Fourth and Long

Published 12:43 pm Friday, July 20, 2012

Before I start this week’s column I want to clarify my stance on something I covered last week – the suggested course of action at Penn State.

I recommended the appropriate punishment for the Nittany Lions football program be the death penalty and, while I still believe that to be true, I do not think punishment is the most important reason to do so.

The most essential reason to disband football in University Park is because they clearly cannot be trusted with it.

The value of any athletic department or individual sport must never exceed the value of the institution or its community in the eyes of its administration. To several of the people in charge at Penn State, football became more important than the athletic department, the University, its community and, most importantly, the welfare of young men too young to defend themselves.

You don’t give Penn State football the death penalty just because they deserve it; you also give it to them because they need it.

I heard on the radio the other day that Mr. Kobe Bryant expressed his belief that the current USA men’s Olympic basketball squad could defeat the Dream Team. If I were Kobe, I think I would be preparing myself for someone from USA basketball to ask me to urinate in a cup. Clearly the five-time NBA Champion has been smoking the good stuff.

The backcourt battles of Magic Johnson vs. Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan would be highly entertaining and seeing how the more experienced bench of Larry Bird and Clyde Drexler  would compare against the youth and athleticism  of Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony would also be appealing, but the competitive portion of this fantasy ends there.

While I believe that the current Olympic squad should be considered favorites for the gold medal in this summer’s games, I don’t believe they have a frontcourt worthy of comparison to the Dream Team. The 1992 squad had Hall of Famers David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley in the post.

The current Olympic team will feature Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis and Andre Igouldala. The 2012 squad would have no answer in the paint.

While both teams can score at ease the Dream Team would play suffocating defense unlike any of the current players have ever experienced. I assure you Lebron has never faced defensive pressure like he would get from Scottie Pippen.

Kobe says the teams are comparable. I say, in the words of Ocho Cinco…child please.


David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publishing. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at