Remarks that University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel made defending the now disgraced Penn State football coach Joe Paterno have at least one Missouri lawmaker at arms.
Pinkel, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, called Paterno a "great man." That comment came just days after an investigative report concluded that top Penn State officials, including Paterno, had for more than a decade known of child sexual abuse allegations made against Jerry Sandusky and said nothing.
According to the Post-Dispatch, Pinkel called Paterno a great friend and said the "greatness of this man" should not be erased.
From the report:
“You know, it's such a tragedy,” he began. “Joe Paterno was a friend I got to know professionally. You can't take away the greatness of this man. He was a great man, and you can't, however you analyze this, all of a sudden erase all that this guy's done. You can't do that. Nobody can do that.
“I think when you come out of such a tragic situation .. involving children, and the magnitude of this in our country from a media standpoint, I anticipated really what happened, to be honest with you, I anticipated that (the media) would do this.
“Now (the media isn't) going to just sit back there and say, `Well, just things happen.' You're not going to do that. They're going to be firing, and, people, they're going to get people who are going to make statements and they're going to point fingers."
On Thursday, Missouri lawmaker and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Sara Lampe released a statement condemning Pinkel, saying Paterno may have been a great coach, but failed at being a man.
From the statement:
"University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel on Tuesday called the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno a 'great football coach' and a 'great man.' Paterno may have been a great coach, but as a man he failed at what mattered - protecting children from a sexual predator.
"As the exhaustive investigation into the Penn State scandal by former FBI Director Louis Freeh proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to all but the most sycophantic of Paterno worshipers, Coach Paterno protected and covered up for a serial child rapist and in doing so enabled him to keep raping children for another decade. A great man never would have done such a foul thing. That a great football coach did should be disturbing to everyone.
"Coach Pinkel's defense of the indefensible indicates that he holds the same attitude that allowed the reprehensible situation at Penn State to occur; the attitude that building a successful football program is more important than everything else, including protecting innocent children from rapists."
What do you think? Were Pinkel's remarks just ill-timed given the circumstances or is Joe Paterno's alleged ignorance indefensible?
What about Lampe's remarks? Just a campaign tactic to get her name in the news cycle or a legitimate stance on the issue?