The Phoenix Suns' Ring of Honor

We almost choked on our popcorn last March 18 when, during halftime of a Phoenix Suns game, we spotted Monsignor Dale Fushek, once second in command of the Phoenix Roman Catholic Diocese, sitting alongside Jerry Colangelo and a score of other sports celebs as late legendary Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons became the 11th member of the Suns' Ring of Honor. Also on hand at the induction ceremony were the likes of Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and "adopted" Fitzsimmons son Kevin Johnson.

Seems Fushek -- the highest-ranking Catholic cleric to be accused of not just covering up for pedophiles but of untoward activity with young boys himself -- had been Fitzsimmons' pastor at St. Timothy's in the East Valley. Only three weeks after New Times had published an eye-popping article about Fushek's myriad sins, there was Father Dale getting introduced along with the rest of the dignitaries at center court of America West Arena. And why not, Colangelo may have rationalized; Fushek had been the golden boy of the Catholic church for decades. He was in charge of Life Teen, the national church's premier youth program, and everybody knows the NBA's very popular with sports-loving youngsters. (Um, after the article came out, everybody found out that youngsters, sports-loving or not, were very popular with the lecherous friar.)

Suns chairman Colangelo didn't seem to care about any of that stuff, or even that Father Dale had been forced to take administrative leave from the diocese because of his victims' many allegations against him. You can't always believe what you read, right, Jer?


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