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MSR’s Good Idea/Bad Idea?: November 11, 2011

It’s time for another edition of the Macho Sports Report’s “Good Idea/Bad Idea”. I name the issue, and I decide whether it was a good idea or a bad idea. Let’s take a look at the topics:

Issue: Penn State students rioting in vehement reaction to the firing of football head coach Joe Paterno

It was truly a surreal scene.

As the Penn State board of trustees levied their decision, it was to a stunned room, and a shocked student community. And just like that, Joe Pa was no longer a part of Penn State.

After charges brought against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky of multiple counts of child sexual abuse – charges that see him facing 460 years in prison – many were waiting for the other shoe to drop, when reports came out that Paterno failed to go to the authorities when he was informed of the allegations in 2002. Many pundits believed Paterno wouldn’t make it to his next game at Nebraska.

With a rather non-climactic, understated end to what was the longest, and quite possibly greatest, coaching career in college football, sorrow-stricken Penn State students took to the streets in support of JoePa.

Apparently, THIS was in honor of the great Joe Paterno.

Reports described thousands of Paterno supporters resorting to wanton violence, in a vehement display of anger and disappointment at the Board of Trustees for, what they believed to be, a completely unfair scapegoating of a national icon. ESPN reporter John Barr, who was at the scene, said at one point that he feared for his life at the violence that unfolded around him.

So, can I defend this? I mean, many of these rioters were students who looked up to JoePa like a father figure. They felt he was completely disrespected when reports came out that the former head coach was relieved of his duties over the phone. They especially thought that the media was, at least, partially to blame for the hastening departure of their beloved icon. For some of these students, their only recourse was to lash out in utter outrage over the fall of Paterno.

But, do you honestly think I’m going to?

Here’s the bottom line: many of the students who rioted – including those who believe that current receivers coach Mike McQueary deserves much more of the blame for the incident that got JoePa fired – either don’t understand the whole story, or were too dense or too hard-up for violence to care.

The point was that Paterno was the authority figure of the university. He should have taken it upon himself – not a scared, emotionally scarred assistant – to go to the authorities or, at the very least, confront Sandusky about the charge. It was his moral responsibility to do so. To have this knowledge, and do nothing, is unacceptable, if not unforgivable.

A job lost. A legacy ruined. No one but to blame but himself.

All those who rioted in protest for Paterno losing his job, need to think about why he lost his job: because he had the knowledge of what may have been the most unspeakable evil in his grasp … and let it go up the bureaucratic chain, rather than go to the authorities, and protect future children from a monster like Sandusky (allegedly*). If anything, don’t riot for JoePa, State College – riot for the victims of these heinous, disgusting crimes.

Just have some damn perspective.


Issue: Tiger Woods forgiving former caddy Steve Williams for making a racial remark against him in a private awards ceremony

The Steve Williams Tour for Ripping Tiger Woods continues. This time, though, Williams stepped over the line.

At an awards dinner in Shanghai last Friday, Williams, who attended with current boss Adam Scott, reportedly spoke out as to why he had such an over-the-top reaction to Scott’s victory at a world championship in August. Considering he and his former boss, Tiger Woods – a golfer who he won 13 major championships with – had a rather less-than-amicable split earlier this year, his response was not pretty:

“I wanted to shove it up that black a–hole.”

Real classy, Stevie.

Many pundits took Williams to task, calling what he said a racial slur, and his comments in general “racist”. Writers like Jemele Hill couldn’t help but think that he wouldn’t say things like that off-the-cuff without at least some racist tendencies. Golfers like Greg Norman defended Williams, however, saying he was stupid in his comments, but not racist.

Williams eventually apologized, but it was Tiger’s reaction that many were anticipating. Would he take his shot against the caddy that had berated him? Would he speak out against the man who basically defined him, and demeaned him, by his skin color? His response?

It was a wrong thing to say, something that we both acknowledge … Stevie’s certainly not a racist, there’s no doubt about that. It was a comment that shouldn’t have been made and was certainly one that he wished he didn’t make.

Now, I’m not usually one to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do. But, it’s hard to sit here and see Tiger, at the very least, allow someone who has crushed him in the media to take a shot at his racial background. If anything, he should have said something along the lines of this.

My point is, while everyone considered Williams’ remarks, at the least, crude and insensitive; at the most, a racist statement. And it was directed at Tiger Woods.

And Tiger Woods shrugs it off as if it’s nothing?

“Umm … pornstars made me do it?”

Am I saying he should be offended, livid at the statement, and that he should run right up to Williams and punch him in the face, the next time he sees him, for it? While that would be wildly entertaining in the world of golf, that’s not what I’m saying.

What I am saying is that he shouldn’t let him off the hook so easily. The bottom line is, Stevie Williams is culpable for the things that he says. At the very least, the person Williams targeted should stand up for himself. And that’s not what it seemed like he did.


Issue: Steelers S Ryan Clark, after another NFL fine, saying he “might as well have put him to sleep for real, or blown his knee out.”

This story probably needs come context.

Ryan Clark, safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was recently fined $40,000 for a hit in last Sunday’s game vs. Baltimore. Perceived to be a helmet-to-helmet hit, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin actually used film of the hit as a prime example of a clean hit to show the rest of the defensive team.

Clark, who has slowly gained a reputation for being a dirty player in the NFL, struck Ravens TE Ed Dixon and made helmet-to-helmet contact. The Steelers safety, on the other hand, thought he made a clean hit. After the fine was levied, Clark was clearly frustrated.

And you don’t want to see Ryan Clark when he’s frustrated.

So much so, he uttered the following:

So it’s going to turn into if you’re going to fine me $40,000, I might as well put him to sleep for real or I might as well blow his knee out.

Obviously, these are not things one should say in a sport that can be so dangerous, it is liable to put someone to sleep for real. Or blow someone’s knee out.

Now, I’ll say this about Clark – despite his growing “dirty player” rep, he is still considered a respected, intelligent man among many in the league. However, it wasn’t smart to say this. Seriously – to say that he might as well blow someone’s knee out? It’s a real threat to NFL players every time they take the field – a viable threat to one’s career. It isn’t something you want to do, no matter what kind of rep you have, or how vicious you play on the field.

I can understand his frustration – the rules in the NFL about hits these days are pretty subjective, when any hit that “straddles the line” between legal and illegal can go either way, and defensive players like Clark no longer know how to avoid a fine, as vicious hitters in the NFL.

Ultimately, though, you can’t say it – not when you’re already on thin ice with the league and Roger Goodell. While I completely empathize with his frustration, he may expect another $40,000 fine down the pipe for his comments.


(But I understand)

Issue: Asking Pro Skier Lindsey Vonn to a Homecoming Dance

Just so this segment isn’t a complete downer …

The story hit the news wires earlier this week. Champion skier Lindsey Vonn – known equally for her World Cup victories and her Olympic performances, as well as her stunning good looks off the slopes – was in Colorado, visiting the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.

And she was wearing this. What? A guy can dream, can’t he?

It was when she and 16-year-old Parker McDonald crossed paths that the story got very interesting.

Taking the incredible chance that McDonald insisted he couldn’t pass up, he reportedly stood up in the lunchroom where Vonn was occupying, and offered an invitation to his homecoming dance.

Much to his surprise – as much to everyone else’s, I’m sure – Vonn said yes.

The collective reaction of every other guy at the academy.

“When Parker asked me he was cute, nervous and very polite, so of course I said yes,” Vonn reportedly said.

It’s truly one of those stories that makes you feel good about a kid who went out there, balls to the wall, and took a chance on something that, on its face, was likely to crash and burn. And, sometimes, life surprises you. Good for you, Parker McDonald. Good for you.

Though, I gotta wonder – was the homecoming dance, which went down last Friday, anything like this?

Once again … good on ya, McDonald.



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