Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Penn State player with the biggest impact isn't even on the team

Football recruiting has become highly publicized, reported and influential. Last summer the perception of Penn State football had become dire. At that intersection of time, place and opportunity, Christian Hackenberg stepped to the forefront

A telling newspaper comic strip showed someone looking at the TV, and the TV anchor was saying, "The stock market declined today over fears the stock market would decline."

The players who transferred or de-committed from Penn State after the NCAA sanctions hit in July didn't leave because they might not get to play in a bowl game. They mostly left because of fears the program would decline, precipitously.

Christian Hackenberg is still almost two weeks from signing his letter of intent, but his impact on the Penn State football program already is historic.

Heck, he's right up there with Michael Mauti, everybody's current favorite Lion.

Woah! Mauti?


If that seems ridiculous to say about a kid who hasn't graduated high school, and won't practice with PSU or take a class in Happy Valley until the summer, and who we really don't know much about, well, it isn't.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Donald Fitzpatrick is Jerry Sandusky - so how come no one knows about him?

The stories are revoltingly similar in so many ways, yet Jerry Sandusky triggered an eruption in the national media, while Donald Fitzpatrick is virtually unknown - except of course to his legions of victims, and the Boston Red Sox

The Sandusky scandal has yielded a seemingly endless string of jolting aftershocks.
From the PSU Board of Trustees' dereliction to the fraudulent Freeh Report. From the brutal NCAA sanctions to the revelation of the Second Mile's never-ending supply of victims for Sandusky.
But perhaps nothing has been more disturbing than discovering, during the continuous process of monitoring the Sandusky scandal, so many other child sex abusers connected to sports. And how strikingly underpublicized some of them are.
The most remarkable example: Former longtime Boston Red Sox clubhouse manager Donald Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick's child sexual abuse reign of terror is startlingly Sandusky-esque. And even though he has been dead more than seven years, Fitzpatrick's legacy of abuse is still expanding today.
However, while Sandusky ignited a Big Bang-like explosion in the media universe, Fitzpatrick, inexplicably, has been a ripple in a distant pond.
You've likely never heard of Fitzpatrick or his sickening actions. Much of his story was laid out in Nov. 2011, in this amazing piece by Jeff Passan, published shortly after the Sandusky scandal broke.
For more than two decades, Fitzpatrick was sexually abusing boys inside baseball stadiums and clubhouses. Almost all of Fitzpatrick's victims are African-Americans. In 1991, after a lifetime working for the Red Sox, Fitzpatrick stopped showing up for work - four days after one of his victims stepped forward. A man at a Red Sox-Angels game in Anaheim had worn a sign saying "Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me."

Initially, in '91, the Red Sox gave the first victim $100,000. Several more victims came forward in the ensuing years. Charges were brought in Polk County, Fla., where Fitzpatrick had abused boys at the Red Sox' Winter Haven spring training home.
Fitzpatrick pled guilty in 2002 (though his plea, somehow, did not include jail time), and in 2003 the Red Sox paid $3.15 million to seven victims.
More alleged victims have emerged since Fitzpatrick's 2005 death. And in 2012, astonishingly, more accusers emerged of Fitzpatrick than Sandusky.
Twenty alleged Fitzpatrick abuse victims - 20! - are now seeking a whopping total of $100 million from the Red Sox - $100 million! -  claiming Fitzpatrick made Fenway Park his personal playpen for abusing teenaged and pre-teen boys.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

On Tom Corbett, the NCAA lawsuit and Bill O'Brien

What took the Pennsylvania Governor so long to challenge the NCAA? And what consequences could it have for Penn State and Bill O'Brien?

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, for all his faults as a human being, is a genius at redirecting everyone's focus away from his own egregious misdeeds.

And with his bombshell lawsuit against the NCAA announced Wednesday, Corbett has exercised another master stroke to save his own booty.

The bug is staying one step ahead of the shoe.

If this lawsuit wasn't the product of Corbett - whose gift for survival rivals Keith Richards - then all Penn Staters could wrap their arms around it.

This lawsuit rightly and deftly shreds the NCAA's pathetic and pernicious argument for brutally sanctioning Penn State into confetti. No impartial, rational judge could see otherwise.

But, but, but ... that's not the main purpose of the suit.