How vain it is to sit down to write when you haven't stood up to live?
56. Paying homage to one of the greatest hitters of all-time, and the greatest streak in professional sports history. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak ended 71 years ago (yesterday). No man will break down that wall. Only ten hitters have ever surpassed 35.
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.
David Beckham is mad at the world this week. Coming after the surprising announcement that Beck would be left off of Great Britain’s Olympic squad this summer in LONDON, he went nuts on the pitch this Saturday in a tough (4-3) loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
I do have to give Beckham props though—if you are going to boot the ball at an “injured” flopper/diver, you better make sure the kick is on-point. He dropped a dime—well worth the yellow. Check the video below:
So far in the 2012 Euro Cup, 21-year-old Italian superstar Mario Balotelli hasn’t been able to dodge racism thrown in his face. Balotelli, a son to Ghanaian immigrants was born in Sicily and now is one of Italy’s most dangerous strikers on the roster. Unfortunately, Balotelli has been forced to deal with cruel racist tendencies that come hand-in-hand with the intensity of playing in a huge tournament like the UEFA Euro Cup. He’s a stud, and it’s unfortunate (yet not tremendously surprising) fans have chosen a distasteful way to get under his skin, in his head. Chanting racial slurs and hurling bananas onto the field is one thing, but to get disrespected by your own nation is just absurd. An Italian newspaper—yes I said ITALIAN, his own country of birth—took a shot at him as well. In a cartoon, the Gazzetta depicted Balotelli as King Kong, getting pelted with soccer balls instead of a barrage of bullets. An apology followed up shortly after, but is that enough?
Check out my Sports Racism Trap for all kinds of content on the concerns of racism at this year’s Euro 2012, as well as other dimensions of the sports world.
The Debate: How to decide the Felix-Tarmoh tiebreaker?
Never has there been such microscopic emphasis on a 3rd place finish in sports. Sure there have been battles for the bronze medal, but nothing quite like this. Think about it—what’s more heartbreaking, finishing 4th AT the Olympic Games, or finishing 4th at the Olympic Trials, just barely missing out on a shot to make the Olympic team? Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh crossed the finish line in the 100m at thee exact same time at this week’s Track & Field Olympic Trials in Track Town USA (Eugene, Oregon).
**Remember, the sprinter’s shoulder/torso/chest is the measurement of finishing the race so ignore both athletes’ flailing arms, forehead and other extremities**
What makes 3rd place so significant is the fact that 3rd place in this particular race clinches a berth to join Team USA on their way to the Olympic Games coming up in London. So how will the winner be decided? A run-off rematch would make the most sense, right? Well, there are also talks of the winner being decided by a basic coin flip. It’s looking more-and-more likely that this will be the scenario. Rock-paper-scissors—-no? Bad idea? What about a “flip-off” in a game of Flip (Cup)? Best two-out-of-three, of course.
On a serious note, let’s be real—both ladies deserve a fair chance to make it to London, and a 50-50 coin flip is nowhere near the answer. How will the “loser” be able to sleep at night knowing she didn’t even get a chance to kick her way there? What if she didn’t believe she brought her best performance to the table, especially in Eugene’s poor weather conditions? Didn’t we learn something from the Jerome Bettis coin flip disaster? Figure it out Olympics committee, there’s a simple solution—one that is far more exciting for both Tarmoh and Felix, and for the millions of thirsty T&F fans out there as well.
Follow my Track & Field Olympic Trials trap as this saga unfolds. Jubilation & heartbreak on both on their way, divvied out evenly.
updated: After some discourse on twitter, here are some other ideas brainstormed: