Regardless of how one may feel about Joe Paterno, I think the Penn State sex scandal raises some important issues about just how modern sports affects our society today.
This current scandal is just another example of just how endemic corruption through sports really is at all levels. Universities at almost every level are almost autonomous with a few very powerful people making almost all the decisions with very little oversight and without the ability to be questioned.
Clearly, this can and usually does lead to a situation rife with potential for bad things to happen and go unnoticed or even brushed aside.
I think this whole matter can shed some insight on to sports in America in general. Where people once controlled sports, sports now control us thanks to its extreme commercialization and the amount of money involved. Sure, sports can be fun and they have their place.
Does it need to have all the 24-hour news programs covering every aspect of it? Absolutely not. I think we can see that most professional sports are just another way to separate you from your money, and you've become so conditioned to the sports culture that you'll gladly give it away.
Professional athletes definitely are not role models any longer, and most athletes, although serving a function in society (entertainment) aren't being that much of a benefit to justify the exorbitant amount of money they are paid.
At the university level, the schools stand to earn or lose so much money they're willing to recruit people who have no business being near a collegiate environment, cover up scandals, discriminate on race and sex, and develop a sports culture so pervasive that they overlook the fact that it's a place to be educated.
These schools' sports programs become the sole representation or face of the university, which it shouldn't. With the stakes so high for a school and the money so important, it's no wonder that we have schools covering up sex scandals, blatantly cheating, or de facto paying their players.
At the high school level, parents fight and scream with one another. Parents punish their children over poor performance or parents hold grudges against educators for perceived slights against their children. The lure of professional-athlete money has become so strong that parents pressure their children into unachievable goals.
Why not instead have them focus on academics and get out that way?
Yes, a coach is supposed to be a trusted person, and I'm sure it is something you would never generally expect to happen but I think when gifts and evenings spent at a coaches home become the standard of the level of interaction, somewhere instinctively a red flag should have gone up to some of the victims families.
This alleged ugly incident was incredibly horrific and unfortunate. I think it must be looked at in a larger context, though.
This happened because of one sick person, a lot of individual mistakes, and because the new American sports culture allowed it to.
Remember, sports used to be an outlet to relieve stress, have fun in your free time and enjoy watching with friends.
Today, however, we have so much more free time than we did years ago, and we have given so much more of our power blindly away that - yes you America - have given sports control over you and not the other way around.
Benjamin A. Green
ESPN drops ball, too
Is "moral responsibility" a double-edged sword?
This past week's revelations about the sex molestation scandal surrounding Syracuse basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine has opened up a whole new can of worms.
ESPN has admitted that it had a taped interview (recorded in 2003) of serious molestation accusations toward Fine. ESPN never forwarded that tape nor the information on that tape to any legal or law enforcement agency. ESPN, according to Syracuse University officials, did not forward that information to the university, either.
ESPN, in an attempt to evade any responsibility, claimed that it wasn't sure the testifying individual had "credible" information.
ESPN has made a living in the past few weeks with accusations of "moral irresponsibility" toward Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials for not being aggressive enough with reporting possible sexual molestation activities of Jerry Sandusky.
Where is the "moral responsibility" card now?
Will the Cory Gigers of the world be so indignant about moral responsibility when the people (ESPN) they make their money from are the ones who have been totally and completely void of any responsibility to report heinous crimes?
'Higher-ups' failed in PSU scandal
As deplorable as this whole Sandusky situation is, did anyone else report or know that it continued to go on for 15 years or more?
It appears that only two reports occurred for most of that time, and those were years ago.
One was tabled by the Centre County District Attorney, and the other was swept under the rug by higher-ups at Penn State and campus police.
In hindsight, the whistle blowers should have kept blowing their whistles.
However, when higher-ups are told of such happenings - and they were - and told all the particulars, it is their duty to pursue and follow through on it. The buck stops here.
Sandusky was no longer a coach under Paterno or had any direct connection with Penn State or its football program.Yet the coaches seem to be the most mentioned scapegoats in the whole sordid affair.
If they had continued the heckling of the top administration or gone over their heads, it probably would have been ignored or considered insubordination.
On the subject of a new coach, I suggest that Tom Bradley be considered.
Based on the Penn State games of the last three weeks, Bradley has been decisive in selecting his starting quarterback, has boldly added new skilled players to the offensive mix with added innovative plays.
Otherwise, if Bradley's age of 55 is a problem, then choose a younger coach that has had experience and success in college football and has the high ideals that we need.
Doom predicted for program
I cringed at the reality of Neil Rudel's column titled, "Meyer hire makes it tough."
Then, with a little retrospect, I realized that PSU officials did this to themselves. Every step of the way has been a slow, self-induced death of this once great football program.
Minus the 900-pound gorilla of Jerry Sandusky, they allowed Joe Paterno to cripple the program and then STEPped right in the cow manure.
The only choice they have is Tom Bradley, and he needs to be able to choose his staff. If they move outside of the program, then recruiting becomes impossible.
No matter how you slice it, 20,000 to 30,000 open seats is a strong possibility for next year.
Sad ... very, very sad.
Seven Valleys, PA
MLS?deserves more exposure
The 2011 Major League Soccer Cup proved once again that soccer produced in the USA is a second-rate sport.
The league begins play in March with each team playing a 34-match regular season that ends in early October followed by playoffs that culminate in the championship match called MLS Cup.
If you wish to watch these games, it's quite difficult, if not impossible, most of the time.
ESPN, which claims to be the world leader in sports programming, has attempted to let everyone know that they are making soccer more palatable to the American viewer, and one would think that the network would televise MLS games on a consistent basis.
In the early weeks of the season, it is apparently too cold for ESPN to care much about soccer, especially since March Madness is still alive and because baseball is about to begin yet another boring season.
The network shows an occasional early-season match, normally one that has attractive teams in big-money markets such as the LA Galaxy and Red Bull New York.
Apparently, the network thought it would be okay for the Fox Soccer Channel or Univision to telecast MLS matches until ESPN was ready.
When Seattle joined the league followed recently by Portland and Vancouver, ESPN showed the 11 p.m. matches in the middle of the week when many people were thinking about retiring for the evening.
Additionally, the network always seems to find MLS matches to be expendable since they would pre-empt them for nearly anything such as women's softball, Little League baseball and extreme sports.
When college football begins, the telecasts of MLS games nearly disappear completely on ESPN.
Thankfully, NBC has outbid ESPN to televise MLS matches next year.
Hopefully, that network will not force us to watch the Redskins and Eagles when we're supposed to be watching DC United and the Philadelphia Union.