It's been a tough week. A week that reminds us that sports are often nowhere near as important as we believe them to be compared to real-world hardships, and a week that shows us sports are more important that we could imagine because they allow us a chance to rise above real-world hardships.
On to the mailbag. From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald "Jerry" Sandusky, center, arrives in handcuffs at the office of Centre County Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot. (AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Andy Colwell)
From Irish Friend,
Joe Paterno deserved to be fired, there's no doubt.
But there are two other items I want to discuss.
Apparently the Sanduskys and the McQuearys grew up together. Mr. McQ coached Sandusky's adopted kids in little league, and not one single PSU person, cop or anybody did one thing right since 1998 to prevent the rapes. Can't argue with that. The high school that banned Sandusky is the only one.
They will either make Joe the total goat to protect the school for the future or they find another goat to try and protect his legacy.
I think we will start hearing “Joe made me do it” stories.
This has been such a hard week, and this story is one of "those" type events that turn everything you believed you knew about a person and a program upside-down.
There are certain facts that have not been given enough credence.
First, Jerry Sandusky is the monster here. Joe Paterno was complicit in letting the monster continue and that's awful in its awfulness, but Joe Pa did not commit the acts and he was not the only one at State College who kept quiet as Irish Friend points out.
That said, Joe Pa is Penn State, and these horrors are about Penn State so they are about the entire Penn State family and Joe Pa is the patriarch.
Your two scenarios are accurate, but it's hard to see how they are going to be able to put this on anyone else. There's a real chance that the "Joe told me to keep quiet" stories will come. The fact that he lawyered up Thursday and that Mike McQueary, the assistant that reported Sandusky's activity in the shower with a 10-year-old to Paterno in 2002, is still on staff. (Well, that and the fact that firing McQueary could open up Penn State to a "whistle-blower" lawsuit.)
We know of six people at Penn State that could have called the cops or raised a hand or said, "Hey, what's going on here," and never did, and here's saying there are at least five times that number who knew Sandusky was a sicko. Maybe they didn't have eye-witness knowledge like McQueary or had first-hand accounts of it like Paterno and some of the PSU administration, but they knew.
And they all let the monster continue to prey. We don't give two rips about Paterno's legacy or his half-century of success. The more we think of this and ache for the victims, the more we realize this does not tarnish his legacy — it erases it.
In this Jan. 1, 2003 file photo, Joe Paterno, Oenn State head football coach, walks along the sideline during the Capital One Bowl against Auburn, in Orlando. Auburn won, 13-9. Penn State administrators on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 canceled Paterno's weekly news conference, in which he was expected to field questions about a sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack, File)
My, my another week of college football scandal. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. This whole deal at Penn St. is just gross, nasty, and sick. I feel exactly like you felt when you wrote in Tuesday’s column that you felt like you needed to take a shower after reading the attorney general’s letter about the case. I read the first 5 pages and had to stop there because I began to get sick at my stomach. It is just a sad, sad ending for Joe Paterno’s historic career. I say ending because JoePa has to go. There’s no way around it. Paterno has been thought of as a great coach with great morals and someone you would want your son to play for. Which brings me to my question for you this week. Let’s say you have an 18 year old son that is being highly recruited by all the top college football programs in the nation. What coach do you want your son to play for?
P.S. I don’t know if it’s this new coffee I’ve been drinking or what but I’ve got a good feeling about Tennessee’s chances this weekend.
If you like Tennessee's chances this weekend, then that new "coffee" you're drinking may be 80-proof. (Kidding — mostly). As for the Vols, it's hard to remember a time when a quick start is more important, considering the young quarterback, the uncertain confidence of a young team on the road against a good opponent, and the second-half woes. Have to start fast.
As for the coach we'd like 5-at-10 Jr. to play for, we'll answer this with the following caveat — if this had been in last week's mailbag, Joe Paterno would have been in the top 3. If this had been in a mailbag 18 months ago, Paterno and Jim Tressel would have been in the top 5. So it goes, and the thing about cliches like "you can't judge a book by its cover" is that they become cliches because they are so true.
Of what we know of the coaches we've been around and that are in the south, here are the five that came to mind first (and in no particular order): Mark Richt, Derek Dooley, Gene Chizik, Russ Huesman and Steve Spurrier. Each of those guys have been genuine in their dealings with us and appear to care as much about the student-athlete as they do about the program, and as a parent, that has to be the foremost concern.
In this Oct. 1, 1975, file photo, heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier grimaces after Muhammad Ali, left, landed a blow to Frazier's head during their boxing bout in Manila, the Philippines. (AP Photo/File)
Heard you on SportTalk this week. Nice job, you're pretty good on the radio. You guys were talking a bunch about Paterno, but talked briefly about "Down goes Frazier," and the best sports calls of all-time.
What are your favorites.
Thanks, and the 5-at-10 is awesome.
Thanks for the kind words and for breaking the tension. Feel free to stop by anytime the 5-at-10 anytime and chime along during the week.
That was a heavy show this week on SportTalk because of the Penn State stuff, and as Dr. B said (he's a doctor after all), the best sports announcing calls would be a great show one day that we'd love to be a part of. Remember, these are out favorite calls, regardless of the moment. Sure some of the moments are bigger and that makes them even more famous, but there are some renowned calls like "Giants win the pennant, Giants win the pennant," and "Yes sir," and "Havlicek stole the ball," that are more about the moment than the calls. These are some of each (with a personal favorite at No. 5):
Here's our list, and we're only doing TV calls today, although there could be a whole other category for great radio calls (and Larry Munson would be prominently featured):
1) "Do you believe in miracles? Yes." — Al Micheals' masterpiece on the US hockey win in 1980.
2) "Down goes Frazier" — Cosell at his overpowering best.
3) "I don't believe what I just saw" — Jack Buck's call on Gibson's homer in '88; Scully's call on radio was equally outstanding.
4) "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life." — Joe Carter's walk-off World Series winner.
5) "Send it in Jerome" — Bill Raferty's iconic call on the best live dunk we've ever seen. This happened in the mid-1980s, and if it happened today, the internet would melt.
This April 16, 2011, file photo shows Sebastian the Ibis, the Miami Hurricanes' mascot, leading the team on to the field for a spring NCAA college football game, at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports he provided extra benefits to 72 football players and other athletes at Miami from 2002 to 2010. His claims involve several current players, but coach Al Golden said it was too soon to take disciplinary action. (AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan, FIle)
Do you think there are some folks at Miami and Ohio St that are glad the media spotlight is somewhere else?
On a better note, what are Auburn's chances against the Dawgs? Its in Athens, so history is on Auburn's side...
As for the Auburn Tigers, we think it's going to be a tight game, but Aaron Murray's level of experience over Clint Moseley's will be the difference in a tight Georgia win.
The crazy thing about your question this week was about 12 hours after you sent it, THE Ohio State was in NCAA trouble. Again.
The Buckeyes were hit with a "Failure to monitor" charge from the NCAA and this appears to be final straw for AD Gene Smith, who got a stern letter from OSU president Gordon Gee, and considering how passive and mamby pamby Gee has been through all this (remember, he's the bow-tie-wearing yahoo who said early on that he hoped Jim Tressel didn't fire him) that in Gee's playbook the stern letter is comparable to a nuclear weapon in the real world.
That said, NCAA violations seem somewhat trivial and meaningless this week. In fact, if the 5-at-10 had a position of power at the NCAA the following news conference would have already happened this week:
NCAA spokesman 5-at-10 steps to the podium:
"The tragic and devastating alleged events at Penn State are horrific. Forget NCAA violations, these are crimes against humanity and forget answering to a college sports governing body, the people involved will have to answer to their Maker.
That said, we are saddened by this news and support Penn State's decisions, and as a member institution, we'll offer whatever support we can to them.
At times of tragedies such as this, there come moments of reflection and introspection. As for us, we realize that we can better serve college sports in general and college athletes and fans of college athletics in particular.
While our energy and prayers should be with the victims and their families, know that we are taking this wide-sweeping scandal as seriously as anyone who loves college football. And we, the NCAA, are taking this time to overhaul our rules and regulations and policing procedures. Text messages and bar-be-que guest lists seem more trivial than ever this week, so we know real structure with real punishment must be part of the future of the NCAA.
In fact, we'll include a morality chapter covering all the things that we expect the leaders of young men and women to do and to not do.
I'll now take your questions."
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) avoids Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu after making a catch for first down in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Today is 11/11/11. Cool huh?
What are some of the best to ever wear No. 11?
What number did you wear playing sports?
PS — when's the next contest, I like to win stuff.
Since this date is also palindromic, we'll answer your questions in reverse order.
No idea on the next contest. Anyone got any suggestions? Maybe we could have something on the President's Cup next week, we'll see.
The date 11/11/11 is cool and our Lifestyle section did some really neat stuff on that numeric anomaly. Some people believe today will be a lucky day, but according to the Elias Sports folks, no current athlete is riding an 11-high like Rangers outfielder David Murphy, who had 111 hits, 11 steals, 11 homers and hit into 11 double plays. And Murphy, who's name has 11 letters, was on the losing end in the most recent Fall Classic, which was the 11th World Series title for the St. Louis Cardinals.
As for the 5-at-10, we wore a variety of numbers — wore a lot of 10s as a little tot and some 34s ( in honor of Chuck Barkley) before settling in on 22 as a tribute to a combination of folks but mainly Doug Flutie at Boston College.
As for some of the best No. 11s let's go by sport, and then some:
Hockey — Mark Messier
Hoops — Isiah Thomas edges Elvin Hayes
NASCAR — Cale Yarborough edges Darrell Waltrip
College football — Steve Spurrier
Pro football — Norm Van Brocklin edges Larry Fitzgerald but that could change
Baseball — Barry Larkin
Movies — New Ocean's 11 edges old Ocean's 11
Gambling tip — Always double-down on 11. Always — even if you have to borrow money.
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 ...