Since Sunday, when the Laurie Fine tape aired on ESPN, the Syracuse scandal has not only rocked the sports world, but my own. It was not Bernie Fine who prompted me to write a very lengthy post about his alleged child abuse, but his wife, Laurie. Shamefully, my first thought was not “What a disgusting bastard” or “Oh my god, now we have an Uncle Bernie, too?!” It was, “How can any woman support a man who she knows, who she has seen with her very eyes, molest little boys under her own roof?” Bluntly put, it blew my fucking mind. I’m not kidding. It was like my brain exploded. I mean, where is Chris Hansen when we need him? As a woman, I could not reconcile such awful crimes with the wives who willfully remained blind to them. So I did what any woman would do when needing to rant and/or when needing some perspective: I turned to my friends. (The friends who all have my express permission to immediately call the police if, god forbid, my future husband ever touches anyone inappropriately, let alone children and especially if it happens “several times leading to ejaculation.”).
So, around noon on Sunday, long before I posted anything at CDTF, I emailed a wide variety of my favorite females to ask for their thoughts on Laurie Fine. Admittedly, I was, in part, enraged, confused, riled, and horrified. My email, with original overdramatic capitalization and lackluster grammar, read:
I have avoided this story for two weeks to wait for things to flesh out - was this someone fraudulently riding on the coattails of the Uncle Jerry fiasco, OR was there truth to the matter? Syracuse allegedly investigated and cleared Bernie Fine in 2005, which made me hesitate to judge. But now with this, the phone call* from his wife, wherein she admits her concerns.....No woman randomly worries that her husband may or may not be touching little boys unless there is major cause for concern. I mean, this taped phone call is DAMNING. *In New York, it is legal to tape ANY phone call. By answering the phone, you consent to being recorded.
So my question for you all, as women I greatly respect, is this: as women, how do they justify what their husbands are doing? How do they stand behind them? Uncle Jerry's wife was taking trips with his victims to bowl games and calling them before their grand jury testimony to ask them to stop. Now Bernie's wife basically affirms everyone's greatest fears. These are the grossest, most disgusting crimes imaginable. Going on under your own fucking roof? How can they stand themselves? This is not The Good Wife/Hillary Clinton/an affair. It is exponentially worse.
I know you guys are slammed, but if you have a minute, I would absolutely love your opinion on this matter. Not the molestation charges, per se, which I know we all agree are heinous, but the women behind the molesters. I am extremely curious about this. I wonder how flagrant it is in sports. Two epic programs in a matter of a month. How many more are out there? It blows my mind. And utterly turns my stomach. I hope you all had Happy Turkey Days. Please don't feel obligated in any way to respond, I really know you are slammed, but thank you in advance if you do...
I sent the email to 11 incredible women – ranging from students to professionals to housewives, some who are in their twenties and others who are…I don’t know and it would be rude to guess, both the married and the single, and hailing from all over the country. I thought that a few would respond, but as my email implies, I also expected most of them to prioritize their ridiculously busy lives over my latest obsession. Thankfully, I was wrong. Nearly everyone responded. And all of them, with their thoughtful and poignant words, blew me away. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them, as friends and leaders and, yes, women to admire (since such women are apparently becoming harder to find these days). At the same time, I should confess: how I originally envisioned this post was put to shame by the women who graciously contributed. The following responses are posted in the order they were received; some were sent to the whole group, some just to me. I have not commented fully, because I am still struggling with the original question asked: As women, how do they justify what their husbands are doing? The truth is, I really don’t know.