Monday, January 09, 2006

NAGs want Paterno fired

The National Organization for Women, aka NOW (also referred to as the National Association of Gals, or NAGs), is a group that, like the NAACP, has toiled in irrelevance for years now and thus pipes up every once in a while to stoke its dwindling base. Well, they're starting off the new year in style. From the Miami Herald:
Women's rights advocates who say Joe Paterno made outrageous remarks about an alleged sexual assault want the Penn State football coach to resign.

Joanne Tosti-Vasey, president of the National Organization for Women in Pennsylvania, said Paterno's comments last week represent an institutional insensitivity that endangers women. She issued a news release late Friday calling for Paterno's resignation.

"When someone of his stature makes light of sexual assault, we have a serious problem," Tosti-Vasey said. "It sends a message that this behavior is not serious ... that sexual assault or rape or violence against women is acceptable for an athlete."

The coach's remarks came a day before the Orange Bowl, when a reporter asked a question related to Florida State linebacker A.J. Nicholson. Nicholson was accused of sexual assault and sent home before Tuesday's game.

Paterno replied by talking about past suspensions of Penn State players, according to an official transcript from the Orange Bowl.

He then added: "There's some tough - there's so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?"

"Geez. I hope - thank God they don't knock on my door because I'd refer them to a couple of other rooms," Paterno continued. "But that's too bad. You hate to see that. I really do. You like to see a kid end up his football career. He's a heck of a football player, by the way; he's a really good football player. And it's just too bad."

A spokeswoman at the NOW headquarters in Washington said the organization's president, Kim Gandy, supports the call for Paterno's resignation.

Guido D'Elia, communications director for Penn State football, said Paterno made his remarks in the larger context of distractions in the bowl-game environment. Nor, he said, did Paterno intend to make light of the assault allegations.
"I think if you were present, you understood he meant no malice," D'Elia said Saturday. "If you heard his tone, he really thought it was too bad for everybody. He was concerned for everybody."

No charges have been filed against Nicholson, although police in Florida said the matter remains open.

Tosti-Vasey said Paterno's comments are the latest in a series of insensitive actions by the university's athletic department. The Pennsylvania NOW branch flayed Paterno, Curley and Spanier in 2003 after a football player accused of sexual assault was allowed to play in a bowl game.
Penn State has a communications director named Guido?

I'm not going to comment on Nicholson's guilt or innocence, since like the rest of us, I have no freakin' idea if he did it or not. What I will comment on is Paterno's comments and the NAGs' reaction.

Did Paterno say anything that indicated he believed Nicholson was innocent or guilty? He said "You hate to see that. I really do. You like to see a kid end up his football career. He's a heck of a football player, by the way; he's a really good football player." You DO hate to see that, right? If he's guilty, you hate to see that happen to an innocent female victimized by a football player not used to hearing "No." If he's not guilty, you hate to see an innocent young man be accused of such a horrendous crime.

Paterno was also right in noting that girls knock on the hotel room doors of football players. My understanding is that this is what happened in Nicholson's case: a 19-year-old girl knocked on his hotel room door and went inside. Maybe she was looking for a "horizontal encounter", or maybe she was just looking for an autograph. I don't know.

And Paterno's right...he's a helluva football player. That observation doesn't diminish the crime (or alleged crime), does it? I mean, during the OJ trial, prosecutor Chris Darden said that OJ was a killer, but "He was also was hell of a football player." Does anyone believe Darden was lauding OJ?

Finally, you'll have to forgive me for ignoring the NAGs on this one. After all, the same group of people who thought that a purported pubic hair on a Coke can by a conservative Supreme Court nominee (in his earlier years) was somehow infinitely more vile than the Democratic President of the US (in his earlier years) sexually assaulting Juanita Broadrick. Nosiree, Billybob can put unwelcome advances on Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broadrick, and NOW is quieter than Monica Lewinsky with her mouth full! However, let Paterno make an ambiguous "that's too bad" comment, and the NAGs get more excited than a blind lesbian at a fish market!

I want Paterno fired because his team beat my Seminoles in the Orange Bowl, with an assist from crappy officiating (it was NOT intentional grounding in the end zone), and because he's closing in on the wins record held by Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden. I want him retained, though, if it pisses off the NAGs!