ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard have taken heat for not turning over a critical tape recording in the Bernie Fine file to Syracuse police. The recording in question covers a conversation between Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, and Fine accuser Bobby Davis. It contains some revealing exchanges. Davis turned over the tape to ESPN and the Post-Standard nine years ago. Neither outlet ran a story based on the tape until recently, nor did they hand the tape over to authorities. Critics have suggested that the outlets thus aided an alleged sexual predator.
Post-Standard Executive Editor Michael J. Connor scoffs at the suggestion and offers this rebuttal:
To us, handing over to police materials we didn’t feel confident enough to publish was unimaginable. Look at it another way. When police or the district attorney gather evidence and decide they don’t have enough to charge someone with a crime, do they deliver their evidence to us and say, “Here you go, we don’t have enough to prosecute but you might get a heckuva story out of this”? Of course not. We have separate and independent purposes, and are often locked in an unsteady dance around information that one has and the other wants.