I set out to write this earlier, but then I got cranked up about my encounter with DirecTV, which was to have been a lead-in paragraph for this post but became a post of its own due to festering anger momentum.
So, reel me in, already. I’m here to write about Penn State.
Oops, I feel another rant coming and I can’t control it. Damn!
“[The trustees] don’t want to put these victims, who have been through so much already, through anything more in terms of what we need to do to get it resolved.” —Karen Peetz, Chair, PSU BOT
Have you noticed that some of the inflammatory web sites out there whose names I shall not mention that go off on the Freeh report and the Surmas and all of that stuff have issues with loosely couched representations replete with words like “obviously”, “clearly”, mixed with “seems to point to”, and — that favorite of my family — “I’m pretty sure that…”? Don’t you get the same feeling that I do — when you’re at those sites, you’re essentially walking into a barroom bullshit conversation about the Penn State scandal where hyperbole reigns supreme and nobody is holding anybody else to journalistic standards that differentiate fact from opinion? These sites don’t even exhibit tabloid levels of journalistic integrity.
It seems to this Turkey that the purpose of those sites, as I mention, is to inflame, not to inform. While I don’t doubt that the Surmas wield considerable power, and Tom Corbett is a power monger, it doesn’t do these people’s causes any good — and we haven’t yet figured out precisely where they think they’re heading with all this flaptrap yapping — to lead readers to believe that they stand on authoritative ground when they’re so easily caught being journalistically lazy.
I think the people who are doing most of the squawking, calling upon the rest of us to join them in their casus belli, fit into a few distinct categories, which I shall propose below.
- Those who merely want to see Joe Paterno’s name cleared
- Those who suspect a grand, statewide conspiracy to divert negative attention from Governor Tom Corbett and his henchmen
- Those who have an agenda of their own, such as publishing a book
- Those who think that if they present enough “facts”, the NCAA will mitigate their sanctions against Penn State. I shall label this category “Imbeciles”.
About Category Four, do any of you really think that the NCAA will change its mind about punishing PSU? (I can hear you saying, “Well, bla bla bla, if Curley and Schultz are found not guilty and we bring more information to light about the misrepresentations and inaccuracies in the Freeh report and we get a few trustees to resign and and and…” Warm, steaming bullshit! Ain’t gonna happen. Yes, I know, you’re asking what the hell I know that makes me an authority on what the NCAA will do. Nothing. I know nothing—except that Penn State signed a consent decree that agreed to the punishments without qualification, and without the right to appeal. There are no “rights”! Erickson signed them away when he inscribed his Rod-E on the decree. So, if you’re hoping for some redemption in this area, fuggedaboudit!
I’ve stated my opinion that if the NCAA were to mitigate any of Penn State’s sentence at all, it would be the vacated wins, which were arbitrary, capricious, and vindictive. Of course, all those adjectives wouldn’t come up if the win vacation was ever rescinded. Most likely, it won’t happen at all, but if it does, they’ll wait until Bobby Bowden goes to that great dadgum press box in the sky and the other PSU sanctions have run their course.
Just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.
You don’t? Okay, I’ll tell you: Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got to have one and they all stink.
However, it is when opinion is represented as fact that it gets dangerous. Perhaps this tendency stems from Washington, which enjoys deluding voters with “truth” that is 180 degrees out of phase with reality. At the very least, when caught by the reader, factual inaccuracies destroy the writer’s credibility in the mind of the reader, thus defeating the central purpose of the inflammatory sites — to be believed.
And why can’t they pay some attention to grammar? These are supposedly Penn State grads who should be able to write complete sentences in which words are spelled correctly. What’s that you say? It’s not the paint job on the car but the engine under the hood? Bullshit! If you want to be believed, write grammatically and factually sound essays. Learn the difference between “its” and “it’s”. And learn how to spell Pittsburgh!
A really easy, albeit somewhat inconsequential and innocuous misrepresentation of fact that I’ll blame on journalistic laziness appeared in that same post in the site whose name I wasn’t going to mention. In a LISTSERV email to Penn State lettermen subscribers, Pittsburg [sic] dentist and PSU alumnus Vic Surma is whining about Paterno’s treatment of pet players, presumably ones who were mission critical:
“As of last year, Dan connroy [sic] another stud linebacker was convicted of heinous phone calls to a mentally challenged coach , can you think of anything more vile? What did Paterno do? suspend him for three games against 3 virtual high school teams? Get a grip. We’re dealing wioth [sic] a corrupt society hidden in the hills of PA. for 40 years.”
Our champion of clearing Joe’s name, the lazy journalist, chose to impugn Vic Surma’s statement about Connor by relying on some vague memories, I suppose, because his “clarification” was factually inaccurate:
“Certainly not Dan Conroy (sic) Connor. Connor was upset with linebacker coach Joe Sarra who is not mentally challenged and Vic Surma claims Dan was not punished enough.”
I see where you’re going with this, Mr. Journalistically Lazy, and before we get there, I have to correct some of your implicit assumptions. Sarra had already retired from his job as a position coach two months before Connor started his immature little prank calling campaign against him. In a response to a direct question back in November 2011, Connor Tweeted:
“I pranked [sic] called Sarra because he was a crazy guy who would hang around stadium. Dumb/Jerk move by me.”
Remember that Connor’s calls and suspension took place in 2005. By the time he tweeted the above, in 2011, he had presumably matured a bit, and was playing in the NFL.
Sarra was a good friend of Joe Paterno. Joe was completely outraged about Connor’s voyage to the moronosphere. Was a three game suspension enough? Remember, Connor’s offense was not insubordination against a superior, an active position coach, but immaturity in abrogating proper off-campus decorum. He was not the only player involved in sardonically clowning around with Sarra. Not only was Connor suspended, but also the other two players, Jim Kanuch and Nolan McCready.
Of course, here’s where our old friend Vicky Triponey rears her lovely head. (How I love to digress into all things Vicky!) The Judicial Affairs office ordered Connor to perform 20 hours of community service and exacted upon him a 10-day deferred expulsion. (Whatever the hell that might be!) In time, both sentences were reduced. There was, of course, speculation that Paterno had intervened. He never admitted it, but in response to questions about it, he did say that frequently misbehaving players deserved a second chance.
Back to the three-game suspension, the three games Connor missed — high school teams, as Surma called them — were South Florida, Cincinnati, and Central Michigan. Connor returned for the B1G schedule that year as a sophomore, playing behind Poz. He was not yet a “stud linebacker”, but he would become one in his junior and senior years, long after he had learned his lesson about maturity.
See? That was fun. I remember most of that, but I dug up information to fill the gaps from readily available sources. Screwing up a minor point like this can impugn one’s credibility with some readers to the extent that the major point is lost. So, spend some time and get it right.
And please learn how to spell Pittsburgh.
Well, we’re sure as hell in Rant Mode, aren’t we today? This Turkey has been having some pretty interesting brainal reactions to weighing the emotional anchor of Effexor this week. I’m suddenly bursting with energy. Beware! I just might bore the hell out of you!
Dadgum it, I digress Bowdenoulsly.
Back to the Laser Focus, already!
Penn State President Rod Erickson has been hard at work lately, at least within the past one day, trying to create a methodology for dealing with victim compensation in the Sandusky scandal. He has retained the law firm of Ken Feinberg, famous for having run the 9/11 compensation fund, to arbitrate claims and resolve pending litigation.
Erickson also conducted an open session for students on Wednesday, allowing them to ask question about anything that popped into their heads. Naturally, the NCAA sanctions were still way the hell up there on the list.
The NCAA has appointed a so-called task force to provide oversight (in other words, put the clamps on) over Penn State’s distribution of the $60 million fine assessed to it.
Could the Penn State Board of Trustees soon be under investigation for improper handling of the NCAA sanctions against Penn State? Hmmmm, perhaps, maybe.
Lawyers for Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have asked the courts to try their clients separately.
A pro-Joe billboard has popped up in State College near the intersection of Pugh and Beaver.
Hey, I think that’s it for today. I’ll be back, of course, for my preview and prediction for the forthcoming Temple game. I’ll try not to be too last-minutey with it.