Bobby Davis and step-brother Mike Lang, two men who say they were sexually molested by former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, have hired publicity seeking civil rights attorney Gloria Allred and will file a lawsuit against Syracuse University and head coach Jim Boeheim. We knew this was coming, despite earlier claims to the contrary. The local district attorney called the claims credible, even though he was unable to prosecute last week. Now, Davis and Lang can both seek money for damages, and still truly be victims. Whether something did happen, which will now be subject of a civil suit, can be independent of motive.
There are two distinct elements going on. One is any defamation arising out of Jim Boeheim’s initial statements calling Davis and Lang liars and saying they were doing it for the money.
The second is actually seeking money for Syracuse’s (and/or Boeheim’s) role in permitting any behavior by Bernie Fine. Not only will Davis and Lang have to demonstrate that the abuse occurred, but they must also show that Syracuse played some role in permitting it–letting Fine travel with Davis on official trips, having the abuse occur on Syracuse property, etc. At this point, other than Davis’ statements about trips to the Final Four and Boeheim seeing him, there is little that has come out tying the University to Fine’s conduct. Jim Boeheim had previously denied that Davis travelled with the team as a ball boy and said he never saw him in Bernie Fine’s room. It should not be enough to just establish that he lived in the Fine’s basement or was abused at their house repeatedly.
Jim Boeheim has since apologized for his statements and pledged to do more. Now, his initial words will be used against him.
Previously: Onondaga County DA Will Not Bring State Charges Against Bernie Fine, But Calls Bobby Davis and Mike Lang Credible
Previously: Jim Boeheim Apologizes: “I Am Really Sorry That I Did That . . . It Was Insensitive”
Previously: Syracuse Post-Standard Explains Their Decision Regarding the Laurie Fine Tape
Previously: Jim Boeheim: “I Supported A Friend, That’s What I Thought I Did”
Previously: Jim Boeheim Should Be Suspended, But Not Fired, At This Point
Previously: ESPN’s Role in the Bernie Fine Investigation is Troubling
[photo via Getty]