Skip to comments.In defense of the "Paterno people"
Posted on 01/03/2014 4:08:31 PM PST by FlJoePa
By now, youve probably read Patriot News columnist David Jones rabble-rousing piece outlining some of the reasons behind Bill OBriens departure specifically quoting OBrien during profanity laced tirade against so-called Paterno people that supposedly drove him right out of Happy Valley. If you havent, you should.
I couldnt help but feel compelled the first time I read the story Tuesday night. On the surface, it has significant shock value and information you wont find anywhere else. But then I read it again. And again. And now, three days later, I find myself reading it for the dozenth time and growing angrier and angrier at an ill-conceived quote that went viral and once again damaged our collective identity for no good reason.
Before I explain, let me make two things clear:
1. Joe Paternos legacy has no bearing on the ridiculousness of this story and OBriens comments. Its a complete non sequitur to the negative impact of this story as far as Im concerned. Lets not distract the point with those arguments.
2. Im actually a big fan of David Jones. I dont always agree with his opinion, but hes one of the most eloquent and well-connected writers on the beat and I have immense respect for his work. No matter how angry you might be at Jones for this one, dont let this incident devolve into ad hominem.
Now, to the story. Heres an excerpt of a conversation Jones had with OBrien in early December, which he left unpublished until Tuesday:
OBriens ire also was raised that day by my suggestion that a faction of Joe Paterno-era loyalists seemed to me to be miffed by Vanderlindens departure or dismissal, depending upon their view, and that they might want some sort of explanation. The former linebackers coach had been the second-longest-tenured member of the staff, dating to 2000, one of only two remaining staff members hired by the legendary coach. This really got OBrien going:
You can print this: You can print that I dont really give a - what the Paterno people think about what I do with this program. Ive done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. Im tired of it.
For any Paterno person to have any objection to what Im doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now.
This entire exchange is just a head scratcher. It was doomed from the beginning, starting from when Jones made the false assertion that Paterno loyalists specifically were miffed about the Vanderlinden dismissal. Ive heard very few people mention the Paterno connection as a reason to be upset about Vanderlindens departure. No, people are confused about the Vanderlinden dismissal because he was a great coach, independent of his Paterno affiliation.
Is OBrien really so thin skinned that he cant understand why fans would want answers about why one of the best position coaches in the country was fired? I dont know why Vanderlinden was dismissed, and I trust that OBrien had a good reason for his dismissal. But to fault fans for questioning a decision to let a coach go, with no explanation, who seemingly developed Pro Bowl-caliber linebackers year in and year out? That has nothing to do with Joe Paterno, and theyre fair questions to ask.
The second part of the exchange is just as absurd: So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. Im tired of it.
This is coming from a man who was one of the most ubiquitously loved college football coaches in the entire country. In two years, I can count the number of Penn State fans on one hand Paterno loyalist or otherwise who did not support Bill OBrien. To claim that Paterno loyalists were in any large number against OBrien or what he did with the program is a lie. OBrien was adored at Penn State by essentially everyone in the community I suspect only a handful of coaches would have a higher approval rating at any level of football.
Sure, some of the more traditional fans were upset about OBriens decision to put names on the jerseys and a few other small decisions. They have a right to be, because for many people, tradition is important and change is hard. But even the fans upset about those relatively inconsequential changes almost always supported and loved OBrien.
Obviously, OBrien had plenty of valid reasons to leave. Coaching in the NFL is the top of the profession, and he made no secret that it was a dream of his. Hell undoubtedly be making more money. Now he can just coach football instead of being forced to act as an ambassador for he university, something he never really embraced. But, to tell David Jones that the reasons for leaving Penn State are fans questioning a high-profile coaching change and fans being unhappy with the direction of the program? The former is reasonable; the latter is simply untrue.
I wouldnt be surprised if this was an instance of confirmation bias David Jones, after all, coined the term JoeBots to describe the folks that are still fighting to restore Paternos legacy. Jones asserts Some of his frustrations revolved around what he saw as the lack of leadership at Penn State but offers no flippant quotes or insults about that nugget. And then again, maybe OBrien does actually harbor some deep-seated hatred for any fan who dare question the departure of the best linebackers coach in the country. I dont understand it, but it could be true.
So why do I care? If this was just a typical Jones column that gets passed around for a day or two and then falls into the abyss, as most things tend to do on the Internet, it wouldnt really matter. But telling Joe Paterno loyalists to fuck off was, of course, too much for the national media to pass up.
More than 41,000 articles now show up on Google that include the terms OBrien and Paterno people. Almost every national outlet picked up the story ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo, Fox, Daily News, Washington Post, Sporting News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Chicago Tribune just to name ten. Of course, the articles didnt mention the fact that almost every Penn Stater loved and embraced OBrien that we believed in him almost unequivocally and that, ultimately, he had honest NFL aspirations all along. No, that quote and those articles paint a picture of a crazy Penn State cult that ran OBrien out of town like a bunch of lunatics, a situation that couldnt be further from the truth. Its an incredibly damaging narrative, and theres no going back at this point.
Steve Jones had similar things to say on his radio show yesterday. Jones dedicated the first 15 minutes to discussing the article, saying I dont think (Dave Jones) had it quite right.
I think more context was needed beyond everyone just picking up this story, Jones said. You cant paint with a broad brush unless you come to the table with a full palette. Dave needs a fuller palette to give perspective on what this actually means.
Just another day at Penn State, where one off-the-record, fallacious quote paints the entire community as an insufferable cult. Heres to a new coach and a new era.
Vanderlinden coached the top 2 tacklers in the NFL this year (Posluzny and Bowman) and it would have been the top 3 if Sean Lee wouldn't have been hurt all year.
There are reasons that PSU is still rightly referred to as "Linebacker U". And a lot of them have to do with Ron Vanderlinden. I hope Coach Golden (or Coach Whoever) brings him back.
Let me see if I have this correctly: some fans are concerned about tradition, but shall not be called “Paterno people?”
There’s the f word in there, that was kind of shocking.
Paterno was a great guy and a great coach. In order to protect his legacy, young boys should be proud to have been buggered.
There’s a legacy for you. BTW, coming to a school near you very soon thanks to the Democrat Party and their LBGT agenda.
I’ve read through your twice and the comments once.
I found the article ridiculous and the comments...why did you ever post this?
What difference does any of this make to a Free Republic?
There will be moments of hyper sensitivity at Penn State for years to come. I’m actually surprised that the name Penn State, or the details about the Team mascot, uniform numbering system, was not changed in some manner after all The Troubles. I have wondered about Sandusky’s wife and family still in that town. Are they ostracized, or is that first freeze out now easing? Does she volunteer her time in community events as before, and is her time accepted? Some will move to a new time zone after such a hellish year, others will stay put because the house is paid for and most the kids are out.
Coach Joe Paterno was a great man and great coach. Nothing anyone can say or infer will ever take that away from him.
In my opinion, Paterno could not conceive of the evil which lurked inside of Sandusky. Since Paterno could not conceive of the things Sandusky was capable of, it did not exist for him. Paterno was Nittany Lion football and Penn State University, through and through. Nittany Lion fans and Penn State people understand that about Paterno. His legacy and what he meant to the university, the players, the fans, the students can never be soiled nor diminished.
When Coach O’Brien came aboard, we chose to support him 110%. We chose to support the players and student body and move forward, trying to make sense of the evil perpetrated and perpetuated by certain ranking officials at the university. Coach O’Brien and the team overcame the horrors and proved to be resilient. They won and lost with dignity. It is unfortunate that O’Brien may have felt some animosity towards Paterno admirers, but we have always wished coach O’Brien the best of luck at whatever he chose to do. We knew of his long term goal to be an NFL head coach and accepted that his time in State College may be short. He did wonders in his two years and his contributions will be remembered and respected, as they should be.
I hope O’Brien burns in hell. Like Sandusky, he just f***ed a lot of innocent kids.
I’m beginning to think you have a poster of Paterno on your wall.
I think the point of the article is that support of Bill O’Brien and the football team as well as support for the TRUTH about what happened - which includes Joe’s legacy as well as the ridiculous prosecution of GS/GS/TC are mutually exclusive.
Only the media (and some haters on forums like this) could be dense enough to think they are not.
O’Brien made it clear from the beginning his goal was to coach in the NFL. He interviewed for a job after his first season and renegotiated his contract. In his second year he got his buyout lowered significantly and then landed a NFL gig. I have no problem with any of that but he did b.s. some high level recruits/players that he’d stay through Hackenberg’s (freshman qb) college career which seems a little greasy.
Really, he was always going to be a transition guy and although the transition was a little shorter than I’d originally hoped for it might actually be good timing for everybody involved. He saw Penn State through a very rough patch and did a good job of it. It’s quite possible his replacement will be both a better coach and one that will bring more stability to the program.
As for the “Paterno people” thingy, I immediately thought he was putting on a show for a columnist who’d buy in hook, line and sinker. “Boo hoo, the ‘Paterno people’ make it tough.” I think it was an attempt to give himself an excuse and at the same time cast himself in a sympathetic light. It wasn’t necessary but I will say it made him leaving easy to take. Thanks. . .bye
I could do a lot worse. Joe was a great man. You should seek the truth about his life and his legacy if you have enough interest to make a smart-assed comment on this thread.
Pretty much how I see it Hayride.
He did a good job and he did want to go to the pros. Remember,he’s another apostle of Belichick!
I think the “haters” on this forum are as petty and small as any other ignoramus who knows nothing about any subject yet still pontificates about things that are far beyond their ability to comprehend. That and jealousy of a man who accomplished more in his life than they could ever dream of doing on their own. It is the cacophonous howls of the pack dingoes at work. Over the years, I have seen the lemmings pile on when divisive issues of all sorts have arisen. If not to see their screen names printed for digital eternity online, their insignificance would be assured.
They can hate Paterno and Penn State and Happy Valley all they want. I simply pray for their addled minds and that their eyes become unpasted. Like praying for a delusional Liberal, it will always piss them off.
Why didn't the author spare us the rest of the article?
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