Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Conlin story: When words fail

For years, his were some of the first words I sought out in my daily diet of sports lore.

Now I find myself searching for the words to explain what exactly we are to make of the Bill Conlin story.

The legendary sports writer and columnist retired from the Philadelphia Daily News yesterday, just a few hours before their sister paper the Inquirer posted a story on their website in which several people accused him of sexually molesting them decades ago.

I have loved sports – in particular Philly sports – since I opened my eyes.

Every day I devour the sport sections of at least three daily newspapers. I am a devout listener of sports talk radio. Now I can read what writers are saying in every town thanks to the wonders of the Internet. I watch SportsCenter. I surf the Web in search of the latest news involving the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers. Or just the hot national sports story.

But there was always one constant. I always wanted to know what Bill Conlin had to say.

It was my love for his writing, which always seemed to include a military reference that I would later learn was something he studied in college, that likely inspired me write myself.

After 30 years in this business, all on the news side, I often turn to sports as an escape from the often gritty, depressing “news” we report every day.

Then came Jerry Sandusky. Now Bill Conlin. The sports section is a lot more than games and scores these days.

I wish I knew what to say. And write. I am shocked. I feel terribly for the victims. I feel anger if in fact the accusations are true.

I continue to yearn for another time. Maybe when things were simpler. More innocent. Yes, maybe even more naïve.

I also would like to hear from Conlin himself. All I know right now is that he retired from the Daily News and hired a lawyer to represent him. George Bochetto indicated yesterday Conlin was “floored” and that he would now work to vindicate his name.

I guess floored is as good a word as any.

You could say I was floored. I guess a lot of us were.

As I usually do, I come back to the words. What do you say? What do you write?

I wish I knew.


Blogger PaddyO said...

Unfortnately, Mr. Heron, when it all said and done, there isn't anything to say or do. It will take months, possibly longer, for the charges to be found either founded or unfounded. But in the interim, Mr. Conlin will be deemed to be guilty in the court of public opinion solely because the allegations have been printed (and posted) by a respected mass media source. We just have to get used to the new media and deal with it as it evolves.

December 21, 2011 at 8:52 PM 

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