Beautifully written article. Thanks!!
Points are all valid. Completely agree that Tony has proven beyond doubt that he should be defending Durant at crunch time. I also understand that players like Tony, every now and then, have nights where their offensive decision making deficiencies combined with an uncharacteristically bad night on defense will cause a reasonable coach to perhaps limit minutes...even at crunch time. Having said that, personally, I wish Tony had been on Durant at end of game 1. However, I do not find Lionel's decision making to be terribly unreasonable on that particular night. Live and learn I suppose. Again...great freaking article!
Great article! One comment: A notable fact that Verno and others leave out of the narrative in Game 1 is Tony played poor defense for most of the game. He was torched back door on two or three occasions and lost his man repeatedly leaving wide open jumpers for Martin or others. These errors were not due to great play by the offense but rather by Tony's sometimes (but not often) hard-headed penchant for gambling too much on defense. As a coach, it is not unreasonable to limit crunch time minutes when a player is having a bad night. Tony was have a particularly bad night in Game 1. I think Tony probably knows he was off stride and less focused in Game 1. Fortunately, he corrected the problem in Games 2, 3 and 4. Granted, Grizz are more successful when Tony plays 25 plus minutes. However, it would not be rational to blindly abide by this 25 minute rule even when a player is stinking it up on a particular night. Lionel should be cut some slack here on nights when Tony has drifted "off task".
I think most of the folks on this thread probably know this, but for those who may not, it should be noted that the 28 year old graduate assistant who witnessed and reported to Paterno the raping of a child was ultimately promoted by Paterno to wide receivers assistant coach. The point is, the source of what Mr Baker refers to as "hearsay" is obviously a respected and trusted associate of Mr Paterno. Take a moment and think of those in your life you both respect and trust. If one of these people reported to you the fact they had witnessed the raping of a child, would you consider it mere hearsay. I think not. And I think Paterno probably wholeheartedly believed his associate as well. Therein lies the problem. Paterno reacted to a heinous report from a trusted source with a bare minimum response...a response that put the reputation of the school and football program ahead of the welfare of an innocent child. Would he have reacted in this weak a manner had the child been his grandson or nephew or the like? Again, I think not. This innocent child deserved better and it is fairly apparent from Paterno's reaction that he realizes his horrible error.
I want to take one moment to say this tragic decision by Paterno does NOT make him an evil man. His life's accomplishments are not negated. Sometimes perfectly good people make really bad decisions. Unfortunately, this bad decision, quite justifiably, cost him his job.
Jackson, I appreciate the civility of this thread. It's a good discussion. My problem with Paterno is he is not denying that he was told by an individual he trusted that Sandusky was having inappropriate sexual contact with a young child in the Penn State athletic facility shower. This wasn't vague hearsay. He also acknowledges he was aware of other allegations against Sandusky that pre-dated the 2002 episode. He was also aware that Sandusky brought, on occasion, young boys on Penn State road trips. I am
not suggesting that Paterno has broken any law based on the available information. However, I am suggesting that it was perfectly reasonable for the state officials to fire him based on the facts Paterno
himself acknowledges. It should have been a relatively short conversation and easy decision to fire the gentlemen involved. Goes something like this: "Hey guys, were all
of you aware that a graduate assistant you hired reported that Sandusky was having a sexual encounter with a young boy in the Athletic facility shower?" Answer: "Yes"
"Am I to understand that none of you reported this to the local or campus police?" Answer: "No, we did not report it." "Okay gentlemen, you are all fired effective immediately."
Seriously Jackson, this is an easy one. Again, I am not saying Paterno should be lynched or shot or even prosecuted, but for goodness sake, we all can see why he was fired. The man hid from his responsibility...not only as a coach...but as a human being. I acknowledge we all make mistakes, but this one was compounded by Paterno's prior knowledge of other accusations. No way his job could be spared.
Jackson, your point is valid, however, taken to its logical conclusion all the indicted parties should still have their jobs and be bopping merrily along because they are all innocent until proven guilty. They are indeed innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law and the Constitution. But that does not mean there isn't sufficient evidence to take measures necessary to protect children and clean house at Penn State. Whether Sandusky is ever convicted or not (and I suspect you will not be wagering your mortgage on the prospect of a not guilty verdict), after reading the grand jury indictment, with it's assorted claims from completely unrelated yet respectable witnesses over a period of years, the accused is certainly deserving of ostracism and quarantine until a jury of his peers can weigh the evidence in order to uphold our Constitution. Calling the grand jury report "the vaguest sort of hearsay" exhibits a complete misapprehension of the testimony in the record. Other than that, I generally love to read your columns.
By Toby Sells
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