Friendship and loyalty was downfall of Jo Pa

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On this afternoon’s show I broke the news that legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had been fired by the school’s Board of Trustees amid the sex abuse scandal alleged to have been done by long time former assistant Jerry Sandusky.  Paterno was considered, and I too agreed, to be the perfect and true representative and what college athletics and a football program should be – clean, respectful, tough, competitive, and fair.  His record on and off the field justifies all this and speaks for itself.

I remember Sandusky’s name back when they won the 1986 National title by upsetting Miami and their powerful offense lead by Heisman winning QB Vinny Testaverde.  It was noted that Sandusky was one of the best at his craft, designing defensive game plans that could defeat any opponent.  Sandusky was to take over as head coach whenever Paterno retired.  They had coached together for over 30 years.  Over 30 years of loyalty in which Sandusky gave to Paterno when he was being lured elsewhere.

We know our friends, especially our dearest and closest friends, to be truly good people.  Why else would we be friends?  Sometimes we look up to them, admire them, respect them.  We know who they are, what they stand for, and why they do what they do.

If someone told you that your dearest friend did what Sandusky did?  Would you believe it?  There is noway that MY FRIEND would do those things, right?  This cannot be true.

Would you then pursue the process to ensure that police officials and other law enforcement would arrest him, take him away, and force him to resign his job, a job he has loved for 3 decades?

For Jo Pa, this friendship and loyalty to him, and the University, was his downfall.

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Highway to China

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I have to think that when Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics, the University of Hawaii got the needed catalyst and vision to actually contemplate a team making a trip to the country.  Suddenly we could SEE the country on television in a way that many Americans had not seen before.  Particularly how big sports is and can be there.  Also there was a lot of emphasis on NBA player Yao Ming, his popularity, and the expanding interest in basketball.

For years UH officials have talked about building relations with the Far East as an untapped area for player recruitment. Heard a lot as it related to football and baseball.

Then BYU-Hawaii got the jump on it with their men’s basketball team.  They had a Japanese player  Yuta Tabuse a few years ago who generated a huge following on the North Shore and became the first Japan-born player to tryout in the NBA.  Then this past year Jet Chang from Taiwan was their top player and lead them to the NCAA D-II Championship game.

Former BYUH assistant Brandan Akana was the key recruiter in Asia.  He is now at UH.  Without him I do not think the basketball team would be in China right now.  But credit Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold for having the vision then making the bold step to actually do it and take his team out there.  Hawaii just needs that one Chang or Tabuse to play for the Rainbow Warriors, and the pipeline to Asia will open.

And it will open so big that the college basketball powers such as Duke and North Carolina will want in.  They are so tired of the maze that involves 3rd parties as far as recruiting players, they may be so inclined to look for the next Yao Ming, or Chang, or Tabuse.

But Hawaii should have first dibs.

Another situation with Kahuku football

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Sometimes being on top means when a pebble hits, it feels like a boulder.  The latest news to come from the North Shore again falls into the negative category.  Head football coach Reggie Torres and JV coach Ikaika Plunkett have been suspended indefinately by Principal Donna Lindsey.  Apparently some JV players had illegal substances while on their training camp at school.  The coaches were suspended for not notifying the administration of the incident, which was discovered on Tuesday.  Lindsey found out on Thursday after a parent complained.

No one is commenting until an investigation is completed.  But apparently the coaches tried to handle it internally, with punishing runs at midnight and early the next morning.

The program is still reeling from last season’s disqualification from the OIA playoffs for using an ineligible player.  AD Joe Whitford had to go on paid leave during that investigation.

In defense of the coaches, I and many other people who have coached or worked with youth may understand.  Kids will always make mistakes.  And these high school players, specifically the JV players, are indeed kids.  Yes, the rules are black and white, and in this case illegal substances on school grounds or at a school function have policies that leave no gray area.  But have we not in our own adolescent lives broken obvious rules, or tried to stretch them, or even see if we can get  away with them?  Many times with peer pressure and misguided upbringing, teens who may have their head on straight and adults view as “good kids” can simply mess up for one reason or another.  Even trouble makers, those that are non-malicious and simply looking for some added attention or gratification may try to break a “tough rule”.

In the end it is wrong.  But as adults there are times we may want to teach this lesson in our own way that will not have the youth suspended from school or kicked off the team.  Based on our own judgement, we want to give the youth a second chance.  Why? Because in our judgement they deserve it.

But Reggie Torres has been driving on a bumpy road since day 1 as head coach of a nationally ranked football program.  The whole Kahuku community, Red Raider nation, were divided in response to his changes and reforms of the program.  Remember the boycott of practice a few years back?  Much like those small Texas towns where older generations still live and die by their sons or grandsons now carrying the Kahuku torch they once did years ago,  parents have their own agenda and Torres knew that going in.  When the microscope is on and neighbors have differing opinions on how you run “their team”, you have to cross all your T’s and dot your I’s.

Because when you turn away, the Nation can come up to bite you.

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Why Are We Investigating Arnold?

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Gib Arnold

A little shock was felt when word got out that Hawaii basketball coach Gib Arnold was “under investigation”. Oh no, was it relating to his days at USC under then head coach Tim Floyd? Could there have been, in only his first year, a recruiting violation? Did a Rainbow Warrior sell a t-shirt?

Word has it that a disgruntled player with limited playing time (need I go on), filed a complaint that Arnold was using excessive punishment. Specifically that players who missed mandatory meetings or classes had to run 5 miles at 5:00a.

Is there a problem?

If a student receives financial aid in the form of a scholarship, aka free money, then there are some different standards that need to be upheld. First and foremost is that they attend their classes. Last time I heard, this was sort of the norm for any college student – sign up for a class, attend class.

As an NCAA student-athlete, your scholarship comes from the athletic department. Which means the head coach, who is paid to win and ensure that his players are model student-athletes, generally has some basic high priorities – recruit good athletes, win, and do the best to ensure that they have the opportunity for a good education. So if Arnold gives a scholarship to a player who is not following the rules, a scholarship that could have gone to someone else, he has a ton of authority to execute his level of discipline. Arnold also has an obligation to play the best players to win.

So if this player sits on the bench and does not like it, AND doesn’t attend classes, he can be relieved of the need to wake up at 5:00a, and he can turn in his uniform on his way out.

 

Would I skip the All-Star Game…yes, if I were Jeter

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Yankee All-Star Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter just got his 3,000th hit in a 5-for-5 game and was on top of the baseball world.  Now he is getting reemed for passing on the All-Start game.  There is the tradition, the World Series home field advantage, and the honor of being selected that is all being thrown at the Yankee captain.  How could he, of all people, one of the good guys in professional sports, who seems to do everything right, skip this time honored tradition and let the fans down?

I’d do it if I were him.

Yes, I do agree that he is letting down the fans especially after his milestone accomplishment.  Unlike the Pro Bowl where fans want to see the Super Bowl players, the NHL, NBA, and MLB all-star games have fans just wanting to see the stars and the guys who are hot and in the news.

But Jeter is tired.   And first and foremost, he is a Yankee and he wants to do what is best for the team.  He is a veteran player who has had to endure the added stress and preoccupation of getting #3,000 for this first half of the season.  He has endured injuries which caused him to miss games and added to the pressure.  Do you think he would want the time off?

The game being in Arizona doesn’t help.  The thought of traveling across the country on Monday, play an inning or 2 on Tuesday, then traveling back to Toronto to catch up with the team for their next game on Thursday, I’m sure weighed in on the decision.  Time is better spent staying at home, resting his calf and veteran body, and preparing for the final push in the 2nd half of the season.

Do players get paid a lot? Yes.  They also do not get any days off.  In June the Yankees had only one day off in which they were not either playing a game or traveling from California or Cincinnati.   Most months are similar.  Then throw in the promotional work, charity appearances, and other demands that would fall on the lap of a superstar like Jeter, and that leaves little time for anything else.

Derek deserves a break.

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Clemens in Court: Not Guilty Would Be Not Good

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Former Cy Young Winner Roger Clemens

What does the Casey Anthony trial have to do with Roger Clemens? Aside from the fact that these are 2 high profile court cases going back to back, not much. Anthony isn’t what I call a celebrity as some tabloid media credit her. She is one now. Clemens, in the sports world, and definately in the baseball world, is a celebrity. Take away all this legal action and he would have been a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was considered one of the best power pitchers in baseball.

But there is an eerie history when it comes to celebrity court cases and the words “Not Guilty”. Oh, that’s the other thing that the Anthony and Clemens cases may have in common. If we think back a little bit to previous high profile media blitz cases – Michael Jackson (child molestation), actor Robert Blake (murder of his wife), and of course O.J Simpson (double murder). Each respective jury found the celebrity as not guilty. Maybe there is something about that celebrity status that creates a wider brush when thinking about reasonable doubt and circumstantial evidence. The mere fact that most of us simply cannot believe that “The King of Pop”, “Baretta”, or “The Juice”, could have actually done such horrific things.

Reasonable doubt.

Clemens may have lied and “horrific” may be too harsh a description for it. But perjury is a serious offense and I think is a core value that was violated. He was arrogant due to his star status and I really think that he thought that he would have never come to this point. But I have this eerie feeling that what the public may view as concrete evidence against him may turn into circumstantial evidence.

Clemens may get a slap on the wrist.

Kidd is the Key

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Yes, I just watched game 3 of the NBA Finals, the 2 point victory by the Heat in Dallas. Watching the post game show with my idol Magic Johnson as one of the analysts, I have to partly agree with his analysis. For Dallas to recover and win this series, their other starters must play at their best to support Nowitzki because Miami has more talent.
My personal spin on it is that I specifically look at the veteran Jason Kidd as the key for Dallas. I have always fallen in line with this way of thinking:
1. The point guard is the most critical position on a basketball team
2. Veterans have deep influence on the performance of the team.
At this point in his career, he is not able to stay with D Wade defensively on every possession. Then again, who can. But he is there with him and that tells me his years in the NBA and high basketball IQ gives him enough supplemental weapons that his legs did 7 years ago. And he will make plays when it is most needed, like in the last 2 minutes. Do you notice how quickly he can see a teammate down the floor and whip a pass down the court, even on a shot clock violation?  There will be a big play coming soon for the Mavericks.
There is one person on a team that can get the other starters to perform on a higher level – the respected veteran. The head coach can demand it. But in the NBA, the respected veteran can bring it out.
The key for Dallas is how Jason Kidd will perform, and how well HE can get his teammates to jump on his train.