Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ESPN: A moral obligation to report sexual abuse to the police for thee, but not for me

On CNN last night, Anderson Cooper interviewed an ESPN reporter. Turns out ESPN had contact with a man who had been sexually victimized by then Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. The man even had an audio tape of a phone conversation he had with Fine's wife in which she talks about Fine's problem with young boys. What did ESPN do with this evidence?

They sat on it.

The reporter said that, because they couldn't find any other victims willing to speak, they felt they couldn't do anything with it. Nor did they bother to take the evidence to police, who have only just found out about the audio tape.

In the time between when ESPN found out about this and now (I think the reporter said 2002, but someone needs to check that), it appears that other boys may have been victimized by Fine.

Where is the outrage?

Remember the outcry against Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who did what he was legally obligated to do, apparently under the assumption that his superiors would do what they were legally obligated to do, but who, say his critics, while he discharged his legal obligation, did not discharge his moral obligations?

Why are the same standards of reporting child abuse to police not applied to the press? The taped phone conversation ESPN had in its possession was at least as damning as anything Paterno knew and ESPN was actually talking to the victim. Why didn't Cooper drill the ESPN reporter and ask him why he didn't discharge his moral obligation to report this to the police?

The reporter went on about how they felt the evidence they had did not meet up to some journalistic criterion for any action. Okay. Fine. They why doesn't that same criterion apply to Paterno?


KyCobb said...


You are correct, its outrageous that ESPN did not report the allegation to the police.

Lee said...

> They why doesn't that same criterion apply to Paterno?

Well, since you asked, Paterno is a Republican.