Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Joe Pa Conspiracy of Silence

If you want to talk vast media conspiracies, let's talk Joe Paterno.

He does not coach the Penn State football team, at least not in any sense that matters for their on-field performance. He doesn't carry a clipboard. He doesn't wear a headset. When he got injured during a game and moved up to the press box, he didn't even wear a headset up there. I'm not saying that an 84-year-old man can't coach a football team; I just saying this particular one doesn't.

And you know what? That's fine. If Penn State loves him so much, and they do, that's totally fine that they keep him around as a figurehead/mascot. And if he's up for that, good for him.

The problem is that everyone--everyone--in the sports media bends over backwards to avoid acknowledging the truth. They talk about his game plans and his strategies and go out of the way to cram in anecdotes about him showing his linemen proper stances.

I get that Joe Pa is a representative of a bygone, romanticized era. And that it's nice to be nice to old people. I suppose that if there's one person who should be exempted from the sports media's job to tell the truth, it's him. That's just a huge, gigantic "if."

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