Believe it or not, here’s a story about sports journalism and Penn State football fans that has nothing to do with Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky. Doesn’t matter. There’s still obnoxiousness involved.
Sports Illustrated writer David Epstein has written a story questioning whether Penn State athletics still have too much power at the university. The focus this time isn’t Sandusky’s problems, but rather—as PennLive.com notes—”takes a critical look at the medical care operation of the PSU football program, the recent reshuffling of the medical staff and head trainer Tim Bream, who was investigated by an outside law firm in January.”
Epstein’s story suggests that in an era of diminished resources, Penn State cut back on player care. “O’Brien hired Penn State alum Tim Bream, who worked with Joyner at the ’92 Olympics, as athletic trainer in February 2012. Sources involved in health care for Penn State athletics who spoke with SI on the condition of anonymity say they saw Bream, who does not have a medical degree, engage in practices normally reserved for doctors, such as giving players anti-inflammatory drugs without a prescription and lancing a boil on a player’s neck. University medical sources also said that Bream told physicians to stop talking with the parents of players and that doctors should not spend as much time with the team.”
Penn State denies the allegations: “”To characterize the medical care Penn State provides our student-athletes as anything other than the highest quality is erroneous. Access to urgent and quality care for our athletes is no less than where it was at any point in the past 20 years.”
And in any case, Penn State football fans are behaving pretty much as you’ve come to expect: By taking to Twitter and ripping David Epstein a new one.
— Henry Heisler (@endurants) May 15, 2013
@sidavidepstein enjoy ur 2mins of fame.. Hacks like you r out of sight in a few anyway..
— the Happy Ninja (@HapiNinja) May 15, 2013
— Austin Paradis (@SliceOfParadis) May 15, 2013
— Dan Mealing (@SpiderCat79) May 15, 2013
And my favorite:
— Mike Wilson (@MikeWil_son) May 14, 2013
Hey, THON is a great charity. It’s weird how Penn State fans use it as a shield and a cudgel against any and all criticism of the university, though. What does it have to do with Epstein’s story?
In any case, Epstein’s story seems concerned with the welfare of the players still at Penn State. Instead of reflexively defending the institution, you’d think real football fans would want to ensure their favorite players are treated well. That they choose to lash out, instead, is, well interesting.