By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particular passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly.
The big news of the week was obviously the Freeh Report. It gave columnists one more chance to bash Penn State, rewrite JoePa's legacy and blame big-time college football for everything. Can we stay focused and not extrapolate and blame the entire culture of college athletics? You want to know who is to blame this travesty? Jerry Sandusky and the people in charge at Penn State. Sure, the culture of football had something to do with those people covering up these horrific acts but let's not blame the entire institution for what went down.
Shortly after the Penn State scandal went down another one popped up in Syracuse. Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine was accused of molesting children. It looked like an epidemic. College sports are too powerful! These coaches are given too much power and feel they can do anything! And then the evidence didn't start adding up in the Fine case but columnists and public opinion had already spoken. Now that voice is back and calling for a serious examination of the power structure on campuses throughout the country.
I'm not going to argue there is not corruption in college sports. I understand recruiting violations are happening all the time and I'm sure money is exchanging hands but let's not lump this situation in with those. What Penn State did is the worst college athletic scandal of all time. Had they acted appropriately who knows how many kids they could have protected. I hope those that are involved are punished to the full extent of the law. But I refuse to believe that this is a mark against college football and instead I believe it's a mark solely on Penn State. Maybe now I'm being naïve but while I can see many coaches turning the other direction in the face of players getting paid and illegal drugs, I don't believe they would ignore claims of child molestation and I will believe that until proven otherwise. On to the awards!
Theory With Probably No Basis But Still Entertaining
Jemele Hill of ESPN gives some interesting insight into the now defunct trade proposal that would've had Dwight Howard going to the Nets: It's creating some seriously strange bedfellows. Some are theorizing that part of the reason the Cavs were reportedly one of four teams involved in Dwight Howard-to-the-Nets discussions is because Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert still wants revenge on LeBron. Supposedly Gilbert was helping to create a formidable championship roadblock to the Heat in Brooklyn since he didn't back up his insane declaration that the Cavs would win a championship before LeBron.
I would love it if this were true. I'd also love Dan Gilbert more than I already do. I mean I'd hate him if I were a Cavs fan but as an NBA fan you can't get much better than an owner trying to help out another team just to spite one player. That's like beyond Al Davis crazy.
Hakeem Olajuwan Loneliness Update
I've talked about this before - what is Hakeem Olajuwon's deal? Is he just the nicest guy ever or just supremely lonely. He's held private lessons for Kobe, LeBron, Dwight Howard and now the news is he wants to teach Serge Ibaka a few things. It's not as if Ibaka reached out to him. Olajuwon reached out to the Thunder to see if he could teach Ibaka. Hey Olajuwan - you're one of the greatest players ever. Stop being so desperate!
Poor Reasoning for Why Penn State Shouldn't Be Punished
Gregg Doyel argues that Penn State's football program shouldn't get the death penalty because of economics: State College is Penn State, and Penn State is that football program, which means State College is Penn State football. The city and the football program are linked geographically and even emotionally, yes, but I'm talking about a connection more basic than that.
I'm talking financially.
So if Google stole all of our identities (pretty sure this has already happened) and sold them to China (may or may not have happened already) should they not be punished because the harm it would cause the community of Mountain View? Not all of the employees were involved but I'm sure plenty would have to be fired and that would also harm other businesses like restaurants and movie theaters etc. I know it would be devastating to the community but how can they get away with it? The only solution I could see is if the budget is slashed in half and all profits go to organizations that deal with child abuse for at least a couple years.
Lopresti Still Has a Case of Linsanity
Mike Lopresti of USA Today still believes the Knicks should re-sign Jeremy Lin: Lin was a global sensation at 23. How often does a team get such marketing manna from the basketball gods and someone who can actually play? You just don't wave goodbye to that, with nothing to show in return but eight weeks of sizzle.
What people that believe Lin is worth 3 years and $25 million because of his huge international appeal don't realize is that quickly fades if he doesn't produce. He was very good for 2 weeks but had some major flaws and no one really knows if he's actually good or not. If he winds up riding the pine then he will quickly be forgotten. Losing is the easiest way to kill a fad in any sport.