The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – December 2 Edition

Wow, are the Philadelphia Eagles imploding or what? I could also say the same about the Washington Capitals. Rough night for two struggling teams that should be playing a lot better than they are.

The Good

It's been rough.

Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning (who is sorely missed this season by the 0-11 Colts) has been cleared for more intense rehabilitative workouts. Manning’s doctor, Dr. Robert Watkins, said Manning’s neck has, for all intents and purposes (unless those intents and purposes currently include full-speed pro football), healed.

“X-ray and CT examination of the surgical area shows that the fusion performed in September has achieved firm fixation. Peyton will now be allowed to increase the intensity and breadth of his workouts as tolerated. There remains every indication that his recovery will continue,” Watkins said.

Manning, 35, hasn’t practiced since a September 8 spinal fusion, which was meant to repair a damaged nerve in the quarterback’s neck, which affected his throwing arm. Manning has had three neck surgeries in 19 months.

As alluded to above, the Manning-less Colts have broken team streaks of success established in recent years – throw nine straight playoff appearances and nine consecutive 10-win seasons out the door. The Colts, currently in line to pick up Stanford QB Andrew Luck in the first round of the NFL Draft, are 0-11 for the first time in 25 years. Damn.

The Bad
Indiana state high school basketball stand-out Austin Hatch will not be on the basketball court this season. Hatch was involved in a plane crash that killed his father and step-mother, in which Hatch sustained a head injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a broken collarbone. Hatch’s father was flying the plane at the time of the crash. The 6-foot-6 junior had made an early commitment to play for the University of Michigan in 2013. His family has reported that Hatch’s rehabilitation is going very well, but that he needs time and requests privacy in his recovery. The tragedy was the second plane crash that Hatch survived, the first in 2003, during which Hatch’s mother and two siblings were killed. Hatch’s father was flying the plane in the 2003 crash as well.

The Fugly
After years of respect and loyalty to ESPN, I have some major issues connected to the way the network and its commentators & writers have handled the Bernie Fine case juxtaposed against the coverage and scrutiny of dismissed Penn State coach Joe Paterno (in connection to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case). On November 4, the Jerry Sandusky grand jury report was released, and the media (but I’m honing in on ESPN) was whipped into a feeding frenzy involving Joe Paterno’s role in the scandal. A slew of ESPN commentators wrote op-eds and went on-air to vehemently and publicly voice their disapproval of Joe Paterno, saying he failed in his moral obligations, that he just didn’t do enough.

As the Sandusky storm was (briefly) coming off a coverage peak, another child-molestation-accusation-at-a-major-university story broke. (Now former) Syracuse men’s basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine allegedly molested team ball boys over the course of several years. Fine was fired on Sunday (11/27), after ESPN released a recorded phone conversation between first accuser Bobby Davis, and Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, during which Laure Fine admits to Davis that she was aware of the molestation and/or abuse Davis is now accusing her husband of.

Syracuse University officials stated that the tape was never made available to the university, or they would have fired Fine a lot sooner.

In a letter published by USA Today, chancellor Nancy Cantor writes “Mr. Davis didn’t give [the audiotape] to us in 2005, nor did the media, which have acknowledged having it since 2003. Had that tape surfaced in 2003, Fine would have been fired. Had we been given the tape in 2005, we would have gone straight to the authorities.”

ESPN has stated that they did not release the tape when they received it because they could not get anyone to corroborate the story, and they weren’t sure that the female voice in the recording was actually Laurie Fine. The network did not go any further until LAST WEEK, when they turned to a voice-recognition expert to confirm whether the female voice was in fact Laurie Fine (it was).

But for eight years, no one that heard the tape did ANYTHING with it. The network held onto damning evidence for eight years. Yes, there is an argument for the role of the “objective journalist”, that the journalist is obligated to stay out of the story itself. But journalists are also human. And this is not black and white. This is grey. And this had to do with sexualized crimes against children. Why didn’t anyone at ESPN share the recording with police or Syracuse officials?

ESPN commentators were vicious in their scrutiny of Joe Paterno, rightfully so or not. The problem is that the network was guilty of the same thing it was damning Paterno for. Except that Paterno actually did report the alleged abuse to his superior (which he was legally obligated to do). ESPN just didn’t do anything.

The Penn State (Jerry Sandusky) and Syracuse (Bernie Fine) situations are not the same, but I cannot ignore or stay silent about the incredible hypocrisy displayed by ESPN in its coverage and handling of both, especially because the network is now directly tied to the Fine firing. Failed moral obligation by those that preach it. It’s depressing as hell. And mostly because the victims have to suffer more, and longer, because of those moral failings.

The Good, The Bad, The Fugly – November 26 Edition

SO many big college football games have already gone down, preempting the Pigskin Preview. Look for the Pigskin REVIEW tomorrow. Hot damn. Now into the breakdown of positive, negative, and ehhhhhh headlines.

THE GOOD
The NBA season may be salvageable after all. The NBA owners and players came to a tentative agreement early today that will bring the current lockout to a close. The season is reportedly going to begin on Christmas Day. At this point, the deal is more of tacit strength than signed, sealed, delivered on paper – the deal still needs to be ratified by the owners and players.
THE BAD
Police are now investigating the home of Syracuse assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine, who is alleged to have abused two former Syracuse ball boys. Could it be that PSU’s ongoing Jerry Sandusky scandal is bringing to light similar situations across the country? Syracuse’s Bernie Fine situation is continuing to unfold, while the Citadel finds itself apologizing for not pursing an abuse allegation against camp counselor in 2007 (while said counselor was recently charged with sexually abusing five boys).
THE FUGLY
In Thanksgiving Day’s first football game (Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions), Lions DT (and 2nd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft) Ndamukong Suh was ejected from the game after Suh “stomped” on a Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith (the big guys were tangled, and it appeared that when Suh finally was able to free himself, he treaded heavily on Dietrich-Smith’s arm). After initially denying he did anything wrong, Suh is now apologizing for the entirety of the situation (his action, reaction, and his being a detriment to his team in what was ultimately a losing effort).