One of the things I have always been ambivalent about since arriving in North America is college sports. I like sports, but here college sports can get just crazy. Here, they're bigger than Jesus - certainly at least on a par with most major religions. And now we have a situation at a college that mirrors that of the worst of Catholic priest excesses.
The bulk of reporting has focused on victim 2, the 2002 case, but the stories of the 8 victims paint a picture that's pretty damning. Between football staff, campus detectives, janotprs, teachers, school principals and parents, there's really no wiggle room out of this for the child rapist. The only real question is how many times these stories have been swept under the rug before finally coming to light.
Dave Wischnowsky at CBS Chicago has an excellent article that questions the circumstances surrounding Sandusky's retirement in 1999 at age 55, in perfect health, when he was one of the most successful assistant coaches in the game. He was the heir apparent o an aging Paterno, but was informed by Paterno in no uncertain terms that he would not be succeeding him as head coach of Penn State. Sandusky was heavily pursued by many other programs for a head coaching job, but oddly chose to retire with full access privileges at Penn State.
There's certainly a question going begging there on what exactly happened then and who knew what, given that Sandusky was on the brink of having charges filed against him in 1998 (Victim 6) that were inexplicably dropped when Centre County Distrcit Attorney Ray Gricar deciced there would be no criminal charges. Again, oddly enough, Gricar disappeared in 2005 and was eventually pronounced dead in July this year.
Gricar vanished April 15, 2005, after taking a day off work as the Centre County district attorney. His red Mini Cooper was found abandoned in a Lewisburg parking lot, and his county laptop and hard drive were found in the nearby Susquehanna River, too badly damaged to be read. Gricar was 59, and just about eight months away from retirement.
I'm sure there are many enemies a DA can make in a career and many reasons a DA might find to disappear or be disappeared, but it's particularly convenient that it happened here.
It's really just inconceivable (maybe I don;t know what that word means) that Paterno knew nothing of Sandusky's proclivities. The truth will out eventually.
And then there's Mark Madden, Pittsburgh sports radio host, who has been peddling rumors that the Sandusky situation is merely the tip of pedophile ring iceberg. That would turn the scandal of the decade into the scandal of the century.
The bottom line is that this kind of exploitation of vulnerable children can happen anywhere there is a religious fervor and a cultish atmosphere that predators can exploit to their advantage. The church isn't the only place that can create that kind of atmosphere.
"This series will take its place in history as one of England's finest performances in any post-war rubber. Anderson has the best haul of wickets by an Englishman down under since Frank "Typhoon" Tyson in 1954-55, and yet he misses out on the series award thanks to Alastair Cook's glut of 766 runs. Strauss joins Sir Len Hutton and Mike Brearley to become the third England captain to win Ashes series at home and away. It is the first time any team has won three Tests by an innings in a single series away from home. Do not underestimate the scale of this achievement, however weak you think the Australians are."
It's great being able to keep up with English sports via the BBC...
England bowled out Australia for 304 to win the second Test in Adelaide in emphatic fashion by an innings and 71 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the Ashes.
The expected deluge of rain never materialised as Australia resumed in sunshine 137 runs behind on 238-4.
After Mike Hussey fell for 52 in the sixth over, James Anderson struck twice with successive deliveries.
Spinner Graeme Swann wrapped things up by bowling Xavier Doherty and Peter Siddle to finish with figures of 5-91.
For those of you unfamiliar with cricket, the rules are something like this:
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.
Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.
When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.
Today we lost Mariners legend Dave Niehaus at age 75 to a heart attack.
In 28 years in North America I've been privileged to have Dave Van Horne in Montreal, Harry Kalas in Philadelphia and Dave Niehaus in Seattle as the lead broadcasters for the local baseball teams. They were all brilliant at what they do. Last year we lost Harry Kalas and now we've lost another legend.
My favorite memory of Dave Niehaus was at a game where a friend of mine made a great ctatch of a foul ball leaning over the front rail of the 300 level in the Kingdome. Our seats were just to the left of and above the press box. Niehaus and Rick Rizzs waved us to come down, so we did. The door to the press box opened and Dave Niehaus waved us in, shook our hands and signed the ball - way better than having the player sign it...