The Shmooze

Syracuse Coach Accused of Sex Abuse

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Hot on the heels of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, Syracuse University announced late last week that it had put its associate head basketball coach on administrative leave in response to allegations that he sexually molested ball boys from the 1970s to the 1990s.

ESPN reports that Syracuse police have opened an investigation in to the allegations put forth against Bernie Fine by Bobby Davis, now 39, and his stepbrother Mike Lang, now 45. Davis alleges that Fine molested him beginning in 1984, and that the abuse took place at Fine’s home, the university’s sports facilities and on road trips. Lang says Fine began molesting him several years earlier, when he was in 5th or 6th grade.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sex Abuse, Jim Boeheim, ESPN, Bernie Fine, Basketball, Syracuse University

Yom Kippur Confession: The Shmooze Was Wrong About Hank Williams, Jr.

By Nathan Burstein

Hours before Yom Kippur seems like an appropriate time for the Shmooze to admit it got something wrong.

Getty Images

On Tuesday, we predicted that ESPN would drop Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Monday Night Football” theme song for just one week after the singer compared President Obama to Hitler on Fox News. (In the same interview, Williams likened House Speaker John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.)

Well, our powers of prediction turned out to be wrong: ESPN announced Thursday that the football anthem will no longer be part of its Monday night programming. “We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams Jr.,” the network said in a statement. “We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of ‘Monday Night Football’ has always been about the games and that will continue.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yom Kippur, Monday Night Football, Hank Williams, ESPN

Hank Williams Jr. Dumped Over Obama Comment

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

Be careful with those Hitler analogies, America.

Hank Williams, Jr., the guy who performs the “Monday Night Football” theme song, saw the anthem dropped by ESPN last night after he compared President Obama to the Nazi dictator on Fox News.

In an interview on “Fox and Friends,” Williams remarked that the recent “golf summit” between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner was “like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Hitler, Monday Night Football, Hank Williams Jr., ESPN

ESPN Cracks Down on Anti-Semitism in Fantasy Football

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

It’s not just Arsenal football fans in the U.K. who are using their websites to spread anti-Semitism.

Here in the U.S., ESPN was alerted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center that people were setting up fantasy (American) football teams with names like “Jews are Immoral,” “Jews are Terrible” and “Jews Love Pennies” on the ESPN website.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told USA Today that he was alerted to these names when a Jewish father went to sign his son up to participate in fantasy football. “They may have been fantasy leagues but the hate is all too real,” Cooper said.

ESPN responded quickly to the complaint and removed the teams immediately. “Offensive hate speech like the examples discussed here have no place on our site. While we have systems in place to protect against inappropriate team and league names clearly with millions of users and deceptive ways around the safeguards, we can never completely eliminate it,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Football, Simon Wiesenthal Center, ESPN, Fantasy Football, Anti-Semitism, Abraham Cooper

'King' LeBron James Consults Kabbalist

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Courtesy of TMZ

In the wake of his much-maligned primetime special announcing his move to the Miami Heat, is hoops superstar LeBron James desperate for some good advice?

That’s James’ ghostwriter Buzz Bissinger’s take on gossip blog TMZ’s scoop that the Heat’s new forward sought the advice of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, the kabbalist guru we covered in June.

“Whoever this rabbi is or isn’t, he can’t possibly give worse advice than his handlers have given him,” said Bissinger, who co-authored a biography titled “Shooting Stars” with the player. “The Decision,” James’ hour-long announcement aired on ESPN on July 8 to near-unanimous derision.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, TMZ, Pinto, Miami, LeBron James, Kabbalist, Heat, ESPN, Buzz Bissinger, Basketball




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