Penn State’s Tragedy A Product of an Old Boy Mentality.

Joe Paterno

Don’t be sad for former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. A bit strange to say and type “former Penn State head football coach” when referring to JoePa.

He’s lived a charmed life in the entertainment field that is sports in one place for six decades.

Paterno patrolled the Penn State football sidelines, first as an assistant coach and 46 years as head coach, since 1950, when he was just 23 years old until his dismissal this past Wednesday night at the age of 84.

61 years.

What a tremendous run considering coaches get hired and fired in the college and pro ranks like it’s going out of style.

By now you know Paterno’s story. Worth revisiting.

After serving in the Army the final year of World War II, he went to Brown University on an athletic scholarship where he played quarterback for head coach Charles “Rip” Engle. He was to go to law school after graduation in 1950 but instead accepted an assistant coaching position at Penn State when Engle became the head coach of the Nittany Lions.

After 16 seasons, Engle retired and Paterno succeeded him.

Coaching football at Penn State is the ONLY career job Paterno’s ever known. It was HIS REALITY.

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

Paterno’s job description always was to win football games and make Penn State athletics relevant thus making the university globally renowned from a little place called “Happy Valley.”

In 46 years as the Nittany Lions head coach, Paterno holds the record for most wins in division one college football with 409. He’s tied for the most games coached with Amos Alonzo Stagg (548). Paterno’s coached in a record 37 bowl games winning a record 24 of them, two of those being national championships.

Based on those numbers alone. Mission accomplished. Job well done.

Paterno’s life is Penn State football.

Paterno’s paychecks have been issued by the Penn State Board of Trustees for six decades.

He’s from a generation that didn’t have to worry about labor compliance legal notices posted by employees for employers regarding things like sexual harassment or violence towards others in the workplace.

This is significant.

Albeit a few years younger than Paterno, I have a very close friend who’s from that generation.

My friend was in the competitive field of  radio sales selling advertising time beginning in the late 60s. He’s told me that it wasn’t uncommon for sales reps almost coming to blows with threats of violence back in the day because one was traversing into another’s “territory.”

Threats of violence are an obvious grounds for termination of both parties, in this day and age, with labor compliance notices posted everywhere in the workplace but swept under the rug back then where no labor compliance notices posted. Things were “worked out” between the two parties by going to a superior usually without involving law enforcement.

It also wasn’t uncommon back then for “casual flirting or sexual advances” in the workplace to occur, wanted or unwanted (see a Mad Men or Pan Am episode), between parties. Another obvious grounds for termination, in this day and age, with labor compliance notices posted everywhere in the workplace but swept under the rug back then where no labor compliance notices were posted.  Things were “worked out” between the parties by going to a superior usually without involving law enforcement.

After leaving the field in the late 90s, my friend was back in the radio sales business about 10 years later. Something occurred between him and another younger sales rep where threats were exchanged initiated by my friend who felt his territory was violated by the younger rep.

Mind you, Department of Labor Laws of Compliance notices were posted everywhere in that workplace. The younger rep went to the sales supervisor alerting him of threats made by my “old school” friend. My friend was immediately terminated.

After telling me this story, I asked my friend if he would consider going back into that field. His reply, “Nah. I’m from a different generation. Today, you innocently smile at someone the wrong way and you get canned.”

Brings me to this.

All the Penn State principles in this tragedy are a product of that “old school” generation where indiscretions were kept hush-hush, in the house amongst each other, swept under the rug.

Covered up.

Jerry Sandusky

Taking a look at the 23 page grand jury report detailing the absolutely disgusting and unimaginable alleged acts done to young boys by former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky, that “old school” mindset is obvious.

Why? Here’s why. All the parties who could’ve stopped what was going on lived in a “fantasy world” where football ruled over anything that’s morally and ethically right because that is a world where everyone in a small, irrelevant  town without Penn State football, prospered financially.

A bit like organized crime.

All parties sold their souls in the best interest of  “The Family” a.k.a. Penn State Football. Nothing was done in the best interest of all those young kids whose innocence was stolen and lives ruined forever.

Mike McQueary

Had Paterno, assistant Mike McQueary, who allegedly witnessed Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy in the athletic department showers in 2002 and did nothing to stop it, McQueary’s father, athletic director Tim Curley, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, a victim’s mother, the campus police and so on and so forth IMMEDIATELY told the proper authorities of Sandusky’s deplorable acts, so many young lives would‘ve been spared indignities forced upon them by Sandusky.

Because they didn’t, all became accomplices in the alleged crimes because they did nothing except protect their personal interests.

Their jobs.

In Paterno’s case, the only job he’s ever known.

So, instead of turning in Sandusky nine years ago the “old school guys” Spanier, Curley and Paterno did what they know best.  Keep the ugly incident hush-hush, in the house amongst each other, swept under the rug.

Covered up.

Graham Spanier & Joe Paterno

Why ruin the shine in their “Football Camelot.”

Paterno’s “old school way of doing things” worked fine in his football world. In the real world, sadly, it‘s rendered his football records extremely tarnished.

Quite honestly, Paterno, and the rest of his Penn State “old boy network,” should’ve been gone a long time ago.

Photo courtesy: AP, LIFE, Sports Illustrated

Bengals have Teeth to Take Bite out of Steelers. Eric’s Week 10 NFL Picks.

Remember, use my picks to wager $$$ at your own risk. I pick heads-up winners, not the spread. If you lose, I had nothing to do with it. If you win beaucoup $$$, a 10% tip would be cool.  But, I’m realistic. This is just for your entertainment…or not, and for me to keep my sports “mojo” going until “I’m back in the saddle”. Remember the league’s unofficial motto…“ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, MONDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY OR SATURDAY……….




-Battle to stay close to the Ravens in the AFC North. Under head coach Marvin Lewis, I don’t think the Bengals have been lacking in talent. Problem’s always been some of that talent has been made up of players that did him and the team absolutely no good. They’ve turned the corner with QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green and a top-notch defense.  The Steelers are the Steelers. It’ll be close. BENGALS (Steelers, 24-17)


-Battle for the NFC South. Falcons have been playing much better. Saints having injury problems at RB. I’ll give it to the home team. FALCONS (Saints, 26-23 ot)

ST. LOUIS RAMS (1-7) +2.5 @ CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-5) O/U 37 pts

-Rams need to make sure their special teams don’t botch it. QB Sam Bradford should have the rust off after last week. Browns with injuries on both sides of the ball. RAMS (Rams, 13-12)

BUFFALO BILLS (5-3) +6 @ DALLAS COWBOYS (4-4) O/U 48 pts

-I just don’t trust the most over-rated, over-hyped player in league history, Tony Romo. This will be high scoring. BILLS (Cowboys, 44-7)


-There’s no way the Colts go winless this season. If they’re going to win a game, this is it. COLTS (Jaguars, 17-3)

DENVER BRONCOS (3-5) +3 @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-4) O/U 41.5 pts

-A Broncos win and there’s a 3-way tie for second in the AFC West. Chiefs win and they’re tied with the Raiders for first and hold the tie-breaker with their 28-0 win at Oakland two weeks ago. CHIEFS (Broncos, 17-10)


-Dolphins have been in every game they’ve played. QB Matt Moore playing solid while the Redskins have issues and injuries. DOLPHINS (Dolphins, 20-9)


-Former Eagles QB Kevin Kolb is out. Eagles need win to stay in playoff hunt. EAGLES (Cardinals, 21-17)


-Texans working a huge running game and defense. All this without WR Andre Johnson and DE/LB Mario Williams. Bucs with issues all of a sudden. TEXANS (Texans, 37-9)

TENNESSEE TITANS (4-4) +3.5 @ CAROLINA PANTHERS (2-6) O/U 46.5 pts

-Titans hard to figure. Panthers QB Cam Newton putting up huge numbers in losses. He’ll get another win. PANTHERS (Titans, 30-3)


-Ravens have inside track to Super Bowl from the AFC. Seahawks have inside track on Matt Barkley sweepstakes. RAVENS (Seahawks, 22-17)

DETROIT LIONS (6-2) +2.5 @ CHICAGO BEARS (5-3) O/U 43.5 pts

-Lions coming off bye week after two straight losses. Bears coming off big win over Eagles. Two of three NFC North teams who could make playoffs. Expect a lot of points. LIONS (Bears, 37-13)

NY GIANTS of NEW JERSEY (6-2) +3.5 @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (7-1) O/U 42.5 pts

-Eli Manning and the Giants looked impressive against the worst defense in the league last week. 49ers with a much better defense, a running game with Frank Gore and Alex Smith looks like the QB everyone thought he’d be when he was made top overall draft pick way back when. 49ers (49ers, 27-20)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-3) +2 @ NY JETS of NEW JERSEY (5-3) O/U 47 pts

-Patriots have looked pretty average the last two weeks. Can’t protect Tom Brady and the defense is terrible. Jets are beginning to play like everyone thought they would. Pats beat the Jets in first meeting. Split. JETS (Patriots, 37-16)



-Defending Super Bowl Champs give up plenty of yardage. It’s going to bite them in the rear eventually. Vikings torched the Pack defense for 435 yards in 33-27 loss earlier this season. Adrian Peterson lit them up for 175 yards rushing. Aaron Rodgers playing at MVP level. 13 points a bit too much. But the games in GreenBay. Don’t be shocked if there’s an upset here because the Vikings are much better than their record. Still…………PACKERS (Packers, 45-7)


OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-4) +7 @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-4) O/U 47.5 pts

-Battle for the top spot of the AFC West. Since acquiring QB Carson Palmer, Raiders have lost two straight with Palmer tossing six picks in the two games. After finally starting fast at 4-1, the Chargers have lost three straight. QB Phillip Rivers with 14 picks of his own, one more than he had all last season. 710 ESPN Los Angeles radio hosts Steve Mason & John Ireland set the over/under for interceptions between the two QBs at four. Take the over. Raiders RB Darren McFadden is out. Chargers RBs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are questionable. Raiders swept the AFC West last season. Oakland’s 1-2 so far this season. CHARGERS (Raiders, 24-17)

BYE WEEK: LOS ANGELES (16 seasons, 10 weeks)

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