This is my beef, not yours. Actually I speak for hundreds of media who will descend upon the Chicago Hyatt McCormick Place on Thursday.
The Penn State players aren't coming to the Big Ten media days. The conference just confirmed it. A spokesman said only that it was a Penn State decision. And that sucks.
It sucks because our companies have spent hundreds, maybe thousands, shuttling us here to preview the conference season. The trip became obviously more important and newsier with the recent developments at Penn State. But the school -- I'm not sure it is Bill O'Brien alone -- has decided to keep the players back home.
It sucks because you, the consumer, would have benefitted from seeing these guys up close and personal. Apparently, someone at the school doesn't realize these guys are sympathetic figures. They are innocent. The nation feels for them.
Didn't the Nittany Lions just take a loyalty oath? No one is transferring. They're all in. Talk about it. Rave about it. Look into the camera and tell the world you aren't going anywhere. Right? Either that's not the case or Penn State is continuing its grand tradition of information suppression. Maybe both.
Only coaches are required to attend media days. Funny how 11 other Big Ten schools are exercising their “option” of bringing players to speak to the media. Three of them. Each. In other words, they get it.
The Penn State players are solid enough to work a full-time job (football), go to school, play in front of 108,000 people but can't be trusted to face an interview or two? Shameless. This only delays the inevitable. Sooner or later the Penn State players will have to face the public.
When those unfiltered questions eventually come, remember this: We didn't get your program into this current situation, guys, it was the adults who should know better. We want to know you. The fans want to know you. Those adults don't want us to know you.
It sucks because on a basic level, this was the old bait and switch. We came here to preview the entire conference, not just the schools whose leaders aren't worried about their players being asked sensitive questions.
I'm not drawing a line from Jerry Sandusky to media days. I'm disappointed that in some small way, the Penn State culture still exists. They're keeping things in house. Nothing like staying in the snow globe that is State College at this crucial point in the process when Penn State football could be sending -- actually, controlling -- a positive message.
This has been a week of tremendous upheaval for the Penn State players due to be here -- Silas Redd, Jordan Hill and John Urschel. I get that. But the media days would probably be a welcome relief. We can't recruit the players. All we can do is ask questions.
There's a big difference. Apparently, Penn State doesn't realize that.