23rd May 2007

Taking out the trash

posted in Uncategorized |

I’m going to go off the path of my normal ranting and raving about islamification, politics, etc to share an article I saw today about something we see too little off. Accountability and responsibility among college athletes. The full article is here.

This spring, six Penn State football players were arrested and charged for crimes stemming from an off-campus fight in which at least 15 Nittany Lions were present. The charged included a couple of star players, although what apparently bothered coach Joe Paterno the most was how many of his kids were willing to be involved.
And so Paterno, 80 now but no less tough, no less disciplined, hatched a plan to set things right within his program. He’ll let the local legal and student judicial process play out, but regardless he decided that to keep people from thinking his team was trash, it’ll spend the fall cleaning it up.

So now for some background here, a PSU football player and his girlfriend were insulted, the player got pissed and started tossing punches at random people. He then called some other guys on the team and they went to a party where the insulter was and started a brawl (all allegedly of course). So what you basically had was one kid losing his temper, calling his boys in then a mob mentality started and fights ensued. I’m not condemning them nor supporting them, I once was a hot headed college football player and now I’m a more responsible adult so I can see how it could happen and understand why it shouldn’t. What’s so important to talk about here is this, all actions have consequences. It’s something I try to instill in my young son every.single.day. Things we do, things we don’t do all have a consequence. It could be something good or it could be something bad but everything we do or don’t do is just one domino in an incredibly long string. Joe Paterno understands that. He saw the consequences of his team acting like trash and wanted to drive home an important message. That actions have consequences and repercussions. Right now the legal and student legal processes haven’t played out but the initial consequence of his teams actions (and the inaction of other team members to stop it) have his team looking like trash. He wanted to drive home a point here and I think he has. He also is sending a message to every other coach in every college, professional arena, and even pop warner levels. The actions of a few members of the team affect the whole team.

“We’re all going to do it, everybody,” Paterno told the Harrisburg Patriot-News after a banquet in suburban Philadelphia. “Not just the kids that were involved. ‘Cause we’re all in it together. This is a team embarrassment. I wouldn’t call it anything much other than that.”

Now I’ve met Joe Pa, and I’ve heard him speak numerous times. Let me tell you I’d bet darn near anything that every Sunday HE will be out there picking up trash with his team. 80 years old, a coaching legend, a hall of famer and someone who has forgotten more about football then most coaches knows will be picking up trash with his college team to try and perform an action that will have the consequence of removing some of the stain these kids put on the team name. Yes, even though no one has been convicted of anything, no one’s been found guilty of anything the actions of this player and some of his teammates as well as the inactions of others on the team put a stain on the Penn State Football team. Paterno isn’t the type to wait for “system” to declare these kids right or wrong, he is seeing the stain on his team and is working to try and remove it. See even if these kids are declared innocent the accusation is enough to wound the image of the team. Cleaning up the 100,000+ seating stadium isn’t all they will be doing:

The entire team also will have to build a house for Habitat for Humanity and volunteer for the Special Olympics this summer. But the worst punishment no doubt will be cleaning up Penn State’s mammoth 107,282-seat stadium.

A job usually left for others now will be done by Penn State’s multimillion-dollar football team. Paterno can’t see how this is any different. All the kids on campus are the same, so if the rugby team can find the energy to clean the stadium, so can his guys.

“I don’t condone (the fight),” Paterno said. “Our kids were wrong.”

And across the nation college football coaches faint.

See right and wrong still matter for Paterno. I’m trying hard not to make all sort of drawn line comparisons to things going on throughout the world right now so take a minute and just contemplate this thought “what one person does or does not do affects all around him and and when you chose to do nothing you have still made a choice”. Paterno is probably as upset at the lack of action by people on his team as he is by the actions of some on his team. College coaches across the country are both applauding and mortified by what Paterno has done. Applauding because they are glad someone is taking a stand, mortified because the next time they have a situation close to what Paterno is facing they will be faced with a choice, action or inaction. Joe Paterno for years has been the gold standard for coaching, now he is also the standard for team responsibility. Know why the sky is blue and white? Because God loves Penn State.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 at 7:07 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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