Sunday, November 27, 2011

Remember Duke lacrosse?

Before anyone reads this, they should know that I have not commented nor will I comment on anything related to Penn State and Jerry Sandusky or Syracuse and Bernie Fine. As a student at Penn State, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to share my opinion on this medium. Likewise, both stories are developing and new information is being released everyday. My thoughts on both subjects are constantly changing, so it would be pointless for me to immortalize my opinion on the internet if I may change my mind. There are plenty of well-written columns out there if that’s what you’re looking for. If you really want to know what I think, come talk to me. That’s the only way I’ll discuss it.

This is what I will share: I do not support child abuse. I do not support pedophiles. I do not support inaction in light of these crimes. I think the acts described in the Sandusky grand jury report are heinous and vile. I think the acts alleged of Fine by the accusers are just as heinous and vile.

With that in mind, I’d like to explore an angle to these scandals that I haven’t seen yet. Here’s a fact: Sandusky and Fine are innocent. Whether they will remain so is a question for another day. Both have been accused by multiple people of unspeakably immoral acts, and it’s hard not to throw stones at them when those acts are actually spoken. Still, they are innocent until proven guilty, and I can’t help but put myself in their shoes and ask, “What if?” No matter how small it may seem, there is always a chance they didn’t do it, and if it turns out they didn’t...

I’ll start with Fine because there is currently less evidence working against him. If he didn’t do it, he still lost his job, his reputation and his legacy. These are things he can never get back. These are things he has lost because of three accusers who didn’t come forward until decades after the alleged incidents occurred. One of these accusers faces his own share of sexual assault charges in Maine. His father vehemently denies that any of the incidents involving the accuser and Fine ever took place. Furthermore, the voice of who ESPN thinks is Fine’s wife says in a taped phone call she knew everything that was going on with her husband. Why did she never go to the police? 

Again, I’m not saying the alleged victims are right or wrong, but there are undeniably some problems with credibility that a defense attorney would exploit in a trial. 

In the case of Sandusky, he hadn't been a public figure for several years, so others have taken the a lot of flak as the case has evolved. Regardless of how the trial goes, Joe Paterno still lost his job. Paterno still lost his reputation and his legacy. Former president Graham Spanier still lost all these things. It’s likely that assistant coach Mike McQueary and AD Tim Curley will still lose all these things. And it’s likely that all Penn State’s football coaches will still lose their jobs at the end of the season.

All because of what an innocent man did.

Are Syracuse and Penn State jumping the gun on these firings? That’s something I couldn’t tell you; there are legitimate arguments that they are and that they aren’t. Are people jumping the gun on their outrage? No, I don’t think so. When accusations such as these arise, it’s only natural that people will want to take out their anger and frustration on someone, and it’s not going to be the alleged victims. 

However, the Duke lacrosse case showed us the difference between victim and accuser can be more gray than black and white. A girl accused three boys of raping her. They didn’t. There was no clear reason why she said this, but she did. Because she did, the head Duke lacrosse coach lost his job, the district prosecutor was disbarred and the players lost respect, their reputation, a season of lacrosse, and countless hours of their lives fighting for their freedom.

All because one person lied. It could happen to anybody. 


For verification purposes, please disregard: RHCSKUMRAFBW

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Code of Fanhood

Yesterday, I declared my candidacy for fanhood of the New York Islanders.

I have only recently gotten into the sport of hockey after watching last year's playoffs and playing hundreds of NHL '10-'12 matchups on Xbox. I decided to declare my candidacy for the Islanders because I can't be accused of bandwagoning (they currently suck) and Howie Rose (the radio voice of the Mets) does the play-by-play.

These recent developments have had me wondering what makes a real fan of a team, so for my first ever blog post, I wrote my interpretation of The Code of Fanhood.


I. [a] If born into a fanhood, it is automatically legitimate, [b] even if the parents' fanhood is illegitimate.

II. [a] All fanhood of one's college(s) is legitimate, regardless of dedication. [b] All fanhood of the colleges one's direct family attended (parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, first cousins) is legitimate. [c] All fanhood of the colleges in one's hometown area is legitimate, regardless of matriculation. [d] 'Clause a' overrides 'clause c' if a rivalry should exist between the two schools. [e] All other college fanhoods are illegitimate.

III. [a] Betrayals render all fanhood illegitimate — the fanhood defected from and the fanhood defected to. [b] A betrayal is classified as changing allegiances without proper cause. [c] Examples of proper cause include a team leaving a city, a person moving to another city, a team giving up or a team failing to abide by the codes of sportsmanship and ethics.  [d] All new fanhood in this instance will automatically replace the old fanhood. [g] Examples of improper cause includes bandwagoning, ceding to the fanhood of a friend or significant other, or following a favorite player to his new team.

IV. [a] All fanhood based off individual players is illegitimate. [b] All fanhood based off a team's colors or uniform design is illegitimate. [c] All fanhood based off other trivial reasoning is illegitimate. 

V. [a] Multiple fanhoods within the same professional league are not permitted. [b] In the case of Section I, as many as three fanhoods may interfere with one another — the father's fanhood, the mother's fanhood, and the local fanhood. As a child is growing up, he or she may test the waters of each fanhood to see which one they like best. [c] These fanhoods are pending. [d] When the child is 12 or 13-years old, they are expected to have settled into one fanhood and stick to it, or else all fanhoods become illegitimate. [e] This section does not apply toward college sports. 

VI. [a] Dedication is not a factor in maintaining legitimate fanhood, whether a team is playing well or poorly. Everybody leads busy lives, and not everyone can watch every game. [b] Dedication is a factor in declaring legitimate fanhood.

VII. [a] One may declare a candidacy for fanhood if they have proper cause to defect or if they are without a fanhood in a professional league. [b] Fanhood cannot be declared in college sports. [c] Fanhood declared for one local team before the age of 12 or 13 (see Section V, 'clause d') is automatically legitimate. [d] Fanhood declared for a new local franchise, regardless of age, is automatically legitimate. [e] All other instances of declared fanhood are pending until dedication requirements are achieved. [f] Dedication will be classified as watching no less than 60 percent of all a potential playoff team's regular season contests and no less than 75 percent of all playoff contests for one full season, [g] or watching no less than 40 percent of a potential non-playoff team's regular season contests for one full season.


The Islanders decision stirred the pot for me, but this whole code is actually based off a discussion I once had with my grandfather about the history of my New York Mets fanhood. He was a lifelong New York Giants fan until they moved to San Francisco in 1957. He was a National League guy, but he couldn't switch to the Brooklyn Dodgers because they also moved to California that year (not sure he would have anyway). And he sure as hell wasn't switching to the Yankees. He was left without a team until the Mets formed in 1962, when he automatically declared his fanhood by means of "Section III, clause c" and "Section VII, clause d."