Joe Paterno Earned That Statue

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JANUARY 22: Candles, many burnt out, circle the statue of Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach, outside of Beaver Stadium in the early hours of January 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The community was reacting to news that Joe Paterno, who is suffering from lung cancer and who was fired in November in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against a former assistant, was in serious condition. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Joe Paterno was treated like a deity, but he was never perfect, even before the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Still, he deserves that statue on Penn State's campus. Bomani explains that and more in this week's Monday Morning Jones.

I know. You're tired of hearing about Penn State. So, what games did you watch this weekend?

That's what I thought. But, if it's any consolation, there's nothing in today's Monday Morning Jones about Dwight Howard.

Day late, dollar short. Both Sally Jenkins and Rick Reilly felt like they were played by Joe Paterno, and they wrote scathing columns after the Freeh report to prove it. It's good they finally saw the light, I suppose. But they, just like the artist who removed the halo over Paterno's head from a mural on campus, can't correct their previous mistakes in 800 words or brushstrokes.

The mistake was treating Paterno like a deity in a first place. And while he certainly encouraged that, none of us had to be dumb enough to believe it in the first place. Paterno was as capable of greatness as he was spectacular acts of cowardice. He was as quick to help hundreds of players as he was to forsake dozens of children. But he was never, ever god-like. He was never infallible. And regardless of what he or Penn State's public relations machine said, every one of us should have known that.

He was, after all, just a man.

Paterno, in death, has proven to be disingenuous and duplicitous. The way he handled his exit from Penn State confirms that. But anyone who ever believed him to be angelic has no one to blame but himself or herself. Reilly called himself a stooge and all kinds of other names. Every one of them fit. But that's not Paterno's fault. Yes, he fooled lots of people. Now, all that matters is those same people make sure hero worship doesn't fool them again, not that they lashed out at those who suckered them in the past.

Joe Paterno earned that statue. Arguing about what Penn State should do with the Paterno statue has felt like a waste of time, especially considering the fact few of us will ever see the thing in person. However, while everyone would prefer to scrub history and make up for all the time they were in the dark about Paterno, some things are indelible. Those include two national championships, five undefeated seasons and more wins than any college football coach. They also include a campus that has grown exponentially since Paterno became head coach in 1966, a football stadium that went from cozy to the size of a small city and a billion dollar endowment that would never be so loaded were it not for the success of Paterno's Nittany Lions.

There's not a lot good to say about Paterno right now, but let's not pretend he didn't do dozens of fantastic things in State College. His statue should stand outside of Beaver Stadium for the same reason Nick Saban has one outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium -- because he was a helluva football coach. This is the one thing in this sordid ordeal that should matter, whether it's uncomfortable or not.


Check out "Bomani & Jones".

In defense of Carmelo Anthony. For as long as any of us can remember, the Knicks have made silly personnel decisions. They've used their unique financial strength to justify foolishly throwing money at bad ideas, only to look back and realize being able to do something doesn't mean one should. Now, when Anthony says what everyone else was thinking about the Knicks' decisions for years -- hey, this is really stupid! -- there's a problem?

In 2014-15, someone will pay Jeremy Lin nearly $15 million. The Knicks, because of the luxury tax, would have to pay closer to $30 million for Lin's services. Would you want to be on that team, especially if you'll receive the blame if that team's unsuccessful? The Knicks don't need to sell "Linsanity" t-shirts. They need to get better. Based on what we saw last season, we don't know if Lin can help them do that. We don't even know if he's a good fit alongside Anthony, which the Knicks point guard must be.

Melo's the Knicks' best player. They hitched their wagon to him when they gutted their roster to bring him to town. Therefore, $15 million in any season for a player who may not jibe with the centerpiece of the franchise would be what Melo called this one -- ridiculous. Maybe he's jealous ... of the guy he campaigned for as a starter. Maybe Melo was out of line, but he's 100 percent correct. And given the Knicks' track record, it's hard to blame him for what he said

Plus, the Knicks probably won't match the offer. If Jim Dolan won't overpay someone, how much more ridiculous could it possibly be?

Deadline day for franchise players. Monday's the deadline for NFL teams to reach long-term agreements with players with the franchise tag. Drew Brees hit the mother lode last week, while others are still waiting. Most of them will probably play this season under one-year contracts, one of the scariest things a football player can be asked to do. One can't help but wonder how improved the situations of players like Matt Forte and Ray Rice would be had they played hardball like Brees. The Saints quarterback, who became a cautionary tale of the franchise tag when he hurt his shoulder while tagged in 2005, seemed perfectly content to sit, his teammates be damned. In the end, the Saints had two choices -- pay the man, or go into training camp with another piece of chaos to deal with.

But, if players won't credibly threaten to sit, what imperative do teams have to give players -- especially running backs -- long-term deals? The players' only leverage is themselves. As long as teams know they'll get that, even if only for a year, they have little to worry about. So long as guys like Rice and Wes Welker profess their desire to get into camp and be with their teammates, they'll be going to camp with substandard offers. Power only respects power. In its absence, power will see you and your one-year contract in training camp.

(BTW, "Bomani & Jones" tried to warn some of these guys.)

Hey, that looked like Tim Lincecum. Sure, lots of pitchers look like the "old" Lincecum -- back when he was 26 -- against the Astros, but could anything be more encouraging for the Giants than see glimpses of the form that won "The Freak" two Cy Young Awards?

After having his spot in the rotation threatened by manager Bruce Bochy, Lincecum put together his best start of the season, striking out 11 and yielding just one walk over eight shutout innings. As dreadful as Lincecum was in the first half, and as troubling as it's been to see his velocity fall, don't forget he had a 2.31 ERA after the All-Star Break last season.

His home stadium, pitcher-friendly AT&T park, is as kind to a pitcher's confidence as any in baseball. And unless every concern about his build and delivery came to roost at once, it's still too early to deem Lincecum incapable of dominance. He may never be a consistent threat to be as good as he was Saturday, but he's only 28. He may not hold up long enough to make the Hall of Fame, but this weekend made it seem possibly he can get it together in time to help the Giants win their second World Series in three years.

Because some pictures don't need captions.

If I were LeBron, I'd post this picture every morning.

Kyrie Irving learns a lesson the hard way. Take notes, kids -- the padding on walls of gyms and stadia aren't meant to be hit intentionally. Don't believe me? Ask Gus Frerotte.

Yes, the whole point of this item was to embed that great moment in WTF history.

10 teams are interested in Ryan Dempster? Best of luck to whoever gets the Cubs' righthander, but am I the only person who saw that and quickly thought that news almost guarantees Cole Hamels will be traded? The Phillies' postseason hopes look nearly as bleak as the Cubs'. As always, the demand for pitching is high. And, once again, the Phillies have more arms than they need, way too many to pay CC Sabathia/Johan Santana money to Hamels. The Phils, who didn't even have enough bats with a healthy Ryan Howard, are done. If Hamels can get one of the biggest contracts ever for a left-handed starter, and Dempster is worth this much attention on the market, I'd be shocked if Hamels is in Philadelphia in August.

Take Jay Cutler off the microphone. For years, I've said Cutler's biggest problem is that look on his face. You know, the one that makes it look like he would rather be anywhere else. It's the same look he had while sitting injured on the bench during the 2010 NFC Championship game, which would probably be the same look he would have if he won the lottery.

Well, what's worse than that look? Having a singing voice to match. It can't be that hard to fake it, can it?

Jason Kidd got busted for drunk driving. There's just one question I have about this arrest -- how could Kidd's friends both carry him out of this fundraiser and allow him to drive? That's not a judgment of Kidd's friends or his wife, who was also with him this evening. It's curiosity of what might be the most important detail of this. Whether people close to Kidd couldn't or wouldn't stop him from endangering himself and others, he's got bigger problems than any lawyer could fix. No matter which solution is needed, here's hoping he finds it.

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