How vain it is to sit down to write when you haven't stood up to live?
What we hoped wasn’t true…just happened.
A bomb was dropped on Penn State today after FBI Director Louis Freeh released his several month-long inquiry on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The blast radius is so severe following the report’s release, it’s impact has many writers calling for the death penalty of Penn State’s football program for one of the most significant cover-ups in collegiate athletics history. One of the more significant findings: Joe Paterno was far more involved than we had originally anticipated, far more than involved than the sports world had hoped.
Before I’ve even had a chance to dive deep into the details myself, and fully let this whole thing register in my brain, I can’t help but drop my jaw glancing around the sports media spectrum seeing the headlines across the board speaking volumes about the report’s impact. Unlike a handful of weeks ago, there are few voices standing up for Paterno and the university. A sample:
Just how serious is this? Even some of Joe Pa’s closest friends are backtracking on their initial stances on this terrible situation. Remember Phil Knight’s passionate speech at Joe Paterno’s memorial, in which he confidently defended the most-winningest coach of all time’s legacy? Paterno, Knight’s long-time mentor and hero. [here’s an article if you don’t want to watch the video]
Well things are drastically different today… Nike released this statement:
I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State. It is a terrible tragedy that children were unprotected from such abhorrent crimes. With the findings released today, I have decided to change the name of our child care center at our World Headquarters. My thoughts are with the victims and the Penn State community.
– Mark Parker, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc.
Other than my parents, my college coach, Bill Bowerman, was the biggest influence in my life. Bill Bowerman and Joe Paterno shared some great qualities. Throughout Joe Paterno’s career, he strived to put young athletes in a position to succeed and win in sport but most importantly in life. Joe influenced thousands of young men to become better leaders, fathers and husbands.
According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day. My love for Joe and his family remains.
– Phil Knight, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, NIKE, Inc.
Although Knight’s overall love and support of Paterno and his family are deeply set in stone, the corporate monster known for its patented swoosh took a symbolic step forward in justifying the impact of Paterno’s tarnished legacy. His name will be removed from Nike’s campus on the Child Development Center.
The Freeh report is massive, 267 pages to be exact. Deadspin is currently doing a nice job thumbing through it, providing an abridged version highlighting the major bullet points on ‘everything you need to know about the Freeh report.’ Below is the full PDF for those interested in diving deep into the details yourselves. I’ll be doing the same here shortly.
This is a large pill to swallow to say the least. I truly feel for—obviously the victims and their families—but also for the loyal, dedicated Penn State grads and all their diehard fans. Their stomping grounds is called STATE COLLEGE. Little is more important than helmets smashing on the gridiron. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d feel if this were to unfold at my beloved University of Oregon.
Updated NCAA Pac
12 11 College Baseball Standings (as of 4/30/12)
(Colorado discontinued its team in 1980 thanks to Title IX)
The website Oregon Authentic launched today, providing diehard Duck fans an opportunity to get their hands on authentic football gear. As much as I need (WANT) an Oregon helmet on my mantle at home, or an official game-worn jersey to ceremoniously position in a green n’ yellow Duck football shrine, this bidding war is bound reach outrageous financial heights. Proceeds funnel directly into the athletic program as a whole (not just the cash cow football squad). The price tag on LMJ’s ‘fighting ducks’ uni has been skyrocketing already on day-1, hitting
$335 early on, no wait, $515, oh sure, it’s at $595 now! If you’ve needed proof, yes, we love our Ducks that much.
(Here’s an FAQ section if you are confused about the auction process)
Most Wanted: The (in)famous #21 LaMichael James Kelly Green Fighting Ducks Jersey
The debate will never end about whether this was a hit or miss in the Nike-Oregon fashion department, however the significance of this jersey is unarguably one of the more timeless pieces of memorabilia in the history Oregon football lore.
First, allow me to touch on the positive memories: Reflect back to October 6th, 2011 when LMJ torched the CAL Bears’ defense for 239 yards on the ground (8.0/carry) including a 53 yard got-the-edge scamper down the sideline for six on Oregon’s opening drive. Below, watch LMJ house it on his very first carry through the eyes of a fan’s POV:
LMJ went on to set a pair of school records on this day that may never be touched again (a’yo De’Anthony, I’m calling you out, young stud!)
You might also remember the rather infamous role this uniform played on the Ducks’ season. Early in the fourth quarter—with Oregon protecting a comfortable three-score lead—60 thousand+ hearts came to a standstill watching LMJ roll around the Autzen turf cringing in what looked like significant pain. The same pain he would later shed off like an arm tackle in the secondary (picture the @Tennessee run). The jumbotron footage of LMJ’s elbow instanteously sunk stomachs far-and-wide and brought the pulse in the entire city of Eugene to a deafening flat-line. Ironically, the two other times I’ve witnessed Autzen that noticeably jolted by a single play came both times against CAL (I won’t dive into the dreary details, I’ll just mention two names: Cam Colvin, Keith “no man’s land” Allen).
I recall getting a text via an insider source within the locker room when LMJ’s status was still very much in limbo—the rumor swirling from behind closed doors was absolutely devastating news. One player on the team declared LMJ ‘done’ plain and simple (WHY, OH, WHY did you do that to me?!) Remarkably—contrary to our deepest, darkest fears—shortly after I received that gut wrenching text, THIS happened and a legend was born…again:
‘I could tear all my ACL’s and still play’
Say what you want about the jersey design. Although I personally considered the creation leaning closer toward a bust than a fashion success, I firmly stand behind the concept that all press is good press (so long as it has nothing to do with a player’s rap sheet). Uniform buzz is not placed on a decorative platter for “expert” writers/columnists to chew on, they are tactically manufactured (and filtered through the media) to recruit for us—it’s about the 16, 17, 18 year old ballers still undecided on when/where to sign on the dotted line. By the way, all you grey beards are lightyears out of the loop when it comes to youngster “swag” nowadays, so stand down, sirs. While the majority preach “FAIL” one this one, I personally find this jersey to be even more epic than the Rose Bowl victory attire. The layered story behind the Fighting Ducks coinciding with LMJ’s tremendous toughness speaks volumes about one of Oregon’s most successful seasons in the history of the program.
Stormtroopers: Remember when we first debuted this look? Jonathan Stewart—in familiar, yet enemy territory—got loose on the road versus the filthy Huskies, running unconsciously for an easy 250+. I was there—the streets of Seattle were barren that night. Drinks on me for everybody!
The Ducks kept the successful Stormtrooper tradition alive with an enormous victory on the road at USC in 2010. Enter: wing blades, exit: whatever the hell you want to call those funky grid-shaped reflective shoulder patches.
Stew doing work.
Tall Firs throwback:
I picture Akili ✈✈✈✈airmailing✈✈✈✈ it deep downfield to Hartley
Whatchu know ‘bout matte black, son?
Remember Reggie Bush’s tweet about the release of these matte black helmets? Nike: always one step ahead of the game. Reebok, Adidas—you there? …Didn’t think so.
You can even purchase the entire football uniform set the Ducks rocked vs. LSU in last year’s season opener. Yeah, I know, rough loss, but this combo still ranks VERY high on my short list of the dopest uniforms in the history of the game. So clean. I’d vote to bring these back for a chance at redemption in a heartbeat.
Last, but not least, a few “support our troops” Oregon spring game joints:
Time to break the bank Duck fans—best of luck to all you
rich bastards lovable lucky Ducks!
My Trap of the Day post! Enjoy!
As young adults, one of the toughest decisions a budding mind must settle on is where to enroll in college. For aspiring student-athletes, this decision is far more pressing knowing he or she must weigh out what’s in their best interest for both for athletics and education. The headlines this week feature a young athlete who made the wrong choice and is now feeling the repercussions.
Meet Jarrod Uthoff, the 6’8” redshirt freshman power forward from Cedar Rapids. Just a year prior in the state of Iowa, he was known as Mr. Basketball. After being strategically recruited by the Wisconsin Badgers’ assistant coach Gary Close, Uthoff signed a letter of intent to play ball in Madison. The expectations for Uthoff’s potential in a Badger uniform were sky-high.
After riding the pine during his redshirt season, Uthoff decided Wisconsin wasn’t the place for him. He cited the desire to be closer to home as his reason for administering a transfer request to the Wisconsin athletic department (apparently a three hour drive is far enough to feel homesick). This was unusual for Wisconsin—they rarely come across signees wanting out.
Even though Uthoff had yet to play in a collegiate basketball game, his name inevitably began swarming the headlines after Badgers’ head coach Bo Ryan announced heavy restrictions on Uthoff’s rights to transfer…that is, his rights to transfer to certain schools. Uthoff was denied “permission to contact” any school in the Big Ten Conference, along with various schools spread across the country, such as Marquette, Virginia and Florida. Ryan was given the chance to explain himself on a popular ESPN talk radio show, Mike & Mike. The interview seems to have ruffled the feathers of the twitterverse, as analytics suggest 71% of fan reactions toward Ryan’s dialogue with ESPN were perceived in a negative light (sprinkle a grain of salt, of course).
After feeling the hot water in this transfer fiasco, coach Ryan took a step backward on his stubborn stance yesterday, lifting his original transfer restrictions on all schools except those in (Wisconsin’s) Big Ten Conference. The University followed up with an official statement of their own.
This raises an interesting debate in collegiate athletics. How terrible of a precedent could this be setting in an organization that is supposed to be working in the best interest of its student-athletes? Where should the NCAA draw the line when it comes to its policy on transfer requests? Should head coaches at universities be allowed this type of veto power, or should it fall into the hands of NCAA officials to ultimately determine a fair compromise for all parties involved?
The discussion continues in the NCAA Transfer Debate Trap!