Some PSU, Some Eagles Stuff

Posted: July 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

BGN has a new writer named Eliot Shorr Parks.  He put up a post today calling for Penn State to cancel the upcoming season.  Here are a couple of key sentences:

Canceling the football season is the only way Penn State can truly show they are sorry about what happened, and are serious about changes going forward.

Football is not important right now. They need to show that for the first time in a long time, they get that.

Eliot…have you talked to anyone who is focused on the upcoming season?  I sure as hell haven’t.  I’m not seeing a lot of talk about PSU winning the Big Ten or looking to have an awesome year.  In fact, the only thing being talked about now is the Freeh Report and cover up of the Sandusky crimes.

There is no focus on football.  This is all scandal, all the time.

Will that change when the season rolls around?  Yes.  But that’s true with or without games.  We cannot obsess on this forever.  I remember hearing guys on ESPN radio a few days after 9/11 talking about how the language of sports had to change.  Words like battle and warrior and other militaristic terms were going to have a very real meaning and they had no place in sports.  Calling some football player a warrior was going to be an insult to the men and women of the armed forces.  This wasn’t typical sports radio.  It was somber.  It was very reality based.

A couple of months later the world was right back to home runs being bombs, linebackers being warriors, and the stadium being the field of battle.  That’s just life.  It moves on.  Grandiose ideas in the wake of a tragedy sound good, but they simply don’t deal with reality.

As for PSU being serious about changes moving forward…the culture absolutely has changed.  JoePa was the culture.  The man was fired over the phone.  That night was a huge step in changing the world of Penn State.  There was no ceremony to it.  The move was abrupt and ice cold (appropriate, as it turns out).

Had PSU gone and hired Bob Stoops or some other mega-coach, I would worry about a return to business as usual.  That didn’t happen.  Had someone within the PSU family been hired, you could argue the same thing.  Joe wanted Tom Bradley to get the job.  Didn’t happen.  It didn’t go to Greg Schiano or Al Golden.  There would be no continuation of JoePa’s legacy.

PSU went and hired Bill O’Brien.  If there was ever an unsexy hire, this was it.  Whether he is good, average, or awful, BOB is probably the perfect guy for the job.  He can clean house.  He’s got no feelings toward players or staff.  He isn’t a star coach that will be bigger than the program.  Bill also is a smart guy and knows he’s under a microscope…an electron microscope.  He won’t be cutting corners.  He’ll do things the right way.  He spent time at Duke so he’s not a guy from a football factory that has a win or die mentality.  He’ll be a bit more grounded.

PSU football will be a distraction in 2012, not the focus of life that it was for the past 40+ years.  Life has most certainly changed.  Cancelling the season might feel good to throw around as an idea, but it would not help the situation at all.

* * * * *

Derek from Iggles Blog feels the same way.  Only he said it in a different and likely better way.  That boy sure does write good, huh?  Ought to start a blog or something like that.

* * * * *

Doug Farrar is an NFL writer that I like a lot.  He said something odd on Twitter.  ”If you find Penn State defensible at all, you ought to…” and he had a link for you to click.  The key notion here is the word “defensible”.  I think guys like Doug are backing you into a corner, almost saying “if you don’t hate everything about PSU…”.

The way PSU handled the Sandusky situation is sickening and will be a black cloud over the school and football program for a long time.  I’m not going to defend Joe, Schultz, Spanier, or Curley at all.  Those guys were wrong.  They deserve whatever punishment comes their way.  That said, am I also supposed to hate everything PSU-related?  This is where I do get defensive.

Can I fondly remember Michael Robinson running over the Minnesota DB in 2005 or am I supposed to feel guilty and think of nothing but the Sandusky situation?  Am I allowed to watch Navorro Bowman blow up runners and feel happy or am I supposed to feel bad in that situation?

Hate the 4 all you want.  Those guys did a terrible thing by staying silent and covering up the crimes of a predator.  Do try to find some way to separate them from PSU.  I know Joe complicates that (and it troubles me).  Everything PSU is tainted right now.

The point is that it feels like too many people are using a trick that Stephen Colbert does when interviewing.  You set up an impossible premise.  Colbert does it for comedy gold, but the rationale here is troubling.  It feels as though the choice is:  I’m anti-child molester  -or-  I’m for Penn State.  Clearly that isn’t reality.  Please don’t frame things that way.

* * * * *

I’m sorry for so much PSU stuff.  I’ll try to make this the last of it.  I just get frustrated as I read things and can’t help but want to write.

* * * * *

Fake WIP Caller has a new column up at SB Nation Philly.  Lots of great Phillies stuff in there.  He is truly an evil genius.

* * * * *

While watching tape of Josh Gordon for the Supp. Draft, I happened to focus on Baylor’s LT a few times.  That, of course, was Danny Watkins.  He was a really good college OL.  Danny still has very good potential.  I know he was up and down last year.  I’m not sure if this will be his breakout season or not, but if things do click, he can be a very good RG.  He’s got the strength and physicality to be a dominant run blocker.  The question with him is whether he can master pass protection.  Dealing with quick, agile DTs gave him problems last year.  I’m hoping to see a lot of progress this year.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama has a good note in his post today.  Some writer was talking about us and Dallas fighting for the NFC-E crown, but had highly flawed logic for his pick.  Check that out.

* * * * *

The Eagles finally made Eugene Chung an honest man.  He’s no longer the secret OL coach.  He is now officially listed as the Offensive Line Assistant.

Taking over his old role of working with the Strength Coach is Travis Crittenden.

The Eagles also have Mike Coyne now as Pro Scout Coordinator.  I can’t offer much on him.  Will need to do some research.  That isn’t a common position.  I don’t know if the Eagles created it because they like him or if that’s just something new they are trying.

_


  • Anders

    I honestly believe people are overreacting on this whole thing, but as you said, in a few months (Maybe years) people have mostly forgotten it and it will only be a very selected few and the media there will talk about it.
    Perfect example of this is Vick, 3 years ago people was hating him, now people love him (Outside of few lunatics)

    • TommyLawlor

      This is a horrific situation to be sure so I don’t know that overreacting is the right word.

      Mabye overreaching would be better. The blame and hate is getting spread far and wide. We’re talking about the actions of a few. Those few deserve plenty of hate and anger.

      • Anders

        That what I meant with overreacting. People aint think rational right now, I think there is to much emotion with it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

        I don’t see it as overreacting or overreaching. I think it is a matter of setting priorities. And the biggest priority is making sure that all traces of the institutional criminal negligence that allowed this to go on for so long is eradicated. And IMO other priorities come after that. Those, for example, of being fair to students who had nothing to do with this and could not have realized what they were getting into. I’m not disregarding them. I just think there is a higher priority.

      • CampDracula

        I don’t know, Tommy. On one hand, I think you CAN spread the blame super far- like beyond Penn State far. The question is what does that mean? If it means everyone who did not do enough to prevent abuse deserves punishment, then you can put every last one of us on that list. To me, what’s interesting about all of this is that it gets at what our responsibility is for responding to traumatic stuff of someone else’s doing. As someone on the front lines every day, I can tell you that things are much murkier than they seem from afar. As much as what Joe did sickens me, I can empathize with him because I’ve had to report people. It is WAY more difficult than people realize, and I’ve had a lot of supervision and training on the matter. I’d so much rather have a constructive, far reaching conversation about what we all should do if we ever come across something like that.

  • Cliff

    I think part of the problem is the way the PSU student body reacted initially. A lot of people still have the image of idiotic PSU students blindly marching in defense of Paterno and the football program. The impression is that PSU Nation cared more about football than the people who had their childhoods taken from them.

    That might be “overreaching,” but perception is reality and I think a lot of people look at PSU’s reaction with disgust.

    • TommyLawlor

      Fair point.

      The reaction to JoePa’s firing was bad. That was a bunch of kids going nuts. I think they realized that quickly. The very next night they held a candle light vigil to show support for the victims. People forget about that, though. Doesn’t play as good as showing the kids gathering in the streets to protest the firing.

      • Cliff

        Good point.

        I didn’t even know about the vigil, obviously, because it wasn’t covered the same way by the media.

  • Thunder_lips

    I don’t mean to make light of this terrible situation, but I can’t help but point out that you just used the classic “Animal House” defense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROxvT8KKdFw#t=1m28s.

    • TommyLawlor

      You didn’t think I was smart enough to come up with that on my own, did you?

  • Jason_E

    Elliot… I’ve disagreed with more BGN content over the past few weeks than I have over the past few years.

  • P_P_K

    Sandusky and his enablers victimized a whole bunch of innocent children for years. Why should the innocent young adults who make up the football program ,or any other aspect of PSU life, also be victimized? Punish the people responsible. Bring the hammer down on those who deserve it, not on anyone who had nothing to do with the events.

  • CampDracula

    I am so ready for training camp. The only bright spot of the Phils season has a broken back and a 50 game suspension. The Sixers finaly amnesty Elton Brand only to get Nick Young and Kwame Brown (ugh). And Penn State is…

  • http://www.facebook.com/makoto.nakajima Makoto Nakajima

    lll

  • mamber.m

    I guess somebody made this argument already, but I think PSU should be
    punished as hard as possible. If shutting down a season is a very harsh
    punishment, so be it. This was a very serious act, and we really need to
    do anything to prevent it.

    Consider that you are the President of PSU. If some horrible thing
    happens like it did, you can always make an argument of “remaining
    players/coaches did not commit a crime” and avoid a harsh punishment. If
    the President thinks in that way, the President will be happy to hire
    child molesters or liers without worrying too much about consequences.
    If Presidents are happy hiring criminals as long as they are good in
    football, the coaches or players do not care about crimes that commit.
    If the players know that bad coaches are punished, they keep choosing
    schools with criminal coaches as long as they are good football coaches.
    This is a really bad equilibrium. I don’t want the innocent PSU players
    suffer, but you need credible punishment to prevent a bad equilibrium.
    You could help players to transfer to another program without punishment
    to alleviate the costs imposed on innocents.

    Of course, we know that harsh punishment does not always work to prevent
    crimes, but this is worth trying I think. It’s too horrible not to be
    punished substantially.

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the former president of Penn State is one of the people in trouble and will likely be going to jail.

      That’s part of the point. This wasn’t just some football guys. This was key men who ran the university.

    • CampDracula

      I will have to respectfully disagree with this post. Punishment is most often a poor deterrent. If it was effective, we wouldn’t have the highest rate of imprisonment in the world with continuously high crime rates (http://www.economist.com/node/16640389) . The myth that punishment is the ideal method for reducing bad behavior has been debunked years ago by BF Skinner.

      • CampDracula

        For the record, I’m for encouraging Penn State and Penn Staters to demonstrate as much solidarity with survivors of abuse as possible. Kind of like the Eagles approach with Michael Vick, where he was encouraged to become an advocate for animal rights.

      • Miami_Adam

        I really don’t mean to keep responding negatively to your posts, but pretty much every civilized country punishes people for breaking the law with imprisonment. The fact that the US has the highest rate of imprisonment comes from the fact that the US has the highest crime rates. This speaks much more to laws and their enforcement than whether imprisonment is a good deterrent, because almost every country uses the same deterrent. Effectively, if you’re impugning imprisonment as a deterrent, that would affect every country that utilizes imprisonment equally.

        • aceandson

          Prison is primarily for discipline and punishment. Secondary is rehabilitation. Deterrent is far down the list of practical uses.

          You won’t even be able to find a peer-review study that says prison/punishment is a statistically significant deterrent to crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

    I’m in the middle where I think that Penn State can handle this without bringing on major sanctions from the NCAA, but taking the position that five people alone were responsible is not going to be a sufficiently convincing housecleaning.

  • Septhinox

    1. The Eliot Shorr Parks article reads like the GCobb author that he is.
    2. PSU should do something out of the ordinary though. I don’t know what that is and I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision. A gesture of setting up a fund for abused kids with all football proceeds (read after expenses, people still need to eat) going toward that program for the first 2 years, then 75%, then 50% and then a continued 10% every year after that would be huge and allow them to immediately get some positive press.

    It would show the world that they were truly sorry while actually doing something to help prevent it from happening to other children. The 10% yearly funding after the first 4 years would be a constant reminder to the university as a “never forget” type of moment.

  • http://twitter.com/JMMF_M Jay M Fredd

    How come nobody, even Freeh, did not bring up the investigation of Sandusky after the 1998 incident by the District Attorney from Centre County. The DA went missing after interviewing three children who he supposedly molested. I think the Attorney General at this time was our current governor Tom Corbett. Interesting tidbit. I am not sure we will ever know the whole situation. Still too many questions in my mind.

  • P_P_K

    It’s almost hard to write about Eagles football with the PSU situation swirling in the wind, but here goes. My props, Tommy, for the essay on Cunningham, McNabb and Vick. The main feeling I came away with is that we Eagles fans have enjoyed three great (well, maybe great – or very good +) qbs during our time. It’s remarkable that three such dramatic qbs played on the same team during a relatively short period of time. Add in Jaws time behind center and I’d say we’ve all had an exciting ride.

  • Miami_Adam

    I just read ESP’s article and his main point is basically PSU needs to be punished because what they did was so bad. Basically pointless, but whatever. This is my only thought as to why sitting out a season or two makes sense:

    There was a pervasive culture throughout PSU that protecting the football team and its public perception were more important than, well, anything. This culture permeated the program from the top (JoePa) to the bottom (those janitors who didn’t say anything about what they saw). Maybe the only way to restore a healthy culture is to scrap everything.

    Second, the argument that you’d only be punishing innocent people doesn’t resonate with me. That is the case almost any time any organization is punished. That’s the nature of organizations and “corporate people.”

    So you can all thumbs down this and pretend none of this had anything to do with football and it’s all about one monster ex-coach, but the truth is that the cover-up is almost always worse than the crime. And it appears there is a culture throughout the program to cover things up that would harm the program. The point of closing shop for a season of two wouldn’t be to punish anyone in the football program, but to fix the broken culture of the organization.