Suit against Syracuse, Boeheim thrown out
Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) - The defamation lawsuit filed against Syracuse and head men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim by two men who accused an assistant coach of molestation has been dismissed.
Supreme Court Justice Brian F. DeJoseph threw out the case Friday, saying the suit failed "as a matter of law" because Boeheim's statements questioning the accusations were clearly matters of opinion and not fact.
Former Syracuse ball boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang were seeking damages for diminished career opportunities, damage to their reputations and what they said was "lasting emotional harm" in the wake of the comments.
Davis and Lang accused Bernie Fine of molesting them during the 1980s and 90s. In November, Davis told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that he was molested by Fine for more than 12 years beginning in 1983, before he was in the seventh grade.
The men had hired civil rights attorney Gloria Allred for their suit against Boeheim after the longtime Syracuse head coach defended Fine while questioning the motives of the accusers, intimating they would sue for money.
Boeheim apologized for his comments, but the suit went forward.
DeJoseph wrote that the "content, tone, and purpose of Boeheim's statements would clearly signal to the reasonable reader, that what was being read in the articles published in the days after the initial ESPN report were likely to be an opinion - a biased, passionate, and defensive point of view of a basketball coach - rather than objective fact."
Thus, DeJoseph said, the claim against the coach failed as a matter of law. He dismissed a suit against Syracuse because it was "predicated on the same alleged defamatory statements."
Fine, who was fired by the university in late November, has not been charged with a crime and has denied the allegations.
05/11 18:04:01 ET