Plane over PSU: Take down statue or we will

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Plane over PSU: Take down statue or we will

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Joe Paterno's name is losing its luster, whether it's the tent city outside Beaver Stadium where students camp out for prime football tickets or the name associated with his alma mater's football coach job.

"Paternoville" is out, swapped for "Nittanyville" on Monday. So respected was Paterno that another university -- Brown, the late coach's alma mater -- had attached his name to its coaching job. That too ended.

In a matter of months, the once unimpeachable Paterno name has become an albatross to be shed rather than an honor. The tainted reputation results from a scathing report by former FBI director Louis Freeh that concluded Paterno helped cover up child sex abuse allegations against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

It's even tarnished the bronze statue of Paterno that had been a rallying point for students in the months since Sandusky's November arrest touched off a scandal as notable for its breathtaking allegations as its place: Happy Valley.

On Tuesday, a small plane pulled a banner over State College reading, "Take the statue down or we will."

Nike took Paterno's name off a child care center on its corporate campus on Thursday, the same day the Freeh report was released. Company founder Phil Knight -- whose rousing defense of Paterno at a memorial service after his death drew thunderous applause -- said in statement that "it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it."

The halo that had floated above Paterno's head in a State College mural was removed Saturday. In its place the artist added a blue ribbon in support of child abuse awareness.

And a Connecticut middle school said it would paint over its own mural of Paterno.

Although there was some negative reaction to Paterno immediately after Sandusky's arrest -- the Big Ten dropped Paterno's name from the conference championship trophy where it had been next to that of Amos Alonzo Stagg, who won almost 100 fewer games -- the pace has picked up since the Freeh report was released.

The Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium has been a point of much contention. Critics have called for the statue to be taken down after the Freeh report concluded that Paterno was aware of a 1998 allegations against Sandusky -- in contrast to his grand jury testimony and an interview given after his firing -- and that he was involved in the decision to not report a 2001 incident to the authorities even after his superiors had decided to.

The Freeh report raised the culpability of Paterno and former university President Graham Spanier to the same level as two other key figures: former Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley.

Both Schultz and Curley await trial on charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. A judge on Monday set an Aug. 16 court date for oral arguments on pretrial motions.

Spanier is not charged.

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Wizards put themselves, credibility on line with all-black ploy vs. Celtics

Wizards put themselves, credibility on line with all-black ploy vs. Celtics

For the Wizards to wear all-black as a statement for tonight’s game (6:30 p.m. on CSN) with the Boston Celtics seems like quite a reach. This is just Game No. 45, but Bradley Beal insisted that they do it.

A 13-game home winning streak is on the line and so is the advantage in the season series which is tied 1-1.

These teams just can’t stand each other. The Jan. 11 game ended with an altercation between Jae Crowder and John Wall and the league fined them both.

Crowder instigated by getting in Wall’s face after the final buzzer and poked him in the nose. Wall countered with a quick left-hand slap to his jaw. The NBA fined Crowder more for what happened, an indication that he deserved the larger share of the blame.

There are a lot of key moments and subplots between these teams, too: Wall and Isaiah Thomas are fighting for reserve spots on the East All-Star team; Beal received a technical foul in the last game for getting tangled with Marcus Smart, who broke his nose and gave him a concussion with a blow to the face last season; Wall was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul after blowing out the Celtics in the first meeting; Crowder bad-mouthed the Wizards in the offseason and got in an argument with the bench that drew a technical a year ago, too; Wall had an emotional win over the Celtics that he dedicated to a young cancer patient he befriended; and Crowder hit the game-winning layup on Washington off an inbounds play.

Wall has felt disrespected at every turn, from the Wizards not getting much national attention, finishing sixth in All-Star voting despite being the only one in the East averaging a double-double, not getting a single vote from 29 other GMs in a preseason survey of the NBA’s best passers and the list goes on

This decision to treat a regular-season game like Game 7 of the playoffs has brought the attention that they've all craved, but now they’re under pressure to produce. 

That type of confidence has been absent since Paul Pierce’s one season in Washington, when he called the Toronto Raptors soft – a team they couldn’t figure out in the regular season -- before a playoff series as the Wizards proceeded to beat them into submission via sweep.

[RELATED: Celtics not impressed with Wizards wearing all black: 'That's cute']

Following that up with a 41-41 season when players admittedly checked out on then-coach Randy Wittman long before it ended contributed to the lack of belief in who they were at that time.

Starting this season 2-8 added onto what could’ve been a dumpster fire under new coach Scott Brooks. But this gesture suggests the Wizards are being incredibly naïve or will fully turn the corner before the All-Star break.

To think that for the home opener vs. Toronto, after losing winnable games at the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies on the road, it was considered an overstatement by Marcin Gortat to call that a must-win game.

The frequent complaint about today’s game is that good old-fashioned rivalries and animosity are gone. That players are too friendly with one another.

But Brooks has emphasized all season that he’d prefer his players treat every game equally. He doesn’t want them to play harder against the Celtics, for instance, than they do the Philadelphia 76ers. In theory, that’s how it should be but human nature tends to win out.

Wall wears his emotions on his sleeve which is why he has nine technical fouls which is fourth-most in the league. Beal is trying to prove he’s worth the $128 million he was paid in the offseason and make his case for being an All-Star, too, with DeMar DeRozan of Toronto being the only shooting guard reasonably ahead of him.

Beal emerged from his 1-for-21 three-point shooting funk in Charlotte last night to go 4-for-9. He was the hot hand in the 117-108 loss to Boston when he had 16 points in the first quarter. 

Only 23 total fouls were called then (10 on Boston), Brooks was openly irritated by the officiating and for the first time this season cracked about the inconsistency in how some games are called. By comparison, the Wizards were called for 23 fouls alone in beating the Hornets on Monday. 

Both teams did their share of trash-talking in game that went unpunished which likely contributed to the postgame heat that required police presence between the locker rooms at TD Garden.

It'll be safe to assume that there will be significantly more whistles tonight, and one of the three officials will be Marc Davis. It was Davis who ejected Wall at the end of the Wizards' early-season loss to the Houston Rockets after bumping him during a timeout.

Playing with emotion can be a double-edged sword. A convincing victory will make more people want to watch the Wizards on a wider scale. An epic fail will result in a "nothing-to-see-here" response. The latter, by far, is the worst-case scenario.

If the Wizards want to put themselves on the line like this to prove a point this early in the season, let them. If it's a rivalry and it's real at least to them, then it's real. 

 

[RELATED: Have the Celtics become the Wizards biggest rival in the East?]

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Capitals call up Chandler Stephenson from AHL Hershey for road trip

Capitals call up Chandler Stephenson from AHL Hershey for road trip

The Capitals recalled forward Chandler Stephenson from AHL Hershey to join the team on their road trip, GM Brain MacLellan announced Tuesday.

Stephenson, 22, made his NHL debut last season and appeared in nine games for the Capitals. 

In the AHL this season, Stephenson has tallied 24 points on six goals and 18 assists for Hershey. 

He will join the team as it prepares to take on the Ottowa Senators tonight (coverage begins at 7 p.m. on CSN). The two games remaining on the road trip are against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. 

MORE CAPITALS: Coaches declare Caps the favorite to win the Cup