Tag Archive | "Penn State"

The Focus Has Shifted To The Insignificant In The Penn State Scandal

We’ve talked about it all to death, and now look where we’ve ended up. Joe Paterno’s statue. Whether or not Penn State should participate in a bowl game. It doesn’t matter.

Jerry Sandusky was wrong for doing what he did. Joe Paterno was wrong for hiding what Jerry Sandusky did. Mike McQueary was wrong for not doing enough. Spanier, Curley, all of them, wrong.

They all deserved criticism, and they all deserved to be fired. But continue talking about these individuals in great detail along with issues like statues and bowl games doesn’t solve a thing. They aren’t the point (aside from Sandusky himself ) anymore.

None of it prevents anything like this from happening again. The list of individuals we can blame is a hundred miles long, and it surely doesn’t stop with where we’re at. There are plenty of people to hunt down and interview, or for Sports By Brooks to rant and rave about to get attention and page views.

Think of anywhere you’ve worked. Now try to remember an indiscretion by one of your co-workers. Even one by someone who worked there before you. Maybe someone got caught having sex in the break room or arrested for drunk driving. Everyone knew about it. Everyone. From the executives to the secretaries to the interns. It goes from a story to kind of an office legend.

Now think about the Penn State football program. You mean to tell me that these few individuals were the only ones who knew something went on with Jerry Sandusky and didn’t say anything? You mean to tell me that Joe Paterno’s secretary didn’t hear something? Or Spanier’s? Or Curley’s?

Out of the hundreds and hundreds of men who have played football for Penn State since those first incidents in the late 90’s, you mean to tell me that none of those players knew that something went on? Wives, friends, concession workers. They saw Sandusky maybe not every day, but often enough to know who he was, or what he’d done.

The root of the problem isn’t in the individuals and the statue didn’t cover anything up. It’s the culture and the atmosphere that these individuals were a part of that’s the issue. Maybe things like statues matter in some small way to the people who are regularly on that campus, but it would seem that media would be better focused on something more important. Individual punishments, statues, bowl games, who cares? The community failed. Let’s find out why. It may make for fewer, less juicy stories, but we’d be better for it.

Only examining the culture will help us from preventing more harm being done in similar situations. It’s not what the people around Penn State did anymore, it’s why. Fear, greed, pride, you could probably find parts if it in most of the seven deadly sins, but that should be the mission. Find it, and do your best to wipe it out.

It gets like that with a complicated math problem sometimes. When you’ve made a mess of the piece of paper, sometimes you’ve just got to rip it up and start new.

With Penn State, we’ve spent so much time worrying about the details that we’ve forgotten what the problem was in the first place. Let’s rip up the paper.

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Burn Down the Mission: A Penn State Alumni Perspective


May no act of ours bring shame,
To one heart that loves thy name.
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.
Penn State Alma Mater

This is the Penn State I remember

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week. The Week 9 picks went 0-2 but I can handle that, I’ve lost games before. I hate losing, but in the context of everything it’s not a big deal. My thoughts over the past few days have been pretty much been all Penn State. It all started on Friday afternoon when the news broke, then things just went straight downhill from there. I know I usually am a ball busting, wisecracking internet blogger, but this weekend my thoughts were elsewhere.

Digesting the news from State College, hearing the sickening stories about the abuse of children, about the cover-up, the passing of the buck, and then witnessing the national explosion of raw anger directed at my school was very tough to stomach.

Yeah, I said ‘my’. I am a Penn Stater. I grew up a Penn State fan, I graduated from Penn State and I will continue to support the school. Forget for a minute (if you even can) about the people who let this horror happen, I will always be a Penn Stater at heart. The beautiful campus, the sleepy town of State College, Old Main, the Nittany Lion statue at Rec Hall, The Rathskellar, the HUB, Zeno’s, THON, The College Diner, it is all engrained in my soul. And that is tough to shake.

People hate Penn State right now, and I understand the anger. But please direct it at those who deserve it. Sandusky, Spanier, Curley, McQueary, Paterno, et al. The alumni and students are as confused and angered about this as the general public. And hopefully this episode will open the eyes of everyone who is in a position of power, “if you see something, then say something”. And not just “I told someone and washed my hands of it.” The men mentioned above (if the facts in the case are true) allowed these unspeakable acts to happen for 9 years longer than they should have. Any victim after 2002 (and possibly as far back as 1998) could have been saved.

The House That Joe Built is now haunted.

The thought of what happened and how the lives of an unknown number of kids have been impacted by this (9 at this point, and probably many more)  is hard to process. How multiple adults, seemingly responsible, upstanding men who speak of ‘Success with Honor’ and ‘For the Glory’ allowed this to go on is a mystery to me.

I’m not going to rehash the story and I’m not going run through the ‘what-if’s’ and the ‘how could they’s’. That’s already been done hundreds of times over this week by people who are more qualified than me. Start at Philly.com or PennLive.com, that should be enough to fire you up.

But I won’t spare you from my opinion. Here it is. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice-President Gary Schultz are already gone. Now, President Graham Spanier needs to go. Head Coach Joe Paterno needs to go (the latest news reports say that he is retiring at the end of the season, he should step down immediately). WR Coach Mike McQuery needs to go. Anyone who knew something yet did nothing (or didn’t do enough), needs to go. The school’s reputation wasn’t just tarnished, it was evaporated. We are now starting from nothing. It’s not going to be easy, but it has to be done.

Nothing in State College will ever be the same again, nothing will shake this tragedy from the fabric of Penn State. The best we can do is blow it all up and start over again. This time we need to make sure we get people in charge who truly believe in ‘Success with Honor’.

Of the multitudes of Penn State stories this week, 3 really stuck out to me. One is from a blog that usually doesn’t deal in “real news”, another by a PSU beat writer, and the 3rd from Grantland.com:

because we say, ‘we are penn state’ – Pav-Lo (WheresWeems.com)
It’s time to clean house at Penn StateRich Scarcella (ReadingEagle.com)
Growing Up Penn State Michael Weinreb (Grantland.com)

Everybody now, bring your family down to the riverside
Look to the East to see where the fat stock hides
Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
It’s time we put the flame torch to their keep
Burn down the mission, If we’re gonna stay alive

Burn Down the Mission – Elton John

Thanks for letting me vent, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.






Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

  • Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
  • Email me fantasource@gmail.com
  • Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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Time’s Yours Podcast: The Penn State Disaster And The Ryan Madson Contract

Boy, sports have been weird this week.

Discussing actual sports, and the Penn State situation has made for some weird segue-ways.

Today, Pat Gallen and I talked about the Penn State situation, and the massive failure at all levels. Then we had one of those awkward segues into the rumored contract that Ryan Madson is ready to sign with the Phillies and where it leaves the rest of the rest of the roster (and talk a little Yoenis Cespedes). Finally, we wound it up with some NBA labor talk and some awful comments made by NBA Union attorney Jeffrey Kessler.

Find Pat Gallen on Twitter @PatGallen_PN and at Phillies Nation. You can also hear him on 97.3 ESPN radio in South Jersey.

Subscribe to the Time’s Yours podcast on iTunes by clicking here.  (it’s so easy and just takes one click and makes me feel good about myself!)

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Matt Mac Photoshop: Penn State, We Are… Negligent

Follow Matt Mac on Twitter @_mattmac.

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Ask CraneKicker Volume 1: T-Pain and The 72 Hour Marriage

New to spikeeskin.com, our favorite Twitter all-star @CraneKicker answers your pleas for advice. If you’d like to ask a question for next week’s column, email to @cranekickchronicles@gmail.com.

I woke up with a terrible headache this morning thanks to the Eagles. Can you believe they blew that game last night? Can you believe Jeffrey Lurie is still so out of touch with the fanbase that the team didn’t wear throwback kelly green uniforms on the night they were honoring Buddy Ryan? Can you believe Kristin Cavallari is dating Jay Cutler?

Ok – enough questions. This is a place for answers. We received a handful of quality submissions for the first edition of “Ask Cranekicker” which is great – I thought I’d have to post a bunch of fake questions for the first few weeks. If you sent something over and it’s not addressed yet, don’t worry, I am keeping all of them for future reference. (Spike has me on a word count)

Here goes.

Rank these names: T-Bob, T-Pain, T-Bone, T-Rex. From Andrew @obieaj

Interesting request, Andrew. I suspect that you have a child on the way and have been struggling with this one for some time. I’m glad I can help and I’ve decided to approach this from a musical standpoint.

  1. 1. T-Bone – Notorious B.I.G. once coined the line “A T-Bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape.” Seriously how good does that sound? It wouldn’t sound nearly as good if he said NY Strip or Flank. Also, T-Bone Walker could play the guitar with his teeth. (RIP Biggie Smalls and T-Bone Walker)
  2. T-Rex – You know what’s a really good song? “Get it on” by T.Rex. You know what’s a really good cover song? “Get it on” by Power Station (RIP Robert Palmer).
  3. T-Bob – Not sure how T-Bob relates to music directly but it’s close enough to T-Boz from TLC and there was no way T-Pain was finishing anywhere on this list but last. (RIP Left Eye Lopes)
  4. T-Pain – Oh hey T-Pain. Yeah thanks for doing the auto-tune thing, really glad that didn’t catch on. Actually, this is the only good thing to come out of the auto-tune craze, in my opinion. (RIP T-Pain)

If I could marry someone and divorce them 72 days later, who would you recommend and why? From Keith

Good question, Keith; this is an important topic. I would only recommend a 72 day marriage under the following circumstances:

–       You need a Green card

–       You’re marrying the child of an oil tycoon who thinks prenups “aren’t romantic”

–       You’re unsure if this is “the one” but the marriage includes a 71 day honeymoon

–       You are in Vegas with Britney Spears

Other than that I don’t think it’s a good idea. Granted, weddings are a ton of fun and all, but getting divorced sounds like a real hassle. It’s like “Yeah I know we used to get along and make out and stuff but I really think we should give someone a bunch of our money to tell us how much we hate each other and then do a bunch of paperwork.” No thanks. You could’ve used that money to learn kickboxing for 72 days in Brazil.

hi, do you know how to bake cookies from scratch AND do you like long walks on the beach? okay have a great day! :) love, me From Chloe @socuttered

Hi Chloe! I do like walks on the beach, but mostly because I get bored really quickly just sitting in a chair. I’ll go swim until my face is pruned, but people usually get tired of that a lot quicker than I do and they want to go sit down or play paddleball or something. Swimming by yourself can get kind of weird. You ever see those older people who just wade in the water smiling at the sky? Of course you have. You know you stare at them after a while and think they are strange. So to avoid that, I’ll recruit someone to go for a walk upon being abandoned in the ocean. You have to be careful though because a long walk on the beach can result in a really long walk if you walk too long in one direction.

As for your first question, here is a link to the best cookies in the world.

Well that’ll do it for the inaugural edition. I feel good about this. You should probably print this out and save it like a first edition comic book. If you want me to autograph it, I’ll think it over.

Thanks everyone for the questions and send more here.

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The Week That Sports Were No Longer Our Great Escape

I just got home from taping an episode of Lunch Break with Rhea Hughes over at Comcast Sportsnet. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a generally light-hearted, 5-10 minute sports video about whatever the headlines are for the day. It’s fun, and I enjoy doing it.

When we looked over the rundown for today, it was impossible not to notice that most of what we were going to talk about didn’t really involve actual sports. Of our three big topics, only tonight’s Eagles game had anything to do with a game being played. It was all so … serious. Watch how quickly it turns.

What the hell happened? I was just starting to accept the rock n’ roll part being taken away. Now sports?

When I was in school at Syracuse University, I made a pretty clear decision to take all of the journalism training they gave me and kind of waste it on a career in music and sports. Hard news always seemed so serious. I would listen to those kids talk and just think, “lighten up.” I always figured they’d be the ones talking about the child molestation cases and big business vs. union financial negotiations, while I talked about music and games.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s all interesting and should be discussed. As horrifying as the Penn State story is, it’s hard not to find it compelling. As much as the NBA lockout is threatening to destroy my favorite sport, both the financial part of the story and the soap opera part of the story are ever changing. It’s just not what we love about sports. We love sports because they’re our great escape. Now I wish I could escape what’s going on in sports.

In the moment, sports can feel like they mean everything. And in the moment, they do. Even when we argue like mad men about the games we watch, in the back of our minds (sometimes in the WAY back), we know it’s just sports. That’s part of what’s so great.

Shame on everyone involved in the Penn State scandal for their reprehensible behavior. For mixing our great escape up with a story so horrid, it’s hard to read.

Shame on everyone involved in the NBA lockout for choosing to not play ball when so many Americans don’t have jobs. For choosing to not make millions when so many have to survive on pennies.

Hopefully soon we can get back to talking about offenses and defenses, rather than prosecutions and defense attorneys. Maybe we can try talking about MVP’s instead of BRI. And for sports to remind us that life doesn’t always have to be so serious, instead of reminding us of the opposite.



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