Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

R.I.P. Joe Paterno (December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012)

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Joe Paterno, revered coach tainted by scandal, dies

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football history who was fired in November over a child sexual abuse scandal involving an assistant that rocked America, died on Sunday of lung cancer. He was 85.

Paterno won adoration from fans of the highly successful and profitable Penn State football program and they unleashed invective at the university board of trustees who fired him unceremoniously after 46 years as head coach, tarnishing his outsized legacy.

Equally outraged were his critics and advocates for victims of sexual abuse who faulted Paterno for his relative inaction upon hearing an accusation that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused a young boy in the Penn State football showers in 2002.

Paterno told university officials but not police, opening him to criticism that he protected an accused child molester for nine years.

Sandusky, 67, who has maintained his innocence, faces 52 criminal counts accusing him of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, using his position as head of a The Second Mile, a charity dedicated to helping troubled children, to find his victims. The court placed him under house arrest.

Waves of mourners descended on a makeshift shrine to Paterno outside the university’s Beaver Stadium. They draped an American flag on a statue of Paterno and wrapped its neck with a Penn State scarf.

Sobbing at the statue’s feet was Dana Gordon, a 1982 graduate who blamed the school’s Board of Trustees for hastening Paterno’s death by firing him in a “callous way.”

“The way the board treated him took a lot of the fight out of him,” Gordon said.

The case raised questions about the measures the university took to protect Sandusky and a football program that Forbes magazine estimated made a profit of $53 million in 2010, especially since accusations against him first surfaced in 1998. At that time a university police detective admonished Sandusky to stop showering naked with boys but stopped short of bringing criminal charges.

One of the biggest scandals in college sports history, it provoked a national discussion about pedophilia in the same way charges involving Roman Catholic priests did years earlier.

The matter also drew impassioned arguments about the balance between protecting the young and the rights of criminal defendants, who are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“I hope his passing and the controversy surrounding Sandusky will deter other people, especially powerful people, from covering up child sex crimes,” said David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group.

“Even decades of professional achievement should not obscure dreadfully reckless and callous inaction that results in child sex crimes,” Clohessy said.

Sandusky issued a statement sending condolences to the Paterno family that did not mention the investigation.

“Nobody did more for the academic reputation of Penn State than Joe Paterno. He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession,” Sandusky said.

Paterno won a reputation for making sure his players graduated and one of the program’s mottos was “Success With Honor.”

Paterno’s downfall was spectacular. For decades he was a symbol of vitality who patrolled the Penn State sidelines with unchallenged authority, easily recognizable by his thick eyeglasses and jet-black hair that only showed a hint of gray in his later years. His two national championships, in 1982 and 1986, won him enduring loyalty from fans who affectionately called him “JoePa.”

In the end, he was confined to a wheelchair upon breaking his hip in a fall one month after being fired, and he wore a wig after losing his hair to chemotherapy, according to the Washington Post, which interviewed Paterno about a week before his death.

Paterno was surrounded by family when he died 9:25 a.m. on Sunday of metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung, Mount Nittany Medical Center said in a statement.

IMPACT ON CRIMINAL CASE

Paterno’s death may not significantly affect the case against Sandusky, but was more likely to weaken the criminal case against two university officials charged with perjury, at least one legal expert said.

Paterno learned of at least one accusation against Sandusky in 2002, when graduate assistant Mike McQueary told Paterno he witnessed Sandusky molesting a boy of about 10 years old in the showers of the Lasch Football Building.

Paterno told university officials but not police, a decision that ultimately led to his downfall.

Paterno, in an interview with the Washington Post published on January 14, said he was uncertain how to handle the matter and trusted the university administration.

Paterno testified before the grand jury that he informed former athletic director Tim Curley about what McQueary told him. About 10 days later, McQueary testified, he was called to a meeting with Curley and university finance official Gary Schultz to discuss what happened.

Curley and Schultz both face perjury charges based on their inaction. Schultz also testified before the grand jury he was aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky.

University President Graham Spanier was fired along with Paterno, and Curley and Schultz stepped down.

“If he (Paterno) had known the devastation that this means, he would have reacted differently,” said Peter Pelullo, founder of Let Go, Let Peace Come In, a support group helping some of Sandusky’s accusers with counseling.

“If there had been an auto accident on the Penn State campus and a kid had been run over, everybody would have called 911. That boy was being crushed at the moment he was in the shower with Sandusky. It’s not just Joe Paterno but the rest of the country that didn’t understand this,” Pelullo said.

Because Paterno was not believed to have witnessed any purported abuse, his testimony would not have been crucial to Sandusky trial, said Paul Callan, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.

But his death could set back the criminal case against Curley and Schultz.

“The Confrontation Clause (of the constitution) guarantees that criminal defendants will have the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against them at the time of trial,” Callan said. “No defense attorneys were present at the grand jury proceedings to do such a cross-examination.”

Max Kennerly, a Philadelphia trial lawyer who has followed the case, said Paterno’s death was unlikely to alter any civil litigation being contemplated by Sandusky’s accusers. If any were considering suing Paterno, they could just name his estate.

“Death doesn’t change your status as a party,” Kennerly said.

(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson, Barbara Goldberg and Noeleen Walder; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

R.I.P. Al Davis

Al Davis the owner and pioneer of Raider nation has died, this is a sad day for us Raider fans! Just when I thought we were starting to turn the team around too he won’t be around to see it!

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Al Davis, the flamboyant NFL franchise owner who brought and then removed the Raiders from Los Angeles, has died at the age of 82. Davis passed away in his home in Oakland on Saturday morning. No cause of death was announced, although he had been in declining health recently.
Since 1966, Davis had either led or owned the Raiders, making him the longest-running football boss in NFL history. Under his direction, the team became one of the most successful in NFL history with 13 division championships between 1967 and 1985. In 1980, Davis was blocked by the NFL from moving the Raiders from Oakland to LA. He sued and won an anti-trust case and in 1982, the Raiders moved into the venerable Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But in 1995, Davis moved the team back to the Bay Area after being denied permission to build a new luxury football stadium in Inglewood. Davis was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1992.

The Juice has gone sour!!

In the wold of “What in the hell were you thinking!!!!” we have mister Orenthal James Simpson better known to us simply as OJ, back in the news again with yet another step on the bad side of the law. This time instead of being accused of brutally murdering two people he is simply accused of strong arm robbery. At sixty no less, who knew that Viagra would have all of these other side effects we are currently witnessing. OJ allegedly went to a Las Vegas casino with several friends to retrieve items allegedly stolen from him years past. Now i don’t know how you get down but i doubt at sixty I will be rolling up on anybody with a posse of forty something year olds, unless maybe I had a couple guns to even the odds. Yeah right who am I kidding, there is now way in… well you know that i would ever attempt this type of caper. If i honestly believed someone had my belongings then I would call the police they are really adept at rolling up on people with a posse and brandishing guns. Not only was this really moronic but then OJ the rocket scientist that he is allowed himself to be recorded in the commission of his alleged crime. I tell you crime does really not pay the people who tend to be criminals are not very bright and really never learn fro there mistakes. Lets see your arrested for the murder of your ex wife and her friend oh so many years ago and you have your mugshot taken (lets take a look)

OJ Simpson mugshots 1993

You are the center of legal proceedings dubbed “The Trial of The Century” And not only is there a ton of evidence against you but oh wonders of wonders you manage to get off. So what do you do, instead of fading from the spotlight you routinely turn up in tabloids, weird tv deals and amazing coffee table books. But no that is not enough you have to go out and commit another crime while being secretly taped. Why? I guess to prove that “Hey they can’t send me to jail no matter what I do. Well juice I think you pushed the envelope one to many times and will probably in the end get what you originally deserved, to grow old in a jail cell. This will be how you went out:

OJ Simpson mugshots 2007

Oh one little joke before I go from the archives:

Did you hear they stopped serving the Screwdriver cocktails in Brentwood.

Why?

The Vodka was ok but the OJ will kill you!!