What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Watching the fall of Jim Tressel at Ohio State has been like watching the fall of Nazi Germany. To anybody with a brain, the Nazis were all about evil, but there were still people willing to be apologists for them. While what Tressel was doing hardly qualifies on the same level of evil, but being a apologist for him is just as misguided. Yet, it keeps happening, and worse yet, it is being done by people who really ought to know better.
First, there are the alums.
“Shawn Murnahan, president of the Atlanta Alumni Club, said he was surprised at the allegations against Tressel because the coach “seemed to be a good representative of the university. … I think the most thoughtful fans of Ohio State either believe the error in judgment was an anomaly and he was going down for the only mistake he made of that sort, or you think that he was more of your standard, win-at-all-cost coach than we all believed. It makes me very sad.”
Murnahan isn’t the only one.
Barbara Smith, president of the Alumni Club of Franklin County, where Columbus, Ohio is located, felt Tressel “got the raw end of the deal.” She said conversations at her club, where she said two-time OSU Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin is a member, included mainly comments like, “Isn’t it a shame what’s happening to Tressel? Isn’t it a shame what the media is doing to Tressel?”
She placed more of the blame on players who allegedly took impermissible benefits at a tattoo parlor in exchange for memorabilia and awards instead of Tressel, who did not report the violations when he was made aware of them, thus keeping the players eligible for the 2010 season. Asked who was at fault, Smith said, “It’s the students. They are the ones who made the decision. They know what the rules are.”
She thinks Tressel tried “to protect his kids.”
But the crowning glory in all of this are the words coming from famed golfer and Ohio State legend Jack Nicklaus.
Speaking as he annually does before the Memorial, the tournament he hosts at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, Nicklaus said he feels “very bad for Jim. He’s a nice man. I’ve said many times that if I had a boy at this age who wanted to play football, my grandson Nick up here was recruited by Florida State now, thankfully, but I would love to see him play for Jim Tressel. He’s a good man.”
Nicklaus defended some of Tressel’s actions, but said the cover-up was what got him in trouble.
“Well, my take on it is that it was no different than a father trying to protect his son, and if I had one of my kids that did what I thought was a fairly insignificant thing, I’d probably say, you know, Hey, we’re not going to worry too much about that. We’re going to try to just forget that.
“Well, obviously the cover‑up was far worse than the act. And once you got the cover‑up, it became a situation where Jim had to say some things that turned out to be that weren’t exactly truthful. And so that’s where he got himself in trouble.
“I think unfortunately it’s a situation they got caught in, and that’s where they are. What’s going to happen, I don’t know beyond this point. The NCAA, it’s more in their hands. … Once one of these things happens, by the time they get through digging they’re going to find whether somebody had a hangnail someplace or not, whether somebody replaced it improperly.”
Nicklaus also pointed a finger at the NCAA for perhaps being too harsh for something as insignificant as players wanting to get tattoos and using their own merchandise to purchase them.
“How could you possibly control what some kids do? It was a fairly innocent act. You want to get a tattoo? You’re going to get a tattoo. Is that a big deal? Maybe to those kids it was. Maybe it’s the NCAA’s fault. Maybe the only way to pay for those tattoos was to do what they did. Is that a big deal? Probably not. It was theirs.”
This isn’t the first time Nicklaus has supported Tressel. He did so a month ago when he claimed that Tressel wasn’t alone in his indiscretions and that his bosses Gene Smith and E. Gordon Gee had to know about them as well.
I love that defense…the old “everybody else was doing it.” That never worked with my father when I was six, so why the hell should I buy it for a football coach in his fifties?
Jack, you really have to be careful about saying things like this in public. Perhaps to you, they don’t sound as dumb as they really are when they come out of your mouth, but once they see the light of day, they get exposed for being what they are.
The fundamental problem is that Tressel is not a “good man.” This is a guy who led an enterprise based on skirting the rules for years; this isn’t a guy who made a one-time bad decision. Worse yet, he made it point to cover up the illicit behavior for years. That’s not a “good man;” that’s a guy who embraced breaking the rules, defended it, concealed it, and let it affect many others around him for his own benefit.
It works like this. The only reason Hitler made the trains run on time was to feed the Nazi war machine. The only reason people think Tressel is a “good man” is because they still want to buy his deception. While the trains in Germany did run on time, it’s funny how people who mention that never seem to bring up the other side of the story. A efficient rail schedule neither hides or justifies wrong-doing any better than a sweatervest and a tie.