Sweet buckets, how does this happen? We were lamenting the lack of sports happenings and now we're having to trim out things that would normally make fine 5-at-10 chatter. Before we get to it, we owe last night's ESPY's an apology. The Pat Summitt tribute was OUT-standing and moving and special. It was not the Jimmy V moment from 20 years ago, but it was close. Well-played indeed.
And if that's not enough, this time next week we'll be wrapping up SEC media days. Yep, it's right around the corner.
From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go... Reports due today at 9 a.m. (we're writing this beforehand and will return and update)
The reports from the Freeh investigation into what went on behind the scenes at Penn State are due today. There's no way it will be pretty, because when some one looks into the ways evil happens and darkness is covered and lives are ruined, there is no way to spin that. Or present it with anything more than the direct and sad and tragic truth.
But after more than a decade of cover-ups and lies and misinformation in an effort to protect the many and sacrifice the innocence of children, the only tonic left that can offer solace is the truth.
Who knew what and when? Who was complicit and, if we can find out why, why? It's time.
And the report does not figure to reflect kindly on Joe Paterno or the rest of the powers that didn't at Penn State. We learned this week that Paterno wrote a letter to be published as an op-ed piece in a newspaper days before his January death. And since he sadly is no longer here to defend the charges, this is one of his last statements about the scandal:
“Specifically, I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal,” Paterno wrote in the letter. “Let me say that again so I am not misunderstood: regardless of anyone's opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished.
“Yet, over and over again, I have heard Penn State officials decrying the influence of football and have heard such ignorant comments like Penn State will no longer be a ‘football factory’ and we are going to ‘start’ focusing on integrity in athletics. These statements are simply unsupported by the five decades of evidence to the contrary -- and succeed only in unfairly besmirching both a great university and the players and alumni of the football program who have given of themselves to help make it great.”
The huge point here is that anyone who believe this to be a "football" scandal has already missed the point. This is a human scandal; a tragedy.
The fact that in the final hours of his life, Paterno was still trying to justify, defend and exonerate the Penn State football program from this disaster is tragic. And telling.
Here's saying the Freeh report will be jarring.
(We wrote this at 8:15 a.m., and we'll be back around 11:30 with an update after the report is released.
Politics of college football
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ESPN is going to sell TV ads to political campaigns during college football and NFL games this fall leading up to the November elections.
Wow, as if those Saturday night SEC dogfights aren't passionate enough, we're adding one of the most emotionally charged presidential elections in recent memory to the mix.
Yeah, this is sure to draw some ire — that is if any of us watched the commercials anyway. Still, imagine you're watching your team late in the first half driving. They turn it over and your rival takes it back for a score. You're already cussing, and then the guy you think is the worst choice in the world for president comes on the air to tell you how he's going to fix things. Not good. (You want to know who is happy about this? BestBuy and TV sellers everywhere. We're betting skyrocketing numbers in broken TVs from September to the end of October this year. And no gang, your homeowners insurance does not cover "a random flying remote control that somehow smashed the picture tube.")
That said, if you are looking for a celebrity to endorse your campaign on a commercial on ESPN, who are you asking? Be careful getting a particular coach because everyone has sizable groups that love and loath him. Do you get Saban, Tebow, Kirk Herbstreit?
Of course not. You can't pin your hopes on a face that may alienate half the audience or more. Of course if you're Obama, maybe you pay Lee Corso to put on a giant Mitt Romney head before the game. That's the sure-fire kiss of death.
We put our head on the pillow last night realizing that we had not answered our own question. Not good.
There were a lot of quality responses, and we'd watch "Midway" remake as Spy suggested. Heck, if the Midway original was on right now, we'd watch it. Laughing Boy's list was particularly stout, too, and we agree that a slew of horror movies could be redone in style. FE to the C suggested "Nighthawks" and we almost went there. Amen. And pass the ammo about the war movies made to make war look bad. Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. Nighthawks is a GREAT call, and we almost stole that one. Here's our Rushmore of remakes (and despite Laughter's stout list, we tried to stay away from straight horror movies): — Escape from New York with Jason Statham as Snake Pliskin — The Great Escape, but it would take MONSTER coin to assemble a cast that star-studded today
— WarGames, and take us to DefCon 2 and get the president on the horn
— (This may count as two so sue us) Big Chill for our generation, which arguably could be the Breakfast Club where are they now
This and that — Every time we think we know where Dwight Howard is going something happens that blows that up. We've seen eighth-grade romances with better communication and more stability than the Howard-Orlando Magic situation.
-- What's this strange wet stuff that's falling from the sky in the 423?
— The Braves start back Friday against the Mets. Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer believes the Braves are good enough to stay in the race but little more. We can certainly see that view, we just think they may have a little more than that. We'll cover this in tomorrow's mailbag.
— Reminder, we're planning on being on The Show with Chris Goforth today around 2 p.m. on 1370 AM here in the 423. Swing by if you have a minute.
— OK, from the files of you can't make this up. Linda Chase of Jackson, Mich., has been watching NASCAR with the man she lives with for more than a year. OK, that seems a little out of place since we'd rather do a month of insurance seminars than watch every NASCAR race for a year. But, according to the Jackson City Patriot, the circumstances were a little more "Weekend at Bernie's" than weekend at Talladega: "Zigler, known as Charlie, died naturally, Linda Chase said. "He just fell asleep." She kept him in his chair after he died, keeping him dressed and cleaned. His body did not stink, she said. She would talk to him and watch NASCAR races on television with him." Granted, Ms. Chase was also cashing Zigler's social security checks, too, and will likely go to jail. And if you're wondering how they got away with it, here's saying that when it was their turn to host the NASCAR watching party, they did it for Sonoma or some other road course where everyone falls asleep anyway.
Leave it to Kobe Bryant to offer a talking point line during the slowest time of the sports calendar.
Thanks Kobe, we owe you one, and know that this is arguably the most unselfish thing Bryant has ever done. So it goes.
Byrant said this week that this US Olympic basketball team would beat the original Jordan-Magic-Bird Dream Team of 1992. And amazingly, because of the relative age difference between those two teams we think Kobe's probably right. Not surprisingly Charles Barkley thinks that claim is turrrrible. In fact Barkley said that other than LeBron, Kobe and Kevin Durant, no one else from the 2012 team would make the original Dream Team. (Hey, we love Charles, but that's simply ludicrous. Christian Laettner was on the 1992 Dream Team for crying out loud.)
What do you think, would 2012 beat 1992? What about each of those teams in their prime — and if we're going to play the what if game, you have to add injured stars Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard to the 2012 team.
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 ...