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Use The Bully Pulpit

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Another day, another article about Joe Paterno's contract status. This one from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette which has been pressing this issue on almost a daily basis.

This column long has been of the opinion Joe Paterno had the right to end his career as football coach at Penn State how and when he wanted. Certainly, Paterno was owed that much by the university. Whatever Penn State has done for Paterno, he has done 10 times that for Penn State.

This was a concept on which most people, even many of his detractors, agreed. But as the years go by -- Paterno is 81 -- this one-time simple equation becomes complex. Paterno, in the final year of his latest contract, is on the verge of overstaying his welcome. By all accounts, the university wants him to come to some decision about when he will retire. It's a fair request, considering his age, but one, as near as can be determined, Paterno wants no part of doing.

Blah blah blah Paterno wants to coach forever. Blah blah blah Tom Bradley waiting in the wings. Blah blah blah Spanier blah national search. Blah blah players suspended blah. These articles all read the same, and they are coming out on a daily basis not just from the PPG. The list goes on and on and on and on and on and...well, you get the picture.

In a sense I can't say I blame these reporters. As a guy who has personally committed to putting out new material on a daily basis for fun, there is absolutely nothing to write about when it comes to Penn State football right now. Joe Paterno hasn't spoken to the media since the Alamo Bowl. Signing day came and went without a press conference. Spring practice kicked off without a press conference. Players have been arrested and suspended. No press conferences. Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson is our only window of communication into the program, and whenever he is asked a question he answers, "This is the first time I've heard about it." Thanks, Jeff.

Joe Paterno is bringing this all on himself in many ways. We have nothing else to talk about, so Joe's future is all we have. David Jones is out there talking to "anonymous" BOT members trying to dig up a story for goodness sakes. It's easy for me to say that if Joe were smart, he would take over the pulpit and change the subject. That's what good politicians do. Have a press conference with the media and drop a simple line like you're thinking about renewing the Pitt series again. Watch the Pittsburgh media jump on it. Tell them you think Daryll Clark is better than Michael Robinson, and before they can start putting pen to paper tell them Pat Devlin looks better than Todd Blackledge. Force the issue and change the subject.

But Joe doesn't want to take on the bully pulpit for some reason. And if there is one thing we've learned about Joe Paterno, it's that he has a reason for everything he says. The man never misspeaks. Every word the former Brown University English major says has a purpose. So you can assume that even in his silence Joe is trying to make a point. What it is I don't know, but I do know that so far this is the most bizarre offseason I've ever experienced in my years following this program.