The point is very true. Of course there's a very subtle difference in the Saints situation, but it's still not something the general public will pick up on.
I know there is a large portion of non-Saints fans who hear whining, refusing to accept what happened, making excuses, etc. The whole "just shut up and take it" mentality. And that's the point the OP was making... the general public is programmed to respond that way from what they hear over and over though media outlets.
Now, what I hear from most fans is "produce the evidence that SHOWS it happened, and we'll accept it". It's not that we're just refusing to accept it, it's that we still think it needs to be proven. That's the subtle difference. In many cases, fan bases will continue to complain about how much they were wronged even though evidence was produced that shows the validity of the accusations against their team (or organization).
In the case of the Saints, there have been accusations, but no real evidence, and that's the part the general public misses. They miss the point that what the coaches and players have admitted to is not what the NFL is trying to pin on them. NFL tries to say they had intent to injure, players/coaches have always maintained it was a common practice pay-for-performance system.
This whole thing has been a PR campaign that the NFL has strategically played out through the media for the exact reason the OP made. The NFL knows that the general public won't question as hard if they can get their message out through enough media channels -- whether or not that message has any real substance.
I think you make good points but I think the the only people who will look deeper are the people that are directly effected... In this case, the team and the fans. The average person does not care enough to look deeper into it... They just want a snapshot and the NFL (and media savy organizations) understands this so they just see red paint and call it blood but no one (outside the people effected) will take any time to understand all the details.
Fact: 31 out of 32 teams in injuring other players, Fact: the incentive pool is similar to most other teams, Fact: to our knowledge, 2 other teams were caught with a incentive pool with no punishment and a $25k fine. What else needs to be said???
The solution is to stop paying attention to media. News, ESPN, everything.
If it's important enough you'll hear about it somewhere like SR.
This is a very valid solution.
All media and tv is run and influenced by what the government wants us to know. Not only that, but just about every single thing on the news is negative, by design, to keep us scared and obedient (sounds like a manifestation of the Catholic Church, doesn't it?) to the government.
Next time you watch the news, take a conscience look and examine what is positive and what is negative... You will be absolutely SHOCKED when you realize how much bad, negative propaganda is being force fed to us.
P.s. ever notice how much our society values sports? sports are negative by design too. As much as you're cooperating and acting as one with a team, the mindset of beating or getting the better of someone is enherently negative. Sorry to piss in everyone's cereal, but we must be aware of these things so we can keep ourselves balanced.
A lot of good points on this thread. No analogy is perfect, and it is reasonable to make comparisons between the PSU situation and that of the Saints.
It's absolutely the case that the PSU scandal was tried in an actual courtroom under the US system of justice. Most people, including the jurors, probably assumed that Sandusky was guilty. That's the case with public opinion about the Saints as well. The difference consists in the fact that there has been no trial, no appeal, and no jury in the case of the Saints that follows the rules of the American judicial system. And that means that there has been no release of evidence and no discovery process. As superchuck has noted at least twice: any nation presenting itself for UN membership with the NFL's system of "justice" would be rejected.
Since the media controls public opinion, and since the sportswriters seem to be almost bereft of critical thinking skills, we have an avalanche of uncritical acceptance of the nonsense that the NFL is presenting. As a PR man Goodell knows how to manipulate the media. Since he's not a lawyer, he needs legal help to be sure that he does not say anything that could be construed as libelous or defamatory. Apparently, his advisors did not consider his post-sanction comments about Vilma to be defamatory. We can all hope that they slipped up on that one.
And, of course, the fans of other teams are delighted to go along with the garbage that the NFL is presenting--with some notable exceptions like Mike Florio and texanschick. Isn't it interesting that all of these folks have law degrees? Texanschick mentioned that she has heard from others, presumably lawyers, who are concerned about the railroading of the Saints.
This is a relatively high profile situation. We have a truly pathetic collection of evidence consisting of things like transcriptions of handwritten notes that could have been fabricated. We have Hargrove's incriminating "Pay me my money" statement that he did not say, a contention verified by a voice expert. We have a slide from the TV show "Dog the Bounty Hunter." We have pictures of Seahawk players. What kind of evidence is that?
We have all kinds of semantic games. Now it's the pay for performance/bounty scandal. Mary Jo White's status vis-a-vis the NFL has changed from independent counsel to a semi-official title. At least in that case, the NFL is being more accurate. Did Joe Hummel sign a confidentiality agreement? We think so, but we don't even know it for a fact if I'm not mistaken.
The public and the media seem to be too stupid to detect the chicanery being propagated by the NFL. What happened at PSU was proven in a real court of law. If Vilma's defamation lawsuit gets dismissed, I'm going to boil over. Somebody has to get at the facts and the evidence in this case--WHEREVER IT LEADS. Saints fans, at least this Saints fan, just want the truth. We can handle it (with apologies to "A Few Good Men").
Pigs have flown. Hell has frozen over. Rickey Jackson and William Roaf made the Hall of Fame. The Saints have won the Superbowl.
**There is always more to the story...especially when you are dealing with 24hrs news rush to put things out there. See below, and think to yourself "What if Freeh reports a very negative opinion of the Saints but does not factually back it up. Is'nt this the exact issue we have with Goddell/NFL right now.
Yesterday at 2:32pm near Jacksonville, FL · ..
I have been wrestling with saying anything with regards to the Freeh report as I do not want to be perceived as being insensitive to the victims of this horrific monster. I believe we can all agree that Jerry Sandusky is a monster and should pay for his criminal actions. He should rot in a jail cell for the crimes he committed against th...ese poor children. I also believe that Penn State bears some responsibility in all of this. I believe there was failure in leadership and ultimately the one person that witnessed the alleged incident in 2001 could have prevented all of this from happening by doing the right thing and going to the police to report the incident. That being said, I do however have some very strong opinions about the media handling of this matter from day 1 and how the media was conducting a witch hunt against Penn State and Joe Paterno.
Most of you know I am not the typical Penn State loyalist when it comes to Joe Paterno, but it is important that everybody read the facts presented in the Freeh report and not blindly accept the conclusions reached by Judge Freeh. Judge Freeh paints a picture that is frankly not supported by the evidence he presents in his report. One thing everyone needs to keep in mind is that it is easy to Monday Morning Quarterback this situation. It is hard for me to believe that any of the men involved would be so callous as to put the reputation of Penn State over the safety of children. This evaluation process is replaying events from the last 15 years or so in a way that makes it look obvious what everyone must have known and should have done. The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child molester is impossible to accept. I truly believe the Paterno family has come to the more appropriate conclusion in that many people didn't fully understand what was happening and underestimated or misinterpreted events. As a lawyer I have personally dealt with similar issues. Reporting these types of things without being an actual witness (or having an actual witness) leads to potential lawsuits. My only hope is that everyone, including the media, takes the time to actually read the entire report. If you take the time to read the entire report (especially the facts presented) with an open mind, you will see that the facts contained in the report do not currently support the conclusion that Joe Paterno (or frankly any of the other members accused) were deliberately concealing the Sandusky matter to avoid bad publicity. If more facts are presented, then that conclusion might be reached. However, the facts as presented at this time do not support that conclusion. I do believe that Joe Paterno and the others involved in administration probably should have gone further with the 2001 incident. That being said, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children so it would be logical to conclude that Sandusky was fit to be around children (at that point in time).
Despite what has been reported in the news media, there are some very significant problems with the Freeh report itself and, at least at this point, there is still a whole lot more speculation on the part of Judge Freeh than actual evidence of wrongdoing in his findings. The most glaring omission in the report is that Freeh did NOT speak to any of the primary witnesses in the case. Judge Freeh did not speak with Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Mike McQueary or Jerry Sandusky. How can any investigation possibly be considered complete or come to any legitimate conclusions without even speaking to any of the most important witnesses? Especially when the conclusions being made go to the actual intent of the parties. How is it possible to fully evaluate Joe Paterno’s actions if we don’t know exactly what Mike McQueary told him? How can we possibly understand fairly vague emails without even hearing from the people who wrote them?
What bothers me more than anything else is that most of the media probably only read the summary and not the actual report. They have also decided to just report conclusions rather than analyzing the issues presented within the report. Because of this, it appears that most people have no idea that the real evidence backing up Freeh’s conclusions is remarkably thin from a legal perspective. The key pieces of new evidence against Joe Paterno are two emails cited in the report which Freeh concludes are “clear" proof that Paterno was fully in the loop on the 1998 investigation of Sandusky which resulted in no criminal charges. Assuming for arguments sake that Paterno did know about the 1998 incident (which there is no real proof to support that claim), it should be noted that the 1998 incident was reported to law enforcement, the Centre County Children and Youth Services and the Department of Public Welfare for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and it was fully investigated. Not exactly activities that would lead you to conclude the people involved are trying to “cover up” an incident. In his report regarding the 1998 incident, a Mr. Seasock (a representative of Children and Youth Services) indicated that the stories of the child and Sandusky were consistent and there was no inappropriate sexual conduct. The Centre County District Attorney was also presented with the evidence gathered in the 1998 investigation and determined charges should not be filed against Sandusky. All of this information is contained in the Freeh report. If charges are not filed after something has been fully investigated, what is the administration supposed to do back in 1998? Acting in any way to restrict Sandusky at that point in time (1998) would have resulted in a lawsuit against the University.
Getting back to the emails, a close examination of these two emails (the alleged smoking guns) raises significant questions as to what they actually mean. The first email is from athletic director Tim Curley to the University President with the subject line “Joe Paterno.” As far as we know based upon the information contained in the Freeh report, the only content of the email was “I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.” Based on this, Judge Freeh concludes that because the email was sent after Curley knew of the investigation into Sandusky that Sandusky had to be the subject of their “touching base.” We have no idea what “touching base” really means and, again, Freeh has never even spoken to Curley to find out. The president didn’t even remember this email, which he referred to as a “vague reference with no individual named.”
The second email is just as problematic. In it Curley writes to the head of campus police, “anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” Freeh writes, without any actual evidence that, “the reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno.” We are to assume that “is believed” really means “believed by Louis Freeh.” Could “coach” be Paterno? Absolutely. But interestingly the subject line of the email (which Freeh uses in the first instance to substantiate that “coach” means Paterno) is “Jerry.” Why is it not plausible that “coach” there actually means Sandusky, who was still a coach at Penn State at the time? Freeh seems to completely forget that Sandusky was engaged in retirement negotiations at the very same time and there are many emails in his own record marked "Sandusky" which have nothing at all to do with the investigation (it should be noted that Gary Schultz, the head of campus police, was also VP of business and finance). Is it not very possible that this email had nothing at all to do with sexual abuse? If this were to be the case, this would dramatically change many of the presumptions on which the Freeh report bases its conclusions. Again, without speaking to the relevant parties who actually sent the emails, there are other conclusions that are reasonable.
One of the many elements of the report which the media is completely missing is that Freeh essentially exonerates Paterno on a very important point which has bothered many people since the beginning of this story. The report seems to prove that Sandusky being told that he would never be the head coach at Penn State had nothing to do with any allegations of sexual abuse. In fact, Paterno told him this before the 1998 investigation even began and Joe Paterno’s own hand written notes make it clear that the reason was because Sandusky refused to give up his position as the head of the Second Mile charity. Unfortunately, it is being routinely reported on ESPN and other news outlets that the report indicates Sandusky’s resignation was proof Paterno knew of the problem in 1998. In actuality, the exact opposite is true.
Similarly, much has been made of the previously leaked email from February 27th 2001 in which Curley seems to indicate a change in plans to not report Sandusky to higher authorities after having spoken to Paterno. Not yet mentioned in any media coverage that I have seen is that the report divulges the existence of a February 12th 2001 note in which Curley discusses with the head of campus police coming to the very same conclusion, well before any evidence of influence from Paterno. Why does this not at least bring into question the real role Paterno had in that decision, especially when the "evidence” is based almost entirely on mind reading through vague emails?
One of the most blatant errors in the report with regard to both facts as well as their interpretation comes with regard to the two Penn State janitors. Freeh claims that two janitors saw something “horrific” in the Penn State locker room in 2000. He says that they didn’t report the episode because they were terrified of speaking of what they saw to Paterno because going up against the football program was like taking on the “President of the United States” and they feared being fired. Freeh then concludes that this fear proved that there was a “chilling effect” within the football program, which was, in itself, evidence of a culture of corruption. These assertions by Freeh are simply ridiculous and inaccurate. First of all, whether Freeh realizes it or not, his investigative team has never spoken to the actual witness in the 2000 episode because the lone witness now has dementia and was unable to testify at Sandusky’s trial. The other janitor who testified at trial did so under a hearsay exception and only testified as to what the other janitor told him. In addition, neither janitor would have been reporting this incident to Joe Paterno. They would have been reporting it to the police for investigation so a fear of reprisals seems to be a stretch. Also, Freeh seems to ignore the fact that these janitors need an explanation for why they didn’t report the episode to the police and that their claiming “fear” of Joe Paterno (without a shred of evidence) is to be accepted. Freeh treats these janitors who didn’t report the episode at all as heroes while inferring Paterno who did at least report allegations which he didn’t even witness, is a pedophile protector.
I want to make it clear that it is quite possible that Joe Paterno did indeed know more than he let on and enough to justify him doing more than he did to stop Sandusky. It is even possible that he actively helped cover it up. But the truth is that the evidence that any of this happened is just not nearly as strong as the media or Judge Freeh are portraying it to be at this time. As a Penn State alum, all I want is for the truth to come out. The full truth. I believe our University and administrators have some culpability in this matter. I do not believe the Freeh report has provided us with all the facts necessary to reach an informed conclusion on the matter and I also believe that the conclusions reached by Judge Freeh are not fully supported by the facts presented in his own report.
Just yesterday I was reading an article about the shootings in Colorado and the writer of said article was making a statement about violence in America and threw in something about "Bounties in the NFL" and it hit me how from now on whenever anyone sees anything about "Bounties in the NFL," the Saints organization is what will first come to their mind. That's just not fair. Goodell and the media really screwed up this organization's image. It's truly a shame.
Regarding the NCAA sanctions, which are coming down tomorrow, I am actually in Penn State's corner. People in a position of authority will be going to jail. The university will be paying tens of millions of dollars to settle claims or pay judgments. The serious consequences meted by our criminal and civil justice systems should satisfy our demands for justice and retribution. The NCAA sanctions are about PR and piling on.
And the criminal failure to report was not just about the football program, but the university. Plus, the PSU community needs healing, which the football program in some measure can provide.
I do not understand how anyone can read Judge Freeh's report in it's entirety and not conclude that Paterno, the AD, the Chancellor and others conspired to cover up for a child rapist because it reflected badly on Penn State football. It is the only rational conclusion.
Now, if one wants to argue that Paterno's legacy should also include all the great things he did for Penn State, then okay, but that is an entirely different argument.
The announcement Sunday indicated that the NCAA would ignore its own rules -- not just the procedures but the entirety of the rulebook. Generalissimo Emmert had created his own shopping mall of justice -- a Banana Republic and a Gap. There was all the enforcement that came before Penn State, and there was Penn State. You can read the hundreds of pages of the NCAA manual from now until the Nittany Lions run onto the field to play Ohio on Sept. 1, and you won't find a single rule that Penn State violated in this case. If that doesn't mean anything, why have a rulebook?
But then His Excellency spoke Monday morning, and it became clear why the NCAA came down so harshly so quickly on Penn State. Emmert and the university presidents who form the NCAA's executive committee saw this case as unprecedented. They saw that it had nothing to do with rules infractions. They saw the model of intercollegiate athletics as we know it at stake.
The presidents felt as if they are at war with an alien culture in which football made the decisions and the university kowtowed to it. That is antithetical to everything that the NCAA model represents, and a little too close to the truth for presidents to stomach. The smart ones live with the hypocrisy every day, secure in the knowledge that athletics unite the university community and create a spirit that builds buildings and fills laboratories. When that hypocrisy resulted in a pedophile remaining at large, the university presidents didn't like what they saw, especially in the mirror. They lashed out as if they had been attacked.
It remains possible that the Freeh report didn't come down from Mount Sinai on stone tablets. The NCAA famously doesn't have subpoena power, yet it acted before the three central figures in the Penn State case who are still living have the opportunity to defend themselves -- and speak publicly -- in court. The Paterno family maintains that the whole story has not emerged.
The principle that the presidents are defending, that they are in charge, is worth defending. Nothing would have been lost if they had waited long enough for the remaining avenues to be explored.
Emmert and the presidents didn't care to wait. Let's hope that their impatience doesn't get in the way of their intentions.
Right or wrong, its your right to defend your team as a fan. No one wants their beloved team being the focus of media attention unless its good attention. That being said, I personally don't believe that the media swayed my opinion on this matter because I always had a deep hatred for Child Molesters, rapist, racist, and thieves. When the story broke, I waited to hear about facts in order to form an opinion. When those facts came out, I was disgusted and hoped that everyone involved would receive the harshest of punishment. People would say the same about our boys but in defense of my team as a fan, I ask. where is the hard proof? The evidence brought forward by the NFL leaves a lot of room for reasonable doubt. Honestly, the media is great at making situations worst than they really are when there is a clear absence of FACTS, but the media can also shed light and bring attention to terrible and despicable people and situations. So I say its up to you to form a well thought opinion when dealing with news, unfortunately, a lot of people can't think for themselves and are usually easily manipulated with the direction of the wind...cough, cough...(warren sapp)
"Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late"