strong enough to report ourselves. ”

    Can you be anymore arrogant and self-serving? When the issue is child sexual abuse EVERYONE’S “role” is to go to the police. How do you sleep at night knowing your inaction for YEARS likely caused the further sexual abuse of CHILDREN?

  • Lis Cha

    Seems ESPN set up Boeheim and others they interviewed, and of course any kids who may have been abused since 2002. The explanation from ESPN makes no sense! They did not pursue the story because they had no corroboration (of the 3 names, how many denied and how many would not talk?). They did not submit the tapes because they had no corroboration. they never viewed the tapes as possibly corroberating the reports? I’s a bit like claiming you can’t play the piano because you only have one hand on the right and one on the left. And it is hard to believe they were clueless about verifying the tape in 02. They had no way to get a sample of Mrs. Fine’s voice? Not credible! So they set up the coach and SU. They asked questions but knew so much more about the story than those they interviewed and then the public. Do you really think that Boeheim would have defended fine if he too had heard those tapes?There were 2 previous investigations that appeared to clear Fine-but now we know, and ESPN already knew-they were bogus investigations because ESPN held evidence and refused to pursue the story. Given what we now know, JB’s response seems terrible. But given what he understood, partly due to ESPN’s deception, his response is more understandable. I still think ESPN needs to respond to all these questions more clearly than in this question answer forum that they constructed. Arrange a press conference and ask questions poised by the audience. When did a journalist first learn about and/or hear the tape? If it was during the earlier investigations, why did ESPN not provide all the information they had when they first started writing about Fine a week or so ago.If the journalists did know about the tape but failed to include it in the story, I think it is fair to say that they manipulated the story and set up Boeheim and others who they asked to make statements while knowing that those they asked to make statements did not have the full story. Last, there were available experts to evaluate the veracity of the statements and the validity of the tape in 2002. If they had already heard the tapes prior to 10 days ago but are claiming they waited this time to have the tape authorized they have lost credibility. Once they planned to post the story they should have provided the public with all the information they had. They could have alerted the public to the fact that the tapes were not yet authenticated. It is a matter of journalism, ethics, truth in reporting and, most importantly, if journalists knew about the tape but failed to consider it or include it in the story, one has to ask if they are also culpable if children were abused after the tapes was discovered. If ESPN had the tape, not mentioning it in their very first story about 10 days ago, and maybe even failing to consider it in 2002 suggests that they betrayed the public’s trust. They need to clearly answer these questions.

  • John Bergeron

    Dear Mr. Doria,

    I read with great interest your journalistic justifications regarding ESPN’s coverage of Laurie Fine’s taped telephone conversation with Bobby Davis in which ESPN reports it “sat on” the recording for a period of “8 years”. It appears ESPN did use professional discretion and due diligence in vetting the story when the tape was received in 2002 and decided correctly at the time not to pursue the story further. For this I applaud your network.

    However, it is unconscionable ESPN did not see it had a moral responsibility to turn over this enormously damning allegation of child sexual abuse to the authorities. ESPN’s inaction pulls the network into a circle of complicity with all those other adults who ignore the pleas of children when it comes to child molestation. No one believed Bobby Davis — the University, Jim Boeheim, the police, nor, most regrettably, his parents. However, you had evidence a grievous crime may have been committed, but chose to do nothing.

    Your response, rather lamely, concludes with, “All journalists could be asking themselves this very same question: What role should journalists play in providing information that may or may not have been reported? It’s complex and something we must continue to evaluate.” I respectfully submit, NOW is the time to check your moral compass and thoroughly review your internal ethical standards and protocols.

    Sadly,

    John Bergeron
    SU Alum

  • Chris

    I think its sad that anyone would hide behind their profession as a journalist as an excuse not to report information that may be instrumental to preventing children from being harmed. If you want to be a journalist, fine. That doesn’t remove your obligations from being a person.

  • Tom

    “From a professional standpoint our role as a journalist is to seek out information and vet that information and when we’re satisfied with the credibility of that information to report it to the public.”

    How come there was no attempt of getting a second source of audio from Mrs. Fine then? You are arguing that was your professional responsibility and you did nothing about it until someone Googled her in 2011 when you felt you were being scooped on the story by the Syracuse Post Standard.

    The other thing I find troublesome is that you basically admit that in 2003 you didn’t pursue it because the police didn’t, and 2011 you pursued it because you knew the police were pursuing it. Aren’t you supposed to be making these judgments independently rather than just relying on the course of legal action?

  • Tyler Dombroski

    ESPN had a RECORDED CONVERSATION since 2002 where this Syracuse basketball coach’s OWN WIFE admitted he was abusing kids. ESPN NEVER reported it or went to the police.

    Joe Paterno reported to his superior a child abuse incident he NEVER even witnessed. He was told that told the proper authorities were taking care of things.

    HOW IS NOBODY EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS ON TV RIGHT NOW?!

    We still do not even know what Joe Paterno specifically did or did not do yet this network crucified him.

    ESPN just flat out admitted in this article they choose to do nothing.

    WHAT A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES.

  • Melissa Jones

    You are hypocrites and cowards. Shame on you, ESPN.

  • Mike

    Shame ESPN. Shame on so many levels. Shame that you knew something and did nothing to report it, using the convenient First Ammendment to do so. Shame for running the name and legacy of a good man through the ground every chance you got, ultimately leading to his demise on so many levels. Shame on your hypocrisy of handling both the Penn State and Syracuse stories.

    I can only hope that others follow the path I’m taking – fully renounced endorsement of both you, and your parent companies.

  • AM

    Read in the NY Times this morning: In addition to his role as assistant coach, Fine was responsible for overseeing team ball boys and running Syracuse summer camps where tens of thousands of children attended camps through the years. Children were at risk and ESPN sat on solid evidence…unbelievable.

    It’s really unsettling, I hope there is more to this story on the part of ESPN, but your statement here supports that your lack of action 8 years ago was as morally vacant as it appears.

    Any reason why Tony and Wilbon didn’t say a peep about anything related to Syracuse on PTI yesterday?

  • Chris Turant

    ESPN kept the tapes secret for 8 years to protect their own legal position. All the reasons Mister Doria gives about why ESPN didn’t run the story is exactly what I expect from responsible journalism. They did the absolute right thing not airing the story back in 2003.

    The moment ESPN questioned why Joe Paterno did not do more, they became hypocrites. Joe Paterno had 2nd hand information. He was given some kind of account of what happened. Nobody really knows what he was told. ESPN had what could be construed as corroborating evidence. They claim they did not know if it was real, I understand that. If they did not want to spend the money to confirm the authentication, I understand that too. What I do not understand is why they did NOT need meet the very same moral standard they expected from Joe Paterno. Mr Doria made a great business, legal and ethical decision not to run the story in 2003. He made a terrible ethical and moral decision to not voluntarily turn the tapes over to the investigators.

  • Paul

    So if for 10 years espn sat on evidence that the guy was a child abuser, how does that make them less guilty than Paterno? Paterno didn’t do enough, espn didn’t do anything.

  • earl mayhew

    You at ESPN had the tape for 8 years. The tape is all the evidence anyone would ever need to corroborate the story of the Davis. You did nothing. Meanwhile, Fine continued to work, and his victims continued to suffer. The police, Jim Boehiem, and ESPN all ignored (or worse) everything Davis alleged. If the public had heard this tape, we would have been outraged, and the wheels of justice would have been FORCED into motion. Now we find out that one of Fine’s victims is accused of child molestation. We all know that victims of predators have a greater chance of growing up and then becoming predators themselves. This is especially true if the victims do not get help. So the crimes Zack Tomaselli allegedly committed may never have happened had he gotten help. Thus, his victims could have been saved by helping Zach when he was still a child. Had ESPN revealed this tape 8 years ago, everything would have unfolded differently. Zack’s life might have unfolded very differently, and the lives of his alleged victims too.

  • Bill Judson

    Just finished listening to Colin Cowherd trying to defend your position on why you didn’t tell police in 2002. You could hear the hipocracy in his voice as he tried to defend your actions. He sounded just like my teenagers do when there’re trying to take a position we both know is wrong ina high shrill voice. Claiming disbelief that nobody beleives them. Anyone with a brain can see your hipocracy over this with in light of many of the statements made by your people during the Penn State mess. Why can’t you MAN-UP and admit you were wrong.

  • t.d.s.

    Incredible!! What an unbelievable bunch of hypocrites at ESPN…not to mention a bunch of cowardly idiots!

  • Josh

    Anyone at ESPN who had any knowledge of this abuse and sat on it should be fired. How many of your employees have SU degrees on their walls?

  • John Kolenik

    This is nothing like the situation with Joe Paterno. Paterno with second hand, uncorroborated evidence actually went directly to the top law enforcement official with jurisdiction over the situation THE VERY NEXT DAY. ESPN sat on this first hand audio evidence for 8 years. Where is Mike Golic, Jay Bilas, and Colin Cowherd calling for the swift resignation of anyone who knew anything about this? Where is the concern for the children? Where are the reporters camped outside the Bristol office 24/7? Hypocrisy can be spelled ESPN.

  • Scott Steinberg

    Let me understand ESPN-think.
    Joe Paterno deserves to be fired and vilified (Cowherd, Hill, Bilas, etc) because he immediately informed his bosses of an accusation he received from a witness.

    But ESPN feels they have done everything in its legal and ethical responsibilities when a person comes to them with a first hand account of child abuse, a tape from the abuser’s wife, and then never contacts police or the University.

    I hope the specific people at ESPN who talked to Bobby Davis 8 years ago and did nothing sleep well at night knowing that possibly more abuse took place after the first hand account.

    How can ESPN say this is not the definition of hypocrisy. When will the first employee at ESPN call out the hypocrisy for what it is?

  • Steve H

    This is ESPN’s lame response after its sanctimonious coverage of the Penn State scandal? This is ESPN’s response after it called for Paterno’s head on a stake and got it? This is ESPN’s response after all of the Penn State coverage asserting a moral failure?

    Let us all take a look at some of the commentary on ESPN’s website covering the Penn State matter – here are some articles below:

    Keown: Penn State should decline bowl bid
    Woj: The tragedy of Joe Paterno
    MacLeish: Paterno should have known better
    Pierce: Brutal truth about Penn State
    Schlabach: Paterno’s firing was just
    Bryant: A failure of power, moral authority
    Hill: Joe had to go before Saturday
    Reilly: Save your sympathy for the victims

    Here are some quotes from the Reilly article.

    “This is not about Joe Paterno.” Actually, Reilly, it is about Paterno. All of ESPN’s coverage dealt with Paterno. Check your employer’s website and all you see is Paterno’s name. You certainly don’t see much about the victims, Sandusky, McQueary, Curly, Shultz or Spanier. In fact, with all of the coverage centered on Paterno, you might think that he molested the children.

    “No, this isn’t about 84-year-old Joe Paterno not taking more steps that might have stopped it. It’s about everybody not taking more steps that might have stopped it. Not parents, not teachers, not uncles, not friends, not counselors.” You’re right Reilly. Add ESPN’s name to the list too. Feel free to add any ESPN employee to the list. I wonder who knew at ESPN? This tape shows up in ESPN’s offices 8 years ago and we are to believe that no one talked about it outside of those who heard it?

    Agreed – Paterno should have done more but at least he did something. At least he reported McQueary’s accusations to his superiors. ESPN did NOTHING when it had accusations and evidence of child sex abuse! If Paterno failed to meet his moral obligation, then ESPN did not even try to meet its moral obligation.

    I await eagerly ESPN’s 24/7 coverage of its moral failures, resignations, and firings with the Syracuse scandal.

  • Brian Whalen

    Boy, feels like an episode of the “Twilight Zone”. Except it is not. This is real life. For all the ESPN and every other reporter who has asked “How does this happen?” regarding the Penn State and Syracuse investigations, this is how it happens. ESPN has lawyered up. All the employees are toeing the company line. Who the heck is FR, the person asking the questions above? Some top notch independent reporter? Perhaps other media should camp out on Mr. Doria’s lawn and pounce on him with some real follow-up questions. When we point a finger, there are a couple pointing back at us.

  • Jeremy

    ESPN’s involvement, or lack there of, in this entire situation is quite simply disgraceful. Even the “world wide leader” should be held morally accountable & I can only hope that someone steps up & makes sure that happens.

  • Steve E

    I am having a difficult time understanding your logic ESPN. You vilify publicly a coach and members of the university for a great many of days for failing in their moral responsiblity. Yet, you have a tape in your possession that contains the voice of the wife of an alleged child abuser, and you do nothing with it? Please help me to understand where your moral compass is? This hypocritical, double-standard world in which we live makes me ill and your actions (inactions) are deeply troubling and disappointing.

    You preach for two plus weeks about how Paterno should have known and done more – allegedly – and now I learn that you should have done more because you absolutely knew more. I thought it was all about the victims of child abuse. I thought wrong. Cancel my ESPN the Magazine subscription.

  • Kevin Tirko

    Mr Doria,

    Try again…. your “justification” for non-action rings hollow in light of your networks witch-hunt, lynching, vigilantism, of Joe Paterno… you can pick the word that sounds best to you. Note that “journalism and fair-reporting” are not options. You continue “spinning” this issue… or should I say espning the issue?
    I hope Disney corporate has higher ethics and standards. And ESPN is the self-proclaimed … “world-wide-leader” … of what?

  • tillzen

    ESPN’s seeks profit first. They protect and promote Sport second. And if it does not hurt their bottom line then they are journalists.
    The Penn State disaster illustrated ESPN’s nature perfectly as they did their best to blame everyone but Paterno. Money corrupted Sport and money seems to have corrupted ESPN.
    ESPN would be well served to stop managing news and start owning it. Our behavior is who we are. As Howard Zinn so perfectly framed it, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train”.

  • Steve Ellis

    ESPN may have been correct not to air the report and “Laurie Fine” recording in 2003, but ESPN failed in their responsibilities as a corporate member of our society. ESPN had received an allegation from someone who claimed to be a victim and an audio recording which corroborated the allegation. ESPN is not the organization who should decide if a crime may have been committed. Investigating and determining if a crime has been committed is the job of the police and the District Attorney’s office. ESPN should have turned this information over to the police. By using your network and it’s on-air personalities as a platform for the criticism of Pennsylvania State University ESPN became hypocrites and compromised the network’s integrity and credibility. ESPN should appoint an independent body consisting of respected journalists, investigators, and a representative from the jurist community to investigate the networks actions and apparent failings in this case. It may be the only way you can begin to retrieve your reputation. I suspect you will do nothing and wait for this to blow over. This is your moment of truth. How will you respond?

  • Stan Hopkins

    ESPN, I suggest you take a good look in the mirror. Your excuse is absurd. You guys are morally bankrupt.

  • Albert Kaye

    The issue is very simple:

    Best case scenario ESPN is guilty of biased reporting and sensationalizing alleged, not proven, incidents occuring at Penn State.

    Worst case scenario, ESPN has wilfully distorted the Penn State allegations into a lynch mob frenzy against Joe Paterno, while turning a blind eye towards the proven allegations against Coach Fine at Syracuse.

    In either case, you should all be ashamed. Joe Paterno has touched more lives in a positive, uplifting way, than any sleazy talking head at ESPN ever will, and he has forever been tainted by your un-American, jump to conclusions posturing that you cynically refer to as reporting.

  • Brian Whalen

    OK, OK, OK…ESPN has proven at least one thing. They and theirs are members of the human race. Which means they have flaws. They are not perfect. And just like the personalities in the world that we elevate on a pedistal, they came crashing down. During the heat of the Penn State revelation, Mike and Mike had a guest on that I truly needed to hear. Mr. Bill Curry offered his time in a public forum to display such class that I think it may be useful here. His basic message was that he did not have the right to judge anyone. That the situation would be an opportunity for him to review his own life and identify moments when he could have done things differently. And that hopefully, in the future, he would do what he could to be the best person he could be.
    My own list of character defects includes hypocrite. As a matter of fact it is at the top of list. And it is a long list. Right up there with it is grandiosity, which can make it difficult for me to say I am sorry, especially when I really need to. It does not surprise me that ESPN may have some of these same traits.
    So, what I think of anybody is nobody’s business. However, what I know about somebody may be someone’s business, like a cop. If I have any confidence in the information and feel I am getting stonewalled, even by authorities, I don’t give up. Especially if kids are involved. Or at least I would like to think I would.
    Thanks Mr. Curry.

  • J

    Shame on you ESPN. Isn’t ironic? Mike Golic, Bob Ley, Colin Cowherd, Scott van Pelt… all got on their pedestal with limited or incorrect information and condemned Joe Paterno and Penn State. I wonder if they will have the same sentiment toward their employer for essentially the same thing.
    Also interesting that ESPN covers Big East bball more than any other conference. I wonder if they would have needed a corroborating witness before reporting if we were talking about a Big 10 school, with its Big 10 network.
    ESPN – you have become the epitome of immoral.

  • Wendy

    “So we were fully under the impression that the police had been made aware of the story and had decided not to pursue it.”– so you just figured someone else would do the right thing and you decided you didn’t have to do it? Isn’t that exactly what happened at Penn State where you’ve been calling for heads to roll? When are YOU resigning, sir?

  • Jeff

    I think the worst part here is that they openly accepted responsibility while masking it with inexcusable ignorance. If it is the job of a journalist to get to the truth, how can they not accept at a bare minimum that they didn’t even do that when they had the evidence by saying there wasn’t any other evidence to go on. That would be the job of the journalist to dig further and find the truth, not just push aside what little evidence there was because a bunch of Syracuse grads work there and didn’t want to tarnish a high profile reputation from their own school, they contradicted themselves. This entire thing is despicable. I understand you can’t just go roast somebody on one persons testimony, but isn’t that the point of journalism as stated in Doria’s own words, to get down to the bottom of it? I pray that ESPN get’s some form of punishment, they should be donating millions to funds for abused children at a bare minimum, but I’m sure to them they would feel that it would be admitting guilt. This is such a sad story.

  • Theo

    Dear ESPN:

    Please stick to the highlights and sideline reporting going forward. Refer all other news matters and leads to real professionals — especially when children’s lives are at stake. And this is the same company that brought us 30 for 30?

  • Darla

    So how many more children were victims in the 10 years you held on to this?

  • Joe Taticchi

    ESPN tried and convicted Joe Paterno in their private Kangaroo Court and for the most part are quite pleased with his firing. Now you are trying to lie your way out of a Mike McQueary situation. Several members of your sports writing and sports casting team have gone as far as stating that Penn State should not got to a bowl. By the standard you have set for Paterno and Penn State, I think the FCC should ban ESPN and ABC from broadcasting any and all college football games for the remainder of the season and the upcoming bowls. I will let the same clown who is trying to rationalize ESPN’s role in the Syracuse situation, explain to the shareholders the billions of dollars of revenue lost. You know what they say about payback!

  • Keith Ward

    The definition of hypocrisy.
    Where are your morals? How can you justify standing by and allowing pedophilia and rape to occur, yet hold Joe Paterno to a higher standard. Where is the apology for the double-standard?
    How high up did this go? Did the bosses at ABC know? And their bosses at Disney? Is it safe to take kids to Disney theme parks… or would you endorse pedophilia there, too? If parents by Disney toys or videos, are the proceeds used to cover-up more abuses?
    Why haven’t all the ESPedophileN people involved, and that is probably MOST of the network, been fired for not doing their MORAL best? Another double-standard?
    Is that why you aren’t reporting or talking about this? Part of your cover-up?

  • Doug8345

    Two major events have occurred since the firing of Joe Paterno which prove that the news media are not only incompetent and dishonest but hypocritical beyond anything anyone would have thought possible.

    And both revelations are about as damning as could be imagined both against ESPN, whose commentators condemnation of Paterno and demands for his firing were some of the loudest, and the school officials at Central Mountain high school, where Sandusky’s Victim One went to school.

    The first revelation concerns the molestation charges against Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine.One of Fine’s accusers secretly tape recorded a phone conversation he had with Fine’s wife in 2002 in which the sexual contact with Fine was discussed and where Fine’s wife admitted she knew everything her husband had been doing. Fine’s accuser says he took the tape to the Syracuse Post Standard in 2002 along with his allegations against Fine and played the audio tape for them. The newspaper declined to report the allegations saying that, even with the tape they wanted more corroborating evidence before they would report it. In other words the Syracuse Post Standard gave more of the benefit of the doubt to an accused child molester than the news media in general gave to Joe Paterno, a man with a polished solid gold reputation for 60 years. And there has been no outcry by any of the sanctimonious self-serving members of the media who railed against Joe Paterno focused on the Post Standard for “having knowledge of” sexual abuse and not reporting it.

    It gets a lot worse. It has also been revealed that the victim took the same audio tape to ESPN more than ten years ago with his allegations against Fine and played the tape for them, No one at ESPN did a thing. For ten years. They didnt talk to their own lawyers.They didnt refer it to any child protective agency. They didnt refer it to any law enforcement agency. They did nothing.

    This is the same ESPN whose commentators called for Joe Paterno’s firing immediately for, in their factually challenged hypocritical world, “not going to the authorities”. The same ESPN whose commentators said Joe Paterno going to the administrative head of campus police the next day with McQueary’s non-specific report wasn’t enough. The same ESPN who accused Joe Paterno without a shred of proof, of being aware of child sexual abuse and “not doing enough”. The same ESPN that had an audio tape confirming from the mouth of the abuser’s own wife, the sexual abuse of a ball boy at Syracuse university. And did nothing.

    And are the same sanctimonious self-righteous group of journalists insisting that anyone at ESPN who had been aware of those tapes for the last ten years and who is still with ESPN be fired? No. Of course not.

    We now know that the same media types both on television and in print who smeared Joe Paterno on their front pages with the word “Shame”, without a shred of proof, did absolutely nothing when put in Paterno’s shoes.

    Unfortunately the second set of revelations makes it even worse for the media

    New revelations were made by the mother of Sandsusky’s Victim One that will forever shame even further everyone in the news media who attacked Paterno as well as the trustees of Penn State who buckled under the pressure exerted by the media mob and threw Paterno over the side to quiet them down.

    Keep in mind that the fictional narrative by the press in their attack on Paterno, their reason for demanding he be fired was that he had knowledge of sexual abuse and didn’t do enough when it came to reporting it, ( something that has already been proved to be completely false).

    According to the mother, in a piece that can be read here, the principal of the high school her son attended, Karen Probst, was present in 2002 when her son openly accused Sandusky of molesting him and not only did the the school principle do nothing, according to the mother the principle actually tried to talk her and her son out of reporting it.

    Additionally, according to the mother, Steve Turchetta, the boy’s high school coach in 2002, repeatedly allowed Sandusky to come to the school and take the boy out of school not only without parental consent but without even any parental notification. And Turchetta continued to allow Sandusky to take the boy out of school even after the mother found out and protested.

    The mother states that eventually there was a meeting at the school after the boy had told all to a school counselor and had gotten so emotional they finally believed him. At that meeting the mother states that when she insisted they go to the police, the school officials tried to talk her out of it. They told her to think about it and think about what the accusations could do to her family.

    All of this information was available at any time any real journalist wanted to take the time to actually investigate and learn the facts. But all of them, like Sean Gregory at Time Magazine, Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated and just about everyone at ESPN except Lou Holtz, were too busy smearing Paterno to bother. It was Paterno they went after. Because it was Joe Paterno’s picture that sold newspapers and got web hits, not Karen Probst’s.It was going after Paterno that made the very small and sanctimonious feel very big.

    The irony is, that in the end, Joe Paterno did more and with less knowledge, and did it faster than anyone connected to either the Sandusky allegations or the Bernie Fine allegations, all of whom had more knowledge that he did.

    And isn’t it ironic ( or perhaps par for the course) that ESPN, whose commentators like Jay Bailes and others were some of the most vocal for saying Paterno didn’t do enough, had an audio tape that contained an admission of the sexual abuse of a Syracuse ball boy for ten years and did nothing.

    So what will ESPN do now? Will they accuse themselves of “not doing enough”? Will they accuse themselves of allowing a sexual predator to remain free? Will there be any media condemnation by others of ESPN?Anyone hear any media condemnation? Anyone demanding people at ESPN be fired? Or will they all hide under their sheets?

    So now class lets review the facts: Joe Paterno the day after getting a non-specific non detailed sanitized version of events from McQueary went to the administrative head of the Penn State campus police with Mc Queary’s allegations against a man he knew and worked with closely for 26 years, without hesitating or calling Sandusky to get his side of the story. Karen Probst, Victim One’s high school principle, Steve Turchetta his high school coach, the school’s assistant principle, the school guidance counselor, Ray Gricar, the DA at the time who declined to prosecute, the Syracuse Post-Standard, and ESPN all had specific allegations and in the case of the Fine, a tape recorded admission of child sexual abuse and did absolutely nothing for years. These are some of the people who yelled the loudest about Joe Paterno and moral responsibility. These are some of the people who demanded Joe Paterno be fired for not doing more.

    People are angry about what happened to Paterno. They should be angrier now and should demand not only the restoration of Paterno’s reputation, they should demand retribution.

    Journalists who falsely accused Paterno should be fired And so should anyone who had knowledge of the events surrounding Sandusky and Bernie Fine. That includes journalists and school officials.

    There should be demands that Sean Gregory at Time Magazine who wrote that Joe Paterno “knew a ten year old boy was being raped in a shower and didn’t report it to authorities” with no evidence to substantiate it be fired. So should his editor for allowing Gregory’s dishonest report to be printed. So should an ESPN columnist named Jemele Hill who wrote her own dishonest column about Paterno simply parroting the false reporting of other journalists and making the same false claims. Anyone at ESPN with knowledge of the Bernie Fine tape should be suspended or fired. The two senators in Pennsylvania, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey should be eviscerated, their offices deluged with phone calls for withdrawing their sponsorship of Paterno for the Medal of Freedom without any facts, just acting like spineless politicians reacting to the mob . And last but not least every trustee at Penn State who voted to fire Joe Paterno, which is all of them, should resign. They are the people who disgraced Penn State, not Joe Paterno.

    The Penn State trustees made a mockery of every value that a university tries to instill in its students and proved, ironically that the trustees can’t be trusted. They should all in good conscience, resign. If not their resignations should be demanded since it was they, not Joe Paterno who betrayed the values of Penn State,denying Paterno any form of due process and capitulating to a dishonest incompetent mob of journalists.

    The day after Paterno was fired, students at Penn State demonstrated and demonstrated angrily. They knew, as college students tend to know, that a gross injustice had been done to Joe Paterno and they were motivated by something that the Penn State trustees and those in the news media either lost a long time ago or never had in the first place — ideals.

    The students at Penn State saw that the ideals preached at Penn State were trampled on by a mob of out of control self-serving journalists and a spineless collection of trustees. And they were justifiably angry. They knew a gross injustice had been done. The factually challenged Stuart Scott, reporting on the demonstrations for ESPN said of the demonstrators, “Don’t they get it”? Here is a flash to Stuart Scott and the rest of the news media. They got it. You didn’t.

    When Paterno was given the sanitized version of the event in the shower by McQueary he went straight to the administrative head of campus police, the police agency that had the jurisdiction over any crime committed on the campus of Penn State. Joe Paterno went to the proper authority, he went immediately and he went as high as he could go. The news media, the Penn State trustees, the politicians, ESPN and everyone else who attacked Joe Paterno, given the opportunity, went as low as they could go. They will be remembered for it. And they should all lose their jobs. But before they go, they owe Joe Paterno one big apology.
    Jim Boeheim is right. He is no Joe Paterno.

  • ed

    Do you think a question that should be asked of espn is Did the relationship between them and the Big East play a role in the decision to sit on this story.You mean to tell me that for eight years they had no way to confirm this tape. This network has made a living of over-hyping events that for the most part have no bearing on peoples lives.They get a story like this with such ramifications.Another question if not for the Penn State story would’ve this come out now.this is tragic and the question was asked that if Paterno had done more could victims have been saved.The same question needs to be asked now of ESPN.ESPN does not deserve a pass on this and should be looked at very closely.

  • Rob Geiner

    ESPN has proven to me that they are hypocritical and an embarrassment to the news industry. Using a bunch of ex-jock, many with little to no journalistic training, to attack Joe Paterno with countless misstatements of facts. Ultimately, the ESPN machine claimed that Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more. Now, with the Fine case, suddenly, moral responsibility doesn’t apply to ESPN. Maybe you should attack yourself with your cracker box journalism. Remember, facts are those annoying things that get in the way of a great story. Remember to include idiots like Trevor Matich to speak repeatedly about ESPN’s roll. He’ll unintentionally destroy you because he has no clue what he’s talking about. It’s an embarrassment that you claim to be a new organization.

  • RM

    Shame on ESPN

  • Walt

    You and ESPN are hypocrites! You are not above ethics and morals. The evidence should’ve been turned over to the police posthaste.

    ESPN imagine is forever harmed – ESPN has always been challenged from a journalistic standpoint, usually by employing complete nimrods as TV commentators, and now we have this act. Knowingly hiding criminal allegations such as child molestation is UNACCEPTABLE AND CANNOT BE DEFENDED!

    It is not ESPN’s JOB to investigate crimes – it is ESPN’s job to report facts, which ESPN has proven incapable of doing lately. And now ESPN has proven to have little or no moral or ethical fiber.

    I can’t clearly explain my outrage at ESPN’s hypocrisy and ethical failings. So, I’ll voice my displeasure with my wallet – ESPN Insider no longer needs my money.

    W

  • D. J.

    “From a professional standpoint Joe Paterno’s role as a head coach is to prepare his team to compete at the highest level every football Saturday. It’s what head coaches do. It’s not necessarily the head coach’s role to go to the police with potential eyewitness accounts that at the time, he didn’t believe was strong enough to report himself.”

    See anything wrong with this statement? Because ESPN’s analysts sure as hell did (and if it’s true JoePa did nothing, I do too). Now read Doria’s statement:

    “From a professional standpoint our role as a journalist is to seek out information and vet that information and when we’re satisfied with the credibility of that information to report it to the public. It’s what journalists do. It’s not necessarily the journalist’s role to go to the police with potential evidence that at the time we didn’t believe was strong enough to report ourselves.”

  • Jason

    To clarify a point to some that has said stuff like “ESPN and Paterno are the same…” “They didn’t go to authorities…” Legally Joe Paterno couldn’t go to the police as Pennsylvania state law says that any “educational” facility, i.e. Schools, Universities, Daycare sees a crime committed against a child(ren) MUST report it to their superiors, then they Must report to the authorities. Failure to do this is only a $250 fine. Thanks to ESPN we dont know if he actually did go to the police, this is something that im sure we will find out later! If he did then all they will do is note it, as its part of the Hear-Say rule…

    To ESPN and (Colin Cower yes i heard his show as well) im very disappointed and appalled that you can straight face say that it’s “From a professional standpoint our role as a journalist is to seek out information and vet that information and when we’re satisfied with the credibility of that information to report it to the public.” is almost as sickening than what these monsters have done to children. You as a person and a network disquise

  • Journalism integrity

    Boycotting everything espn from now. Hypocrites. JoePa was crucified by espn for the exact same thing except he didn’t have all the facts like espn did here. I loathe everything espn. I hope they all lose their jobs.

  • Ken Mara

    Let’s be honest. You didn’t go after the Fine story with the same vigor as Paterno because he wasn’t a biggest enough FISH to garner the attention, viewers and rating you so crave. Even now with the story in full bloom and getting worse everyday nothing. To just call you hipocrites would be insulting to hipocrites COVER UP by ESPN .. I think so .. A coincidence that you revealed the ESPN role with the tape on a Sunday morning show that few people watch ?? I think not. Time to look in the mirror ESPN. Hold yourselves to the same standard you held Paterno to and don’t stop until somebody is FIRED….How about at least an apology.. Your Silence on the reporting is loud and clear.

  • Selena Kingsley

    Seriously? I understand your postion on not running a story. But not turning the tape over to the police?

    That is a complete and total moral failure. I don’t care what kind of spin you try to put on it. It was not on you to determine what credbility to give it from a legal aspect, and you may have contributed to additional children being molested.

    I will be calling tomorrow to cancel my son’s subscription to ESPN magazine.

  • Greg Slachta

    Dear Mickey,
    I thought you were a moral mouse who would stand-up to fight child abuse and immoral behavior. The number of times I have taken my children and now my grandchildren to your “World” not knowing you would condone such behavior…well. I have seen ESPN at your “park” many times. You must not have been told that they didn’t tell authorities of what was happening at Syracuse to minor children. I will never be able to look at you the same Mickey. I’m sure you understand. I won’t bring my grandchildren back. They will understand later why we only go to Universal Studios.
    Greg Slachta MD aka Grampy

    PS: Does Minnie know you are complicit by your inaction for eight years? She will be really upset with you.

  • Johono

    ESPN – Murphy Law Wins Again
    Go back to your root and nothing else Score Reporting and nothing else. You longer have no credibility for anything else. If I want National Enquirer I will buy it elsewhere. Time for me and many other to realize ESPN should no longer be our source for unbiased sports. Good Bye and hope many other to leave our Sports Scores and news to other for gathering

  • larry

    I agree with the others that ESPN is hypocritical.
    The focus should be on the welfare of the victims.
    To paraphrase all the ESPN talking heads what if your child was the one who was abused. what would have ESPN done with the tape if it was one of their relatives?

    ESPN only cares about the juiciest story and to protect their bottom line.

    The only way to get ESPN’s attention is to turn the ESPN family of networks off. Which is what I will do

  • Angela

    It should be a law that everyone all the time has to report crimes against children. No one should be exempt. And if you fail to do so and that child is continually abused the person who didn’t report it should be arrested for failure to report a crime and an accessory to the crime.

  • Ryan

    You reported every piece of information that you were able to find on Penn State without knowing what we true, what was partially true, and what was not correct. You went as far as putting RANDOM comments about he situation from 18yr students on national television. Were they experts on the matter?

    You capitalized on the Penn State situation and now say that your employees (journalists) are not held to the same standards that they hold others to. This is crazy, I can not believe a national news station would take this stance and deflect all blame for what they preached two weeks earlier.

  • James Fennessy

    ESPN’s action in hiding that audiotape, for 8 years, of Bernie Fine’s wife admitting her complicity in his molestation of young boys in their home is deplorable. ESPN’s current excuse that it had no duty (moral or otherwise)to warn the authorities or Syracuse University is equally deplorable, because it shows your arrogance. It is ESPN’s fault that Syracuse allowed fine to continue supervising young ball boys and campers for so many years. Shame on ESPN.

  • Adam C.

    Dear ESPN,

    Where is the Syracuse witch-hunt? You all clamored together and demanded Joe Paterno’s head. Your broadcasters went on the air and wanted Penn State to forfeit the season. Why is there no talk about how Syracuse should “clean house”. The level of hypocrisy here is mind boggling. I realize that the two cases are different but there are more than enough similarities to merit a similar reaction. The sad thing is when the truth finally comes out about BOTH cases you will never apologize for anything you got wrong. That’s jouralism for you; speculation and sensationalism first, truth and fact later.

  • Austin

    Mr. Doria, I am disappointed that you believe that being a journalist is sufficient reason to withhold evidence of criminal activities. Whether the police were already aware of the allegations or not, keeping evidence from coming to their attention when it is in your possession is extremely irresponsible, and I hope you and your organization reconsider this stance in the future.

  • Jeff C

    I was really hoping that ESPN would admit some fault in how they have handled this story, but I am saddened to just have read a bunch of excuses. This story was not good enough to air in 2003, yet it is completely acceptable to air 8 years later. Didn’t ESPN reach out to the second accuser, Mike Lang, back in 2003, only to find him denying any molestation claims? Now he comes forward in 2011 and all of a sudden this story is acceptable to report? Where is the credibility?

    ESPN also sits on an audio tape of Laurie Fine incriminating her husband and says that “It was clearly a damning tape in terms of her characterization of her husband but much of it was her thinking and beliefs. She never directly acknowledged to have witnessed any of these actions first-hand.” From my understanding, the material on the tape has not changed, it is still much of her “thinking and beliefs” as ESPN puts it. Why is it acceptable to release now? ESPN also writes they did not release the tape because “…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.” Did ESPN not have access to a telephone in 2003? Was Laurie Fine that difficult to get a hold of in 2003? All I am reading are a bunch of excuses on why it was not released up until now.

    How many children could’ve been spared from this abuse since ESPN got wind of this story 8 years ago and decided to let it sit? The ironic part is, I have read many articles from ESPN staff posing this same question in regard to the Penn State scandal. Does ESPN not feel any sort of hypocrisy here? Does being a journalist shield one from any moral obligations compared to say, a football coach? Again, I can’t help but see excuses and hypocrisy.

    ESPN should feel ashamed and disgraced. This article does nothing but expose ESPN’s contenment with inaction.

  • Jennifer

    ESPN, you have now joined the ranks of “tabloid reporting networks fronting as news networks” for your biased and hypocritical reporting and commenting on Joe Paterno and Penn State! Way to backpedal and dance the two-step Mr. Doria! These last three weeks of hateful broadcasting with forever remain in my memory. Joe Paterno did something..the next day. You did NOTHING! I anxiously await your long list of fired employees. The bloodfesting hyenas must now turn on their own. Here’s one viewer you just lost.

  • Ferntuckian

    I’m sorry. Where do I hear that ESPN gave this tape to the police when they received it. Even if you thought it could ruin a career (which is not for you to decide), what right do you have to hold a tape that could help stop crime against children????

  • Shaun Carnahan

    How can the people at ESPN look at themselves in the mirror? They trash Paterno for his inaction, when in fact, he did more. At least he reported Sandusky to the head of the police department. ESPN did nothing for nine years with hard evidence and allowed a probable child molester to roam free. ESPN, you make me sick to my stomach with your hypocritical, child molester enabling inaction.

  • Ryan

    Wow – just beat up ESPN over this why don’t you. Journalists don’t report things to the police, they report things to the public. When they report things to the police, they do so by reporting it to the public. That’s just how it works – that is freedom of the press – if journalists had any obligation to work with the government, then journalists would no longer be independent, a critical part of our democracy. So – let’s not get this wrong – journalists all the time have incriminating evidence that they do not turn over to the police…all the time….this is normal. If you don’t like it, try to change it – that’s what democracy is about (but please don’t ruin the protections of the press that are critical to democracy). Bobby Davis had talked to the police – the police did not want to investigate. I am sure that ESPN thought that the police had this tape and had decided not to do anything about it – in fact, that probably played a role in why they chose not to report this story at the time. Responsible news organizations don’t report stories they aren’t sure about – because doing so can completely ruin a news organization. The situation was unfortunate, surely, but comparing this to what happened at Penn State could only be done by fans still bitter and in denial about what happened down there.

  • Travis

    Robert MacLeish in story published by ESPN: “The victims don’t need his prayers right now; they needed his help when they were being preyed upon. Second, fess up.”

    ESPN reporter Mark Schlabach: “Finally, adults with backbones and courage made a prudent decision at Penn State.

    Paterno was fired because he failed miserably while making the biggest decision of his life.”

    “he is guilty of gross indifference, if nothing else. Morally, Paterno should have done more”

    ESPN reporter Howard Bryant: “There is no defense for the number of people in positions of authority who had an opportunity to stop Sandusky and did not.”

    ESPN reporter Jemele Hill: “Paterno should never have been allowed to coach another game”

    “But we’re free to judge Paterno outside the constricts of the law.”

    and finally in reference to ESPN’s situation

    ESPN reporter Mark Schwarz: “Well we don’t see it as our jobs to go to authorities with evidence that we collect…”

    ESPN Senior Vice President & Director of News Vince Doria: “All journalists could be asking themselves this very same question: What role should journalists play in providing information that may or may not have been reported? It’s complex and something we must continue to evaluate.”

    Huh? Seems like your very own reporters have continually and repeatedly driven home the point that it is NOT a complex issue.

  • Bob M.

    “All journalists could be asking themselves this very same question: What role should journalists play in providing information that may or may not have been reported? It’s complex and something we must continue to evaluate.”

    I find it hard to understand what was complex in this case. ESPN had possession of a recording that surely would have been useful in the investigation of a pedophile. Instead of giving that recording to the police, ESPN did nothing and a sexual predator was free to continue assaulting children.

    The primary benefit that I see for ESPN is the future opportunity to earn money by releasing this recording at a more profitable time. Instead of choosing to protect children, ESPN chose to save the recording for future use.

    I have to believe that Disney, the owner of ESPN, is uncomfortable with this decision. The first core principle of The Walt Disney Company is “Act and create in an ethical manner, and consider the consequences of our decisions”. The second is “Champion the happiness and well-being of kids, parents, and families in our endeavors”. Clearly, neither of these core principles was followed by the staff at ESPN.

  • Michael Walsh

    In what month did ESPN receive the tape? Anytime before the summer of 2003 would be within the statute of limitations for the most recent sexual assault alleged on the recording.

  • Gene Raynor

    In my opinion, that is a really WEAK explanation of why ESPN decided to withhold information about an alleged child molester. Talk about damage control, spin, side spin, and back spin…it’s not working for you. Most of us out here in the real world think that you have made an incredibly bad mistake and just refuse to admit it. The first step in recovery is to admit that you have a problem in the first place. By the way, what was ESPN’s financial relationship with college basketball back at the time you decided to withhold this information ?

  • James Fennessy

    I believe the reason that ESPN did not go to the authoriries with that molestation audiotape, of Bernie Fine’s wife admitting her complicity in her husband’s molestation of young boys, was ESPN’s desire for profits and sole control over the tape. If while ESPN held the tape, Fine molests a new big group of kids, ESPN has the exclusive rights to a blockbuster tape. In contrast, if ESPN gives the tape to authorities, and they stop Fine from molesting more kids, ESPN no longer has exclusive control over the tape and the rating it will bring to ESPN. Shame on ESPN

  • Gino Startari

    Don’t worry ESPN, you have all the thugs of the NBA back to report on, you can continue to cover up and make excuses. I guess your PR attempt to turn this in your favor backfired. Based on these comments and everyone I know and hear…there is nothing but ill-will toward your network and how you all conducted yourself. Shame on you! God Bless both the Syracuse victims and the Penn State victims. (And by the way Penn State fans…there should be a witch hunt for the Paterno/McQueary/Police cover-up of Sandusky’s disgusting acts…so just get over it. Your students and alumni reaction as well as the new leadership are a joke!)

  • Tim Confer

    As I’m sure by the 100% negative comments you received on the attached article, this ill conceived and preposterous response only further damages the already tarnished reputation of your company. I’m sure the many people who wrote to you, hoping to get a reasonable response as to why you failed to uphold your moral responsibility as citizens, are very disappointed in your feeble attempt to justify your inaction with this ill conceived piece of tripe. Nobody cares about your reasoning as to why you, as journalists, didn’t report the story on air. People wrote you hoping to get an answer as to why you knowingly failed to report the child abuse to the proper authorities, thereby allowing a child molester to potentially continue the molestation of children for an additional 8 years.

  • Steve Gamble

    The fact that these two stories [Penn State and Syracuse] came so close together really serves to highlight the lack of journalistic and moral integrity exhibited by ESPN. Had they been seperated by a few years no one would no the difference. Viewed in isolation ESPN can make a credible [not moral] argument for taking the actions they did in the Fine case. The irony and hypocracy is that it is the very same credible [but perhaps not moral] actions by people in the Sanduskey case that ESPN has been absolutely virulent about. Until ESPN ‘walks the talk’ and fires any body involed in management at that time who was aware of this tape my involement with ESPN will cease.

    Finally I find it repulsive that in this day and age the media finds people “guilty until proven innocent”. [see Duke lacrosse as an example we should have learned from]

  • Yves Charlemagne

    Where is the moral obligation of ESPN in this matter instead of the legalize that comes from these responses? We are speaking about sexual abuse towards children. This was not a sport story any longer. Someone should have used basic simple common, moral sense to say “Wait, don’t you think that we should be giving this to the police?” It’s been noted by former ESPN employees such as Dan Patrick and others said that for all of their years at working at ESPN, they have never heard of this tape but yet management keeps this under wraps? We all know that the only reason this came out is because of the Penn State situation but this tape should have been given to the police and let them figure it out. Instead you are dealing with the backlash of your “legalize decision”

  • John

    I’ve learned one thing from these comments, and that is this:

    Penn State fans are scary, scary people.

  • susan hughes

    The moral hand wringing and prostelytizing by ESPN toward PSU was and is an embarrassment.
    So is this article.
    Paterno and PSU were big fish to catch and reel in without all the facts, alot of misinformation and lack of due process.
    ESPN and Fox news led with the pitchforks.
    What ESPN did (and most media oulets) was nothing short of frightening bordering on criminal.
    I do hope the truth comes out.
    As for ESPN and their parent company (Disney) feigning they care so much for the alleged victims…bs. It’s ratings.
    Everytime I think of what’s transpired the last month the song ‘Dirty Laundry’ pops into my mind.

  • Clarke Clarke

    An organization like ESPN needs to consider all possibilites when reporting on a national level such as this, including the possibility that the claim is fabricated. Now I’m not saying the accuser is lying, but ESPN has to completely vet the information first. Just because you have a tape of two people talking does not mean they are who they are claimed to be. With publicily of the Penn State case, I imagine there much be morally poor people who tried to fabricate such stories to them. If ESPN reported just one false one, it would not only destroy one man’s life, but it would also cast all other claims in a different light. It’s so easy to look at this one case and say ESPN should have done something, but as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

  • Adam Turner

    If nothing comes of this, not only will ESPN’s reputations be hurt, but so will its corporate parent Disney. As troubling as ESPN’s actions (or rather inactions) have been, if Disney (the corporation that has built its success and reputation on the backbone of family and children) does not intervene and mandate changes to ensure this will never happen again, there is an even bigger tragedy.

    I understand why you didn’t run the story without confirming the voice, however given the nature and seriousness of the allegations I see no way to justify sitting on the evidence. You could done many, many things, but chose to do nothing. You could have taken the evidence to the police to investigate. You could have approached Mrs. Fine requesting a voice sample or to verify the allegations. You could have found a way during the many times you were in contact with the program over those years to inconspicuously recorded her saying anything and then used that to verify the tape. You could have contacted the school seeking their comment and cooperation in verifying the voice and the allegations. At the very least when Syracuse conducted their own investigation in 2005 you could have provided this tape to their investigators as it could have been key to stopping a sexual predator then and there.

    Instead ESPN did nothing and allowed Fine to continue to be in a position to molest new victims. For that inaction there should be serious consequences.

  • Scott

    It’s highly hypocritical for a company like ESPN to have people go on air blasting Jo Pa for not doing the morally right thing for not pursuing an investigation regarding Sandusky, yet when they are put in a similar situation they don’t do the morally right thing and turn their tape over to the police. This type of thing isn’t a story; it’s a crime. treat it as such.

  • Benjamin Lontok

    Nice tap dance ESPN…seems like you followed the journalistic and legal letter of the law.
    Did you do what was morally right? not so much…
    Sound familiar?

  • SeldomSeen70

    No no no. ESPN and their various talking heads made it perfectly clear in their quick and thorough character assasination of Joe Paterno that just thinking or even knowing that the police have been told is not enough. You must do more. That point was hammered home repeatedly by just about every employee with a microphone in front of their face. ESPN has no idea what Joe Paterno was told and what he did, only the facts included in a 23 page report by the Grand Jury. But that did not stop anyone at ESPN from saying “let’s get some perspective here and let the issue play out before we start calling for heads to roll.” Mouthpieces from ESPN were quite insistent that Joe Paterno was supposed to be Sherlock Holmes and investigate this himself. You have lost a ton of credibility and your lack of zeal with respect to the Syracuse situation smacks of either a bit of remorse (doubtful) of the feeding frenzy at PSU or the long, deep ties ESPN has to Syracuse.

  • Mike

    Shame on you ESPN, shame on you. Just like Paterno, you did not have a legal obligation to bring the information you had to the police, but you did have a moral one. It is too bad. I used to enjoy ESPN, but for the last few years programming has plummeted, and this is the last straw. You make me ill.

  • Victor Henderson

    ESPN has finally been exposed for the greedy manipulative corporate entity they truly are. I am glad I canceled my subscription several years ago. As an inaugural subscriber I witnessed the journalism of ESPN fall below the bar of what is good about America. Prior to ESPN I witnessed Sports Illustrated do the same thing (I canceled that subscription too).

    This case is similar to the Donovan McNabb tape that wasn’t releashed until ESPN could capitilize on the Racist attitudes of Americans. In this case, ESPN created a story for its own gain.

    I hope others will stand up to there convictions and show their displeasure by effecting ESPN’s pocket book and TV ratings. On behalf of the victims ESPN didn’t protect – I hope America disengages from ESPN.

  • Mike F.

    I was a journalism major, so I can accept this explanation on a journalistic level. I can see where ESPN felt they did not have enough to move forward with the story. Morally, however, ESPN has no ground to stand on. There is no excuse not to turn the tape over to the police or DA. This was a potential crime against children-not a steroid scandal or recruting violation. Shame on ESPN for their inaction and for their lame excuses. Feels like they were more concerned about ‘losing’ the story to another news organization and/or protecting their relationship with Big East basketball.

  • K

    I assume that many people, both male and female, who work at ESPN have children.

    Take a step back and think about what you would do if you found out that not only was your child molested by an authority figure, but that a NATIONAL NEWS NETWORK had evidence to help them and sat on it for eight years.

    You’re wrong, you’re disgusting, and you need to either own up to your moral failings or apologize to McQueary for doing the exact same thing you’re doing and have done.

  • Mark L.

    This is a complete outrage that ESPN did not at the very least turn this evidence over to the police at the time. If they did not feel it was strong enough to report that is fine, but after bashing Paterno so much for not reporting the allegations against Sandusky to anyone but university officials, ESPN should be ashamed of themselves. How do you ruin a man’s legacy over something you are guilty of yourself? At least Paterno did do something about what he knew, you guys just sat on your hands for 8 years until the story became huge elsewhere. With as many top investigative reporters that are employed by ESPN, I find it hard to believe that none of them could find some way to get a recording of Laurie Fine’s voice until recently. The excuses presented by ESPN are terrible, and none of them justify the fact that you did nothing with evidence of crimes against children. It was stated that reporters withhold evidence from the police all the time, which even under freedom of speech should not be tolerated, especially regarding crimes involving child molestation. Freedom of speech is not the end all be all scapegoat. If you yell fire in a crowded building you are putting others at risk therefore relinquishing freedom of speech right, and by withholding this evidence ESPN put other children at risk of being in contact with this predator. After calling for everyone’s head at Penn State, ESPN should be cleaning house within their own ranks, as well as calling for Boeheim’s to be fired. He housed a sexual predator for many years and, if these accusations are true, witnessed suspicious activity regarding Bernie Fine and children that should have at least had him asking questions. After the Penn State scandal broke, almost every single one of your columnists wrote about how terrible Joe Paterno was for only reporting what he knew to university officials, but I guess it would be counterproductive to your business and profits to self-report how terrible your actions were and instead you decided to “take the high road” this time and make up excuses. What a joke!!

  • Ed Koubek

    All we here is “what did you know, when did you know it and what did you do” Seems ESPN knew quite a bit early on and buried the story for a multitude of reasons. All of those reasons really get back to protecting the ESPN brand. Its a fact of life. And don’t expect anyone from ESPN to speak out on air about this, they love their jobs just as much as McQueary did

  • Stan

    Good by ESPN radio, hello Dan Patrick show. Dan’s position on ESPN’s lack of a moral conscience is spot on. He’s earned my business.

  • Riley Kinder

    I can not believe you took the time to write this trash. There is no explanation here. I love your first line that you didn’t have anyone to confirm your story. If you DARE use the word journalist in your story…YOU GET ONE. Or you get one that proves the negative. OHHHHH but as others have pointed out he is no Paterno. This story became relevant because of Penn state, so it was easy to find another witness or ask a few questions. I NOTICE YOU NEVER ONCE EXPLAINED WHY YOU NEVER TRIED TO CONFIRM STORY. I thought Paterno was bad but there has to be a special place in hell for ESPN and Vince.

  • Sam Bobby

    LOL this is such bull… When this case goes to trial and “IF” Bernie is found guilty, everybody who knew about the tape at ESPN should burn all the way to the unemployment office.

  • Mindy

    This is the final straw. I live in State College and have personally witnessed ESPN traipse into this town, gorging on all the juicy details, and airing all the high and mighty opinions of their talking heads. I’m done. You are nothing but hypocrites. I cancelled my Insider subscription and this is the last time I visit your website. Shame on you, ESPN.

  • Kevin K.

    I have no problem with ESPN running with this story; it is obviously newsworthy. My problem from the time the story broke has been how one-sided the reporting has been. Intentional or not, ESPN/OTL appears as if it is on witchhunt instead of providing objective investigative reporting. There are several holes and contradictions in the stories provided by the accusers and their families. Why has there been no follow-up in an attempt to clear up these questions?

    For example, among others:

    – Mr. Davis’ own mother claims her son never traveled with the team by plane when he was a boy because he was afraid to fly, yet he claims he was abused in New Orleans at the Fianl Four.

    – If Mr. Lang was abused as a ball boy in the late 70s, why would he allow his step brother to become a ball boy in the early 80s?

    – How can Mr. Tomaselli explain that his own father claims he is lying?

    Maybe there are legitimate, credible answers to these questions and others. We won’t find out until we get some balanced repporting.

  • M Lillie

    Unbelievable ESPN….. according to you Joe Paterno as a coach has a moral obligation to contact the police after getting news second hand. AND yes he did report what he was told to the University Police.

    ESPN had a recorded tape for years and did nothing with it. Even if they could not verify any of it, the tape should have been turned over to the police. Isnt that the morally correct thing to do according to all of your journalists who stomped all over Joe Paterno for his moral behavior.

    Think of the potential harm you did by not releasing that tape to the police. SHAME on you ESPN

  • Terry Parham

    As a retired federal drug agent, I have watched with interest on how a news organization such as ESPN would handle these unbelievable, unfathomable and tragic events uncovered at PSU and SU. The similarly unthinkable Catholic church/pedophile priests tragedy seems, for the moment, to dwarf the immense public attention and deserved scrutiny given this horrific evil against children, and how our most trusted institutions, unversities, police, coaches, now so-called ESPN journalists have failed society as a whole. The many other well-pointed commentaries citing ESPN’s reporting responsibilities (concerning the 2002/2003 Bernie Fine allegations, available information, interviews, and the now loudly heard and incredible taped telephone conversation with Laurie Fine) hopefully will soon encourage ESPN to be a media leader by openly acknowledging its own questionable and reprehensible decisions not to properly and appropriately notify law enforcement authorities well before now on what was Bernie’s suspected vile behavior. I sincerely hope that ESPN does not continue to hide behind the present ludacrist position of journalism ethics and misguided pleas of freedom of the press. The dilemma for ESPN should not be proper or improper journalism nor ratings supremacy, but the serious lack of civic and moral duty of the worse kind. ESPN has failed the American public. Where is ESPN’s sense of morality? Not on SportsCenter…that’s for sure!

  • John

    Wow, Ryan (poster 115), that is a classic argument. Freedom of the Press has nothing to do with reporting a crime to the authorities. We are not talking about Client-Attorney privilege or confessions to the clergy. Saying that the Press reports stories, not work with the government because that erodes their objectivity?

    Facts in this case are that ESPN sat on potential evidence in a felony crime because they didn’t think it made a good story. Agreed. Maybe they could not corroborate the story which is a good act by a news organization. The outrage is not that ESPN did not air the story, the outrage is that they did not turn what they had over to the law enforcement authorities. This has nothing to do with reporting the story. ESPN had at a minimum the moral obligation to turn it over and let law enforcement decide what to do with it. You are deluded if you think ESPN had no moral obligation in this matter.

  • Christopher Farrar

    I am angered by the overreaction and appearance of bias by ESPN reporters. Skip Bayless’ debate with Steven A Smith was abhorrent, and Tim Keown’s article was way outside the lines of an ethical sports reporter. Skip acting like a judge and jury by recommending a season long suspension and Tim advocating for firing Coach Boeheim without any facts to support any wrongdoing (by Boeheim) is irresponsible reporting. The only reporter to give a good honest assessment is Dick Vitale – he said to wait and not come to conclusions. ESPN should do just that – do not make up hype or draw conclusions – just report news facts, period.
    It appears to the average reader that ESPN is more interested in blog hits and comments instead of the media’s entrusted job of finding the truth and not casting judgement or conclusion without corroborated facts to back good reporting. Bernie Fine should be the focus here, he is under investigation for wrongdoing. At this point Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Basketball program have nothing to do with Bernie’s alleged wrong doings.

  • Jon

    Recently OTL did a show on the media’s coverage of the Jerry Sandusky case. This came after a week and a half of seemingly non stop emotion-fueled “comentary” on Joe Paterno and his role in the situation, what he should have done, and what everyone of these commentators would have done in his place. Yet I have not heard any of your staff climbing on their soapboxes to express their outarge at the handling of the Syracuse accusations. Why? Likely because they aren’t allowed to. Although two very different and troubling situations, there are enough similarities around the question of moral responsibilities for ESPN to address it directly and thoroughly. A University and a football program are very different from a news organization, but ESPN is a powerful, influential brand and is not simply a news organization. Use some significant time on OTL to discuss your role in this type of situation with some independent (read not Disney employees) voices asking the tough questions. Better yet do it in prime time. Wait, that might damage the brand.

  • Robert Doherty

    Mr. Doria,

    The mere fact that one’s profession is journalism does not excuse that person from the responsibility to share evidence of a heinous crime with the police. Nor does it remove the moral responsibility any rational adult holds to take at least the most minimal steps to prevent serial abuse of children. Perhaps you should reflect on and evaluate those ideas. I will reflect on life without ESPN insider, which will begin anon.

  • Zach

    ESPN could easily have given the police a call in 2003 and given them a copy of the tape. That would be the right thing to do. Morally the right thing to do. Instead, they sat on it until releasing it for espn was the best thing to do for espn. They priortized what is best for espn over the welfare of not only this kid but also other kids that could potentially be silent victims out there as well. You should be ashamed ESPN. I hope this story grows and you get what you deserve.

  • Brian McCormack

    Almost each and every ESPN anchor/reporter called for Joe Paterno’s resignation with very little information known about his involvement. (We still don’t know what McQuerry told him or if the administration lied to him about their handling of the situation.) Will they stand up with the same vigor for the resignation of the people who held this story and allowed this alleged abuse to continue?

  • JQ

    SHAME on you, ESPN. SHAME on you for endangering children and making us suffer the putrid, morally twisted, hypocrisy you call “journalism”. Your silence is deafening.

  • Jason

    ESPN– you guys make me sick to the core of all humanity! What ESPN is/was failing to report while calling for Joe Paterno to be fired is that Pennsylvania state law says that all “educational” facilities MUST report all child(ren) crimes to their superiors and the superiors must contact local authorities! What ESPN is failing to report is the VP Schultz was the head of campus police during the 2002 incident, it was investigated by PSU police then DA Ray Gricar, but of course you guys felt ratings would be better by leaving that out… who knows. So by law Paterno did what he had to do! You, ESPN have failed miserable at doing what you as humans are required to do! Lets hope none of your kids are put in harms way of any kind and have someone turn a blind eye/ear on the situation! Again ESPN you disgust me!

  • Rank_n_File

    ESPN & Syracuse Post-Standard ‘excuses’ for why they refused to report the abuse after hearing the tape in 2002 are circular, incoherent nonsensical drivel. They had no more ‘facts’ this week than they had in 2002. The only difference is the Penn State scandal.

    The picture is unmistakably clear. This child abuse victim went to the Syracuse Police, Syracuse University, the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper and ESPN for help in STOPPING this abuser and NOT ONE of these morally bankrupt slobs wanted to ruffle the feathers of this Sacred Cow (Cash Cow) SU basketball program. And it didn’t matter that more young boys would be abused as a result of their inaction, apathy and indifference.

    That tape convincingly corroborates the victim’s account and there is absolutely no LEGITIMATE, COHERENT reason it could not have been authenticated in 2002 and reported on at that time. But to do that you have to “care” and nobody cared about young children being abused. They only cared about sports and the BIG money it brings in. ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard are as morally bankrupt as the Paterno and Penn State cover-up sleazeballs in PA. Sports has become a culture of morally destitute, greedy egotistical sociopaths.

  • rageatm

    Did you ask Ms. Fine in 2003 if it was her voice? That is all you had to do.

  • Bill Johnson

    Unbelievable. You failed to provide potential evidence associated with child molestation and allowed a predator to continue, irreparably damaging children. While you could not verify with certainty who the second party was, the authorities might have done so.

    Your commentary is disingenuous and reflects a culture of amorality. You did not have to report the story, but you did have the moral (if not legal) obligation to provide evidence to authorities, including the tape.

    If the allegations prove to be true, your omission is nothing short of aiding and abetting a serial pedaphile. Shame on you.

  • Brian

    SHAME on ESPN. Hacks passing themselves off as “journalists” and, now, hypocrites and cowards of the same magnitude of which they decried others to be.

    You should be ashamed Mr. Doria. Very, very ashamed.

  • Neil

    After reading Doria’s statements, the question is….what other stories/information is ESPN sitting on to protect the company? It is a tough call not wanting to be involved in a lawsuit and knowingly keeping information in house about children being molested.

  • Renae

    Journalistic goals do not super-cede human responsibilities to care for children. ESPN should be liable for the continuation of Bernie Fine’s behavior. ESPN is a network that has the public’s attention. ESPN could have used this power to insist that this case be investigated more thoroughly. It only takes some commonsense to realize that Laura Fine’s videotaped comments are enough fuel for a more intensive investigation.

    To the ESPN commentators who called for Joepa’s resignation, you are hypocrits of the worst kind and should push your network to admit their culpability. ESPN viewers can certainly understand the journalistic perspective of not running a story with third-hand sources. However, we can’t forgive ESPN for not using their viewer-given power to put more weight in reporting this incidence. I’ll bet the police never even viewed this videotape . . .

  • Barbara

    The difference in ESPN’s coverage of the SU child molestation charges and the PSU child molestations charges is inexplicable. ESPN’s rush to judgement and assassination of of Penn State and Joe Paterno is astounding compared to their complete absence of judgement for SU and their complete lack of comment when Jim Boeheim suggests Fine’s accusers are liars going after money. ESPN’s double-standard of moral obligations when child molestation is alleged is mind-boggling. Yet the truly reprehensible fact is that ESPN sat on this information for 8 years. There is no rationalization for that fact, and your attempt to do so is reprehensible. Neither ESPN nor Doria have a shred of credibility here. And one does have to wonder how Disney is willing to idly stand by and allow this to tarnish their brand. Neither ESPN nor Disney will get one further dime from this family.

  • Lauradyoung

    I have to agree with most of the posters here who have the guts to call ESPN on the carpet for the unbelievable hypocrisy this network has demonstrated by calling PSU and Joe Paterno to task for not fulfilling their “moral” obligation and reporting what they knew to the police. Yet here is ESPN with hard evidence of a potential child molester (the now infamous taped conversation) and they did NOTHING with this information for 10 years? Are you kidding me? Where are Bob Costas and Kirk Herbstreet and all their righteous indignation and concern for the children now???? Maybe the network could not corroborate the evidence but ESPN had a MORAL obligation to turn it over to the police! Isn’t that what your network crucified Joe Paterno for not doing — the exact same thing ESPN did not do??? And not ONE of your commentators has the guts to say anything or report on this. Suddenly, the child victims no longer matter. You people make me sick enough to puke. ESPN — the high and mighty. NOT SO MUCH!!!

  • Brandon Daynorowicz

    You are a hypocrite only concerned about ratings. You still didin’t answer my question, but thank you for the generic link. If you did everything you are legaly requuired to do, why do you feel like Joe Paterno was in the wrong for doing the same exact thing. Is Joe Patenro held to a higher moral standard than journalsist? If so I suppose is what you are saying is that journaist are sub-human. ESPN is the same self serving monster as Penn State concerned about the best interest of only itself. If Joe Paterno had a mral obligation as a human being so did everyone at ESPN.

  • Brian

    I really wonder how many Syracuse Newhouse grads this tape went in front of before deciding to shelve it for years. ESPN should have meant at least consulted and shared evidence of a potential child molestor with law enforcement. No excuse. Even if there was no further evidence at the time or law enforcement had no interest in hearing the tape, ESPN should have INVESTIGATED FURTHER. That’s the role of investigative journalism – be the watchdog of the industry you cover.

    Well, watchdog until the billions of dollars from rights fees and blind loyalty from graduates of an overpriced, arrogant institution gets in the way.

  • Canio

    Is this a joke? Your network went on the attack against Penn State and Joe Paterno for not contacting police with information of a child molestation, which Paterno did by the way, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good witch hunt. Yet you have sat on a tape for 8 years that indicated Fine was molesting young boys. Where’s your obligation to report this to the police? Total hyprocrisy on your part. I really hope Fine didn’t molest anyone in the years you sat on the tape, don’t know how you can live with yourselves if that is the case. ESPN lost me as a viewer. You are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

  • Jack

    And isn’t it ironic that ESPN, whose commentators like Jay Bilas and others were some of the most vocal for saying Paterno didn’t do enough, had an audio tape that contained an admission of the sexual abuse of a Syracuse ball boy for ten years and did nothing. All they had to do was contact the wife to verify the tape. If she had denied it was her, they’d have been off the hook. Or, was the fear of confirmation their cause for not acting? They could have done what they accused Paterno of not doing. They could have referred the boy to the police and Child Services.

    So what will ESPN do now? Will they accuse themselves of “not doing enough”? Will they accuse themselves of allowing a sexual predator to remain free? Anyone demanding people at ESPN be fired? Or will they all hide under the excuse that their “journalists” weren’t capable of confirming a report or the tape?

  • Jay

    Espn makes me sick to my stomach. You guys had a tape (evidence) that could help put a child molestore away. I see that ESPN has basically droped the CUSE case from their network. The more you put Cuse in the media the better chance ESPN will be exposed for having evidence of a child molestor and doing nothing. Everyone knows thats the reason Syarcuse is hardly ever mentioned on ESPN. ESPN slandered Joe pa without evening knowing all the facts or his side of the story but they themselves with hold evidence of a child molestor from the police and think its all right. HYPOCRISY!!!! You people are not human beings but leeches . ESPN is just as bad a Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine.

  • Malik M.

    You guys should be ashamed of yourselves, put yourself in the place of the victim or better yet the victims parents and then ask yourself if you would want the media to release to police officers a recording possibly indicating the abuser’s guilt shit the police and FBI have better resources to vet out such information you guys are no better than Paterno but at least in Paterno’s case he was protecting his best friend and years of friendship and loyalty. You (ESPN) were just protecting a scoop and corporate interest shame on you none of you should be able to look at yourself in the mirror especially if you have children.

  • John Bergeron

    ESPN’s Front Row Josh Krulewitz on December 1, 2011 at 10:56am writes, “We know there are many different viewpoints on this complex and evolving story.” By my count, of the 165 posted comments, 2 were Josh’s, 2 defended ESPN not turning over the tape to the police, 5 were only critical of what the commentator deemed as biased reporting, while 154 were WITHERING CRITICISM OF ESPN’s LACK OF MORAL CHARACTER IN NOT TURNING OVER THE TAPE. My questions to Josh are: Where are the “many different viewpoints” and why do you say ESPN’s inaction is “complex” when it is so crystal clear to 93% of the commentators?

  • mark

    The real question is when will the bosses at Disney step in and realize that their squeaky clean image is at stake. Their brand is built upon the love of children, and yet ESPN stood by for years and did nothing with knowledge of child molestation. The only real option at this point is for the Disney executives to grow a backbone and clean house at ESPN. This will send a clear message that when it comes to the safety of children, there is no excuse not to act, after all the talking heads as ESPN made that very clear in the PSU case, what if it were their children?

  • Stan

    Way to rationalize, or hide, the truth. You had evidence that belonged in the hands of the police. But due to negligence, ignorance, or conspiracy, you decided what should or should not be investigated by the police. Creeps.

  • Nikke

    ESPN…YOU MAKE ME SICK!!

  • Lauradyoung

    Hey Josh — thanks for the links to the three articles that seem to defend your lack of moral judgment at ESPN. What about the other dozen or more articles that have been written taking ESPN to task for not turning the Syracuse tape over to the police? What? You don’t want us to read those articles that echo what almost every single person on this board has said over and over again? That ESPN shirked it’s moral responsibility to try to stop a child molester? How shocking that you would only post the three links that borderline defend ESPN. I guess you think we are all a bunch of idiots. Nice try. FAIL!

  • Michael

    Let me get this straight. ESPN jounalists flood the campus of Ohio State when the story breaks that students traded memorabelia for a tattoo violating NCAA rules. They hound all leads and find the coach had knowlege but didn’t report it and call for his head, resuliting in his resignation. Yet, ESPN has potential knowledge of criminal activity and fails to report it under the guise of “if we can’t print it, we can’t pass it on to Police.” Since when did these journalists become Detectives who prosecute crimes. Unbelievable arrogance in both the executive editor of the Syracuse Post-Standard and ESPN’s Mr. Doria.

  • Eric

    J. Krulewitz thanks us for our feedback and states there are many different viewpoints on this story…not from the 100+ comments I’ve read so far. After reading the Kurtz and Poynter articles, I am beginning to think these “journalists” are missing the point. Speaking for myself, I am not furious with ESPN for not investigating this matter…the matter of child molestation…recorded on audio tape. I, and many others, are furious at ESPN for not turning this over to the people whose job it is to investigate these matters..the POLICE. University Police, City police, State police, any police. The fact is, we are all a bit tired of journalists publishing unfounded accusations of all sorts of crimes that turn out to be not true, just to be the first in line to get the big scoop. So, without any corroboration, you did what you thought was proper and chose not to report unsubstantiated claims. Wow..what convenient high journalistic standards you have. What you didn’t do, however, was go to the police and say “hey, we’ve got this recording we think you should listen to…a guy’s wife is convinced her husband has been molesting children in her basement”. You might have lost your “scoop” but maybe, just maybe, some children might not have been molested during the last 8 years you have sat on your evidence. To me this is the moral equivalent of any of us walking down a street at night and hearing a woman screaming for her life from inside an apartment building and rather than reporting it to Police, we decide to see if anyone else heard it. And finding that no one else did, we just ignore it and decide nothing must really have happened. Shame on all of you involved in this at ESPN.

  • Jack

    Nice to see you deleted my post concerning your tough journalist interview of the boss by one of his sub-ordinates. Let me try again.

    Are you really going to hide behind the excuse that you didn’t have enough corroborating evidence to do any more?

    Isn’t this is the same ESPN whose commentators called for Joe Paterno’s firing immediately for, in their factually challenged hypocritical world, “not going to the authorities” or “not doing enough”, The same ESPN whose commentators said Joe Paterno going to the administrative head of campus police the next day with McQueary’s non-specific report wasn’t enough. The ESPN who accused Joe Paterno without a shred of proof, of being aware of child sexual abuse and “not doing enough”. The ESPN that had an audio tape confirming from the mouth of the abuser’s own wife, the sexual abuse of a boy at Syracuse university. And did nothing.

    Are your same sanctimonious self-righteous group of journalists, management and producers insisting that anyone at ESPN who was aware of those tapes for the last ten years and who is still with ESPN be fired? No, of course not.

    I’ll ask you the same question your commentators ask, on national television, of PSU and Paterno. “What if it was your child?”

  • Joe

    How many individuals have heard disturbing news from a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker or police officer about someone close to them, whether a child, mate, friend, neighbor, co-worker or minister and believed that it wasn’t true? The issue may have been an alleged crime committed by that person or an act of betrayal, such as adultery. Many people have responded that it couldn’t be true and have even asked to source not to talk to them anymore about the matter. If fact, some people get so upset with the source that they mention they are no longer welcomed at their home. We would have to admit that when it comes to family and friends we don’t want to believe that a serious wrong has been commited and we tend to protect those relationships even when the information seems credible. If the truth ever comes out, it destroys the relationships of those involved and former friends may never reconcile. ESPN asked Jim Boeheim about a close friend and he responded based on what he knew at the time, yet the media and advocate groups are calling for his resignation. However, no one in the media is calling ESPN to account. There is no camping out at Bristol, CT, no press conferences at ESPN concerning this issue and no editorials in the various newspapers. At the fire department we were told not to comment to the press on anything, because we have a PIO (Public Information Officer) that handles all correspondence with the press. Even if we had facts about a fire, arson or death, we were not to comment. If seems as if ESPN has taken this stand with all of their reporters. No one can say anything about ESPN’s role in the Syracuse allegations on threat of termination, however when it comes to the Penn State University situation, give whatever opinion you want. This is why so many people have problems trusting anything done by the media. Even information that should have remained sealed per court order has been released by the media and resulted in the death of an individual or the loss of career by the reporter involved.

  • Jill

    What the heck is wrong with you people? If you have evidence that might prove someone is abusing children you don’t sit on. You clearly state that you waited until an alleged second victim came forward, was Fine’s wife conversation not enough? It was enough for Syracuse to fire Fine. Which brings me to question why didn’t you release the tape until this past Sunday, you had an alleged second victim for a week, why did you wait to release the Laurie Fine tape, was it to have a second Outside the Lines show about this? Your coverage of this is really shady.

  • reed bigelow

    Josh krulewitz says ” We know there are many different viewpoints on this complex and evolving story.” from the posts you have published, there seems to be only one viewpoint. you had the ball and you dopped it. It’s obvious! Rather than trying to lie to your readers and public and cover your behind, I believe it’s way past time you(ESPN) and the other media stopped giving us your lies and your spin, and started being honest and truthful. how many other lies and stories are you currently covering up? when are you going to stop lieing to the public? Rather than pointing the finger at others, and ask for their firing, it’s time you looked in the mirror and cleaned your own house, and cleaned your own morals and ethical standards. Many recurring crimes have been commited because you decided the information you had wasn’t worthy of publishing. I would have thought 9/11 would have taught you a lesson about withholding and pigeon holing information.

  • ESpin Is a Joke

    Again, this is a comical stance. This in no way makes any logical sense as to why this tape wasn’t turned over to police, even if done unanimously. You can make all the excuses why not to publish it, and get some leeway. But not reporting it to police? And letting them add it to their investigation? You provide zero reasons. But let those same organizations villianize Joe Paterno. He did not meet his moral obligation, as all papers have stated, and it cost him his career. But sitting on taped evidence, for as long, can be justified? Sorry, it can’t. And all you news organizations can back each other up, but YOU set the precident with how you addressed Penn State. Not us, not the law (as Joe Paterno broke no rule) so, I feel everyone that had knowledge of the tape, needs to be fired. You don’t? Then your “journalistic integrity” is a hallow sham. I would love you to prove otherwise, but you won’t, just deflect and ignore, as most should do to anything written by you, as you have proven that ratings trump child safety.
    Good day!

  • John O. Dalke

    How many children may have been damaged during all those years you sat on evidence?

  • Joe

    Please stop explaining why you didn’t report the story. No one really cares what the rules of “journalistic integrity” required of you before breaking a story. Common decency required ESPN to go to the police with these allegations. Your continued explanations of why you couldn’t “report the story” are not material to anyone but you and some journalism professors. Why don’t you address why you allowed a child molester to continue abusing children but keeping these allegations hidden.

    ESPN is just as culpable as Mrs. Fine, Joe Paterno, officials at Penn State and Syracuse and anyone else that allows this behavior to continue without contacting police. Why you did not contact police is what you need to explain, not why you didn’t report the story.

  • Courtney

    As I read the many comments on here that are bashing ESPN for sitting on the Bobby Davis tape, the only comment that I read that seems to not act out of emotion or the sensitive nature of the particular act that is “alleged”, since as I believe is the case even at this hour, Mr. Fine has not been officially charged with any crime, is post number 115 by Ryan. I wonder how many of you rabid so called former ESPN viewers will truly live up to not watching ESPN anymore, but anyway, that’s not my point. How many of you realize, reporters are not the only ones that do not release potentially damming evidence to the public or even law enforcement. Have you ever heard of attorney client privlege? Doctor/patient confidentiality, and I’m not even an attorney, sad thing is, some of you that are complaining probably are attorneys. Our society itself is so corrupt,it’s ridiculous, if this man went to the Police as he said, and they didn’t pursue the case, why would anyone else act immediately thereafter. Where’s the blame for the Police not acting, are they held to a different moral standard, just because they are law enforcement? How many of you have even thought about his brother that waited to come out just as long, or even other family members on both sides that may probably have known. Why aren’t they culpable? There are too many people in this world that thrive on the downfall of others, like many of you seem to want for ESPN, when you yourselves have done worse or are even as complicit. This story will not be the downfall of ESPN, nor will it result in the majority of you no longer watching ESPN, as you claim. It is unfortunate that there are people that prey on children for their own personal and sadistic reasons, but if you try to prey on a particular medium because you are acting out of emotion, rather than common sense, then how much better are you? Your victim and circumstance is the only difference. Just because a medium has the means and the opportunity, does not mean that they should do any and everything, or act on any and everything. Finally, I wonder how many of you have knowledge or have even participated in similar acts as are alleged in this story, and you haven’t reported yourselves. Tell me how that’s different?

  • Selena Kingsley

    Subscription canceled as I said I would do in my last comment. The more I think about this, the more disgusted that I am with ESPN, and by connection, Disney. The Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor released a statement to USA Today saying that they would have fired Fine in 2003 if they would have heard the tape. If the allegations are true, that would have been 8 years that Fine could not have used his influence as a Syracuse assistant coach. Granted, Syracuse could be employing the CYA methodology, and we have no way of knowing what would have been done had they been in possession of the tape in ’03. But what we do know is that in the same statement, she calls out ESPN. “Those who held onto the tape for nearly 10 years owe everyone an explanation.” If it turns out that the allegations are true, and a single child is proven to have been molested since ESPN decided it had no moral obligation to turn the tape in to the police, I hope that you are sued for enough money to make your stockholders feel faint. How anyone could hear this, decide to not give it to the police, and live with themselves is beyond me.

  • Frank

    What a terrible comment from Courtney. Is this a forum for the Syracuse police? No, so why would people be discussing them here? Your main point seems to be that the people here that claim they will no longer watch ESPN will, and that even if they do quit it won’t hurt ESPN. Nice red herring. That has nothing to do with ESPN’s hypocrisy. You’re also trying to make the point that it is not their obligation to report and that people here may have not reported similar occurrences. Did you not watch the coverage of PSU by ESPN????

  • Vince

    Well! well!well! ESPN, how fitting. You are so rightous and morally responsible. What a joke and disgrace you pitiful souls are. Your insistance on taking a good man down in Joe Paterno has seemingly backfired. You never got your wish a few years ago when you wanted Joe out and now when you had a second chance you commited relentlesley and succeeded. Didn’t your parents teach you to clean your own closets before you root through someeone elses.
    You can provide all the excuses you want, but you failed morally here. Joe stepped up and said “with the gift of hindsight i wish I had done more”. I’ll bet everyman at some point in his life has encountered something where he could have done more. We are human! All you can do is provide excuses like the statute of limitations, we were not sure who’s voice it was,. Come on!! we are talking about child welfare here.

  • Mike McLaughlin

    It’s funny how because I commented yesterday on why I think Vince Doria and Mark Schwarz should be fired and held accountable for their actions, my post never made it on here. We will see what happens with this one?? Both of you are hypocrites who are no better than the accused for waiting nearly a decade to come forward with the tape. Now your trying to put Boeheim on the hot seat,,, you guys are pathetic in your reporting and it’s only a matter of time that it will catch up to both of you. ESPN obviously feels no shame in their poor reporting. It’s no wonder why ESPN is a part of Disney,,, because it’s a Mickey Mouse operation!!!!

  • Michael

    Pathetic. Every ESPN staffer that knew of the tape should face dismissal and possible legal action.

    The fact that you are making excuses makes the network much worse than Joe Paterno.

    Disgusting and obsessed with the almighty dollar!

    Please, let this network fail!

  • Frank B. Holcomb

    You let the entire world down by not doing what you should have done. If there was one boy that was sexually violated because of your lack of action, the entire top tier of your so called “bosses” should be fired. By your continual lack of action and instead, trying to play with words like what happened at Penn State, you show daily your lack of concern about these abused kids throughout our land. Shame on you all and I just hope someday, the actual truth comes out. You all must share the blame in your involvement with this awful mess you had a part in.

  • Frank Lombardo

    I listened to the manny comments from ESPN staff and how they expressed their disgust with everything that occured at Penn State. They all jumpedon the band wagon, stating the Joe Paterno should be fired for not doing enough. That happened. Now who and how manny individuals at ESPN did absolutely nothing and refused to do the right and moral thing, bring the allegations forward. Mybe ESPN should clean house, the talking heads appear to be quite and trying to do damage control. They are absolutely guilty of being hypocrites.

  • Doug

    When Josh Krulewitz tries to rationalize ESPN’s damning lack of action in 2002 by saying there are many viewpoints on this, it symbolizes how hypocritical this symbol of sports-at-all costs has lost sight of any perspective. There is only prevalent viewpoint on how ESPN failed to follow-through on allegations in 2002.

    Josh, stop that bogus, weak logic you’re spewing. You and everyone know it’s an unjustifiable position. Why not say that there are lots of opinions on Al Queda. That is also true, but is a cop-out.

    IF this is the start of the demise of ESPN, let’s support an alternative to this corrupt “news” organization.

    Where is Bob Ley and Outside the Lines on this topic. ESPN’s silence on this is deafening.

  • john

    Dear ESPN,

    I am a big Syracuse fan and have lived in Syracuse all my life. I’m also a huge Penn State fan. As you can imagine, the last few weeks have not made me proud of whom I cheer for. I have had the privilege to talk to both Boheim and Paterno on several occasions. For the record if anyone at either University knew about child abuse and let it continue I would be the first to ask for their firing. When the Sandusky scandal broke you called for Paterno’s firing because he did what was legally obligated but morally wrong according to multiple articles you published without little knowledge of what Paterno actually knew. I am mad because now it comes out that you had a recording that could of helped Syracuse in its Investigation of Fine in 2005 and last month when they decided to put him on administrative leave. I am mad that you decided to criticize Boheim on his comments defending a longtime friend who had already been accused in the past when all along you and the Post-Standard where the only one’s who had this tape recording. I am mad that ESPN only likes to report on negative articles with the intent to have someone lose their job. Boheim would not have made those comments if he had heard that tape. I am mad that the rules ESPN wrote for Paterno do not apply to themselves. I am mad that when ESPN is at fault there are no media vans camped outside your headquarters, outside your house, or even in your town. I am mad that you brought back the Syracuse allegations because Penn State was so big for you. I am mad that you did not own up to your mistake when you left out Nancy Cantors comments blaming you for holding the Davis/Fine tape. I am mostly mad that the same information that you could have used to help Syracuse fire Fine, you chose instead to sit and wait for a scandal to hurt Syracuse and then take advantage of the moment to report about it.

  • Mike Burke

    I can only echo what those before me said. All of you at ESPN are a disgrace. How many people did ESPN put on the air that called for Joe Paterno’s head? We all heard over and over how he did not meet his moral obligation even if he did report what he heard. How about Mike Golic on the radio saying he wished he could take Mike McQueary out to the parking lot. On and on you all went and stood on your moral high ground of journalism while accusing others of not doing enough to keep victims from being attacked by a pedophile.

    Well it seems you did less than Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary and everyone at Penn State. You are morally bankrupt ESPN. I agree, how long until Disney realizes who they are in bed with? Surely Disney will not be a party to this. Their business is kids and family, if Disney does not take a stand on this issue then shame on them and god bless the almighty dollar.

    Judge not unless ye be judged yourself.

    BTW JoePa said he was sorry and wished he had done more. We have not heard those words from you.

  • James

    ESPN will not post any comment I write, no matter how innocuous it is. They are trying to censor commentary on the subject of their transgressions. History tells us that censorship and repression only helps the voice of freedom get expressed.

  • Steve E

    I haven’t heard your network take responsibility for it’s poor decision not to do more in advancing the interests of the alleged victims of child abuse in this scandal. After all, it is about the victims. I haven’t forgotten that but your silence is deafening and your inaction to turn this evidence of a possible crime against children over to police is morally reprehensible.
    I have not watched your network since this story became clearer to me and after Chancellor’s Nancy Cantor’s statement is USA Today, I couldn’t agree more that you owe everyone an explanation.
    You talked for weeks about morally responsiblility and doing the right thing. These seems like hollow words now.
    As a consumer, I am glad I will have another outlet to turn to for my sports programming in January when NBC launches their 24 hour sports network.
    How things quickly change in life. Good luck trying to convince me and the host of others on this board that you are up to the challenge of making this right.

  • Lewis

    “After reading Doria’s statements, the question is….what other stories/information is ESPN sitting on to protect the company? It is a tough call not wanting to be involved in a lawsuit and knowingly keeping information in house about children being molested.”

    Not of the same magnitude, but I guarantee they know more about the Mike Leach/Adam James saga than they’re letting on.

  • Vince

    Well espn You’re insistance on the removal of Joe Paterno was relentless and once you achieved your goal you could have cared less about the rest of the scandal. NOW I see you have failed your moral obligations. How could you not have followed up on this. You journaliist have a moral responsibility to report violations of this nature. Your excuses disgust me and the rest of the public. You can be assured espn will be cancelled from my television subscription.

    I applaud Syracuse for standing behind their coach while the legal system conducts their investigaton. I only wish Penn State took a similiar stance with Joe Paterno. They stood back and watched as you drug that man through the streets. You took a shot at Joe Paterno a few years ago and missed He probably told you where to go and how to get there. Now with a second chance at him you succeeded or did you? I can only hope I see the espn empire collapse. The media in america is out of control you should stick with reporting the news and not your views. It would have worked out a whole lot better for you. I see you did not post my last comment. Why not?

  • John Doe

    Ask yourself this question. If you had tape that talked about murder would you have handled that yourself too? Molestation is up there with murder, however those murdered don’t have to wake up everyday and feel like crap about their self.
    You said you knew the Syracuse Police was aware of the allegation. Did they have the tape too? I haven’t read that they did. You had it and did nothing. Six month investigation? Was it one day somebody came to us and told us this didn’t know what to do with it so 5.5 months later he brings a tape back and you ask a couple questions to a couple people? Is that more how it went? Sickening. You tried to be our moral compass with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Well your compass is pointing south now and you will never in my eyes come back up.
    Compare ESPN to Joe Paterno and tell me what the difference is? Please, tell me.

  • David Hustedde

    I am sure the people at ESPN have kids. It is unbelievable that ESPN did not see what was the right thing to do morally in holding on to this story. I hope ESPN pays in many ways so much so that it hurts the Corp.

  • Brian Whalen

    I just want to be clear on ESPN and the Post-Standard reasoning. I can avoid any moral obligation I have to any community whether it be local or national by working in the media. Is that right?

  • Brian Whalen

    I would like to commend ESPN for establishing the Poynter Review Project. The project between ESPN and the Poynter Institute acts to review ESPN’s behavior in all areas of it broadcasting. You can find this feedback in the lower left side of the home webpage under “MUST SEE”. The last two articles, ESPN stumbles with Penn State coverage and ESPN should have pressed Fine allegations, are interesting. It sounds like a courtesy call to Syracuse or its coach with a simple question “Are you aware of additional information that could alter your stance on this issue?” was asking for too much.

  • binarymath

    Why is it that there have been tens of thousands of reader comments on the Sandusky case, but ESPN has failed to allow comment on this story about their failure to notify authorities in the Bernie Fine case?

    http://espn.go.com/blog/poynterreview/post/_/id/187/espn-should-have-pressed-fine-allegations

    If Paterno is fired saying “in retrospect, I wish I had done more” then what consequence should ESPN face?
    ESPN is owned by ABC which is owned by Disney. Is this the brand image they want?

  • Jim Layser

    It is a shame that ESPN would go to the extent they did to make sure the Penn State Brand image was totally and thoroughly crushed, and then when they had the opportunity to show how fair and unbiased they were by wielding the same axe on themselves, they tucked their tail between their legs and hid.

    I’m sure there are a lot of amazing people working for ESPN, but I do hope they all get to see how easy it was for them to “not do enough” even if they had the best intentions, and that each one of them feels atleast a sliver of hypocrisy and questions their own morality and ethics for working for a now proven self-serving organization that employs a double standard for the level of accountability in which they hold other institutions versus their own.

  • Cory Sizelove

    It seems to me, journalist or not that when you are made aware even allegedly of terrible things happening to children you do the right thing to stop it. When evidence such as the interview is presented of such a terrible accusation it becomes the responsibility for law enforcement to verify the authenticity. How could you people sit on your hands as children were being sexually abused. At best you could have HELPED law enforcement put an end to another pedophiles abuse of children. You also knew that law enforcement stated that the statute of limitations had expired, you thought you were of the hook. Shame!

  • Tyler Dombroski

    Wow, you have to love how ESPN has posted a story on how Joe Paterno did business dealings with people associated with the Second Mile…

    How is this news?

    Seems more like an attempt for ESPN to try to divert attention away from this tape that they just so happened to be holding onto yet had no moral obligation to do anything about.

  • Dick Pratt

    Let me get this straight. ESPN is saying that if Joe Paterno had been a journalist, his actions would have been considered completely acceptable. Paterno had no real knowledge of the abuse, was told by a single person who’s story could not be confirmed by a third party, and did not go to police with potential evidence that at the time he didn’t believe was creditable enough to report. But Joe wasn’t a journalist, so he got crucified for it.

  • jc

    what a joke that one child rape is not enough evidence to start an investigation, you need two…ESPN is a corporate hooligan that should loose the NFL

  • Matt Brush

    After listening to the tapes I find it very, very hard to believe that ESPN or anyone else couldn’t find the tape disturbing and at least be passed along to the police. I’ve heard a lot of people say this is not comparable to what happened at Penn State, I think it’s worse (the inaction, not the number of children involved) as so many more people knew about it.
    I witnessed a national crucifiction of Penn State and Joe Paterno led by ESPN. But when they have knowledge of something similar and do little…ESPN claims it is not the same and they did what they felt they were obligated (for whatever excuse they use) to do (or not do).
    In both cases, had someone done something then these predators would have been stopped along time ago.
    How many folks at ESPN are alumn or have ties to Syracuse? Who had knowledge of the tapes and what was their connection to Syracuse? I think these are fair questions…ESPN should have done more.

  • John

    Authorities determined yesterday expiration of the statute of limitations prevent them from bringing charges against Bernie Fine. ESPN’s decision to sit on the tape has allowed a pedophile to walk free.