One of the sports columnists on the staff of the Orlando Sentinel, Mike Bianchi, spewed bile and added fuel to the anti-Penn State fire this morning when he wrote a hit piece entitled “Go away, Penn State, we don’t want you in our bowl game.”
Bianchi apparently has nothing better to do, as the NBA lockout has denied him one of the usual outlets for his vitriol, the Orlando Magic.
His premise is decidedly untrue, so I hope his effort to undermine a Capital One Bowl invitation falls flat on its ugly face.
Apparently, Bianchi is incensed that Steve Hogan, Executive Director of the Capital One Bowl stated that if Penn State qualified for the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on January 2, he and his committee wouldn’t hesitate to invite them. “Until somebody in the Big Ten or NCAA tells us those student-athletes don’t deserve to be considered for what they have done on the field, then we’re going to consider them.”
Bianchi opines that Hogan is just doing his job, in view of the contract between the Big Ten and the Capital One Bowl. If Penn State qualifies, his committee has to invite them. “This is why the Big Ten and Penn State must do the right thing and immediately let it be known the Nittany Lions are pulling themselves from bowl consideration while they deal with the most disgusting, despicable, deplorable scandal in the history of college football.”
“Every time the Nittany Lions step on the field, we don’t see a football team; we see a dark, evil place where countless little boys were allegedly allowed to be sexually molested by a football coach.” —Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel
That’s Bianchi’s opinion, not mine. The scandal has nothing at all to do with the players who will take the field against a pretty doggone good opponent. They would miss out on a great opportunity, not because of their actions, but because of something completely beyond their control. But he has a pat answer for that, too.
I understand the players at Penn State have done nothing wrong, but too bad. It happens all the time in the NCAA: Innocent players are punished years later for the actions of a bunch of cheating coaches, boosters or administrators.
Oh, and suppose the Lions win tomorrow at Camp Randall, and receive a Rose Bowl invitation. You would think that Bianchi would be happy that PSU would be as far away from Orlando as possible without going to the Hula Bowl. But, no, he’s thought about that possibility and still hysterically flails away at Penn State.
Can you imagine if Penn State ends up in Pasadena with the massive baggage and nuclear fallout from the child sex abuse scandal that has already cost iconic coach Joe Paterno his job? All of those sweet-smelling flowers in the Tournament of Roses parade will suddenly stink from the stench of the horrific allegations against Sandusky. And when the commentators talk about “The Granddaddy of Them All”, they will be referring to the scandal and not the bowl game.
Give me a break! But Bianchi doesn’t relent as he goes on kicking our guys when they’re down.
Bowls [sic] games were meant to be gridiron galas — joyous, jubilant occasions where fans from both schools come together for a fun-filled football festival. They were meant to be a celebration of the great sport of college football.
If Penn State comes to town, the celebration turns to castigation. The mere presence of the Nittany Lions will cast a pall over every activity. Even the cheery holiday bowl parade in Orlando will seem more like a funeral march.
Really? When Penn State comes to town, it’s always a great party. We alumni party hearty. In terms of impact to the local economy, Penn State is a godsend for any venue lucky enough to get us and our big bucks. We “travel well.” Bianchi doesn’t particularly care.
There will be no pall. It will be bowl business as usual. This is all about football, fun, friends, and spirit, not about politics, scandals, and child molestation. Sure, we’re all ashamed of what happened between Sandusky and the kids — it was horrendous to find out about it and our revulsion doesn’t compare with what the boys went through. Major steps such as firing Spanier and Paterno having been taken — and I do mean Major — we as alumni still hurt for the kids, and we’ve given a pile of guilt money to NAILL for something we personally didn’t do. Penn State has taught us to be responsible adults.
But I digress. Bianchi still thinks the fans and players need to be punished.
College is supposed to prepare you for the real world. Well, the Penn State football players need to know that in the real world decent, hardworking people sometimes lose their jobs in this economy because of situations beyond their control. This scandal is bigger than a football team. Even though the players are pawns, they still represent a university where the coaches and administrators appear to have covered up the atrocious allegations against Sandusky just so they could protect the football team’s brand. Penn State’s name is now toxic in the minds of most Americans. Every time the Nittany Lions step on the field, we don’t see a football team; we see a dark, evil place where countless little boys were allegedly allowed to be sexually molested by a football coach.
Bianchi’s concluding paragraph rubs it in some more. Americans are far less close-minded than he thinks. Most Americans do not consider Penn State’s name toxic; I give them more credit for their intelligence than that, unlike media hacks like Bianchi, who would like to sway them toward his simplistic black-and-white characterization. Most Americans know that the scandal was the work of a few bad seeds, some in very high places, but they do not punish the graduates of the institution for their association with the school. I have to wonder whether Bianchi would vilify the Gators or the Seminoles in a similar situation.
I live in the Orlando area. Bianchi doesn’t speak for the local citizenry. Typically, he just pisses them off. His bio includes the statement, “If I write something that’s wrong, just remember this quote: ‘Doctors bury their mistakes, sports columnists print ours.'” Yeah, Bianchi, you’ve done it again — you’ve printed yet another mistake. I hope your email in-box melts down.
In any case, Bianchi is pissing in the wind. The bowl committees don’t really give a damn about what he has to say. They’ll observe their contracts and follow the money, as they always do.
You can email Bianchi at firstname.lastname@example.org.