Former NBA Player and Penn State Graduate John Amaechi appeared on Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable to give his opinion about the Jerry Sandusky scandal that has rocked his alma mater.
In his introduction, LeBatard presents Amaechi as one of the smartest athletes he has ever interviewed and after watching it I can see why. Maybe it’s the accent or the deliberate and thoughtful pace at which he speaks, but he really provides an interesting perspective. People associated with the scandal have expressed their anger in different ways. In a sea of Lavar Arrington screaming, Matt Millen tearing up and idiot kids on campus rioting, it is refreshing to see a calm and reflective point of view.
It is evident from the start of the interview that the scandal has affected him deeply. He reveals that it hurts to be associated with the University he has loved. He also goes on to talk about how his involvement as a very public face of Sandusky’s Second Mile charity make him feel “unwittingly complicit” in what was going on behind the scenes. Even though it was highly unlikely any of the athletes had any idea what was going on, you cant help but think that what you were doing may have brought vulnerable kids to the den of a predator.
Aside from the fact that his opinions are fresh and delivered eloquently and the passion and anger he feels are evident, I think it was risky for him to comment on this scandal.
Amaechi himself made headlines in 2007 as the first retired NBA player to reveal that he was gay. Unfortunately, a lot of uneducated and misinformed people group together pedophiles and homosexuals when they don’t really have much to do with one another. Jerry Sandusky is (allegedly) a pedophile who likes young boys which is completely different from being attracted to an adult of the same sex, which is what Amaechi is.
If you have any doubts as to whether or not people are uninformed about what it means to be gay or how to deal with gay peopel, you just have to revisit Tim Hardaway’s comments he made (coincidentally on Dan LeBatard’s Miami radio show following Amaechi’s revelation) when asked about how he would react if he had a gay teammate.
First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don’t think that’s right. And you know I don’t think he should be in the locker room while we’re in the locker room. I wouldn’t even be a part of that,”
On a different note, my favorite aspect of the interview is his opinion on Joe Paterno. While a lot of people have tried to distance themselves from the legend and even focused their attention on JoePa instead of on Sandusky, Amaechi delivers what I think is the most accurate assessment of Paterno’s involvement. After he talks about being aware of all the good Joe Paterno has done in his extensive career, he delivers the following.
You cant be a part time man of principle. You cant be principled 99% of the time, and then the one time when it really counts, you’re not.”