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Should ESPN face scrutiny in the Bernie Fine child sex abuse case?

While drinking my morning coffee before church on Sunday morning, I turned on ESPN like I do every morning. And while I got my morning sports roundup, I was also shocked to see a report on now-fired Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine. The report included never-before-released recordings of one of Fine's victims speaking to Fine's wife about what happened, and her seeming to casually admit that she knew what was going on all along. (Here's some more background.)

That's surprising and disturbing. But the shock didn't end there: thrown into ESPN's report was the tidbit that ESPN actually received the recording from the accuser eight years. That means it has been sitting on the audio for Eight years! Let that sink in. ESPN's reason? It says it couldn't find anyone to validate the victim's story:

While police have not confirmed reports that Laurie Fine is the woman heard on the tape, ESPN says they hired a voice-recognition expert to confirm the voice on the recording is Laurie Fine.  In a statement, the sports network admits they've had the tape for several years.

"Davis first gave the tape to ESPN in 2003. At the time, ESPN did not report Davis' accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story."

And that raises the question: Should ESPN face criticism for sitting on the recording for so long? Consider this: the network now says it found an independent audio analyst to confirm the voice on the recordings is that of the accused coach's wife. Did it take eight years to find someone to do that? Certainly not.

If Penn State's Joe Paterno was fired for sitting on information for such a long period of time, it would seem ESPN should at least have to provide a better explanation for its own inaction.

One last thing…
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