It’s Image First And Then A Matter of Perception …..

It’s Image First And Then A Matter of Perception …..

By tophatal ……..

November 7th 1991 should be a day that is synonymous with the NBA because that was the day when former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Ervin ” Magic” Johnson announced his retirement from the game , having contracted HIV the precursor to the full blown AIDS virus . Johnson since his retirement has been a staunch advocate of AIDS education , AIDS research and a philanthropist to numerous causes worldwide through his Magic Johnson Foundation . Now a multi-millionaire several times over, the former NBA player is now a very successful business entrepreneur through a multi faceted corporation that now bears his name Magic Johnson Enterprises Inc . The company now employs in excess of 15,000 people nationwide and through his latest endeavor Magic Johnson in association with Detroit native Dan Gilbert and Dave Bing , have joined the mayor of the city , in seeking to redevelop downtown Detroit , Michigan.

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Now inasmuch as I have enjoyed Johnson’s career as an NBA professional and his historical matches with sometime nemesis Larry Bird that simply heightened the presence before the Michael Jordan dominated era of the mid to early to late nineties . The shock of that announcement , that he had contracted the AID’S virus with the player stating he caught to the disease through his sexual proclivity in having sex with numerous sexual partners whilst on the road with the Los Angeles Lakers . Magic Johnson , a married man with two grown children and a devoted wife in Cookie Johnson , has been extremely lucky . His wife had she chosen to , could have successfully filed for divorce and taken half his considerable fortune which is now estimated to be in the region of $750 million . Johnson is still a well respected figure in the greater Los Angeles area and perhaps one the most beloved Lakers’ players of all-time .

A five time NBA champion , multiple MVP as well as Finals’ MVP winner . Magic Johnson’s career is littered with great achievements but perhaps as the player has stated , the Olympic gold as part of the USA Dream Team simply filled him with pride and his greatest professional accolade of all. That team was perhaps the greatest assembly of NBA talent in basketball history . Amongst those on that team roster were Karl Malone , David Robinson , Patrick Ewing , Michael Jordan , John Stockton , Chris Mullin and Scottie Pippen .. The team’s win at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain , if anything raised the profile of the NBA and its global presence because stars such as Johnson and Jordan. But if anything it is the former Chicago Bulls player who is more known across the globe .

Now one could choose to ignore Magic Johnson’s formal announcement as simply one of another player simply being caught up in another scandal of sexual impropriety . But here, it was more than an act of sexual proclivity but wherein , Johnson was announcing to the world he had HIV and which in its earliest form is the precursor to full blown AIDS . In the early nineties there was little that immunologists fully understood about the disease that would go on to kill in excess of 500,000 people over the next decade and where in certain parts of the world (African continent) it is almost a pandemic . The CDC , AMA , NIH as well as the UN (United Nations) have all conducted studies of the disease and how best to treat it . Anti-retroviral drugs such as AZT along with a slew of other drug cocktails is thought to be the best treatment to abate the spread of the virus and it has been this recipe that is thought to abate the spreading of HIV through Johnson’s body.

I cannot say that I feel any empathy towards Magic Johnson but the fact that the player had been in complete denial while still having the audacity to return home to his wife and having unprotected sex with her ____ having already slept with one of his numerous paramours. Does that remind you of anybody else ? Perhaps another well known sport’s icon who also happened to be at one time the world’s number one ranked golfer ? Tiger Woods may not have contracted HIV but his own sexual peccadilloes were no different from that of Magic Johnson, as both tried to initially to apportion blame for their actions elsewhere. And now while both individuals have acknowledged their misdeeds it has been their actions since that have created our own perceptions of both athletes . Woods is still thought of as a pariah amongst the public while the NBA great seems to be more beloved than ever before .

Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden are both well respected collegiate coaches. The former Florida State coach may well have been forced out of his position as the Seminoles’ football coach . But the drama and latest scandal now enveloping Penn State and its football program might just bring about the demise of the illustrious football coach Joe Paterno. It may not well have been what the coach knew but what he might not have done in acting appropriately and with due diligence concerning his former assistant Jerry Sandusky .

If you’re unaware of the latest happenings with regard to Penn State , well it is the fact that Sandusky has been indicted by the state attorney’s general’s office on 40 counts of sexual assault , sexual battery , lewd and lascivious acts on several minors encompassing a span of fifteen years from 1992 up until 2007. Pennsylvania State Attorney General Linda Kelly in discussing the indictment against Sandusky this past Monday in Harrisburg , Pennsylvania has publicly requested the assistance of the general public asking that any other victims of Jerry Sandusky’s heinous acts come forward in that they can further pursue charges against the former coach. One such incident details in great length an attack by Paterno’s former assistant that has the assailant forcing himself on a ten year old boy in the showers of an campus locker room. The coach is said to have forcibly sodomized the victim anally in this reported incident of 2002. This event is said to have been witnessed by Mike McQueary a graduate assistant at the time , who then reported the attack to Joe Paterno. The head football coach reported this event to Tim Curley , now the former athletics’ director who is now said to be on administrative leave . Also advised of this attack was the school’s vice president Gary Schultz . The university’s vice president has now retired , but it is becoming increasingly clear that both will have to answer a number of questions concerning both administrators not taking the appropriate actions deemed necessary . Curley and Schultz failed to advise law enforcement of the attack and other incidents that are said to have taken place on the campus of the university. So egregious were the actions of Tim Curley and Gary Schultz that the duo are also now under indictment in charges filed upon further in depth investigations carried State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan’s office .

Jerry Sandusky used his foundation The Second Mile Group to procure these young boys for his alleged sexual procurement for his activities . And the very thought that the coach used the campus as a place to actually perpetrate some of his acts was deplorable . Now coming to Paterno’s defense is Matt Millen an alumni of the school , which to my mind is asinine given the allegations that have been made ! If Millen , who also sits on the aforementioned foundation , himself should be very disturbed ashamed by these allegations , rather than jumping to the defense of his former coach’s defense. If anything he ought to be perturbed and angry by the complete lack of accountability , compliance and the protection of these young adolescents . But then again this is simply what I would come to expect of an odious and self absorbed asshole to begin with ! Was it not Millen who as the former general manager and head of Football Operations for the Detroit Lions in his short tenure , simply made that organization a laughing stock within the NFL fraternity with his lack of assessing personnel only to make some considerable dubious draft selections during his sojourn with the organization .

What is also now coming into question are the actions of Joe Paterno , what he knew and what he may well have failed to have acknowledged . His relationship with his former assistant defensive coordinator is said to be a very close one , wherein Sandusky is said to be a trusted aide and confidante of the legendary coach. I have long felt that Joe Paterno should have retired from the ranks of collegiate football !. Instead he simply glided along chasing down and surpassing the records of collegiate football wins at the D1 level .While the football program of Penn State is an illustrious one and its reputation has been solely built upon the achievements and success of Joe Paterno , it has to be said that over the past few years the success under the coach has been fleeting. The school’s board of regents were said to be discussing with their legal counsel what steps should be taken in light of this latest scandal that has the school embroiled in a mounting web of deceit and callous behavior that has decimated the lives of several young innocent victims and their immediate family. If out of loyalty and an act of friendship Paterno has erred in judgment in protecting Jerry Sandusky then the only alternative the now beleaguered coach has , then it is to immediately step down from his position as head coach of a program that he has overseen for over three and a half decades.

No one can actually suggest that Joe Paterno should be allowed to retain his position as head coach of Penn State in light of these allegations . And that is even if he is not directly involved with the acts of Jerry Sandusky , what we can view this episode another case of a coach simply blinded by his own success and someone who is complete denial as to the serious ramifications of the allegations and the damage it has done in tarnishing the school’s reputation. I know that there will be a solid throng of loyal supporters , Penn State students and alumni included of Joe Paterno , but surely now even they have to realize that it is time for the veteran coach to step down ? If they cannot see that the coach’s lack of forthright action and if anything evidence of real compassion . Either these individuals are that naive or they are completely lacking an iota of intelligence !

Now there will be a number of people asking how this will affect the recruitment of future prospects for the program . My question for those individuals is who well fucking cares ? Surely what has happened to these victims is far more worthy of their attention than the rather self serving asinine stupidity in thinking that a school’s football program is far more important than the sexual assaults perpetrated numerous young victims who were far too young to comprehend exactly what they were being subjected by a callous sexual deviant ! It has been this sort of inaction and denial that we have all seen perpetrated by none other than hierarchy within the Roman Catholic church and particular within several dioceses across the country (United States) over the past two decades.

Paterno’s weekly conference wherein he discusses the program with the local and national media has been cancelled but the coach’s son Scott Paterno is said to be arranging a private conference for the print and television media , whereby his father can answer all of the questions which one would expect will encompass these allegations . From my own standpoint if the questions are pointed then there is no doubt in my mind the Paterno’s will be advised by their own legal counsel on how to respond to any question that could very well implicate the coach and the state attorney’s office and their ongoing investigation. Alas, we have another collegiate program that is teetering on the brink because of its sheer ineptitude in doing what was said to be right .

So dire and acute is the situation that NCCA President Mark Emmert is seeking a private meeting with Penn State University President Graham Spanier to discuss the matter privately . Publicly Emmert has said little on the matter other than to suggest that until all legal avenues have been totally resolved he cannot make any specific statement as to the matter of guilt or innocence concerning all of the parties involved . Once again another faux-pas within the collegiate athletic landscape that the NCAA is now left on the outside looking in . How many more catastrophes and acts of gross criminality must there be , before this specific hierarchy (NCAA) actually pull its finger out of its own ass and act appropriately instead of simply lifting up that finger merely to check which direction the wind is actually blowing ? Is that too much to ask at this juncture ?

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and I will do my utmost to respond with a succinct and noteworthy response ! .

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(1) Magic Johnson recounts his journey over the last 20 years, his retirement after contracting the HIV virus, during a Magic Johnson Foundation event in Los Angeles on Monday, Non. 7, 2011. Johnson shocked the world on Nov. 7, 1991, when he revealed his HIV diagnosis. In the 20 years since, the Lakers great’s strong health and tireless work in AIDS awareness have changed the world’s perception of the disease. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ….

(2) Magic Johnson takes questions from the media about living with the HIV virus during a Magic Johnson Foundation event in Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011. Johnson shocked the world on Nov. 7, 1991, when he revealed his HIV diagnosis. In the 20 years since, the Lakers great’s strong health and tireless work in AIDS awareness have changed the world’s perception of the disease. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ……

(3) Edison Learning President and CEO Jeff Wahl , left, and former NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson speak during a news conference announcing Johnson is lending his name and business prowess to an education company to benefit urban schools, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in Los Angeles. Magic Johnson Enterprises and EdisonLearning are forming a partnership that will concentrate on services to help urban school districts boost their performance and reduce dropout rates. AP Photo/Reed Saxon ….

(4) Johnson is seen here with his family , wife Earlitha “Cookie” Johnson , his son Eavrvin III, and adopted daughter Elisa . The former NBA star also has a son Andre Johnson from a previous relationship . Courtesy of BlackCelebs.com …. @ copyrighted material ……all right reserved

(5) Dan Gilbert, left, and Earvin (Magic) Johnson announce Thursday at Quicken Loans that Johnson has joined —- Detroit Venture Partners as a general partner. / Photos by SUSAN TUSA/Detroit Free Press ….

(6) TUSCALOOSA, AL – FILE: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State ( Nittany Lions) during warmups before facing the Alabama (Crimson Tide) at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. According to reports on November 9, 2011, Paterno will step down as head coach at the end of the season amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

(7) STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 08 Penn State University students sing outside of the home of head football coach Joe Paterno during November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(8) Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno talks from inside his home to a large group of students who gathered at his house on November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Behind Paterno is his son Scott Paterno . (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(9) Members of the media stand outside of Beaver Stadium after the school announced that Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno’s weekly news conference was cancelled, November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(10) Penn State football Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson turns away from the media after reading a statement announcing that head coach Joe Paterno’s weekly news conference was cancelled, outside of the Beaver Stadium, November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former football assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved in child sex abuse, Paterno’s weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(11) Penn State athletic director Tim Curley walks out of the Magisterial District Court after being arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law on November 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Curley and Penn State university vice president Gary Schultz have resigned, and will face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images ….

(12) Penn State university vice president Gary Schultz walks into the Magisterial District Court to be arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law on November 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Schultz and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley have resigned, and will face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky . Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images ….

(13) FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2011 file photo, Penn State President Graham Spanier, left, and Athletic Director Tim Curley, center, present head football coach Joe Paterno with a plaque commemorating his 409th collegiate win after an NCAA college football game against Illinois in State College, Pa. Curley is expected to turn himself in on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa., as he has been charged with perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania’s child protective services law in connection with the investigation into allegations former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young men, the state attorney general’s office said Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. Getty Images/ Martin Scott …..

(14) Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno seen here at Beaver Stadium , College Station ,PA. Sandusky the former defensive coordinator and a close confidante of the octogenarian coach. Jerry Sandusky is now under several indictments stemming from a sexual assault dating back to 2002. However, there is mounting evidence to suggest that the state attorney’s office will also pursue other charges against the coach . AP Photo /Phil Rasmussen …..

(15) Linda Kelly, a longtime prosecutor in the Pittsburgh office of the U.S. attorney, appears at a news conference Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett announced he would nominate Kelly to succeed him as Pennsylvania’s attorney general. AP Photo/Marc Levy ….

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Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry considering the ludicrous events that’ve taken place over the past twenty four hours . First the bombshell within college football has Florida’s __ Urban Meyer announcing his stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team albeit that he’ll still coach the team in their Outback Bowl meeting against Joe Paterno’s __ Penn State football team . While I find this something of a shock I can also see the comical side of this all given the ongoing criticism that has taken shape within the local press here in the Central Florida area. What might be even more impalpable is the way with which Meyer chose to make this announcement and the circumstances brought up to validate his choice.

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Urban Meyer had once before resigned from his post citing the fact that he’d undergone health issues, now he states that because of his familial issues in being away from his children for days on end he feels that he now owes it to them and that he needs to be at their side. Am I missing something here because there are a number of college coaches around the game of college football that are in a similar position being that they are also parents ? So what is it here that Meyer is now trying to have us believe at this moment in time ? A 7-5 season for the Gators wherein they fell short not only in their national title aspirations but also within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where the Auburn Tigers led by their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cam Newton would prevail over Steve Spurrier’s ___ South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC title game (56-17). Given that Newton was also once a member of the Gators’ football team before unceremoniously having to leave the campus over irregularities concerning a stolen laptop computer as well as allegations of cheating on a number of tests. What we now have within the local press are a number of journalists questioning Meyer’s choices as it regards game time decisions and his personnel. John Brantley , Tim Tebow’s successor has had something of an inconsistent season and although the coaching staff has used number schemes that didn’t prove effective it simply showed the frailties and weaknesses of this team and the play in particular of the Gators this season. So much for the pundits who lauded Meyer for having a top notch recruiting class this season as it now seems to have been to no avail.

Now while Meyer has stepped down the talk of his successor is now rife as to who many believe should be the next coach of the Florida Gators. Amongs those being named are Jon Gruden , Bobby Petrino , Bob Stoops , Jim Harbaugh , Chris Petersen and Dan Mullen to name but a few . Gruden and Stoops to my mind won’t be particularly interested in the position given the fact that both are well compensated in their present jobs . Gruden is on air analyst with ESPN/ABC while Stoops has one of the most lucrative contracts in all of college football along with very lucrative endorsement deals with several high profiled businesses within state of Oklahoma . Somehow I for one don’t believe that the Gators can match that sort of financial wherewithal ! Gruden while in the service of ABC/ESPN is still being paid the remainder of his contract after his abrupt firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if anything the former NFL coach probably covets any one of a number of vacancies that will arise once the season is over . So any talk of Gruden being interested coaching a college program seems to be out of the question and is simply just talk . As to who will ultimately succeed Meyer will rest in the interview process and the decision made by AD Jeremy Foley .

It’s funny but when I heard that the Washington Nationals had signed Jayson Werth to a lucrative seven year $126 million contract I thought that it was a mistake but then I realized who Werth’s agent happened to be and it was none other than uber-agent Scott Boras agent to the stars. This sports agent has been the main provocateur within the game that has seen salaries now escalate to unheard of heights. Need I remind you that he has been influential in making Alex Rodriguez the highest paid player in the game and will have amassed in excess of $500 million in earnings from the game as a salaried player without taking into account off field endorsements. As this idiocy now prevails within the game no one from the game’s hierarchy much less the MLBPA , __ general managers or team owners seem to question the direction that the game is taking in terms of its financial viability. I understand that the Nationals and in particular the team’s GM Mike Rizzo wants to make a big splash but given the fact that Nationals have struggled to be competitive over the past few seasons, I see nothing really changing in spite of the signing of Werth and the promise of Stephen Strasburg . And less we forget that the organization is also counting on former high school phenom Bryce Harper to provide an impact for the team and at the same lure the fans to the Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington, DC.

Fans around the game have to be perplexed by what they’re now seeing as teams now seek to make their best attempt to be viewed as viable contenders. Am I mistaken here but the usual suspects will always be around no matter how many of these teams look to be part of what’s turning out not to be a level playing field at all. Now as the Winter Meetings have ended amongst the team owners and general managers the most prized free agent still remains on the open market and two teams are left standing to battle it out with the prize being the signature and services of Cliff Lee are the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . And while Lee remains coveted the Rangers and in particular team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . And the team has offered the pitcher a six year contract that’s estimated to in the region of $120 million , it’s said that the Yankees are prepared to offer Lee a seven year contract paying between $130 to $145 million , with the seventh year being an option year for the player and team.

One tries to assimilate this and make some sense of it all but I for one no longer find it a complexity at all. It merely now boils down to the avarice of the owners , players and the game’s hierarchy itself. No one seems to question the fact that the teams are now spending money like it’s going out of fashion but then again given the mendacity with which the government has chosen to run up the federal deficit and national debt should we be at all surprised to see the idiocy now taking place within the game of baseball ? I know at the end of the day the decision to be made by Lee will be his alone but at the same time even if his wife still has her doubts over the behavior of the New York Yankees’ fans and the profanity laced taunts she faced while attending the ALCS games at Yankees’ Stadium . It goes without saying that the player may well err on the side of wanting the money over remaining in Texas with the team where his postseason performances prior to the World Series were very exhilarating .

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The future of the Gators may well be bright but we won’t actually know that until a new coach is hired by the AD and the identity that he wishes to bring to the team. As to how the Gators’ fans may well now view this all remains to be seen but as of now the well wishers are there for Meyer and for what he’s achieved for the program . But there also the detractors who no doubt feel somewhat betrayed by his actions . Make of it what you will . As to what’s now transpiring this off-season within the game of baseball let’s just say that even with Carl Crawford’s signing by the Boston Red Sox and their seven year offer of $140 million this won’t be the last time that we’ll see these type of maneuvers take place within the game. This off season Scott Boras made sure that the game of baseball remains where it is right in the doldrums and the fans of the game have remained bewildered by what has taken place . That my friends is how one saves face while not wanting to win friends and influence people !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Urban Meyer stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team and your own thinking as to the Washington Nationals signing of Jayson Werth ? By all means simply leave a comment on this topic and as always thanks for the continued support.

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Alan aka tophatal ……………… 🙂 ___ 😦 __ 😛

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