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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Media Pressure Is Paterno's Pressing Concern

August 30, 2000|MARK HEISLER

Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno, long praised but now taking some hits for not suspending his starting quarterback, Rashard Casey, after Casey was arrested, says part of the problem these days is--surprise!--the press.

"It's been tough at times," Paterno says. "Today, people would be writing about George Washington's wooden teeth. They wouldn't be writing about [Washington saying], 'I can't tell a lie.'

"Then, there was [President John F.] Kennedy. Kennedy was horsing around as much as anybody but it was always hands off."

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Add Paterno: Nevertheless, Paterno has press defenders, or he did before Casey threw an interception for a touchdown and fumbled in that 29-5 loss to USC.

"It's easy to be cynical," wrote the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daugherty. "But Paterno would beat [Alabama Coach Bear] Bryant's [Division I-A] record with Sean Casey playing quarterback. He's a young 73. He can coach in Happy Valley as long as he wants. He'll get the record, regardless. What Paterno is doing is taking a hit for decency."

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Last add Paterno: Things were simpler in the old days, before Paterno became famous.

In 1954, he says, he was on an elevator at a coaches' convention when the doors opened and in walked Alabama's Bryant, Bud Wilkinson of Oklahoma, Frank Leahy of Notre Dame and Wally Butts of Georgia.

"Bryant, Wilkinson and Leahy were all big, good looking guys who looked like senators," Paterno said. "Butts was more like the kind of guys I grew up with in Brooklyn.

"I was supposed to get off on the fourth floor, but I rode up with them to the eighth floor. I was dying to walk down the hall with them, just to hear what they were saying."

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Trivia time: Who holds the major league record for consecutive stolen bases?

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A different Joe: Joe Charboneau, the 1980 American League rookie of the year with Cleveland, got a single while playing in a game in his fourth decade of professional baseball Monday.

The 45-year-old Charboneau singled to center field in the eighth inning of the Canton (Ohio) Crocodiles' 11-1 win over the London Werewolves at Thurman Munson Stadium.

Charboneau, in his second season as the Crocodiles' hitting coach, was supposed to play for the independent Frontier League team Sunday but his scheduled at-bat was rained out.

Although the Frontier League has a 27-year-old age limit, the league gave Charboneau a special dispensation.

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Revealing: Several female athletes have recently done nude and semi-nude photo shots for magazines. Canadian Olympic swimmer Marianne Limpert says all she needs to join them is someone to ask her nicely.

"I have to say, if someone approached me, and it was going to be tastefully done, I wouldn't have a problem," Limpert told Canada's National Post. "You spend four or five hours a day working out, and now, you've got a great body. I don't see what's wrong with that."

And the inevitable controversy, as when U.S. soccer player Brandi Chastain stripped down to her sports bra?

"Are these people repressed, or what?" Limpert asks. "I mean, what is going on here? Go jogging through a park in Vancouver and you'll see women in sports bras sitting on public benches."

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Trivia answer: Vince Coleman, St. Louis, 50, Sept. 18, 1988, through July 26, 1989.

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And finally: Former tennis great Martina Navratilova, on the Anna Kournikova phenomenon and all the semi-nude posing by female athletes: "It's attracting another audience. I don't know if you necessarily want those guys coming to the matches but we do get a wider audience."

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