BREAKING: Legendary Daily News Sports Scribe Bill Conlin Resigns Amidst Child Molestation Allegations

Sportswriter Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News speaks after being honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for Journalists for his more than 45 years of baseball coverage at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, July 23, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar

UPDATE: Three women and a man say they were molested as children by Bill Conlin, a Hall of Fame baseball writer and Philadelphia Daily News columnist. In vivid accounts, the four say Conlin groped and fondled them, and touched their genitals, in assaults in the 1970s, when they were from ages 7 to 12. “This is a tragedy,” said Kelley Blanchet, a niece of Conlin’s who said he molested her when she was a child. “People have kept his secret. It’s not just the victims, it’s the victims’ families. There were so many people who knew about this and did nothing.”  MORE

PHAWKER: Sad and shocking, Nancy Phillips’ story removes any reasonable doubt from us jurists in the court of public opinion, which, it looks like, is the only court Bill Conlin will be tried in. What an ignominious end to such a storied career, an all too familiar refrain these days.

DEADSPIN: The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s top investigative reporter, Nancy Phillips, has written a story containing what we’re told are allegations of child molestation against sportswriter Bill Conlin, a longtime columnist at the rival Daily News. Conlin resigned just moments ago, according to a source at the Daily News. MORE

NBC PHILADELPHIA: A spokesperson for the Daily News confirmed to NBC10 that Conlin retired today (and did not resign), saying more details would be released later.  MORE

CBS KYW: A story being published in the Philadelphia Inquirer (sister publication of the Daily News) says that Conlin is being accused by more than one alleged victim, and reports that the accusations are “documented,” although it was not immediately clear what that meant. George Bochetto, Conlin’s attorney, denounced the accusations today.  “Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by the allegations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago.  He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the true facts forward and to vindicate his name,” Bochetto said. MORE

AJ DAULERIO: Bill Conlin hasn’t been a reporter for quite some time, and he’s thrilled about it. He’s a columnist now, so the idea of standing around a smelly locker room with a bunch of young kids begging players for empty page-filling quotes makes him squirm. He spent close to four decades lumbering all over the world to chronicle the most prestigious sporting events — Wimbledon, the Olympics, too many Super Bowls, etc. — but that thrill died a slow, obvious, waking death with him long ago. […] The problem is, the game has changed — Conlin’s game, sportswriting. Four decades ago, when Conlin started covering the Phillies, we opened our newspapers to learn about sports, which meant writers were the shapers and keepers of that communal dreamscape, a heady job; plus, players liked getting mentioned in the papers. ESPN and the Internet changed that, in both immediacy and highlight drama. At the same time, sportswriters and players used to play tennis on off days, or drink together in hotel bars — unthinkable now — and the writer would sometimes pick up the tab, which is really unthinkable now. The culprit there, of course, is money; players started getting paid truckloads of it. Being marginalized, ignored and otherwise relegated to has-been — even though he’s still, at 75, this city’s best columnist — has Bill Conlin raging into the night at bloggers foolish enough to disagree with his sporting assessments, and e-mailing anyone who will listen about just how good he was and still is. (You might also get e-mailed a snapshot of a young, much thinner Bill on a surfboard.) So no, he hasn’t recovered from that last World Series he traveled back and forth across the country to write about in ’01; he hasn’t gotten over the way he and the other, lesser writers, were herded to a room with tiny TVs. MORE

RELATED: CONLIN’S HALLMARK IS that he never offers a tough opinion that isn’t right. “His first reaction is to be an absolute sonovabitch. He’s never wrong in his first reaction,” says Pat McLoone, his editor at the Daily News, who’s read or worked with Conlin for most of his life. Yet that attitude can also be, to say the least, problematic. Conlin’s a tireless e-mailer who has no problem toe-to-toeing with readers who disagree with him. Especially bloggers. He’s challenged those know-nothing “pamphleteers” to online pissing contests if they provoke him. “My career versus theirs,” he wrote of one. Sometimes he’ll send along pictures of his old Florida condo as a bizarre way of proving his success. MORE

BILL CONLIN: I’ll go with what I picked up covering more than 4,000 major league games over what some sallow, basement dwelling, nerd thinks he knows AFTER the fact. All those acronymic formulas work great until you’re up there facing a 95 MPH fastball. So you do what you do and I’ll do what I do. I guess the bottom line comes down to: My career against yours: Next time you’re in Cooperstown visit the Scribes and Mikemen Exhibit. The formula for getting there is YOE + RR = HOF (Years of Excellence + Reader Recognition = Hall of Fame) MORE

BILL CONLIN ON SANDUSKY: So where does this rank on the scale of American tragedies and disruptions in our time? Watergate? Charles Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders? The Lindbergh kidnapping? O.J. Simpson? More recently, the Casey Anthony trial? This is right up there with any of them. And if the media coverage is any measure, it is bigger than any of them . . .MORE

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