So earlier today, I posted something on what I thought was the senseless backlash on the hiring of Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, where people are losing their minds over what a horrible hire it is. To me, it's a fine hire because he has nothing to do with the Joe Paterno-regime, and the fact that some people were actually upset about that irritated the crap out of me.
For the record, I go to Penn State, and I've been ashamed at my university over the last couple months, and not just because of what Sandusky did and what Paterno tolerated. I'm ashamed that the phrase "Penn State Proud" continues to be used. It tears at me every time I hear it. It's loyalty to a faculty that doesn't deserve it, it's indifference to the victims who have every right to hate this school. I am not proud to be attending a school where such a human rights violation could repeatedly take place. There are many words to describe what I feel, but pride isn't one of them. At the moment, there's nothing redeeming in saying you went to this university; not when doing so means blatantly disregarding everything that went on. I mean, Jerry Sandusky was recruiting for the football program as recently as last year; how can I possibly say I respect this school after learning that?
The issue isn't something you can wash your hands of. What happened indelibly stains the reputation of this campus. Child molestation is inarguably the most heinous crime anyone on this planet can commit, so what kind of people are we when we flippantly use the word "proud?" What kind of example are we showing, when we say we're proud knowing full-well what went on? Just what the hell are we proud of anyway, that we can ignore something so terrible that happened so frequently?
More to the point, what exactly have we learned when we criticize the hiring of Bill O'Brien? He was hired specifically to be something different from Paterno, an outsider with no ties to the previous administration, which when informed of the incident in the shower chose to look the other way. To me, this is the only thing that matters about O'Brien. Right now, football is the most inconsequential, irrelevant subject in the world. I really don't care if O'Brien is the worst coach on the planet. All that matters is getting the human-decency part of it right. Besides, even if O'Brien is a lousy couch, who the hell are we to say we deserve better? For three decades, our football program allowed a pedophile to use his status as an assistant to establish a charity, which he in turn used as a farm system to molest as many kids as possible. I don't think I'm saying anything extreme when I write that if Penn State goes 2-10 the next five years, it won't be the most unfair thing in the world. Truth be told, I don't think there should be a football program. You can say what you want about SMU, the last school to receive the death penalty, but as crooked as they were, little kids never got fondled.
And so when I read articles and Facebook statuses and Twitter updates and had face-to-face conversations were people actually told me how upset they were over the hiring, it threw me off the deep end. To me, it just confirmed everything the people in the media have been saying about Penn State. It's unbelievably insensitive to be demanding a better football coach, knowing full-well what a gift it is to even have a football program at all. This is the same campus that threw a riot after Paterno was fired, that formed a vigil around his house as though he was the victim, that promised to walk to his house in the event that they actually won their next game. This is the campus that showed virtually no outrage and anger and fury to the coach that allowed Sandusky to recruit for him, nine years after he was spotted raping a kid in the team locker room. And now, now of all times, the campus gets indignant and upset and furious at their coach… And why? Because they don't like him.
The anger I felt caused me to pen a rather vicious article, in which I expressed how apoplectic I was to be reading such ridiculously lame complaints, like that he had no prior connections to the school. What I wrote had little to do with the SB Nation Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, but I referenced a few comments made after the hiring to stress my point, and then finished with an addendum that was mostly an internal dialogue whether or not it was fair to call out a resident SBN blog. What I wrote has since been deleted on the grounds that I thought it was a 'lil too harsh, but for the sake of owning up to what I wrote, here's how the article closed out:
"For the record, I'm not proud of this article. I don't like calling people out, and I think swearing is the easiest path anyone can take in an Internet article. But at the same time, I go to Penn State, and I take this issue incredibly seriously. I've skimmed Black Shoe Diaries for a month now, which has displayed the most pussy-whipped, pacified, ball-less "let's forget about all that and focus on football again" mentality to covering a scandal that I've ever seen, and it boils my blood. I'm sorry, but like it or not, what happened with Jerry Sandusky defines this university. People around the nation look at this school as the "The School Where Kids Got Raped." When something of that horrifying magnitude happens, you write about it every fucking day. You write article after article lighting a fire to the school's ass, castigating everyone even tangentially related to this embarrassment, even if that means pissing on Joe Paterno's legacy. I don't care if the purpose of the blog is ostensibly to focus on the football program -- this is the only Penn State topic that needs to be written about it right now. To write about anything other than that is bullshit of the highest caliber. I don't give a shit who Dave Joyner is, because I know who he's not: Jerry Sandusky."
Yikes. Like I said, kinda harsh.
Truth be told, I made a few mistakes. I probably should have just emailed this to the folks at BSD, rather than publicly voice them out loud. And I probably should have excluded the harsh language, which I'm guessing only managed to turn off some people. (Anger = swear words.) But as for the centric basis of the article, I'll stand behind that. I think it's indefensible to spend a month testing the waters on Paterno without ever fully lambasting him, but to suddenly grow a backbone the moment the new coach isn't experienced enough; it's a disgusting lack of priority, and it's a critique I level at the campus as a whole, which continues to worship the almighty pigskin like it's the only thing in the world that matters. (But anyway, stepping off my soapbox.) Part of being a public site is being open to criticism, and I had the right to criticize what I felt was a passive approach to covering a scandal, the same way the Huffington Post has the right to attack CNN for not covering the war enough. The only difference is that the Huffington Post normally isn't as curse-y as that, and is a little more diplomatic. But I don't think I wrote anything that was a cheapshot or a personal insult; yeah, there were a lot of swear words, but they were mostly added in in between all the criticism. It's not like I called anyone a fuck-wad or anything.
In response, I was called a jackass on BSD today, which is fine. It's their right, and I probably earned it. Anyway, the point of the first half of this post was to show that while I feel bad about posting it publicly, I stand behind the point of the post, and that's really about it. The second half of this post will be about Tim Tebow, as a show of what this blog is actually supposed to be about when I'm not sniping people like a madman. Also, comments are open. I closed them in the original Bill O'Brien post because while I'm fine with receiving negative comments, loud shouting annoys me, and I guessed that that was going to be the response. But if you want to criticize my viewpoint, you're perfectly welcome to here.
Like I said, the article really wasn't about BSD, but I involved them so I felt like writing this self-involved schmaltzy ethics piece on why the word "pussy-whipped" is acceptable, mostly because I actually abhor conflict and was fairly mortified about it how awful my initial tone was. Hopefully, that's the end of it. If this means I get excluded from a few all-night parties at Penn State, so be it.
Anyway, let's talk about Tebow, who I could probably learn a thing or two from. Tebow finished with 316 yards on Sunday, with an average of 31.6 yards per completion, in a game that had its television rating peak at 31.6. The ubiquity of this number, considering how openly religious Tebow is, is fascinating. After all, John 3:16 is probably the most famous numerical verse in the Bible, and it's the one Tim Tebow happened to put on his eyeblack back when he was in college at Florida. It's yet another detail in what's been one of the most incredible sports stories of all time. Even if Tebow completely fades out and gets benched next season for Brady Quinn, he'll still go down as an athlete for the ages, the same way Mark Fydrich's one amazing season in baseball made him a legendary figure.
He really does personify everything we'd want in an underdog story. In most underdog stories, the athlete claims to have been underestimated and disrespected all his life, but we know for a fact that no one really feels that way about him now, so it isn't exactly shocking if he wins. As cool it would be to see Arian Foster go to the Super Bowl after going undrafted, no one won't say that he isn't the best remaining running back in the postseason right now. With Tebow though, that disrespect isn't just semantics. A lot of people still think he's awful, and for good reason. The top three quarterbacks still alive in the playoffs -- Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees -- all have completion percentages near the 70th percentile. Tim Tebow often doesn't even complete 50% of his passes. It's ridiculous that someone with metrics so awful can even be in the realm of the Brees and Rodgers and Bradys of the world, and yet here he is, eight quarters from the Super Bowl.
If he gets to the Super Bowl, this would trump George Mason and Butler and N.C. State as the most shocking tournament run in sports history. Tebow might be one of the five worst quarterbacks in the game, and if replays are any indication, he doesn't even know how to throw a spiral. And more than that, the other quarterbacks in the league are playing at a level unseen in history. Getting to the Super Bowl wouldn't just mean proving all the doubters wrong, it would mean getting passed Brady, and getting passed Manning, and getting passed Brees and so on. It would be utterly improbable, and no one thinks it will happen, but that'll just make it that much cooler if it actually happens.
By the way, if you were wondering just what the hell happened to the John 3:16 guy anyway, I present this ESPN video for your edification.
Rollen Stewart (via cro4167)