Joe Paterno an Easy Target in Penn State Mess

Joe Paterno an Easy Target in Penn State Mess

There is plenty of blame to go around at Penn State for what has unfolded in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case. Tim Curley deserves to lose his job as athletic director, and he will one way or another, even though the Board of Trustees granted a request for a temporary leave. Gary Schultz is somehow being allowed the same leave of absence and an escape back to retirement. These men should be fired, make no mistake about it.

Many have pointed a finger at Joe Paterno over the past 48 hours for his role in all of this. But why? Because he didn’t do enough?

Paterno was informed of possible sexual abuse of a child in 2002 by his former longtime defensive coordinator by a graduate assistant (who we now know to be former quarterback and current wide receivers coach Mike McQueary) and reported it to Curley the very next day, which is what the law requires him to do. At that time, legally, it is out of Paterno’s hands. Does that mean Paterno washed his hands of the situation? That is what some are expecting, and this is where the court of public opinion runs wild without merit in many ways.

As Paterno suggested in his statement, at this point it is best to allow the legal process to unfold so we can fill in the blanks of information. Many are just assuming that Paterno never did anything after bringing this up to Curley in 2002. We do not know this to be true, and to be fair we do not know it to not be true. We just do not have enough information to make a decision one way or the other.

So why is Paterno such a hot-button issue when there are so many more people that deserve the ire of the media, fans, and practically everybody else in such a heinous crime or series of crimes? It’s simple. Paterno is the figurehead. Paterno is the name everybody knows. Paterno’s role in all of this, as minor as it is, is what people will latch on to because it is the easiest, and laziest thing to do without taking in to account all of the facts of the grand jury presentment.

It is an incident like this that will grow all kinds of legs and run wild with those in the national media who see that Paterno’s name shows up in an attorney general’s report and although his name appears a small handful of times, making a story with Paterno in the headline will grab more attention nationally than some story about a former coach and a bumbling athletics director. It is sad, but painfully true.

This is not to say that Paterno is without fault. According to the law Paterno could have called the cops and should have called the police with the information of suspected sex abuse of a child. But let’s step back and attempt to place ourselves in his shoes for a minute.

Some of you may be smarter than me when it comes to the law, but before all of this information came out I will admit that I did not know I was legally required to report the sexual abuse of a child. Maybe you did and I am ignorant on this instance, but hear me out. I didn’t know it was the law, so who is to say Paterno didn’t know the law as well? Mind you, not knowing the law does not prevent one from breaking the law, but in this case Paterno followed the law as it was initially written.

Keep in mind that Paterno is a guy who has never tolerated much nonsense on his watch as far as the football program has been concerned. When Phil Taylor brandished a knife on a teammate inside the locker room, Paterno and his staff were quick to ensure he was removed from the team. Taylor transferred to Baylor after being kicked off the team. Austin Scott was kicked off the team following charges of suspected statutory rape (to be fair Scott had a history of violating team rules as well, but the timing seemed kind of odd), which were later dropped. Paterno is a guy who sits players for showing up late for practices and meetings and other team functions. Yet nobody will give him even the benefit of a doubt that he tried to do what he thought was right in this Sandusky situation?

Sandusky operated a football camp on Penn State’s campus as recently as 2009. This is not something Paterno would have had control over. Sandusky was around the football program in practices and on game days, but as hard as it may be to believe, Paterno had no authority over those appearances. Paterno could have voiced his opinions to the game day operations directors and facilities managers (and we don’t know if he did or didn’t), but the final decisions on whether or not Sandusky would be allowed to have the access he did after retirement would have been at the discretion of a higher authority than Paterno.

If it sounds like I’m making excuses for Paterno, well right now I suppose I am. If we eventually learn that Paterno avoided the situation just the same way Curley and Schultz buried it, then I take back all of this. But for right now everybody is playing the attack Joe card, so somebody has to play the Devil’s advocate.

The fact is Paterno is just a minor player in all of this. This is not a Paterno story because, believe it or not, some things at Penn State are larger than Joe Paterno. This is more about the secret life of a longtime Paterno assistant, the lack of action by the athletic director and head of the university police, with jurisdiction.

If this is how Paterno goes in to retirement it will be a shame for a number of reasons, but we will have to wait and see. Just remember that Paterno is only a minor character in all of this in State College. He is an easy target, but he should not be the big target.

Andrew Bynum’s new hairdo will haunt your dreams

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The Associated Press

Andrew Bynum’s new hairdo will haunt your dreams

Of all the questionable decisions in Andrew Bynum’s career, this might just take the cake as the worst. No, it definitely does. 

Just look at that hair. What was he thinking? Was he even thinking at all?  

Bynum, who is no stranger to bad — I mean really bad — hair, looks to be enjoying his retirement. But let’s dig a bit deeper. Put on your polarized sunglasses and look past that bright yellow hair, because there is much more going on in this picture.

Forget his time as a member of the Sixers, smiling in a picture with a Penguins’ fan might be the biggest travesty Bynum has committed against the city.

And where was this picture taken? It appears to be a casino or arcade. Wherever it is, for the sake of Bynum’s precious knees, let’s hope it’s not a bowling alley

More MLB Notes: First baseman James Loney traded from Padres to Mets

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USA Today Images

More MLB Notes: First baseman James Loney traded from Padres to Mets

NEW YORK -- The Mets have found help at first base following Lucas Duda's injury, acquiring veteran James Loney from the San Diego Padres for cash.

Loney has spent this season in the minors, playing well for Triple-A El Paso. He was batting .342 with two home runs and 28 RBIs over 43 games in the Pacific Coast League.

Always a fine fielder, the 32-year-old Loney hit .280 with four homers, 16 doubles and 32 RBIs in 104 games with Tampa Bay last year. The Rays released him April 3 and he signed with the Padres on April 8.

Duda was put on the disabled list Monday with a stress fracture in his lower back that is expected to sideline him at least four to six weeks, probably longer.

Until Duda returns, Mets manager Terry Collins says Loney, a left-handed hitter, will mostly face right-handed pitching in a first-base platoon with Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell. Flores is close to returning from a strained hamstring.

Royals: Catcher Perez hurt, helped from field
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez had to be helped off the field in the ninth inning Saturday against the Chicago White Sox after colliding with rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert while catching Adam Eaton's foul popup.

Cuthbert came sliding in and struck Perez's lower legs. Perez went down in pain as trainer Nick Kenney and manager Ned Yost rushed to the field.

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and left fielder Alex Gordon collided Sunday while chasing a foul ball at Chicago and both landed on the disabled list. Gordon has a broken right wrist and is out for three to four weeks, while Moustakas tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is likely out for the season.

Drew Butera replaced Perez.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter activated from paternity list
WASHINGTON -- Third baseman Matt Carpenter has been activated from the paternity list by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Carpenter missed two games after being placed on the paternity list Thursday. His wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, on Wednesday.

Carpenter leads the Cardinals with nine home runs and 32 RBIs.

To make room for Carpenter on the 25-man roster, St. Louis designated infielder Ruben Tejada for assignment on Saturday. Tejada was batting .176 over 23 games with no homers and three RBIs.

If Tejada is released, St. Louis would be responsible for the remainder of his $1.5 million salary this year, which was $1,049,180 entering Saturday.

Instant Replay: Cubs 4, Phillies 1

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The Associated Press

Instant Replay: Cubs 4, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs continue to dominate the Phillies with extra-base hits and terrific starting pitching.
 
They beat the Phils for the second day in a row Saturday. The final score at Wrigley Field was 4-1. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks went the distance for the win. The Phils scored in the ninth inning to avoid a shutout.
 
The Phils have been held to two or fewer runs 18 times and one or fewer 11 times. They are averaging just 3.22 runs per game.
 
The Cubs, who lead the majors with 33 wins, have stroked nine extra-base hits in the first two games of the series and four of them have been homers. The Phils have just three extra-base hits, all doubles. One was a misplay by the Cubs’ outfield.
 
The Phillies are 1-4 on this six-game road trip, which started in Detroit.
 
The Phils have lost six of their last eight games and are now just three games over .500 at 26-23.
 
Starting pitching report
Eickhoff was not nearly as efficient as he was in his previous start when he threw just 85 pitches in seven innings in a 5-0 win over Atlanta. This time, Eickhoff threw a season-high 109 pitches over six innings. He gave up eight hits, four for extra bases and four runs. He walked one and struck out seven.
 
Eickhoff was tagged for three extra-bases hits in the first inning, a home run and two doubles. For the season, Eickhoff is 2-7 with a 4.07 ERA.
 
Hendricks held the Phillies to five hits, three of which were singles. He was not overpowering, but his command was exceptional. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven while throwing just 104 pitches.
 
Jon Lester held the Phillies to one earned run in 6⅓ innings Friday.
 
Bullpen report
The Cubs didn’t need one. Andrew Bailey and Elvis Araujo pitched scoreless ball for the Phillies.
 
At the plate
The Phillies had just five hits. Ryan Howard returned to the starting lineup and went 0 for 4 to drop to .154.
 
The Cubs, who hit three home runs Friday, got their power game going early as Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer against Eickhoff. Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist both doubled in the inning as the Cubs went up 2-0 in the first. Heyward doubled home a run in the second inning.
 
Up next
The Phillies and Cubs close out the series Sunday afternoon. Vince Velasquez (5-1, 2.75) pitches for the Phillies against right-hander John Lackey (4-2, 3.83).
 
The Phillies return home Monday night to open a 10-game homestand that will see Washington, Milwaukee and the Cubs comes to town.