Did Bernie Fine's wife sleep with 'Cuse players?

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Did Bernie Fine's wife sleep with 'Cuse players?

From Comcast SportsNetSYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- An affidavit filed in a slander suit against Syracuse University and basketball coach Jim Boeheim says the wife of fired assistant Bernie Fine had sex with players, and several people associated with the program knew about it, including Fine. In the affidavit, Bobby Davis, a former ball boy with the men's team, says he was present on several occasions with basketball players when he heard them speaking of having sex with Laurie Fine. Davis said players joked about it and it seemed to be an openly known fact that Laurie Fine had sex with basketball players. A lawyer for Laurie Fine said the accusations were "disgusting." After Davis and his step-brother, Mike Lang, accused Bernie Fine of molesting them when they were boys, Boeheim vehemently defended his longtime friend and assistant coach. He said Davis was lying to cash in on the publicity generated by a sexual abuse scandal unfolding at Penn State University. The Hall of Fame coach later backed off, saying he based his defense on loyalty and two previous claims of abuse against Fine that authorities could not substantiate. Boeheim apologized after a third accuser came forward at the end of November and a years-old audiotape surfaced of a phone conversation between Davis and Laurie Fine that some have interpreted as Fine acknowledging Davis was abused by her husband. In December, Davis and Lang filed a slander suit in state court. The affidavit filed Monday repeatedly makes the point that Davis believes Boeheim knew or should have known what his players were up to. He also believes Boeheim should have backed his accusations. "He knew or purposefully chose to ignore Fine and his wife's behavior," Davis said in the affidavit. "He had every reason to know that I was telling the truth, but he instead lashed out at me and called me and my brother liars." Lawyers for Boeheim and Syracuse University did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The court document also says Davis spoke directly to Bernie Fine about his wife's sexual relationships with players and that "Bernie Fine did not react in the slightest." Davis, who lived with the Fines for a time, said Laurie Fine would lavish certain players with attention, including doing their laundry, lending them her car and giving the player money and gifts. A lawyer for Laurie Fine calls the accusations in the affidavit a "desperate" attempt to keep the suit alive. "Only the news media can think that 20-year-old hearsay is newsworthy if it is salacious enough," Edward Z. Menkin said in an email to The Associated Press. "This is both desperate and disgusting, an example of an irresponsible and unprofessional lawyer flailing about to keep a dying lawsuit in the public eye." The affidavit was filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court by high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred. "If Laurie Fine was having multiple sexual relationships with basketball players, then the university must explain how this could have been taking place for years right under Coach Boeheim's nose without his being aware of it and without the university's doing anything about it," Allred wrote in an email to The Associated Press. Davis, now 40, and Lang claim they were repeatedly forcibly touched by Fine in the 1980s. Fine, who was fired Nov. 27, has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer declined comment Tuesday. Davis tried to get Syracuse police to investigate Bernie Fine in 2002 but was told the statute of limitations had expired. The same was true of any charges brought by Lang. The U.S. attorney's office is investigating the claims of a third man, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli of Lewiston, Maine, who says Fine abused him in a Pittsburgh hotel room in 2002.

Backes doesn't back down from criticism of those who ripped Team USA

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Backes doesn't back down from criticism of those who ripped Team USA

BRIGHTON -- He may not get the chance, since he's now 32 and has thrown (and taken) plenty of hits during his 11-year NHL career, but new Bruin David Backes said he hopes to play for Team USA again to “have a nice taste in my mouth”.

Clearly, his last experience left a bad taste: The Americans finished dead last in the World Cup of Hockey, which is winding down now with Team Europe and Team Canada playing for the championship.

What also left a bad taste for Backes were the passive-aggressive Tweets sent out by U.S.-born players like Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan after the Americans lost all three games they played in the World Cup. And he isn't about to back down from the pointed criticism he directed at them.

“I was one of the guys called upon to go to the rink on a day off after we were eliminated . . . . one of four to stand up and answer the questions,” said Backes, who certainly showed his personal accountability by showing up to answer questions after Team USA had flopped on the world stage. “Rather than defer and plead the Fifth, I thought it was something we needed to address. I think it’s easy to sit back and sling mud . . . when you’re not a part of it.

“[You can] kind of make yourself feel good about it (by criticizing Team USA) for a second, but if I wasn’t selected for the team, or if I’m not selected to the Olympic team in two years, I’m still American, I’ve still worn that jersey, and I’m going to root for those guys and hope everything goes well. If it doesn’t, I’m going to be crushed like I was on the team. That’s how I think as a team guy and as a guy that’s worn that jersey proudly and how much it means to me.

"I just hope and wish the other guys had those same feelings. If you’ve got some vindication not being on the team, and the team failing or not accomplishing the goal, then you should internalize that and use it as motivation going forward. You don’t need to join in with the chatter that’s negative and keeps piling on. Those are my visceral thoughts on the subject.”

Backes was a healthy scratch for Team USA’s final game against the Czech Republic, a listless defeat that dropped the U.S. to the bottom of the World Cup standings. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for a competitor who clearly understands the importance of representing one’s country.

So it’s no surprise the Bruins center hopes he gets a chance to redeem himself by making the 2018 Winter Olympics team. Backes has skated for the U.S. in each of the last two Olympics.

“I hope (the World Cup isn't the last time I play for my country), but that’s out of my control,” said Backes. “If my services seem like I can help a team be successful, I’d love to put that jersey on and have a nice taste in my mouth for the last time I use it, or the next time I use it. But there are a lot of great players that are Americans, and the next GM, or whoever it is constructing the team, will have decisions to make. Whoever they pick, I hope [the team] goes and puts us back on top of the pedestal for whatever competition it is.”

Clearly the Bruins hope that as well, since it would be a clear indicator Backes is performing at an elite level a couple of seasons into his five-year, big-money contract with Boston.

Report: Patriots fill open roster spot with former Browns DL Hughes

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Report: Patriots fill open roster spot with former Browns DL Hughes

The Patriots opened a roster spot by waiving defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, but they won't be adding a quarterback to take his place. 

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the team has swapped one defensive tackle for another by adding former Browns big man John Hughes, a 6-foot-2, 320-pounder who played under former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi when Lombardi was Cleveland's general manager in 2013. 

Hughes was released last week after spending just over four years with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2012. He signed a four-year extension with the Browns last season that was worth $12.8 million. 

With the Patriots, Hughes figures to work in as part of the rotation on the interior of the defensive line along with Malcom Brown, Alan Branch and rookie third-round pick Vincent Valentine. Unlike Johnson, who was more of a penetrating pass-rusher, Hughes should factor in as more of a space-eating type. He has 5.5 career sacks in 53 games. 

Johnson is the latest in a long line of Browns who played under Lombardi to end up in New England. The two most notable Patriots who spent 2013 in Cleveland are defensive end Jabaal Sheard and running back Dion Lewis. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who arrived in New England in a trade this summer, was drafted by Lombardi's front office as the No. 6 overall pick in 2013.