Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some thoughts on the situation surrounding columnist Bill Conlin

PBR - My last communication with Bill Conlin was via e-mail following his induction this summer to the Hall of Fame. I congratulated him and noted how happy I was that a fellow alumnus from Temple University made it to Cooperstown.

With what we know now, I'm not too sure how thrilled I feel about Conlin's enshrinement.

Conlin, 77, was accused of molesting four children, including his niece, in an unsettling investigative piece by Nancy Phillips that ran in Tuesday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

The story is vile. The quotes and memories are haunting. Phillips's story exceeds the Sandusky Grand Jury Report in terms of sheer rawness because it includes names and first-person accounts.

The allegations are a chilling reminder that we truly never know what secrets lay buried in someone's past.

Conlin covered the Phillies beat for more than twenty seasons with the Daily News before becoming a columnist in 1987.

Sharing a profession and degree, I felt a sense of connectedness to Conlin. I never idolized him, but I held him in high esteem.  How can I ever think of him in the same way?

Conlin's bombastic style of writing has been a constant in the Philadelphia media landscape for more than forty years. He became the rare exception where a columnist was more polarizing than some of the very athletes he opined about.

The whole situation is a mess.

I cannot imagine how the accusers felt everytime they heard Conlin's name. I heard the name of a respected sports journalist - they heard the name of a monster. 

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