Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rick Reilly, Please Shut Up

Dear Rick Reilly:

The Jerry Sandusky case is not about you. It is not about any reporter feeling the need to go all Krakauer in public and rend their hair over how, gosh, Joe Paterno fooled them for all these years, which really is a way of making the story all about them. There's endless yammering about the myth of the great man Paterno, when it's the same guys in the hair shirts now who were instrumental in building, brick by brick, anecdote by anecdote and year by year.
Here's a hint. We, as readers, don't care how you feel about this. We are horrified by what happened, saddened to learn that someone we thought was a symbol of how to do college athletics right was in fact party to something monstrous, and angry that those in power did not stop it at the first instant they had a chance to. We are not interested in self-righteous self-absolution, nor are we in the slightest bit interested in how all this affects the Rick Reillys of the world.
Now, if you're so inclined, you could use those reporting instincts of yours and keep a sharper eye out. Maybe question these legendary coaches you so consistently canonize. If there's smoke, ask a few questions. And God forbid, do your job instead of plugging yourself into the hype machine that allows coaches and programs to be insulated from real-world concepts like "accountability" and "law". Don't build any more untouchable great men for the sake of the overblown football narrative.

And you'd definitely think that in the wake of the report coming out of Penn State, and all the geshrying about the flawed myth of JoePa, that we'd take a few steps back from that godlike coach myth. That we'd take a minute or two to reflect on how the deification of college football informed the coverup at Penn State, and maybe hold off on building something like that again.

Then again, the Freeh Report on Penn State dropped two days ago. Yesterday, ESPN.com ran an article asking if Nick Saban - who ran out on his Dolphins contract, has been linked to various scholarship and recruiting irregularities, and whose daughter apparently battered one of her sorority sisters senseless - is the greatest coach of all time.

24 hours and the machine is up and running again.
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