Spink Award winner Bill Conlin accused of sexually abusing children

From at Hardball Talk comes this bit of news:

Four people, three women and a man, accused longtime Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin of molesting them as children in the 1970s, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Nancy Phillips reported Tuesday.

Conlin, who is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink award, retired from his post at the Daily News earlier in the day after news of the upcoming article was leaked.

Phillips’ report tells of children, one of them Conlin’s niece, being touched inappropriately by Conlin. According to the account, Conlin was confronted by his brother-in-law after one such incident, cried and claimed he only touched his niece’s leg. None of the alleged acts were ever reported to police at the time, and the statute of limitations has long since run out, meaning Conlin will not be charged with crimes unless additional accusers with more recent allegations come forward.

Conlin declined comment for the article. His lawyer, George Bochetto, did make a statement: “Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago. He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name.”

Conlin wrote for the Daily News for 47 years. He was on the Phillies beat from 1966-87 and served as a columnist afterwards. He’s also made hundreds of appearances on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters through the years.

This story is becoming all too familiar lately. On a side note, the guy has always been a Grade A clown to me. As a side note to the side note, I wonder if this will force him to finally give up that recipe for the 11 secret herbs & spices.

But because this story involves The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) it doesn’t end here!

The BBWAA‘s initial response to all of this was just way off the friggin’ mark. They didn’t choose the standard “let’s wait and see how this plays out in court before passing judgement” tact, nor did they issue the typical “no comment” press release. Nope, they went with the “so what? this has nothing do with the fact he’s a good (debatable!) sports writer” approach.

followed up his original piece with this spot on evaluation of the BBWAA response:

One would think the BBWAA would be feeling a bit embarrassed right now after having bestowed its highest honor on Bill Conlin a year before he was accused of child molestation and opted to resign from the Philadelphia Daily News.

But then, this is the BBWAA we’re talking about. Here’s the official release on its website from secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell:

“Bill Conlin has been a member in good standing of the BBWAA since 1966. The allegations have no bearing on his winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer.”

Sure, why the hell not? The organization had the poor taste to choose the buffoon in the first place. And, yes, Bill Conlin, regardless of these disgusting allegations against him, is a known buffoon. He may be a truly horrible person as well, but apparently the BBWAA — America’s moral authority on steroids – doesn’t have a problem with truly horrible people.

And finally, after all of this someone over at BBWAA got around to doing what they should have done in the first place, via at Hardball Talk:

Yesterday’s official statement by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Bill Conlin was a dud. So they’ve tried again. This time an actual writer — BBWAA president Bill Shaikin — puts his name to it:

“We were shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations involving Bill Conlin and we extend our sympathies to everyone involved. This is a matter far more serious than baseball and, at this point, a matter best left to the proper authorities.”

– Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
BBWAA President
Dec. 21, 2011

Now, now BBWAA was that really so hard? -_-

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3 comments

  1. djpostl

    Really liking your blog. Loved the piece on baseball being a game of “failure”. Have spent most of my adult life pointing out that some of the greatest hitters in the history of the game failed 65-70% of the time and that earned them a ticket to the Hall of Fame.

    I think that is why we love the game so much. It isn’t one that rewards impatience, selfishness or the desire for instant gratification.

    Keep up the good work!

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