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BBWAA defends Bill Conlin in statement following allegations

Dec 20, 2011, 7:08 PM EDT

Winner of J.G. .Taylor Spink Award Sportswriter Bill Conlin speaks at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown Reuters

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.

Maybe I’m going too far. I’m guessing there are a bunch of BBWAA members out there not okay with O’Connell’s statement. There’s no way of telling who was consulted or whether this was all the doing of one man. But the proper response would have been a good old fashioned “no comment” until the organization had its ducks in a row.

  1. 78mu - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I guess the writers that voted him the award have no problem with the statement the organization put out while those that didn’t feel the organization should have kept quiet.

    What would be interesting is who actually made the decision to release the statement supporting Conlin. A real person or persons did it in the name of all members and should at least be identified so they can be accountable if it blows up in their face.

  2. paperlions - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    I don’t know that the statement really reads as support. It just says that he paid his dues every year for 45 yrs and that they aren’t taking back the award they already gave him regardless of anything that happens. That just reads to me like “we aren’t taking back the award, so everybody don’t even bother suggesting that”.

    • dan1111 - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:47 PM

      But putting out such a statement at this moment is support. What other purpose is there to it?

      • paperlions - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:49 PM

        It suggests to baseball writers to not bother writing articles suggesting they take away the Spinks award….because they aren’t going to do it.

      • paperlions - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:50 PM

        ….and they probably felt like they had to say something…,keeping quiet wasn’t really an option….I mean, these are people in the business of hounding others for responses/reactions to events.

      • phillyphreak - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM

        “It suggests to baseball writers to not bother writing articles suggesting they take away the Spinks award”

        But that’s a pretty weak suggestion, because we all know someone will still write about it.

      • lembeck4 - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:35 AM

        To me the purpose of the statement was to cover their own ass. I don’t read it as a show of support for Conlin essentially, I interpret the BBWAA working to preserve the integrity of the award. It’s a stupid move, ill-advised, and in poor taste considering the circumstances.

  3. dan1111 - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Apparently there is no character clause in the Spink award qualifications.

  4. paperlions - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    It does only say the award is for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing”. It doesn’t say meritorious of what. Conlin’s contributions are meritorious of derision….so….I guess he was well chosen by his brethren.

  5. skiadvocat - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    When will Rep. Marsico, Chairman, Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee, schedule hearings on the proposals to eliminate the statute of limitations criminally and civilly for child sexual abuse? The proposals have been on his desk for over 6 months. As a father and grandfather, isn’t Mr. Marsico interested in the protection of the Commonwealth’s children in the years ahead? There is NO MIDDLE GROUND, Rep. Marsico; you are either FOR children or FOR the perpetrators.

    • 78mu - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:05 PM

      Would you like to defend yourself against any allegations from 30 or 40 years ago?

      • Glenn - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM

        Does anyone here have any idea if the allegations are true. I’m guessing that none of us have any idea if Conlin is really guilty of anything yet.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:18 PM

      quoting deadspin:
      Last year, Blanchet, the Healeys and the woman who declined to be named for the story gave videotaped testimony about Conlin’s abuse to New Jersey prosecutors. But New Jersey’s 1996 law abolishing statutes of limitations on sex crimes is not retroactive, so there is no legal recourse against Conlin. Says Kevin Healey, “we wanted justice.”

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Where are the writers screaming to yank the award from Conlin? I guess it only applies to players who test positive for PEDs.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:37 AM

      Or to players who don’t test positive for PEDs. Sometimes, you just have to be a friend of a player who uses PEDs.

  7. tuftsb - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    O’Connor’s comment made Jim Boeheim palm slap his forehead and Gloria Allred start dialing for dollars.

    Didn’t the media learn anything while covering Penn State and Syracuse?

  8. drunkenhooliganism - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    What’s the big deal here guys? It’s not like he took steroids.

    • professor59 - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      He ate everything else, though!

  9. tuftsb - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    In 2011, “Conlin received 188 votes from the 434 ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service”

    Let’s have the 188 voters tell us about how they feel now – or will they duck and cover, a tactic that if used by subjects of their interviews leads to a media roasting

    • paperlions - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:00 PM

      Shouldn’t the standards for the Spinks Award mirror those for HOF enshrinement? No 75% should mean no award.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:39 AM

      Heck, for transparency sake, all the writers who voted for Conlin should explain if they didn’t vote for Bagwell.

      Get this party started, BBWAA. February is still next year. We’ve got some time. Explain yourselves. Ya’ll can do that, no?

  10. bloodysock - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Not shocking. These are the same guys who had to be told how to dress appropriately.

  11. mojosmagic - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    How dare these idiots defend the indefensible and something they have no knowledge of. Bill Conlin is an egotistical pompous bully. I am certain the victims were terrified of this man and I am sure they are telling the truth. Why would they lie?

  12. sdelmonte - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Innocent until proven guilty?

    • tuftsb - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:26 PM

      No, guilt by association. Now reporters will have to definitively prove that they aren’t sexualpredators before getting awards.


  13. Jonny 5 - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    I never liked Conlin, I never nodded my head in agreement over his articles. And now, for that I’m glad. I guess if it smells like a bag of shit, it is a bag of shit.

  14. xmatt0926x - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    It’s hard to enjoy someone’s downfall because it is the resullt of children being harmed years ago, but it has always been hard to like Bill Conlin. I’ve been reading the Daily News for over 25 years and he’s consistently been an arrogant blowhard who barely makes secret that he despises the very people he writes for. As far as “innocent until proven guilty”, the story from the Philadelphia Enquirer on is pretty damning. Based on the comments from the people involved, including his own family members and his lack of strong denials, it does appear to be true. This isn’t just a case of some solitary person making claims of abuse from 40 years ago. This appears to run pretty deep.

  15. xmatt0926x - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    *meant Philadelphia Inquirer

  16. dutchman1350 - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Wow! Conlin was also employed by ESPN. They had to know. First Bernie Fine, now this. ESPN should close their doors.

    • JBerardi - Dec 21, 2011 at 7:57 AM

      Your logic is awful, and yet I agree with your conclusion…

      • phillyphreak - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:07 AM

        What’s this ..logic…of which you speak?

  17. stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    It might not help any of the other problems of the world, but shutting down ESPN would at least improve the level of sports reporting.

    • professor59 - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      It would certainly cut down on the TD celebrations.

  18. lpd1964 - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

  19. mojosmagic - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Read today’s excellent article in the Philadelphia Inquire by Nancy Phillips and the evidence is overwhelming. Of course he can’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations but I believe the victims and relatives are telling the truth.

  20. a125125125 - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    “This seems like the appropriate response.”
    –What the Catholic Church would say

  21. gt40bear - Dec 22, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Yet these are the same clowns who choose Hall of Fame inductees! It IS the media, wouldn’t expect anything less.

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