If loyalty is to mean anything, there must be a risk attached“. – Frank DeFord

There probably isn’t anyone in the country that hasn’t heard about the scandal here in the Syracuse, NY area that was a coach for decades on the Syracuse basketball team, which is right now the #1 team in the country. It came out of nowhere, following the Penn State issue, and, at least for now, has fallen off the news pages except for something minor every once in awhile.

When the head coach of the team, Jim Boeheim, first heard these bad allegations against one of his longest tenured friends (I’m not going to say what the scandal is here; if you don’t know about it look up the name “Bernie Fine” on Google), he came out in support of his friend, calling the accuser a liar who must be looking for money. He did this based on the fact that he’d known there had been a couple of investigations earlier in the decade that had exonerated his friend, but not knowing how they’d done it.

In the weeks following it, he apologized as other things came out, none of which, to date, will result in any type of criminal action. He said that he stuck up for a friend, and regardless of what a lot of people might have to say, I respected him greatly for it.

Anyone that reads this blog knows that the thing at the top of my morality list is loyalty, followed by honesty and trustworthiness. The phrase at the top of this post came from Frank DeFord while describing Boeheim’s initial reaction when he heard the news. Loyalty is always risky, but one has to stand for something or else fall for anything.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people since it occurred and many say they would have handled it differently. I tend to believe half of those people are lying, but unfortunately it means the other half are telling the truth. It seems that their loyalty comes only when it can’t hurt them; at least that’s how I see it.

I have a few friends where, if someone said anything negative about them I’d come to their defense in a heartbeat, without regard to what I might look like. That’s what loyalty is all about. It’s not blind though. Loyalty goes both ways, and sometimes the facts will prove to show something you didn’t expect. No matter how much we vette our friends, unless we’re around them 24/7 we don’t know everything that makes them tick. I’m sure some people have been surprised when stories have come out about their friends that they’d have never had any inclinations about.

Still, loyalty is what it is. And I’d never castigate anyone who showed loyalty to a friend. Some people have said this incident will taint Boeheim’s legacy; if it does, it shows a lack of loyalty and ethic for those people, and a level of hypocrisy as well.

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