published Thursday, November 10th, 2011

5 at 10: Paterno fired, Ramos kidnapped and this week's Fab 4 (+1)

From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...



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    Joe Paterno, center, and his wife, Susan, stand on their porch to thank well-wishers in State College, Pa.,Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. The Penn State board of trustees voted Wednesday night to fire Paterno and university president Graham Spanier amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

An adult finally arrives at Penn State

Finally, amid the heartbreak and the scandal, someone at Penn State did the right thing.

Nine and a half years since the 2002 weekend when four Penn State men could have acted like an adult and done something to stop a monster, Penn State board of trustees vice chairman John Surma announced the only thing left to do.

Penn State football Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday night.

Paterno won more games than any other college football coach, but his loss for words or gumption or guts or some would say decency after a 2002 incident will forever tarnish his reputation. His silence was louder than the millions of cheers and thrills he and his team brought to a little known college that became a powerhouse under Jo Pa's stewardship. His indifference to evil — and that's what this is gang — will forever be linked with the countless good things he did in his 62-years as an assistant and head coach at Penn State.

Everyone knows the trail of tragic events — Jerry Sandusky, longtime Penn State assistant has been accused of more than 40 acts of sexual abuse against eight victims who were boys at the time; Paterno was informed by current Penn State assistant Mike McQueary of Sandusky performing a horrific act against a 10-year-old; Paterno tells PSU AD Tim Curley and PSU vice president Gary Schultz, who ran the PSU police department among his many duties, and the entire group then preceded to do almost nothing else; Sandusky continues to prey on young boys to the point that this week a court order prevents him from being alone with his own grandchildren. Now it finally seems the gravity and seriousness of these events have hit home at Happy Valley, despite the rallies of support for Paterno and the relative ambivalence for the victims.

Paterno was fired Wednesday along with Penn State president Graham Spanier, who said last weekend that he supported Curley and Schult "unconditionally" despite their silence and the perjury charges that were issued against them by the grand jury that indicted Sandusky.

This was the only decision to be made, even if it was made three days too late. After all that happened, Paterno tried one more strong-armed power play, announcing Wednesday morning that he would finally retire at season's end. Wisely, the PSU board realized that after all that's happened that Paterno did not deserve to exit on his terms. He did not deserve a river of standing ovations in Saturday's home finale. He did not deserve to be carried off the field after a win .

He deserved to be fired. At the very least

But 'deserve' got nothing to do with a mess this sordid because none of the victims deserved what happened and any of the boys that suffered any of the heinous acts since 2002, deserve an answer from Paterno about why he chose to protect the image of his program than children.



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    In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Arkansas' receiver Greg Childs (85) runs down field after a reception as Auburn cornerback Chris Davis (11) pursues during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)

Fab 4 (plus 1)

The tragedy that has unfolded at Penn State overshadows any- and everything that could happen in Saturday's senior day game against Nebraska. The emotions — the tension, the raw pain and anger — will combine to create a swirling unknown that seems somehow fitting, considering this will be the first college football game since 1949 that Joe Paterno was not on staff. It will be the first game since 1965 that Joe Pa is not the head coach (although since he now coaches from a sky box without a head set, it's pretty certain he has not "coached" for some time).

As for the Penn State-Nebraska game, trying to gauge the daily outside effects on college football players ages 18-23 is not unlike trying to catch a falling leaf; trying to guess how the PSU players will react is more Miyagi-ish, and it's like trying to catch a fly with chop sticks.

The Nittany Lions could come out and play like warrior poets, an inspired effort for their former coach and his tarnished legend. They could be flatter than 2005 Ginger Ale and get steam-rolled in the magnitude of a moment that certainly reminds us that there's more to life (like doing the right thing and protecting our children) than football. Either one could happen.

On to our picks...

Arkansas minus-14 against Tennessee: Let's weigh what we know: Arkansas can throw and score points; UT has a tough time rushing the passer and has struggled to score in SEC games. Arkansas is not as good as Alabama or LSU (who is?), but something feels like the Razorbacks are going to beat the Vols by more than the 31 points that the Tide and the Tigers did.

Stanford minus-3 against Oregon: The Cardinal are 14-0-1 against the spread in their last 15 games. Keep riding them until the Tree falls. (Buy the half of course, though.)

Texas minus-1 at Missouri: The Longhorns are 6-2 — the losses are to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Plus, this is a noon kickoff which helps temper the home-field advantage.

Over the 49.5 in tonight's Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game: Two big-play running games and considering the Hokies are 1-7 against the spread this year but have an 11-game road win streak there's no way to know what will happen on the straight play.

Southern Miss minus-8 against Central Florida: The Goldern Eagles have covered seven straight and are an inexplicable loss against Marshall in week 2 from being unbeaten.



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    This 2011 file photo shows player Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals baseball team. According to Kathe Vilera, a spokeswoman for Ramos' Venezuelan League team, the Aragua Tigers, four armed men kidnapped Ramos Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 from his home in central Venezuela. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, file)

What's going on?

The Paterno mess is awful and there's no defending it. You know this. As it appears that calmer heads have prevailed and maybe a return to normalcy on the sports landscape, there comes word that Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped in his native Venezuela.

Masked gunmen took Ramos away from his home in an SUV on Wednesday.

Sweet buckets of social downfall, what's happening?

Reading more into the AP story, this is first time a MLB player has been kidnapped in Venezuela, but it's hardly an isolated incident in the country. Three former or current major leaguers have had family members abducted in recent years in hopes for large ransoms.

All this nastiness makes you long for a good-old-fashioned recruiting scandal so we can wringing our hands and wave our arms about the injustice of Bruce Pearl lying about a bar-b-que or Jim Tressel lying about tattoos.



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    Tiger Woods walks off the course after losing to Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, in 19 holes during the first round of the Match Play Championship golf tournament Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, in Marana, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

This and that

— At the Australian Open, Tiger Woods shot a first-round 68 Thursday. That was overshadowed by John Daly being John Daly and quitting midway through his first round. Daly was 7 over after 10 holes before hitting every ball in his bag into a water hazard on No. 11. He would have been hitting his 16th shot had he continued. The tournament organizer called Daly "unprofessional," but the tournament gave Daly a sponsor's exemption because the fans want to see what Daly will do next and sometimes that next act is hitting a couple of sleeves of Titleists into a water hazard. Don't invite the clown to the party and then bemoan the clown for acting like a clown. G' day.

— The baseball free agent market is starting to heat up and apparently the Florida Marlins are courting Jose Reyes. The Marlins would move Hanley Ramirez to third and have the best left side of the infield in baseball. Yes, Reyes leaving the Mets would help the Braves, Reyes going to the Marlins would not help the Braves.

— The NBA talks have turned nasty, and the longer they drag the more nasty they will become. In fact, here's saying that within 10 days, there will be some division within the union if for no other reason than there about to be some tall and athletic fellows who are used to living high on the hog needing a paycheck.



Today's question

All week has been so serious and so dark, we're going old school, and to borrow a term from the Jonquil Rink in Smyrna, this is a "Free Skate."

So everyone grab your Red Devils and take a spin around the rink.

Say whatever you want to get it off your chest. No boundaries. And two programming notes: Remember there's some room in Friday's mailbag and we'll be making our regular 2 p.m. appearance on "The Show" with Chris Goforth on 1370 AM today.

Whatcha' got?

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Does anyone really care if there is an NBA season? For that matter, does anyone really care if the NBA just ceased to exist? I sure don't.

The next hammer to fall at Penn State has to be assistant coach Mike McQuerry. How that guy can be allowed to coach on Saturday is beyond me. This is a guy who saw a 10 year old boy being raped by Jerry Sandusky. He saw this happening with his own eyes! Yet, McQuerry, a 28 year old man at the time, calls his daddy up? Then, McQuerry and his daddy go see Joe Pa the next day to report what little McQuerry saw? No call to the cops? Are you freaking kidding me?

As far as the Penn State scandal goes, I keep wondering how all of these guys, knowing what they knew about Sandusky and knowing that Sandusky was still involved on campus in some capacity, could just pass Sandusky in the hall or on the street and not get a little creeped out knowing what they knew about the guy. Worse, I wonder how they couldn't see Sanduscky and feel horrible for not doing the right thing in the 1st place or at least try to fix their mistake and not come clean with what they knew at some point over an over 9 YEAR PERIOD! Unbelievable.-

November 10, 2011 at 10:50 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--Again, good job. You've handled the whole mess well. And Weeds' take today was spot on.

Yesterday I groused about Nittany students crying because Joe was leaving, not because of the abuse. Today the news is worse. Thousands of them reportedly rallied for Joe, throwing rocks and bottles and tipping over a van. For Joe, not for the victims of the crimes.

Their stupid reaction bothers me almost as much as the crimes. Because in the long run that means there are thousands of potential witnesses to future abuse who can't think straight enough to protect future victims. I hope as these students mature, they'll get their heads on straight.

November 10, 2011 at 10:56 a.m.
jesse said...

whats the N.B.A.?

the goins on at penn.state now just tell me that their sqeeky clean image was a facade!

every student that they can i.d. in what amounts to a riot needs to be put on the road!(like in bye bye!)

November 10, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang, this may get worse beyond our wildest imaginations. There's a report from a Pittsburgh radio station that Sandusky pimped some of the kids in the Second Mile. Sweet goodness, here's hoping that's not true.

C-Vol,

The NBA is so far on the back-burner right now, it's stone cold.

Spot on about McQueary. How has McQueary gotten a decent nights sleep since then? Dude has to be fired and there's no way he can be on the sideline Saturday. As for seeing Sandusky on the street, if you knew that, how could you not take a swing at him.

9er —

Thanks for the kind words.

Great point about the folks celebrating Joe Pa could very well be crushing or worse silencing potential victims and/or witnesses.

And if you think Joe Pa and those enablers deserve anything other than a pink slip and a kick in the khakis, answer this:

Why did Joe Pa and the PSU football program ban Sandusky from bringing his kids camp on campus in 2002? It was their way of saying, "We don't care what you're doing as long as you don't do it here."

DISGUSTING.

Here's hoping they pull Joe Pa out of the college football hall of fame. Seriously.

— 5-at-10

November 10, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jesse —

Every student that attends a Joe pa rally and speaks out that firing Joe Pa was a mistake should be made to attend Sandusky's trial and look at just one victim since 2002 and see what Joe Pa could have prevented.

As for the NBA, we think it used to be the National Breadmakers Association. Is that right? (And there was this awesome baker named LeBron who was better at 25 than this other baker named Jordan.)

November 10, 2011 at 11:19 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

No couples skate?

After all this, how can anyone have sympathy for Joe Pa? And at this point, who cares about his legacy? How about the absolute violation of trust between innocent young boys and the older man who was supposed to protect and guide them, not abuse them, and the men who did nothing to stop it?

November 10, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
chas9 said...

Jesse--right on about the facade. Unfortunately, Penn State is just the tip of the iceberg. I suspect something very much like this horror has gone on at some other school. If not, then CERTAINLY every big time sports program has covered up some wrongdoing. And worldly knowledge would suggest much of it goes way beyond excessive cell phone calls. How many football players have forced themselves on their dates, followed by complaints that get smothered? (No, I'm not indicting all footballers.) If big-time programs don't use this wake up call to seriously reform, some of us sports fans are going to become fans of Division 111.

Jay--Great plan to have them attend the trials and look into the victims' faces.

November 10, 2011 at 11:52 a.m.
chas9 said...

Though it won't solve all the problems, university administrations should have serious institutional control over their sports programs. Check out Ray Ratto's take on the issues at http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/16055930/theres-a-lesson-in-paternos-downfall-but-few-will-heed-it

Having said that, it's not just the sports world where admins cover up wrongdoing to protect their brands.

November 10, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Ah, the couples skate. Good times.

Paterno's legacy is of shame. Period.

9er —

Jesse's facade wording is spot-on. And you're right, who knows how much cover-up goes on and when it can happen there — a place that looked so sublime — it can happen anywhere.

Will there be reform from this, who knows?

— 5-at-10

November 10, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
memphisexile said...

Out here in Memphis we care about the NBA, just not until U of M is done with basketball. This usually conincides with the end of the NBA regular season and right into playoffs which is nice. However, no one here really seems to care that the Grizz are not playing. This is kind of sad considering they played pretty well last year, and probably would make the playoffs this year.

I disagree with the Penn St. students and think they are wrong. However, we have to remember that these are "adults", under the age of 22 for the most part, who do not have a lot of life perspective.

What I found particularly disturbing yesterday was Stuart Scott and other ESPN personalities who seemed to almost be salivating at the prospect of a riot at Penn St. I guess they were disappointed when the few hundred students who had gathered on campus did not burn it down.

November 10, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Exile —

That's particularly surprising about the Memphis apathy. That said, we bet the buzz for Tigers hoops is starting to take shape.

Fair point about the PSU students being young and without the life experience that becomes wisdom.

As for ESPN's coverage, well, let's just say we were less than impressed. By a ton. Boo-yah.

— 5-at-10

November 10, 2011 at 2:03 p.m.
Walden said...

Jay- I also read that report out of PA regarding Sandusky pimping out young boys. He was allegedly pimping them out to well-heeled donors in exchange for donations to the school. Does anyone think Paterno wasn't at least knowledgeable about this? Sandusky may have agreed to being fired in exchange for others looking the other way. This is heinous. JoePa may be in legal jeopardy before the week is out.

November 10, 2011 at 2:06 p.m.
jesse said...

starting to sound like the fat lady ain't even started to sing yet!!

November 10, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Daly was a fabulous talent, who unlike Tiger Woods suffering greatly from one blunder, constantly tossed personal and personal hand grenades never checking where they might fall and to what affect.

This man was also a leader: Daly was dumping large amounts of money at casinos before Texas Hold’em was cool.

I was privilidged to see Daly bomb it a couple of times at Doral in the mid-1990s. Although I was prepared for what I was seeing, seeing up-close made me a true believer. There were many others tee to green on a Thursday clapping, whistling, hooting.

As Daly’s personal life moved as far past parallel as his legendary swing, I’ve often wonder if he believed himself talented enough to pickup up some clubs and a caddy then head to tournament right at tee-time without any sleep and kick everyone’s ass.

This worked for Daly at Crooked Stick, why not everywhere else? The stubborn fact remains for all his talent, from tee to green, Daly did win a PGA and British Open, but amassed only three other PGA Tour wins.

We will miss John Daly when he’s smoking cigarettes and exploding after putting up snowmen on the Champions Tour. With his exit, the PGA Tour becomes fully homogenized.

Players, even those of this year’s youth movement, are flawless corporate characters showing little of their personalities on the course.

It’s about the money down in Jacksonville.

Today's game is all about swing planes and mechanics, yet this process does not make shot shapers. Bubba Watson is the exception.

It’s doubtful a great like US Open winner, Tommy Bolt, could call the present PGA Tour home.

November 10, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Walden —

It is heinous and disgusting, and if they prove Joe Pa did know about any of that and did not share, here's hoping they put him jail.

Jesse —

This is not over by a long shot. Here's an over/under for the group:

When this is all said and done, will there be more known victims of Sandusky or enablers of Sandusky?

And a friend of the show emailed me a little while ago and asked: "How long before the 'Joe made me keep quiet' stories start coming out?" And that question is scary since how else can you explain McQueary still on staff?

FE to the C —

Daly was an original, there's no debating that. And great point about the homogenized PGA. It's like they cloned Davis Love III and put him out there.

Tiger's cooked, Daly's imploded, Phil is more worried about trick shots.

Take Bubba out of the equation and you have today's country music for crying out loud. A bunch of converted pop stars putting on ball caps and glitter jeans and singing about catfish and tractors.

We need a nap.

— 5-at-10

November 10, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Jay,

You're dead on about the state of country music. Somebody, sometime soon needs to come out of Texas to rescue Nashville once again.

November 10, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Watched a little of the CMA's last night and wanted to throw my shoe through the TV. SOme yahoo gets out there in glitter jeans and starts rappin' for crying out loud. This new crop of country music metrosexuals (take Jason Aldean out of the question) that don't wear hats and only wear boots when it's raining make our head hurt.

Somewhere George Strait is shaking his head and wondering what happened. We blame Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts.

— 5-at-10

November 10, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
jesse said...

country music died when hank sr.died and garth brooks put the final nail in the coffin w/friends in low placed!

long live the music of doc watson and the stanley bros!(mtn.music !)

btw: i think macelroy will give the pga a shot in the arm! i just hate watching daly self destruct!

November 10, 2011 at 3:48 p.m.
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