If we could publish a word that’s stronger than “jerk,” we would use it for this week’s roundup of the worst people in sports.
But we’ll have to settle for just that in crowning the Penn State trustee who is “running out of sympathy” for child rape victims as the [Jerk] of the Week. Perhaps if this weren’t a family publication, we could call him what he really is.
It’s enough to make you sick already. For the last five years, we’ve been subjected to a long line of these insensitive, heartless animals at Penn State who, all these years later, continue to embarrass themselves by wanting us to forget Jerry Sandusky’s atrocities against young boys. They have taken victim-shaming to new lows.
These include the legions of cultish PSU supporters who have angrily demanded the return of a statue of disgraced former head coach Joe Paterno to campus, the crew that dismisses the findings of the blistering Freeh Report that detailed wrongdoing all the way up the university’s hierarchy, and the waves of alumni who have chosen the worst of all hills to die on as they deny the utter horrors that took place on campus, which may have been overlooked or brushed aside or simply just handled poorly by the school in the name of propping up a popular football program.
This week, a new jerk emerged from that same cesspool in the form of Albert L. Lord, an alumni-elected trustee, and the author of an email to the Chronicle of Higher Education in which he said he is “running out of sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth.
“Do not understand why they were so prominent in trial,” he wrote. “As you learned, Graham Spanier never knew Sandusky abused anyone.”
Lord was defending Spanier, the former school president who was convicted by a Dauphin County jury on one count of endangering the welfare of children for mishandling complaints against Sandusky. He is the third former PSU official to be convicted of endangering kids.
Penn State’s former athletic director, Tim Curley, and a former senior VP of the school, Gary Schultz, also have pleaded guilty to child endangerment. Sandusky, who continues to deny he ever did anything wrong, is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence for his awful crimes.
“For over 12 years, these men actively protected a notorious pedophile who inflicted irreparable harm on countless child victims on the campuses and locker rooms at PSU,” Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and author of the Freeh Report, wrote in a statement last week. “Although these men had multiple opportunities to stop this vicious, serial predator from continuing to sexually assault children who trusted the PSU campuses and programs as safe havens, they decided together to protect this monster rather than report him to the police.”
Juries have found that some of the blame for what happened at Penn State extends well beyond Sandusky, yet there remains a group of supporters that continues to deny that. In the process, they have come across as crass and insensitive and in denial of something horrid. Worst of all, such as in Lord’s case, they have tried to discredit or marginalize or shame victims, who have testified under oath about the horrible things that were done to them.
There are words in the English language to more bluntly and accurately describe people like that.
Unfortunately, today we’ll have to settle for “jerks.”
BALL IS OUT OF BOUNDS
UCLA guard Lonzo Ball shakes hands with his father, LaVar.
(Mark J. Terrill/AP)
LaVar Ball, whose cumulative transgressions make him the biggest jerk in sports over the last month, may have crossed a line this week when the say-anything, clown prince of awful sports parents called his sons’ high school coach “bipolar” on TV.
Remember when James Dolan dragged Charles Oakley through the mud earlier this year? When he publicly stated Oakley has alcohol and rage problems? Ball calling Chino Hills basketball coach Stephan Gilling mentally ill on FS1’s “Undisputed” was the same thing. Maybe worse, because at least Oakley has a powerful support system and the resources to defend himself.
Gilling is a high school coach who has been savaged in public by a meddling sports dad with a loud mouth and, it seems, unlimited airtime. LaVar Ball is free to say whatever he wants about being able to beat Michael Jordan in one-on-one or how his kids will be better players than the kids of other NBA stars. That just makes him, at best, a colorful quote, and, at worst, a clown.
But when you repeatedly attack a high school coach and question his mental health in public, that just makes you a jerk.
If you are one of those delusional fans who think your favorite NFL team cares one little bit about you, it’s time to wake up. This week, we found out the Raiders are officially moving to Las Vegas, leaving Oakland, for now the second time, for Sin City, where local taxpayers are going to pony up $750 million for a new stadium. It’s all about the bottom line. But the Raiders are going to leave something behind for their face-painting fans in Oakland: a massive bill.
Similar to St. Louis football fans getting stuck with a $5 million-a-year bill to maintain a vacant Edward Jones Dome after the Rams left town, Oakland taxpayers will be on the hook for $13 million a year through 2025 to pay for renovations to the stadium the Raiders are moving out of.
You didn’t read that wrong: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland and Alameda County residents will continue to pay off $95 million for the work done to the Coliseum in 1995 so they could get their team back from Los Angeles. How’s that for irony? And how jerky is that?
The University of North Dakota this week announced plans to cut its successful women’s ice hockey team, along with the men’s and women’s swimming teams, as the school looks for ways to save money amid state funding cuts. We can’t fault the school for trying to find ways to work around a shrinking budget, but just because they have less money doesn’t mean they should also operate with less of a clue.
At least tell the players and coaches before they can learn about it on social media.
Unfortunately, UND players found out their team was being dissolved by checking their phones before administrators could break the hard news in person. The school was so aloof about the cuts that hockey recruit Lauren Hennessey still flew with her family to tour the school and the facilities while the decision to axe the team was being finalized. That’s rough.
North Dakota changed its nickname to the Fighting Hawks two years ago, but after the way the school treated some of its athletes this week, there might be a more appropriate name: the UND Jerks.
ROCKED THE VOTE
Finally, Utah football fans were split in a recent online vote on whether they wanted formerly convicted abuser and all-around jerk Greg Hardy to play for the Salt Lake City Screaming Eagles, an Indoor Football League expansion team.
“On the field, Greg would be a no-questions-asked signee for just about any coach in any league,” Screaming Eagles coach Matthew Sauk said on the team site. “Greg is human and made some mistakes in his life and is paying for those mistakes. We want the fans to make the call.”
The team announced that 50.1% of fans wanted no part of Hardy, so they will not sign him. That’s an awfully close vote, don’t you think?
It’s not like he didn’t stand for the national anthem or anything.
It appears the Screaming Eagles wanted to test the waters with the public before bringing in a man who was arrested in 2014 for allegedly strangling his girlfriend and threatening to kill her. They wanted the fans to be the bad guys in their signing a really bad guy. Rest assured, it would happen.
But we’re not sure how reassuring it is that just 50.1% of their fans have a better moral compass than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Source: Ny Daily News