The Bear, JoePa, Leaders & Moral Quandaries

By DJ Byrnes on February 2, 2012 at 3:43p
37 Comments
Trophies', like money's, shine can hue a human's moral compass. 

If there's one thing I think I understand about the universe, it's this: sports can mean a lot to certain people. Sports, like alcohol, cause people to do things they wouldn't do otherwise. Some of this means lighthearted, albeit bizarre, fun. Sports can make "Ned from Accounting" dress up like a clown and momentarily lose his mind for two and a half hours on the weekend. Other times, it has a deeper, more sinister effect. If you're having trouble crystallizing examples of this, I offer the picture of the two gentlemen to the right. They are, from the picture's left to right, Bear Bryant, former Alabama football coach, and Joe Paterno, former Penn State football coach. They offer examples of what nefarious effects sports can do to the neurons firing in people's brains.

Besides both being largely successful at what they did (8 national titles between them), they were both moral cowards who failed the biggest (and probably easiest) moral tests of their time... and that stigma should rightfully be attached to their "legacies". It is simply the tale of the tape, and to act or say otherwise, is to engage in historical whitewashing. 

Some people enjoy a good historical whitewashing. Look at all the "AND HERE THE PILGRIMS GENEROUSLY INVITED THE SAVAGE INDIANS, WHO BY THE WAY, HAD NEVER SEEN A FEAST OF THIS MAGNITUDE, INTO THEIR COLONIES AND EXCHANGED WINE AND GOOD STORIES WITH THEM" Thanksgiving plays which occur at institutions of learning across this country every fall. I guess as long as it's not the beginning of your people's genocide getting euthanized from the history books, then it's all good fun. Granted, this story doesn't end with Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno handing out blankets laced with small pox, but it doesn't mean people aren't already trying to do to Joe Paterno's "legacy" what others have done to the "legacy" of Bear Bryant and the Pilgrims. 

Maybe it's because I've accepted the ultimate insignificance of my own life, but I cringe every time I hear the word "legacy" in regards to a guy who turned tricks with a leather ball or won a lot of organized children's games. Gandhi is somebody who has a legacy. This Super Bowl, for example, means nothing to Tom Brady's "legacy", because Tom Brady will never have a "legacy". (At least in Jesse Owens' day, he was shattering Hitler's ideologies in Hitler's own nest while the entire world watched.) In 500 years, people will care about somebody like Ghandi. In 500 years, people will never care about somebody like Tom Brady. 

And yet, people continue to put hay into their spinning-wheel and try to pass it off as gold as long as sports are involved. Not that I can blame people who back Paterno, they're only doing what Bear Bryant's zealots did after the Bear went tits up. Hell, what Bear eulogists would have you only believe about the Bear is a hay-to-gold spindling that would make Rumpelstiltskin blush.

I'm sure everybody here has heard of Ol' Bear Bryant, winner of 26 national titles (numbers produced by Alabamananananan's doing math, remember) and resurrector of Alabama football. What you rarely hear when the Media fawns over the days-be-gone coach, other than the fact he was the first white male to be a big enough asshole to wear a fedora and try to pass it of as fashionable, is the fact that Bear Bryant was a moral coward. He was faced with a rudimentary moral equation, and, for lack of a more awesome phrase, the Bear shit the woods. 

It's something which is usually left out of ballads of the Bear, although they're usually accompanied by the melodic sounds of an Angel's harp. It's rarely asked, just how did Bear Bryant, who coached Alabama from 1958 to 1982, get away with not integrating his team until 1971, which, by my (poor) math skillz, is 17 YEARS AFTER BROWN VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION

Black players weren't good enough, until they were.

"Oh, Bear was still ahead of his time," people will honestly tell you. "He wanted to integrate, you see, but the 'social climate' at the time just wouldn't let him." They'll point to his efforts to integrate at Kentucky and Texas A&M, and then, while you're wondering if this is an IRL-Troll, they'll say, 'He even scheduled integrated USC in 1970 to prove the neeed to integrate to Alabama fans.'"

The best part, to me anyways, is people say this without the slightest awareness they're convicting their beloved Bear of moral cowardice right there on the spot. So, Bear Bryant realized segregation was absurd when he was at Kentucky and he let it continue because "the time wasn't right"? Where have I heard this kind of hazy logic in defense of something which is CLEARLY WRONG? (Maybe it will come to me.)

Here's a fun thought experiment, what if Alabama would have crushed Sam Cunningham and USC at the beginning of the 1970 season? (TIDBIT: SEC teams were still scared to leave their backyard in the 70's too.) What if Alabama could have competed without minorities on their football team? When would the timing been "right" for the Bear?

Instead, Bryant, a leading figure in a leading state in one of the most turbulent times in American history, had nary a peep to say about one of the biggest (and morally clear) issues of his time other than basically saying the blacks were eventually coming to southern athletics, whether people liked it or not:

"We're not recruiting Negro athletes: that's a policy decision for others to make. But Negro players in Southeastern Conference games are coming."

Where Bryant was silent, others outright vile actions were willing to shape pulbic opinion on the matter. You want to know who filled the vacuum created by the Bear's silence? The pride of Alabama and its 45th governor, George Wallace. I'll let Wallace's "legacy" speak for itself, but just know Bear Bryant cow-towed to this man's desires until he couldn't compete otherwise. It's a losing proposition for Bryant's disciples. Either Bear Bryant knew George Wallace's policies were wrong and did nothing (moral cowardice) or he agreed with them, in which no football victories could redeem his fitness to be a human being. 

Not that any of this matters to Alabama fans; after all, it wasn't the plight of people who look like them anyway. And with 'Bama fans, I guess I get it. Bear Bryant resurrected Alabama football, the one thing in that state competing on a national level. (Although today their national relevancy is earned through some slight-of-hand tactics in regards to recruiting rules, but that's a debate for another day.) Hell, a lot of people who voted Governor Wallace to power are still alive today (as are their kids), so I guess this isn't surprising. What I don't understand, though, is why national figures engage in the whitewashing. 

It's especially frustrating, because all these years later, here we are again, with another iconic figure who won a bunch of football games. This time, I'm not even sure the corpse was cold before the eulogy organs began churning out their music. Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski scribed an obituary which was promptly demolished by Deadspin's Tom Scocca. (This after Drew Magary, also of Deadspin, put more holes in Joe Paterno's final, pathetic defense than one could buy in an 18th century Chinese whorehouse.) Then to put the cherry on the coffin, there was Phil Knight, a child labor profiteer, lauding Joe Paterno, which reached to irony levels so high it was even blindly ridiculed by people who have bought the child labor profiteer's products. 

Joe Paterno (and his son) would have us believe he's not only never heard "of, of rape and a man" but more damningly, that he went to the grave with a "clear conscience". If Joe Paterno went to the grave with a clear conscience, then he is an even worse human being than even I would probably have you believe. 

"It's a tough life when people do certain thing to you." - Joe Pa

The elephant through this entire scandal has been the fact Paterno is heavily in debt to the once-lengendary Jerry Sandusky. Would Nittany Lions fans have been as patient with the ongoing charade his twilight years devolved into if it weren't for his two national titles, both of whose dominating defenses were engineered by Jerry Sandusky? People in the 22nd century might not know that, because those two national titles aren't listed on Jerry Sandusky's Wikipedia page.

But hey, I'm sure Sandusky's early retirement after the 1999 season (and his subsequent non-hiring) had nothing to do with the botched 1998 investigation into the Penn State coordinator. What's tough to get out of my mind, however, almost as much as the phrase "rhythmic slapping", is the fact that Joe Paterno -- who HAD TO HAVE SUSPICIONS BY THIS TIME -- took the reported rape of a child, IN HIS TEAM'S FACILITIES, to his just his boss... and that sat by and did nothing else while the report disappeared. Oh by the way, this was also a guy who Joe Paterno knew was around at-risk boys as a side-hustle. Paterno even allowed Sandusky to bring victims to practice. And even after all that, there's the troubling leaked investigation in 2008, yet Sandusky was still allowed to use Penn State facilities, sometimes with victims, until the week he was arrested?

And Joe Paterno went to the grave with peace about all of this? What? "He's just an old timer who is getting hated on by the masses", as people tell it? And EVEN IF HE WAS at peace with how everything transpired, shouldn't he be haunted by the fact his death means his testimony can no longer play a role in the Sandusky trial? "The media killed him," Penn State fans whaled, as if Paterno couldn't live without coaching. (I guess putting a serial child rapist who used your own coattails to cover his pedophilia behind bars wasn't ample enough reason to stay alive.)

Wait a second, how did the Bear rationalize his inaction again? 

"We're not recruiting Negro athletes: that's a policy decision for others to make. But Negro players in Southeastern Conference games are coming."

TRANSLATED: "AW SHUCKS, Y'ALL, I'M JUST A SIMPLE FOOTBALL COACH YOU SEE." Tell me, do you think either two of these men accepted their underlings to pass the buck like this? Is that what Bear Bryant or Joe Paterno screamed at one of their players when they missed a tackle? "NO WORRIES BRO, THE SLOT GUY WAS THE SAFETY'S GUY, HE SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN OPEN ANYWAY." Then why would passing the buck be acceptable in a discussion of something that actually matters?

I guess it comes down what you're willing to exchange for football victories. Take Ohio State's Jim Tressel, as the trolls will most certainly do due to the banner this article is flying under. I do not respect the NCAA or its laws. It's not a moral code. I have no problem with Tressel turning a strategic blind eye (which it most certainly was) in regards to his star quarterback getting benefits. Is it how I'd run my team? No, but I don't really have a moral issue with it. Jim Tressel broke the rules, he was punished, and the joke that is the NCAA goes on. I guess one could argue "staying silent on wrongdoing is staying silent on wrongdoing is staying silent on wrongdoing", but that's literally comparing tattoos to child rape and inaction on segregation. I'm not sure staying silent on those things is the same thing. 

My brother was an adept troll at an early age. For example, he once poured an entire box of Kroger's knock-off Lucky Charms onto our kitchen table, took out all the marshmellows, ate a bowl entirely of said marshmellows, and then put the rest of the cereal back into the box for me to find. He also became a Penn State because Zack Mills was his favorite college quarterback. I wish I was making this up. Anyway, he routinely called Ohio State "cheaters" and ridiculed Ohio State for the whole free-tattoos thing. After the Jerry Sandusky thing? He threw 14 years of Penn State fanship into the trashcan. Why? "I can't be affiliated with that kind of stuff," he said. 

Now, my brother basically lives in a crackhouse in Dayton, but such are the lines of clear moral clarity which I feel we're all walking when issues like "child rape" and "segregation" clash into something like "sports". Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno weren't the first people to let sports cloud their moral judgment, but they at least should serve as an important lesson on what can happen when people place sports above things that actually matter. Wouldn't this be a way to ensure nothing like this happens again?

Does this mean Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno were inherently evil people? I don't believe that, which is why I'm not typing it. And yes, I know, "these guys did more than just win footballs for their community," but I guess I'm as inherently unimpressed by rich people writing checks as I am people who win football games. I think most people would be more generous if they had secured their wealth in life, especially if that money was won by winning a bunch of football games in the first place. 

People are free to come up with their own algorithms and conversion charts regarding their own exchange of their principles for football victories. This is a free country, after all. Just don't do so while dancing around the inconvenient facts of the case.  

37 Comments

Comments

BrewstersMillions's picture

Batting 1000 here DJ. I'm not sure I can craft a response to show how much I agree with this.

I especially like the way you took Bama fans\the idea of Bryant's master plan for desegregation to task. It amazes me to this day how people treat that one game as some sort of great movement in Alabama football history. You know what that game was? A loss at home. Nothing else.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

onetwentyeight's picture

Also enjoyed the "26" national titles claimed by Bama fans. I know it's meant to be a joke ... but how far off is it? How many do they really claim? like 12 or 18 or something equally ridiculous? 

 

Maestro's picture

Another reason I enjoy the site.  Looking beyond the boxscores at our favorite sport.

vacuuming sucks

painterlad's picture

Hmm. You touch on a great many social issues in one blog, so I'm not sure where to start. First of all, do you know why the Pilgrims celebrated with the Indians? Look it up and it might make you gasp. Secondly, the whole Southern race issue is not such a simple black-and-white thing, no pun intended. When you look at the civil rights era through the lense of glasses made in 2012, then it so easy to pass judgement. The south did not go gentle into that good night because decades of thought patterns are not removed overnight. Boys who were raised that blacks are inferior turned into men who thought the same thing, and some of those men became coaches and administrators. But slowly thoughts change and societies evolve and it is actually a good thing that society takes baby steps regarding some issues, otherwise it is often chaos that ensues.

As far as the Penn St./Paterno/Sandusky case, Paterno should have known better than to just sit on such disturbing information. Your player is taking some cash from a booster? You groan, take an antacid and hope the NCAA doesn't get wind of it. An assitant coach is raping boys in the locker room? You call the cops.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

doodah_man's picture

I am still looking for the Thanksgiving story that will make me gasp. It was nothing more than a harvest celebration that lasted for three days. No turkey, no stuffing, no pies (that MIGHT make me gasp) but I am not sure what you are implying. However, it was with great foresight that Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday and assured that we would have a perfect weekend to celebrate the event of tOSU versus TSUN. He was wise beyond his years (although he was probably a Fighting Illini fan).

Here in the south, the racism was more than just thought. Blacks went from slavery to slavery that was just called something different. Local sheriffs were fond of arresting blacks (especially young men) on bogus charges (having no means of support, no ID, loitering, etc.) and "allowing them to work off their sentence and court costs in the mines or steel mills around Birmingham.

The sheriffs made good money for the associated human lease agreements with the mines and the mills. The sentences usually extended well beyond their original dates. Many a black man died in the coal mines or in unhealthy or dangerous working conditions here in Alabama. This continued until late in the 60s. Pick the industry, ex-slaves (and their ancestors) provided a ready source  of cheap (or free) labor.

Was Bear Bryant a coward...yes.

It is just as easy to look at child sexual abuse through the lenses of 2012. From my 60 years I see that we have gone from a "not talk about it" to an "let's handle this internally" to arrest the SOB mindset. I think that is very healthy. 

 

Was Joe Pa a coward...when it happened, probably not; but looking thru 2012 lenses, yes.

 

Jim "DooDah" Day
It is hard to play dirty against a man who picks you up.

painterlad's picture

Perhaps gasp was a bit dramatic. Anyway, after a bit of research, most of the sites I looked at had differing opinions, but a number of them, including the History Channel's "The History of Us", said that the Pilgrims were asked to use their advanced weapons to help one local tribe go and wipe out another local tribe. When the task was accomplished, they then had the feast. So when the subject of Indian domination by whites comes up, I tell people that that the Indian tribes and the whites had the same goals (the obtaining of land and resources), it's just that the whites were so much better at it.

It is easy to sit here in 2012 and look back and pass judgement on those who came before us. Was slavery wrong? Of course. I have no idea how Christians in the south could defend their practices, but they did. Was the Japanese internment programs wrong? Yes. But while we sit here and pat ourselves on our collective backs for all of our advanced thinking (a black president, gays serving in the military, women's rights, etc.), please understand that people in the year 2072 will look at how we do things and call us horrible.

Like that Apple product that is so awesome? Ever wonder about the working conditions of the Chinese people who make all of the things we have grown to love? Hopefully, those conditions won't exist 50-60 years from now, and that will be our era's Jim Crow.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

luckynewman13's picture

I was going to wait until my next paycheck to contribute to the fundraiser, but this article forced me to get out the credit card.

I can live without the McDonalds value menu for the next couple days, not so sure I could live without this website.

Keep up the exemplary work.

Jason Priestas's picture

Thank you kind sir.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Lucky - did the same thing myself!  This site is well worth the money and will probably due the same thing next month as they approach the goal.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

KE's picture

Painterlad is correct that it is always problematic to look at history through modern eyes. Nonetheless, the entire history of the civil right movement, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow, Brown v. Board, the Freedom Riders, MLK Jr. and to today is the single most fascinating thread of American history, and is one that every American should know. For the clearest and simplest exposition of the morality of the movement as seen through eyes of one experiencing it first-hand, read Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail. While the I Have a Dream speach is more famous, the Letter from Birmingham Jail is even more poignant, and clearly passes judgment on the morality of those who would just "go along" with unjust laws.

Bear Bryant's place in that history is well known, and well stated by DJ. I'm reluctant to put Joe Paterno on the same level as Bryant - I've both prosecuted and defended child sex abuse, and I know and understand the conflicts witnesses suffer. While complicated, I know that few people truly know how they would react until they are actually in the position, despite all the moral bluster. Since Paterno was one level removed (he did not witness it himself, and exactly what he was told is somewhat unclear), I'll wait for the judicial process to unfold to make up my mind.

That said, everyone should remember that sports is just entertainment. College sports is a bit different, because your college creates a life-long community represented in many ways by its sport teams. But in the end, it's just entertainment.

Pam's picture

"At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 " You won't be able to put it down

 

KE's picture

Quite correct. Read all three in Taylor Branch's trilogy, they're worth the time. But the first one, At Canaan's Edge, is the best. His description of the Freedom Rides blew my mind.

Sgt. Elias's picture

*writes this down, heads to Amazon, comes back* 11w bros, do you still have that Amazon link where you guys get a piece of the action? I'll wait...

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

Jason Priestas's picture

Yes sir. It's permanently parked in the "Resources" box on the right sidebar, but here it is again:

http://11w.rs/amazon11w

Thank you.

Sgt. Elias's picture

Thanks Jason, bookmarked. Face palm for not seeing that, I have the vision & situational awareness of a potato tonight. Long day.

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

DJ Byrnes's picture

Just ordered it, Pam. Thanks.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Pam's picture

It is breathtaking.

theDuke's picture

to those who wish to really know George Wallace, the man, there's a great depiction of him in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. Just fyi.

theDuke

Denny's picture

I get all my info on George Wallace from the Drive By Truckers, thx.

Taquitos.

onetwentyeight's picture

I would insert the ole Citizen Kane Slow Clap .GIF but I am borderline computer illiterate. 

 

Regardless: great, great piece. Couldn't have said any of this better or more clearly myself. 

 

 

Sgt. Elias's picture

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

BrewstersMillions's picture

But you know what you ARE? An educator! I had no idea where that GIF was from. A million internets to you, friend!

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

bukyze's picture

Awesome writeup DJ !  Pam and Ke - thanks for the recommendations.  I'll be looking them up.

funky123's picture

If Paul Finebaum reads this, I will send him the link but he will probably ignore it after some of the other stuff I have sent him, his shinny head will explode. A sight I would pay to see.

AltaBuck's picture

Great Piece DJ. Thanks. I spit out my beer laughing regarding your bro and the Lucky Charms' marshmallows.  That is some funny ass shit.

I have been known on occasion to howl at the moon. - Crash Davis

NW Buckeye's picture

DJ,  Thanks for writing this up.  Having lived through the Bear Bryant era I can not listen to the revisionist history portraying him as a leader in integration.  Kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little.  I vividly recall the stories our players relayed about life in the southern states and the attitudes of coaching staffs - particularly 'Bama.  It was not pretty.  For anyone to recall those days as Bryant leading the way in integration is just plain wrong.  The plethora of recent articles attributing any kind of moral high ground for Bryant are missing the point.  He integrated because he had to.  It was the only way to stay competitive with the USC's, PSU's, OSU's, UofM's in the world of college football.  He could have led with them when they first integrated in the 50's but he chose not to until it was absolutely necessitated by the actions of the rest of college football.  This does not make him an evil man - but it does not make him the saint that some of these revisionists make him.  He was a great coach, but trying to make him something he wasn't serves no purpose. 

Thanks again for having the insight to tell it like it was.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Couldn't agree more on Joe Pa! 

I can honestly say that I really don't know much about Bear Bryant outside of that hat and his legendary status as coach of Alabama.  Personally I don't know if I agree with labeling him a coward.  That period in our history was extremely hostile and there were incredible amounts of vile and violent acts perpetrated on those who did stand up to individuals promoting the racial hatred.  It is very easy for us today to look back at those during that violent period and pass judgment down.  Yes, I get the argument but honestly, knowing that you are placing not only yourself in harms way, but you are also putting your entire family literally in the line of fire.  This wasn't a small probability but almost a guarantee that you and your entire family would be the victim of some fairly significant acts of violence and intimidation.  Today, it is easy to stand up for racial equality because the chance that you will be the victim of retaliatory violence is quite small, unless, of course, you walk into a klan rally and start chastising them there.  I am certainly not condoning Bear's choices, I personally don't know enough about the man to understand if his silence was due to his bigotry or because it was a very different and incredibly racially charged period and could have very well been based on a real fear of exposing himself and his entire family to unspeakable violence.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

DJ Byrnes's picture

I have no problem judging historical figures through a current lens when that issue is something like "segregation." I don't care "how it was", SEGREGATION WAS WRONG. I think it's a pretty easy moral issue.  

Anybody can do the right thing when "the time is right." Bear Bryant was a demi-God and choked at the steps of doing the right thing in a timely manner because he didn't want to ruffle the feathers of people who were CLEARLY IN THE WRONG?

Sounds like the shoe fits. 

The question is if Bear Bryant knew if segregation was wrong, or if he only wanted desegregation because he knew he couldn't compete otherwise.   

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

DJ - Again, I get your point of view but we will just have to disagree on how easy it is to say publically today:  I don't care how it was - segregation was wrong.  I'm guessing it would be a bit harder back then when your house was on fire, your dog slaughtered on the porch, and stuffed dummies, representing you and your family, swinging from the trees with their necks in a rope. 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

DJ Byrnes's picture

Maybe then the Bear could have got a taste of the fear some of the people his silence affected lived in. Tell me, what happpend after Bear gave a black kid a scholarship? 

 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

My last comment on the subject DJ because like I said, I am not a Bear fan at all (actually could care less) nor do I even remotely condone racism.  All I am saying is that it is extremely easy to cast your high road holier than thou attitude of 'I would have done it much differently'  towards anybody and everybody you disdain about the subject, sitting in the present day when today's experience is a billion times different than it was back in the that day! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

acBuckeye's picture

DJ, you make great points, and I agree with everything you have stated. However, in regards to your definition of "legacy"...... I believe you have been one of many that has ridiculed Tim Tebow.

Having said that, I could be way off on that assessment. I don't have time to go back and look for all of your Tebow references. And maybe i'm totally wrong (please tell me if i am), and maybe you only bash the media for the constant Tebow coverage (some of it merited, but most of it is just absurd.) But in my mind, Tebow is well on his way to leaving a much greater legacy than any Tom Brady, Joe Montana or Peyton Manning regardless of what he has done on the football field.

DJ Byrnes's picture

I don't recall ever writing anything about Tim Tebow, other than a joke referencing Skip Bayless' posturing with him. In fact, I have "Tim Tebow" and "Tebow" blocked on my UberSocial. I've found this makes for a much better Twitterfeed. 

Tebow is one of tens of thousands of missionaries in the world. I'd elaborate further, but it'd involve breaking the site rules and such. 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

acBuckeye's picture

I got you, DJ. Thanks for the clarification.

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

I love this site but this article is highly questionable.  First of all Thanksgiving is a day that was set aside to be thankful for everything that we have.  It’s the best F’n day of the year.  It has as much to do with Pilgrims and Indians as a bunny does with Easter.  Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno were not pacifist or civil right activist trying to go against the grain of their time in hopes to change the course of history.  They lived a daily existence and taught the game of football; a game which teaches important life lessons through hard work, adversity and team work.  These are values that we hear preached everyday but underestimate because of the size of their moral scope.  They are small, expected and almost cliché.  But they are values that are building blocks to help shape our moral character. A Character that is needed to face such issues as racism, injustice and corruption.  Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno left legions of men behind them that faced hundreds of obstacles that life offered and conquered them in part because of the foundation that these coaches’ help built.  Were they perfect? Nobody is. But to write off all of the positive influence these men help perpetuate because of personal failures that are immune to nobody is dishonest and belies integrity.  It is also curious coming from a site such as this.  

DJ Byrnes's picture

Unfortunately, I just saw this comment due to my name appearing in "Recent Comments" thanks to AZBuckeye. 

First of all Thanksgiving is a day that was set aside to be thankful for everything that we have.  It’s the best F’n day of the year.  It has as much to do with Pilgrims and Indians as a bunny does with Easter.

I find this comment hysterical for a lot of reasons, but namely because you said the Pilgrims and the Indians -- WHO ACTUALLY EXISTED -- have as much to do with Thanksgiving as the Easter Bunny does with Easter.

Amazing. (*Kyle Rowland voice*)

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.