published Thursday, July 12th, 2012

5-at-10: Paterno, politics and college football, remakes we want and Dream Team debate

  • photo
    In this Oct. 22, 2011 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands on the field before his team's NCAA college football game against Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Sweet buckets, how does this happen? We were lamenting the lack of sports happenings and now we're having to trim out things that would normally make fine 5-at-10 chatter. Before we get to it, we owe last night's ESPY's an apology. The Pat Summitt tribute was OUT-standing and moving and special. It was not the Jimmy V moment from 20 years ago, but it was close. Well-played indeed.

And if that's not enough, this time next week we'll be wrapping up SEC media days. Yep, it's right around the corner.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...
Reports due today at 9 a.m. (we're writing this beforehand and will return and update)

The reports from the Freeh investigation into what went on behind the scenes at Penn State are due today. There's no way it will be pretty, because when some one looks into the ways evil happens and darkness is covered and lives are ruined, there is no way to spin that. Or present it with anything more than the direct and sad and tragic truth.

But after more than a decade of cover-ups and lies and misinformation in an effort to protect the many and sacrifice the innocence of children, the only tonic left that can offer solace is the truth.

Who knew what and when? Who was complicit and, if we can find out why, why? It's time.

And the report does not figure to reflect kindly on Joe Paterno or the rest of the powers that didn't at Penn State. We learned this week that Paterno wrote a letter to be published as an op-ed piece in a newspaper days before his January death. And since he sadly is no longer here to defend the charges, this is one of his last statements about the scandal:

“Specifically, I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal,” Paterno wrote in the letter. “Let me say that again so I am not misunderstood: regardless of anyone's opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished.

“Yet, over and over again, I have heard Penn State officials decrying the influence of football and have heard such ignorant comments like Penn State will no longer be a ‘football factory’ and we are going to ‘start’ focusing on integrity in athletics. These statements are simply unsupported by the five decades of evidence to the contrary -- and succeed only in unfairly besmirching both a great university and the players and alumni of the football program who have given of themselves to help make it great.”

The huge point here is that anyone who believe this to be a "football" scandal has already missed the point. This is a human scandal; a tragedy.

The fact that in the final hours of his life, Paterno was still trying to justify, defend and exonerate the Penn State football program from this disaster is tragic. And telling.

Here's saying the Freeh report will be jarring.

(We wrote this at 8:15 a.m., and we'll be back around 11:30 with an update after the report is released.


Politics of college football

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ESPN is going to sell TV ads to political campaigns during college football and NFL games this fall leading up to the November elections.

Wow, as if those Saturday night SEC dogfights aren't passionate enough, we're adding one of the most emotionally charged presidential elections in recent memory to the mix.

Yeah, this is sure to draw some ire — that is if any of us watched the commercials anyway. Still, imagine you're watching your team late in the first half driving. They turn it over and your rival takes it back for a score. You're already cussing, and then the guy you think is the worst choice in the world for president comes on the air to tell you how he's going to fix things. Not good. (You want to know who is happy about this? BestBuy and TV sellers everywhere. We're betting skyrocketing numbers in broken TVs from September to the end of October this year. And no gang, your homeowners insurance does not cover "a random flying remote control that somehow smashed the picture tube.")

That said, if you are looking for a celebrity to endorse your campaign on a commercial on ESPN, who are you asking? Be careful getting a particular coach because everyone has sizable groups that love and loath him. Do you get Saban, Tebow, Kirk Herbstreit?

Of course not. You can't pin your hopes on a face that may alienate half the audience or more. Of course if you're Obama, maybe you pay Lee Corso to put on a giant Mitt Romney head before the game. That's the sure-fire kiss of death.


Rushmore remakes

We put our head on the pillow last night realizing that we had not answered our own question. Not good.

There were a lot of quality responses, and we'd watch "Midway" remake as Spy suggested. Heck, if the Midway original was on right now, we'd watch it.

Laughing Boy's list was particularly stout, too, and we agree that a slew of horror movies could be redone in style.

FE to the C suggested "Nighthawks" and we almost went there.

Amen. And pass the ammo about the war movies made to make war look bad. Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. Nighthawks is a GREAT call, and we almost stole that one.

Here's our Rushmore of remakes (and despite Laughter's stout list, we tried to stay away from straight horror movies):

— Escape from New York with Jason Statham as Snake Pliskin

— The Great Escape, but it would take MONSTER coin to assemble a cast that star-studded today

— WarGames, and take us to DefCon 2 and get the president on the horn

— (This may count as two so sue us) Big Chill for our generation, which arguably could be the Breakfast Club where are they now

This and that
— Every time we think we know where Dwight Howard is going something happens that blows that up. We've seen eighth-grade romances with better communication and more stability than the Howard-Orlando Magic situation.

-- What's this strange wet stuff that's falling from the sky in the 423?

— The Braves start back Friday against the Mets. Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer believes the Braves are good enough to stay in the race but little more. We can certainly see that view, we just think they may have a little more than that. We'll cover this in tomorrow's mailbag.

— Reminder, we're planning on being on The Show with Chris Goforth today around 2 p.m. on 1370 AM here in the 423. Swing by if you have a minute.

— OK, from the files of you can't make this up. Linda Chase of Jackson, Mich., has been watching NASCAR with the man she lives with for more than a year. OK, that seems a little out of place since we'd rather do a month of insurance seminars than watch every NASCAR race for a year. But, according to the Jackson City Patriot, the circumstances were a little more "Weekend at Bernie's" than weekend at Talladega: "Zigler, known as Charlie, died naturally, Linda Chase said. "He just fell asleep." She kept him in his chair after he died, keeping him dressed and cleaned. His body did not stink, she said. She would talk to him and watch NASCAR races on television with him." Granted, Ms. Chase was also cashing Zigler's social security checks, too, and will likely go to jail. And if you're wondering how they got away with it, here's saying that when it was their turn to host the NASCAR watching party, they did it for Sonoma or some other road course where everyone falls asleep anyway.


Today's question

Leave it to Kobe Bryant to offer a talking point line during the slowest time of the sports calendar.

Thanks Kobe, we owe you one, and know that this is arguably the most unselfish thing Bryant has ever done. So it goes.

Byrant said this week that this US Olympic basketball team would beat the original Jordan-Magic-Bird Dream Team of 1992. And amazingly, because of the relative age difference between those two teams we think Kobe's probably right. Not surprisingly Charles Barkley thinks that claim is turrrrible. In fact Barkley said that other than LeBron, Kobe and Kevin Durant, no one else from the 2012 team would make the original Dream Team. (Hey, we love Charles, but that's simply ludicrous. Christian Laettner was on the 1992 Dream Team for crying out loud.)

What do you think, would 2012 beat 1992? What about each of those teams in their prime — and if we're going to play the what if game, you have to add injured stars Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard to the 2012 team.


about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
memphisexile said...

Remake Green Berets! That movie was so terrible even John Wayne couldn't save it. We owe it to the Duke to make a decent, maybe grittier, try at it. I also believe a reboot/remake of Gremlins could be awesome. I heard today there are negotiations going on to make a new National Lampooon's Family Vacation movie with Ed Helms in the title role as a grown up Rusty on his own family trip. Could be good, but only with an appearance from Chevy as grandpa Clark.

July 12, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
memphisexile said...

Also, no way in heck (family column) 2012 takes down 1992 if all the players are in their prime. Now, the 2012 team against 1992 at the ages at the time they were on the team, Mr. Bryant may have a good point. The 2012 team players would probably be too busy taking dives to stop the 1992 team though. Is hand checking allowed? If so 2012 goes down for sure.

July 12, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Exile —

With a terrible start to the day — our website struggles, the Freeh report, et al. — you have brightened the mood greatly.

Ed Helms as a grown-up Rusty with Grandpa Clark and Great Uncle Eddie (provided they can get Randy Quaid out of the Funny Farm) could be OUT-standing. It could be junk, too. But we like Helms' work — dude actually pulled an implanted tooth for the Hangover. Maybe they should skip the Wally World extra-ganza and go straight to the Christmas version.

We're down with Green Berets, too.

We agree that in the prime, 1992 would prevail. Heck, Vegas set the line at 1992 minus-8.

But the matchups could be interesting:

Durant — Bird

Kobe — MJ

Chris Paul — Stockton

LeBron — Magic

Dwight Howard (if healthy) — Ewing/Robinson

Plus, who guards Kevin Love, a 7 footer who bangs and knocks down 3s.

We may give the edge to the 1992 gang, but we' re definitely taking the 8 points.

July 12, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Sweet Buckets of fresh Nitany Lion droppings, the Freeh-4-All or Freeh-Fall as it may be, really makes JoePa look more negative. That is sad. But no one can doubt the position that if a more in depth probe(no pun)was done after 1998 or even 2001, Penn State's culpability would have been less cuppy. It was just mishandled in about every way possible. WHAT NOW? NO NO NO no remake of the Vacation Movies...that would not be a NICE SUPRISE CLARK, JUST A REAL NICE SURPRISE! But we take whatever Hollyware sends our way. I cried over the Patt Summitt video. She is one of a kind, game, set, match, or basketball national championship. No one will ever deny she was and is a fighter. What are the ESPYS anyway? I'll take the 1992 group anytime. They were more disciplined and knew team ball far better than today's we three or I-duh man approaches. But then, I don't watch a lot of NBA. OKAY the NASCAR Story from Jackson, MI, that's spooky even by good ole boy standards. I am finding it hard to believe his body didn't stink but I bet she'll find the verdict does when she is tried.

July 12, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Team '92 then vs. Team '12 now would be very close. At the 1, I like a young Paul/Westbrook/Williams over an aging Magic/Stockton (just barely). At the 2, I think Jordan/Drexler has the edge over Bryant/Harden/Gordon. The 3 is a HUGE advantage for Team '12 and it's not even close. However, the 4/5 is a big advantage for '92 with Ewing/Robinson/Malone against Griffin/Chandler.

'92 has nobody that can stop LeBron or Durant 1-on-1 (assuming MJ is guarding Kobe). Well...maybe Pippen, but putting him on the floor means benching one of their other HOFs. If anyone on '92 tried to play help D when LeBron made a move to the rim, Durant would light 'em up, or it would be alley oops to the forwards all day. If that's the case, does it really matter that the '92 team has better post guys?

Barkley is out of his mind to suggest that the Dream Team would win by double digits. After all, this Dream Team lost to a college select team before heading to Spain.

July 12, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Lack of institutional control. Those four words need to smeared all over Penn State, because there was a lack of institutional control that allowed the Sandusky situation to not only persist but continue to put more young boys in jeopardy. Jeff Schultz is calling for the death penalty for the Penn State football program. I can't say I disagree.

I do wish I had known about Coach Pat being on the ESPYS last night. That would have been worth watching. A good friend of mine was very good friends with the Summitts, right around the time the Lady Vols won their first national title, and he has nothing but to good things to say about Coach Pat. I had another friend who was a grad assistant in English there and said her players were always in class, on time and paying attention and doing their work. Unlike some other athletes.

And what is going on with the tfponline/ today?

July 12, 2012 at 3:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Livn(Large) —

Nobody covers more topics in one graph than you. Well-played.

And yes, that body would stink even beyond NASCAR standards.

Stewwie —

We'd love to see the match up. Nice breakdown. And if we're going '92 in their prime, we get to add D-Wade and Dwight Howard which helps some in the 2-guard, 4/5 mismatches.

That said, no one on the 1992 team is stopping LeBron. Period. And if Larry Legend is supposed to check Durant, well, as much as we love Larry Legend, he better bring a better lunch than a Big Mac and Fries.

Spy —

I am planning on writing something similar.

But it's not a lack of institutional control. It's worse. Its absolute institutional control that failed absolutely.

Summitt is top of the hill with us and always will be.

As for the tfponline, well, we've had what Cousin Eddie would call "Issues."

— 5-at-10

July 12, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
chas9 said...

Upon further review:

1) Turns out that tooth Jay had pulled yesterday didn't have to go. Check the film.

2) Turns out the new track coach UK hired has a son who plays good basketball (and has gotten interest from UT).

3) Turns out JoePa and PSU's prez knew all along. It's time to impose the death penalty (SMU style).

July 12, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Say what? That tooth could have stayed. Say it ain't so.

And there's no way a school would hire a coach — cough, cough, Wade Houston, Ed Manning, cough, cough — because they got a tot who could play.

Dang, right. In fact, we're half way through our column for tomorrow and if this is not good enough for the death penalty, then they need to take it off the books.

Success with Honor, our asldfjsldkfjas;dlkfj;as;ldkfjs. (Family-oriented, Interwed-based sports column and all). How about Success above Honor?

— 5-at-10

July 12, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

I thought I was the one with issues. Mostly when it comes to commitment. Am I typing out loud again? Dangit.

July 12, 2012 at 3:22 p.m.
fechancellor said...

29er Savoy, This is Bulldog, Memphisexile don't know a damn thing about movies.

10 Ring, I believe the Great Escape will survive your machinations. I gave #1 the dvd last year and he really things Steve McQueen is cool. Otherwise, too many STRONG stars in that great flick to find suitable cast replacements. In the remake, what's there to do but to dig to China?

July 12, 2012 at 4:53 p.m.
fechancellor said...

On the Preseason SEC Team, it hurts my heart not havimg ONE Tennessee player who could crack at least third team. General Neyland is screaming at somebody wherever he is.

July 12, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
BIspy4 said...


My Peterson was very brave. How good would the first two Star Wars movies (remember - no JarJar Binks and no Ewoks) be with 20-25 years of CGI to put into play?

July 12, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Spy, my nephews find "The Green Berets" boring. Not enough action. They do like "Full Metal Jacket." There's plenty of action and fighting in Green Berets. As a John Wayne vehicle, it stands up there with "Rio Bravo."

Got to have some JarJar Binks. Who else was stupid enough to give the Emperor what he wanted? How many midget wrestlers did Lucus hire anyway?

The only CGI BatJack Productions needs is HD.

July 12, 2012 at 6:40 p.m.
biff_loman said...

an interesting take on the freeh evidence against joe paterno:

July 12, 2012 at 7:38 p.m.
biff_loman said...

"The fact that in the final hours of his life, Paterno was still trying to justify, defend and exonerate the Penn State football program from this disaster is tragic. And telling."

wow, you really miss the point don't you?

this letter was written in december, months before he died and was sent to his players. basically it's telling them that what occurred wasn't their fault and that they should hold their heads high.

what a terrible message...eyeroll

July 12, 2012 at 7:41 p.m.
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