Penn State players off-limits to media this week

Posted by Jeff Rice on November 14, 2011 

A lot of us on the beat used to wonder if Tom Bradley, long a media favorite because of his candor and willingness to answer questions both tough and silly, would open up the program to the fourth estate if he ever got his shot at Penn State's top job.

Not exactly, it would seem.

Bradley will take part in the regular Tuesday news conference and the Big Ten coaches teleconference but there are no Penn State player interviews scheduled for this week. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, the only times reporters have to speak to players other than immediately after the games are the conference calls on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Obviously, we (reporters, players, coaches, fans, America, the planet) continue to sail further into uncharted waters. But it's disappointing not just because it makes our jobs more difficult (and it does) but because I think Penn State is missing an opportunity here. And I'm not so sure it's Bradley's call.

Look, one of the biggest problems the university has on its hands right now is the collective silence coming from Old Main (president Rodney Erickson is making up some ground here), the athletic department and the football program. Now is the time for Penn State to be more transparent, to be more open, to answer the tough questions that it can and honestly say that it can't answer the ones it can't.

And I can't think of a better group to do this than the Nittany Lions. These guys handle themselves superbly in front of the press all year, and they handled themselves with class and dignity last week. Do they deserve a little break from their media duties? Perhaps. But, as many have said repeatedly, these players didn't have anything to do with what happened in the Lasch Building in 2002. They're not implicated in the case against Jerry Sandusky in any way. Like the rest of us, they're upset about what happened to the victims but they're also, like the rest of us, trying to live their lives. Their goal remains a Big Ten title, and it's still within their reach.

So let them talk about Ohio State. Let them talk about how they've rallied around Bradley. Let them say that child abuse is despicable and unforgivable and that they have no more tolerance for it than the rest of the world, that they're as upset as everyone else is.

But don't let them continue to add to the silence. There's been too much of that already.

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