Sunday, November 20, 2011
JIM BOEHEIM IS A REAL MAN
We live in a society of front-runners and users. There are some
people we can't stand, but still befriend them because they can
help us get more money, a better job, or great tickets to the Super
Bowl. People will be friends with you until they deem you no
longer useful or helpful to them, or you become unpopular with
a certain crowd and it's bad for their image to be seen with you.
They'll only do the right thing if it's right for them and it keeps
them in good standing with the right people.
Last week, child abuse allegations were made against Syracuse
assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. In the wake of the Penn
State mess, people have already convicted Fine of being a sexual
predator and friends have run away from him quicker than Usain
Bolt pulls away from the field in the 100 meter dash. In the court
of public opinion, Fine is a child molester, pervert, and someone
with serious problems. He may be exonerated down the road, but
his reputation has been ruined forever. There will always be the
uncomfortable stares and the people who turn the other way when
they see Fine coming. Jim Boeheim is not going to be one of them.
Boeheim, the Hall of Fame basketball coach of the Orange, has
worked side-by-side with Fine for the last 36 years and has known
him for a half-century. When the world was throwing Fine into
the same cess pool as Jerry Sandusky, Boeheim stood up for his
friend and told anyone who would listen that he believed in
“I have been friends with Coach Fine for 50 years," Boeheim
said last week. " And that buys a lot of loyalty from me and
Boeheim, unlike most people, doesn't believe loyalty is a
one-way street. He should be applauded for not turning
his back on a friend who dedicated his life to helping him
turn Syracuse into a national power. Beoheim should be praised
for not selling out a friend who made tremendmous and personal
sacrifices to help the team and athletes become the best it could
be. It's been said that you find out who your real friends are when
adversity strikes. Fine has a real friend in Boeheim.
A lot of coaches in Boeheim's position would have rinsed their
hands of Fine as quick as the allegations came down. Few of them
would want anything to do with a person who's being accused of
child molestation, after all, it's not good for their image and "legacies".
Critics and crisis management "experts" say that Boeheim is
"risking everything" in defending his friend. Everything being
his job, reputation, and legacy. It's bold and refreshing to hear
Boeheim pretty much say, "to hell with those things." Boeheim
is not going to sell out a friend and is taking a stand in the face
of public criticism, believing in his friend and what he thinks
is right. And there are no shortage of people who have criticized
the stance Boeheim is taking.
"If you can get in trouble for supporting a friend you’ve known
for almost 50 years, I don’t want to live in that country,” Boeheim said
last week. “Is that clear? And yet people are saying stuff like that.
That’s sad. That’s a sad world. When you can’t be loyal to your
friends, I don’t like that world.” Neither do I.