Last month when I wrote about Penn State University and morals, I had to re-write that post a few times because my original draft was very angry. I was angry at so many people, and I wasn’t even sure why I was angry, I did not personally know any of the people involved. When I stepped back, I realized my reaction was due to shock…I was shocked that Coach Sandusky could do what he is accused of to children and, Coach Paterno and Penn State could turn a blind eye.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, and now there is a similar scandal erupting at Syracuse, my alma mater, class of 1999. Again, I was shocked when I heard these allegations. I spent 4 years working in the athletic department, I got to know Jim Boeheim, his wife Juli, and the coaching staff. I never saw or heard anything to indicate that Coach Fine was abusing children.
The reaction that I had, and the inactions of Penn State University and definitely the inflammatory remarks from Jim Boeheim come from the same place, shock. See, we never really know a person. You may be friends or work colleagues with someone for 30 years, but you cannot possibly know everything about that person. I first learned this lesson when my rabbi was caught on Dateline NBC to Catch A Predator back in 2005. I kept asking myself, how could this happen? I knew this man, I traveled to Israel with him, and was friends with his daughter, but you see, you never really know a person.
I thought Sean Keeley at the Syracuse SB Nation blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, wrote a terrific piece about how everyone interpreted Jim Boeheim’s comments incorrectly. Coach Boeheim, Sean Keeley wrote, was scared, and he was scared because the person who he spent 40 years with turned out to be someone he never really knew.