Focus on Penn State's administrators


Focus on Penn State's administrators

After seeing and reading the variety of cries for restitution at Penn State University, we have seen that the targeting remains indiscriminate, even scattershot.But that figures. People are angry at something far larger than they can comprehend, and they want everything to burn, either in hell or on the temporal plane.RELATED: Freeh report says Paterno, Penn St. officials 'concealed critical facts'
Well, everything is too much, because too many innocents and uninvolved people burn too. Justice must be targeted, and the kneejerkery of closing the football program is just lazy thinking.And why? Because nobody who has advocated the death penalty for the football program has followed that logic train to closing the administration building. Because this was, and well need capital letters to emphasize this properly, A SERIES OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTS.The Freeh Report makes this eminently clear. And do not be confused Joe Paterno was an administrator when he helped cover up the evidence of child rape on campus. He was not a coach in any sense of the word on this, and this wasnt just a bad choice. It was an act of criminality. He was in this up to his eyelids, like Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and whoever else we discover on the truth trail. They are equally culpable, because they were all administrators, making administrative decisions.RELATED: Ratto -- Paterno put 'the brand' ahead of human decency
So the demand to death-penalty the football program must logically extend to the schools administration, including those who never knew anything about Jerry Sandusky.Or it doesnt, because you dont punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.No current players or football staff members that we know of were aware of Sanduskys behavior if there are, they should be prosecuted with zeal. If there are not, they should be allowed to pursue their work and study without hindrance. And the same rules should apply to the people who work in the ad building.As for the money the football program generates, thats easy to solve. You make the program non-profit (which, frankly, all programs should be anyway) for an indeterminate period of time. Any money it generates should go to a rape crisis center or centers, or to restitution for the victims we know of now, or will learn of in time.And the Paterno statue and other honors that seems to chafe so many people? Im not one to support revisionist history, but a statue is nothing; a building name is nothing. Tear the statue down, leave it there, or put up one right next to it that has him covering his eyes with one hand and covering his mouth with the other. It doesnt matter, because thats not about making the wrong right. Thats about the biggest distraction in the entire mess.Joe Paternos legacy, Or, more accurately, legacies.He has as many of those as he has people he influenced. A persons legacy is not his or her own anyway it is defined by others based on their interpretations of his or her life. Joe Paternos legacy is everything that has been said about him, good, bad and potentially criminal. Its an eye-of-the-beholder thing, fodder for the marketplace of argument. And so shall it be forever.So screw the statue. Its a hunk of iron, symbolic of nothing except when it is beheld by an observer.Finally, lets remember that this story is the story of power and the defense of it. It is not the story of Penn State or the story of Penn State football, but of the oversized power it was granted by adults who had no right not to know better. It is about evil ignored, and how evil ignored is evil promoted.So fight the evil, and keep fighting it. Downgrade the power of the program, and pry open all the barriers that obscure full oversight of the entire university. Penn State did lose the right to institutional secrecy because of this, and that takes us back to the beginning.Close the ad building. Put the desks out in the quad, and let the university do its business where everyone can see it. It would be the best lesson of all for a problem that Louis Freeh showed was an administrative one.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

The price of watching Roger Goodell being booed back to the Bronze Age is a subtle but real one, and one that people will feel very dearly soon enough.

The last great cathartic Super Bowl is now done, with the New England Patriots winning the brilliant and decisive battle to be sports’ new evil empire. In doing so, it rendered Goodell a permanent and risible punch line in National Football League history, the mall cop who wanted the death penalty for littering, and in the words of the song “got what he wanted but he lost what he had.”

True, $40 million a year can make the dissolution of your public persona a reasonably decent tradeoff, but we lost the argument about who won his windmill tilt with the Patriots. It’s done, and he is now permanently and irrevocably a figure of ridicule.

But that’s not the only debating point America lost Sunday night, and while you wouldn’t think it given how much time we are willing to shouting at each other, quality arguments are not easily replaced.

We have almost surely lost the mindless debate about the best quarterback ever, because there is nothing anyone can bring up that the words “Tom Brady” cannot rebut except calling his own plays, and since that is no longer allowed in football, it is a silly asterisk to apply.

We have almost surely lost the equally silly shouter about the best coach ever. Bill Belichick is defiantly not fun, but he has built, improved and bronzed an organizational model that is slowly swallowing the rest of the sport. That and five trophies makes him the equal if not better of the short list of Paul Brown, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry.

Plus, Belichick locked up the most absurd response to a question in coaching history Monday when he said, “As great as today feels . . . we're five weeks behind the other teams for the 2017 season.” Even allowing for Gregg Popovich in-game interviews, the so-grim-he-could-make-a-robot-cry worship-the-process response has now become a cliché. If 2017 prep was so important, he should have skipped yesterday’s game, and he definitely should have chosen not to waste so much time on the trophy stand after the game when training camp drills needed to be scheduled.

Oh, and DeflateGate died. Dead. No zombie possibilities here.

We do have a meatheaded argument ahead of us about which championship in the last year is the best, which can be settled here.

1. Leicester City, because 5,000-1 is 5,000-1, and the whole world understands that. Plus, there was invaluable three-month buildup that engaged non-soccer fans.

2. Chicago Cubs, because 108 years is 108 years.

3. New England Patriots, because . . . well, I don’t have to explain it unless you have no useful memory span. “Down 25 In The Third Quarter” is the new “Down 3-1.”

4. Cleveland Cavaliers, because they slayed the first unbeatable Warrior team by coming from 3-1 down, and even as a silver medalist, it will always be an internet meme, which is what passes for memorable in our decrepit culture.

5. (tie) Villanova basketball and Clemson football in a tie, because they were essentially the same great game.

7. The Pittsburgh Penguins, because the Stanley Cup Final was devoid of drama or high moments, and only 14:53 of overtime. Feh.

But everything else is settled, and this Super Bowl will not be topped for a long time. Our current cycle of absurd championships is almost surely going to end soon, because “Down 3-1” has happened twice in eight months (three times, if you count Warriors over Thunder), and the bar has now been placed well beyond reasonable clearing.

Indeed, the only thing left is for a championship team to spontaneously combust on the award stand. But if they do so and ignite Roger Goodell along the way, that would be an ending America would cheerfully endorse.

But that also isn’t an argument any more, and yes, that includes Gary Bettman.

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

The Super Bowl is today, which means the best day of the year is fast approaching.

Namely, the day after the Super Bowl.

At that point, we as a nation can complete the inventory of gastric damage we did to ourselves on what shall be known to future generations as Fried Festivus.

At that point, the people who bombard us daily with news of the game – the least important part of the week-long trade show, as we have come to learn it – will all be on planes and too tired to re-explain what we already saw 37 times on game day.

At that point, nobody will care that Terrell Owens was apparently one of the first of the 15 Hall of Fame finalists to be rejected for induction because of crimes against the NFL state. The Hall of Fame is one of the sneaky ways in which the NFL never lets us escape its obnoxiously shouty profile, and the fact that Owens is right about the flawed process doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be just fine with the process when it allows him passage.

At that point, we’ll know whether Tom Brady is to be deemed a god, or merely maintain his demigod status. At least we’ll hear more about it, because it is easily the most tiresome debate in the football diaspora, engaged in by idiots with no better idea about how to kill time. A note: If you think Tom Brady is a greater quarterback because his team won a fifth ring, or a lesser one because he didn’t, your head is now officially empty enough to be reclassified a dance hall, and you are of no more value to normal society than a papier-mache goose.

And at that point, we can return to the two things we in these parts care to know – where the Raiders are going, and how the 49ers are going to present their new football brain trust.

We needn’t explain the Raiders again to you, first because you’ve heard it all if you’re paying any attention at all. Mark Davis has been trying to cobble deals at a frantic pace in hopes that one will stick, and his 31 fellow owners still have to decide how much longer they want to endure him, while faced with the painful fact that the East Bay is getting out of the exploitative license-to-be-stolen-from stadium business. They also get to know as they go to the meeting in Houston that will ostensibly decide Davis’ fate that they have ruined California as a market by their excessive greed-laced stupidity and deserve every lousy market the state can give them.

Which brings us to the 49ers, and the latest round of Judge Them By Their Press Conferences.

If there is anything worse than this team’s on-field profile, which is why Jed York hired Kyle Shanahan, it is the way it explains itself to the outside world, which is why Jed York hired John Lynch. Both Shanahan and Lynch will be paraded before a braying mobs, probably Tuesday, and York will be there as well for the cheesy photo array and a few unconvincing words of praise about each of them (as a note, Paraag Marathe will be present but only in hologrammatic form).

They will then promise – well, something or other – and Lynch will be hailed as the face of the glorious future because the man he replaced, Trent Baalke, had the public persona of a meth-tweaked hyena. Hard to find, and not worth it when you did.

Then we’ll all remember that the job Shanalynch (or Lynchahan, depending on what part of Ireland you’re from) are being asked to do is a three-year reclamation at the very least, and that the only useful question either can be asked is “Can you fix this before Jed gets embarrassed and angry and cans you both?”

And on Wednesday, there’s the start of pre-draft prep (in order words, The Eighty-Day Slave Market), and the hamster wheel to hell gears up again toward Super Bowl LII.

Only next year, the chances of relocation hysteria and a front office upheaval are that much less, and we haven’t sufficient distractions to make the year go faster.

But enjoy Fried Festivus. We can always look forward to that, even if we change the name back in December to the more traditional "Christmas."