Abuse cover-ups jeopardize public’s trust



PHOENIX — So much is going on in sports, and it’s happening so fast, and it’s both good and bad. This column will focus on the bad.

Leading the bad is the revolting shock waves upon learning of Penn State and the massive sex abuse scandal of Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator for ex-Penn State head coach Joe Paterno’s two National Championship teams. Sandusky faces charges of 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys. Penn State fired Paterno and the university’s president.

It is the most disturbing scandal of institutional control in our lifetime, how White educated grown men tried to cover up this scandal by simply turning their heads. It’s the most horrific example of White man’s privilege since slavery.

Surely Penn State will get the death penalty for harboring a monster — that is, if the NCAA is doing what’s right. Now Syracuse University’s basketball program has its own version of sexual abuse. Bernie Fine, longtime assistant coach to Jim Boeheim, the head men’s basketball coach, has been accused of doing the same thing to two former ball boys. This bizarre story was held under wraps for years by, of all people, ESPN.

Boeheim defended his assistant Fine and accused the victims of extortion. Fine was later fired by Syracuse University after his wife said on tape, recorded years ago by one of the victims, that she knew of the abuse by her husband with the ball boys.

Boeheim is now under fire also for his defense of Fine and for attacking the abused boys’ character and motive. Will he be fired? Should he be fired? One thing is certain: The boys at the NCAA in Indianapolis need to start checking a lot closer into the backgrounds of NCAA coaches. Quit worrying about who paid for a lunch or whether a player’s father took money and get to the bottom of how something like this can take place and nobody does anything about it. What about the public trust?

This is not a rush to judgment by me. I spent two days in Pennsylvania checking and back-checking on the Penn State Sandusky indictment, how history will say that Paterno is the all-time winningest coach passing Grambling’s Eddie Robinson. Yet Paterno, who hired Sandusky, was fired one week after passing Robinson in the record books, and it’s clear in the Sandusky indictments that his abuse started back in 1994 with young boys!

Who accepts responsibility for this? How could several men allow these horrible acts to children to just happen and continue to say, “Hi, Jerry” and do nothing? How sick are these people?


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com. 



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