Pinkel; "Paterno was a great man, a good man."
While T.J. Moe was busy entertaining the media during the first day of Mizzou's first official SEC Media Day, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel was creating headlines of his own.
While the media loved the fun-loving, confident comments of T.J. Moe, the comments made by Pinkel stirred the pot too, but in a much different way.
Pinkel was asked by a group of reporters about the tragedy at Penn State and, per the comments from the Columbia Tribune, proceeded to defend Joe Paterno.
"Joe Paterno’s a friend that I got to know professionally, and you can’t take away the greatness of this man. He was a great man. However you analyze this, you can’t 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, certainly involving children and the magnitude of this in our country from a media standpoint, I anticipated really what happened. I anticipated that they would do this. You’re not going to 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 make statements and they’re going to point fingers, and that’s what I anticipated a little bit. But he was a great man, a good man. I’m sure he would, maybe if he” could “do it over again he would have followed up a few things. But don’t take away all this guy did, and to sit there and blame him for all this, I think is wrong."
Pinkel's comments turned some heads, especially after the details of the Freeh Report were released last week.
Pinkel himself has been in the headlines during the past 18 months. Pinkel was arrested of a DWI last summer and has recently split from his wife. One would figure that Pinkel would do his best to avoid any negative headlines as his team prepares to play their inaugural and very exciting first season in the SEC. But Pinkel's comments are creating headlines.
Pinkel's support of Paterno likely will not be popular in Columbia, Missouri. His support of Paterno will not be popular in SEC country. Pinkel's support of Paterno at this point won't be popular anywhere.
Pinkel's support of Paterno certainly will cause some backlash aimed his way and may create some unnecessary distractions as Mizzou prepares to start their fall training camp.
Pinkel may want to thank his wide receiver for his hysterical performance on Tuesday. Otherwise, more attention may have been headed Gary Pinkel's way.