Skip to comments.Joe: Team Embarrasment" (Paterno Sentences Entire Team to Clean Beaver Stadium After Home Games)
Posted on 05/22/2007 3:20:01 PM PDT by FlJoePa
Joe: 'Team embarrassment'By BERNARD FERNANDEZ firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Paterno speaks with reporters last night in King of Prussia. Penn State coach Joe Paterno issued his strongest denunciation yet of an off-campus incident that resulted in felony charges being filed against six of his players, two of whom - starting junior safety Anthony Scirrotto and sophomore defensive tackle Chris Baker - are still facing prosecution. Meeting with the media yesterday prior to a Nittany Lion Club gathering in King of Prussia, Paterno described the incident as a "team embarrassment" and he outlined some of the steps he intends to take to "prove to people we're not a bunch of hoodlums."
Those steps include the mandatory cleaning of Beaver Stadium by all members of the Penn State football team on Sundays after home games this fall "because we're in this together," and making some of those involved "work with the Special Olympics, so they can see how lucky they are."
Still others could be suspended for one or more games, or placed lower on the depth chart.
"I don't condone it," Paterno said of an argument that escalated into a brawl at a State College apartment. "Our guys were wrong. I just hope people don't overreact to it.
"We've had problems in other offseasons. It hasn't been easy, obviously. I've got parents calling me and they're upset. They want to know what's going on. Others are saying, 'My kid really wasn't involved.' I have to stay out of it. I really don't want to take sides."
By that, Paterno meant that he would not attempt to influence the internal investigation by the university's judicial affairs office, or the due process involving Baker, who was charged with felony counts of burglary and criminal trespass, plus four related charges, and Scirrotto, who was charged with burglary and criminal solicitation.
The four other players originally cited - junior cornerbacks Justin King and Lydell Sargeant, junior linebacker Tyrell Sales and sophomore linebacker Jerome Hayes - had the charges against them dropped on May 4 by prosecutor Steve Sloane, a Centre County assistant district attorney.
State College police said Scirrotto and his girlfriend got into an altercation with three men on a State College street on April 1 and followed them into an apartment building where a party was being held. Scirrotto called his brother and some friends to join him, but they were not let into the party right away.
Scirrotto then called a teammate and met up with some players who also arrived at the party, authorities said. A group of men, including all six players, rushed into the apartment. In the ensuing melee, one man was hit in the head and knocked unconscious, and another was punched and kicked in the face. At least five students were struck, and at least two required treatment at a hospital.
Paterno said ramifications of the fight are "my biggest concern right now," which is saying a lot considering he also has had to deal with the premature end of redshirt junior guard Elijah Robinson's football career, due to medical reasons, and his own recovery from leg injuries sustained in a sideline collision during a game at Wisconsin on Nov. 4.
"I've already told the [university] president [Graham Spanier] that everybody on the team is going to do 10 hours of community work, and we're going to clean out the stadium on Sunday after every home game," Paterno said.
"That's probably not enough for a couple of the kids, but that's up to the university to determine. I just hope that they treat [the players] like any other students. But until I hear that, I'm not sure where this is going."
Paterno said he has spoken to Scirrotto, who led the Big Ten in interceptions last season, "I know his side of the story," Paterno said. "He got into a little skirmish downtown, became irate, called up a couple of his buddies and said, 'Come on down.' They went over there and got into a fight.
"I was more upset with the kids who could have said, 'Hey, come on. Knock this off. We don't need this.' That bothers me. I'd be dishonest if I told you otherwise."
Robinson, who was running with the first offensive unit at left guard during spring practice, was injured during a drill. A subsequent examination by team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli revealed that he had a "tight spinal canal" and that another blow to his neck could result in paralysis.
"A shame," JoePa said. "He was a really good prospect, and a good student. He was pulling out, blocking, and somehow he got caught the wrong way. He went down. He knew he was hurt."
Paterno, 80, said he expects to be on the sideline for the Sept. 2 season opener against Florida International.
"I can't run yet, but I'm going to," he insisted. "I can walk. I don't have quite the stamina that I had, but the other day I walked 55 minutes up and down some hills. I was sore that night, but I'm fine.
"I usually walked an hour and 15 minutes [before he suffered a broken left leg and torn knee ligaments]. I'm going to work my way back up to that."
I think the punishment seems fair, with the probable exception of Scirrotto. I’d be surprised if he plays another down at Penn State.
But ... but .. these guys are FOOTBALL players! Laws don’t apply to THEM, right? I mean, what kind of world is it where bullet-head jocks have to follow the same rules as mere peons??? And at a football college, no less!
If only the rest of the sports world had the integrity of JoePa!
Unfortunately, winning rules and morality drools in the world of big-time sports.
Good for JoePa. At UW-Madison, they basically look the other way and punish their players by suspending them from....drum roll....practice. I’m not kidding you. Practice. Wow, what a punishment.
Good for Joe Pa.
It is a team sport all rise or fall together.
Knowing the details of the fight and who initiated it, I’d say that Scirotto will be back at some point. The University DOJ will possibly suspend him for the year (which could be a redshirt year), and he could be back in 08.
If someone grabs at and shoves a kid’s girlfriend, there’s usually some retribution. Also he didn’t go to the hospital until after talking to the police the next day (and was promptly released). The other kid was also promptly released the night before.
Not to make light of this, but it goes on all the time on every campus in the country. Like Joe said, I just hope the University and it’s kangaroo court is fair with them (remember the EZ Smith fiasco - tossed from school for drinking a beer on his patio at age 20).
Some editor is having a snicker at getting “clean beaver” in the newspaper.
I heard it rumored that the other kid spit on Scirrotto’s girlfriend. Don’t know if that’s true or not, but if so I can understand the urge to kick some ***. I think it might be the fact that he pursued the kid into an apartment that will hurt him.
Joe will earn the teams’ respect-whether they want to give it to him or not! I admire any coach who takes a positive stand, and a strong stand, to teach his players some responsibilities-even if they weren’t wrong in the first place. Go get ‘em!
Actually, SHE spit on the ground and the other kid mocked her as they passed on the street.
She confronted him and he eventually shoved her. She promptly kicked him in the groin.
After that, the kid’s friend knocked Scirrotto’s cell phone out of his hand, then the kid (after catching his breath) sucker punched Scirrotto.
That’s how it all started.
This is not your Dad's nation any more.
Yes. Buy that man a Miller. Or more likely, a Rolling Rock.
Don't really know much about Joe Paterno but he always struck me as being a no nonsense type of a guy and a square shooter.............IMHO, he just move up a notch on the "class" scale.
>>>>>I’m betting some ambulance chaser will threaten JoePa with a suit and the players will do nothing more than clean their cleats on Sundays.
You don’t know Joe Pa. His middle name is Integrity and he means exactly what he says....count on it.
The great thing is that I know without a doubt that JoePa will do the honorable thing - not too many other fans can say that.
Bump for when I’m on the other machine.
NOTICE TO ALL PENN STATE FANS: Trash recepticles have been removed from the stadium for the 2007 season. Throw all of your trash on the ground or under your seats.
I’m sure the visiting sections of Beaver Stadium will be especially littered this year (probably with some pretty foul stuff). Oh well.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
I do wonder how it will affect recruiting. Parents (the good ones) will love it. Kids (all of them) will hate it.
Here’s an add-on from Yahoo News:
Taking out the trash
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
May 22, 2007
This spring, six Penn State football players were arrested and charged for crimes stemming from an off-campus fight April 1 in which at least 15 Nittany Lions were present. The charged included a couple of star players, although what apparently bothered coach Joe Paterno the most was how many of his kids were willing to be involved.
And so Paterno, 80 now but no less tough, no less disciplined, hatched a plan to set things right within his program. He’ll let the local legal and student judicial process play out, but regardless he decided that to keep people from thinking his team was trash, it’ll spend the fall cleaning it up.
According to Paterno, the Penn State football team will clean Beaver Stadium after each home football game this fall. It’ll gather garbage, sweep stairs and maybe even hose parts down.
It’ll be Notre Dame on Saturday, nacho spills on Sunday.
It’s a job that usually goes to members of club sports on campus say, rugby or crew which do it to raise money so they can compete. Paterno said the clubs still will get the $5,000 for the job, but his guys, fresh off playing 60 minutes of major college football the day before, will do all the work starting Sunday morning.
“We’re all going to do it, everybody,” Paterno told the Harrisburg Patriot-News after a banquet in suburban Philadelphia. “Not just the kids that were involved. ‘Cause we’re all in it together. This is a team embarrassment. I wouldn’t call it anything much other than that.”
This is easily the greatest punishment in recent collegiate history, an absolutely diabolical, telling, high-impact bit of discipline that should remind one and all that what Paterno has been doing out in State College, Pa., all these years is more than just win 363 football games, including 20 the past two seasons.
In a coaching business so full of phonies who talk character only to bend the rules, who consider the definition of discipline a player’s weight-room attendance, who wouldn’t dare pull something like this because it might hurt recruiting, here’s Joe Pa, four decades on the job and not giving a damn.
Except about what’s right.
The incident was as simple as it was ugly. One player, Anthony Scirrotto, and his girlfriend were insulted and Scirrotto punched by passers-by on the street, according to the police. Ultimately, Scirrotto called some teammates, they rushed an off-campus party where the passers-by were and a brawl ensued. More players showed up later.
“He got a little irate, called up a couple of his buddies and said, ‘Hey, come on down,’ “ Paterno said. “They went over there and they got in a fight.”
Who was right and who was wrong still is being sorted out by the judicial system. Not by Paterno, of course. The details don’t seem to matter to him. Rather than figure out which individuals did what, who arrived when, he decided to hammer the entire team, if for nothing less than lacking the leadership to stop the incident from getting out of hand.
On college campuses where football stars often are treated to a lower standard, Paterno is going, once again, for a higher one.
“I just thought that, hey, we had 14, 15 kids I don’t even know how many that were involved in something embarrassing, and I think that we need to prove to people that we’re not a bunch of hoodlums,” he said.
The entire team also will have to build a house for Habitat for Humanity and volunteer for the Special Olympics this summer. But the worst punishment no doubt will be cleaning up Penn State’s mammoth 107,282-seat stadium.
A job usually left for others now will be done by Penn State’s multimillion-dollar football team. Paterno can’t see how this is any different. All the kids on campus are the same, so if the rugby team can find the energy to clean the stadium, so can his guys.
“I don’t condone (the fight),” Paterno said. “Our kids were wrong.”
And across the nation college football coaches faint.
Most coaches have spent their offseason complaining about not being able to text butt-kissing messages to recruits. They no sooner would wear out their players on an off day with garbage picking than give up their country club memberships.
At too many places in college football, the kids never are wrong. Punishments often are things that actually help the team: more running, early-morning weightlifting. It is rarely public, rarely embarrassing and never, at least to my knowledge, a blanket shot across the entire team, a true call for leadership and shared values.
But this is why Joe Paterno is Joe Paterno
He isn’t worried about hurt feelings. He isn’t worried about potential recruits. He isn’t worried about guys sacking garbage on Sunday morning.
He’s worried about the reputation of his players, his program and his school. He’s worried about cleaning things up immediately, starting with the stadium.
I met Joe Pa once at Mass at the Aloha Bowl. CLASS ACT!!!
Paterno and Bear Bryant are the two greatest....oh how glorious college football was during the days of the Penn State/Alabama rivalries....both teams respected each other, both coaches had respect for each other...miss this days.