When news broke in November 2011 that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was about to be indicted for 52 counts of sexually assaulting children, Joe Posnanski—perhaps the most celebrated sportswriter in America—happened to be at State College in Pennsylvania working on a biography of Sandusky's former boss, legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
Yesterday, the NCAA announced the sanctions it would impose on the Penn State football program after an independent investigation found university administrators—including football coach Joe Paterno—had covered up instances of child rape and systematic sexual abuse by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The school is being fined $60 million—the approximate amount of its annual revenues from football—as well as being stripped of its titles and wins for 14 years. Some have questioned whether the broad scope of the sanctions, which punish players who may have had no knowledge of the abuse, is fair. The Prospect's Monica Potts and Clare Malone debate the issue.
Somehow Madonna pulled off an amazing feat during the Super Bowl: bringing gay culture and aggressive female sexuality into the heart of masculinity’s holiest of days without anyone seeming to care. While the cheerleading segment was embarrassingly silly, I otherwise have to disagree with Tom Carson’s assessment that the Super Bowl’s narrative was Clint Eastwood versus Madonna, with Clint winning. I’m more in the camp of Tom’s friend who said, “It was Clint AND Madonna.”
Meet Craig James. If you aren't a football fan, you've probably never heard of the guy. If you are inclined toward the pigskin, well, James's voice should be pretty familiar to you—he's been commentating at ESPN for 20 years after a short but successful career with the New England Patriots. He's also running for U.S. Senate in Texas.
There is a myth abroad in this great land that liberals can't stand pro football. Like so many myths, it's partly true, definitely so in refined circles. The violence, the beer commercials—these are an affront to civilized minds. When left-leaning op-ed columnists want to demonstrate that they're in the American swim, they're far more likely to out themselves as baseball fans. But that tic seems to apply across the political spectrum, and geez, isn't it nauseating? Reading George Will on baseball is like watching a praying mantis suit up as a Good Humor man.
Once when I was in college, a friend was hosting a prospective student for the weekend. A group of us were going to play some basketball, and we asked the young man if he wanted to come along. With a kind of grudging look, he said yes. While the game was just a friendly 3-on-3, this guy's skills were sadly inadequate -- couldn't dribble, couldn't pass, couldn't shoot. Walking back to the dorm, he said somewhat sadly, "Everyone thinks that because I'm 6-5 and black, I must be great at basketball." It was plainly not the first time he had been embarrassed in this way.
Last night, during Sunday night football, one of my friends retweeted a comment from a Twitter user called Lolo813 (she has protected her tweets) that said: "Um, being suspended for sexual assault isn't adversity. It would be great if the announcers would stop calling it that."
OK, I'm kidding - sort of. But bear with me. Before we get to the travesty of the Americans' match against Slovenia, let me explain what I mean.
At their cores, conservatism and liberalism have different approaches to bad behavior, whether we're talking about kids acting out or criminals making mayhem. The conservative perspective says that people are fundamentally sinful and fallen, and will get away with as much as they can. You need harsh penalties to keep them from straying, otherwise they'll run rampant. The liberal perspective says that people are fundamentally good, and while punishment is necessary for some actions, on the whole you do a better job with carrots than sticks.
Now that the furor over the rape allegations against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has died down, what to make of it? For now, the matter seems to be settled. Roethlisberger will not be criminally charged. However, he has been suspended for the first six games of the upcoming NFL season. He has announced that he does not plan to appeal the suspension.
Last night's NFL Championship game provided many instructional moments for politics. For one, President Barack Obama could learn strategy from Saints' Coach Sean Payton, who turned the game around with his bold play-calling, particularly an on-sides kick to start the second half.
An emotional fan of the New Orleans Saints reacts to their performance in Superbowl XLIV at the Turning Point Lounge in New Orleans. The Saints beat the favored Indianapolis Colts 31-17.
What does Khalid Sheik Mohammed have in common with O.J. Simpson? Conservatives seem to think a great deal.
First, there was Sen. Chuck Grassley, who said this during Attorney General Eric Holder's Senate testimony last week:
I think a lot of Americans thought O.J. Simpson ought to be convicted of murder rather than being in jail for what he's in jail for now. It seemed to me ludicrous. You know, I'm a farmer, not a lawyer, but I just want to make that observation.
I haven't really paid too much attention to the news of Rush Limbaugh's bid to buy the St. Louis Rams, but former NFL wide receiver Keenan McCardell's post at the Washington Post caught my eye:
All the players would remember what he said about Donovan McNabb -- what got him fired from ESPN. It's a crazy thing, but it's hard to change what you said once you said it -- hard to get guys to forget and trust again. Sometimes your words speak louder than what you're trying to do.