Sheehan ’12: Return to sender

Sports Columnist
Thursday, November 10, 2011

(Note to the reader: Sports columnist Sam Sheehan ’12 consumed 17 Diet Dr. Peppers last Tuesday before locking himself in his room and not emerging until the following morning. He awoke to find several emails in his inbox asking him topical sports questions. After tracing the emails, we found that he not only wrote them himself, but he also ordered 15 more cases of Diet Dr. Pepper. He apparently does not remember writing the emails, though he answered all of them.)

“What’s your stance on Carson Palmer? Is he a guy that could pan out for the Oakland Raiders, or do you think it’s a regrettable trade?” — Doug, 21, Keeney Quadrangle, Providence, R.I.

I don’t think there’s any way that any quarterback for the Raiders succeeds while Darren McFadden is injured. Run DMC opens up the defense as the linebackers have to spy him on every play. Without him on the field, they can drop more guys into coverage or run nickel sets — formations with five pass-defenders. This is pretty brutal for Palmer, as the guy has only had four weeks to figure out an entire offense. I don’t think Palmer is the answer at quarterback, but I think the Raiders will be a playoff-caliber team when McFadden gets back.

“I love your column! I have a puppy I’m house training, and for some reason he will only go if it’s on your newspaper column. Could you make another boring elaboration on NBA labor talks so I can leave him in his kennel overnight this weekend?” — Kelsey, 19, Wickenden Street, Providence, R.I.

The NBA lockout, as I’ve outlined before, is a lot more serious than the NFL lockout earlier this year. It certainly seems like it’s going to come down to this latest round of talks. If the players don’t agree to the owners’ terms, it’s very likely that we are going to see a move to decertify the players’ union and pursue legal action. If that happens, the season is as good as dead.

“I’m an Indianapolis Colts fan, and I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t try to win another game all season. We should change nothing and hope Curtis Painter doesn’t get hurt. It’d be awful if the next guy was actually good. What should we do if we get the first pick in the draft next year with regards to Andrew Luck? P.S. I just drew some clever graffiti.” — Timothy, 20, the Sciences Library bathroom, Providence, R.I.

Great question, Tim. Luck seems to be a young, guaranteed All-Star quarterback. With Peyton Manning’s health concerns, it might be difficult to decide what to do. Teams like the Miami Dolphins will be dying to trade up for him, so you could exploit their needs and get more picks by letting them have Luck. Personally, I think you draft him and give him a couple of years on the bench being groomed by Manning, who will probably go down as the greatest quarterback that ever lived. Then, you could trade the aging Manning to a team that needs a quarterback and get whatever young stars you might need in the deal.

“Do you think the New England Patriots’ recent losses are the reason for the return of your night terrors and bed-wetting?” — Dominique, 18, Hunter Laboratory, Providence, R.I.

What? How do you know about tha … Oh, it’s a joke. Haha!

To answer the question, it certainly seems like my beloved Pats actually suck for the first time since 2002. Bluntly put, I don’t think the New York Giants are a great team this year. They had a pretty easy schedule for the first half of the season. Then again, the Patriots lost to them. The logical conclusion? The Pats are bad. The personification of our defense would be Frankenstein’s monster, cobbled together from old, dead careers. If we don’t see a win this week against the New York Jets, it will make for dark days in New England.

“Is there any reason to feel bad for Joe Paterno ’50?” — Everyone trying to figure out this Penn State scandal, Everywhere, USA.

The fact that his career had to end this way is tragic. He is probably the greatest coach in the history of college football. If you caught footage of the rallies that students were putting on in support of him, it’s clear how beloved he is. That being said, I don’t think anyone should be pitying Joe. If these allegations are true, and Mike McQueary told Paterno nine years ago that he saw a young boy being sexually assaulted by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and Paterno thought that telling the athletic director was enough, then it’s not really a question. You don’t let sex abuse slide and get to keep your job. Even if Paterno didn’t realize the full extent of Sandusky’s behavior, this is the kind of thing you have to follow up on. If this really was as overlooked and ignored as it is being reported, then we are talking about four or more grown men doing very little to stop child abuse. That’s unacceptable.

It’s sad that it had to end this way, but don’t feel sad for him.

“You have been tagged in 14 pictures in Lisa Ann’s album: ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ screening!” — Facebook, 7, Your Computer, Providence, R.I.

I don’t know what this email is. They must have the wrong address.

“With the Boston Bruins looking terrible in the early goings of the NHL season, the Boston Celtics locked out and only getting older, the Boston Red Sox coming off the worst collapse in baseball history, and the Patriots in a bona fide swoon, what sport are we going to raise our children on?” — Your Future Wife, Somewhere Big Enough For a Dog, USA

I hear Major League Soccer is making a comeback. (Breaks down into hysterical tears.)



Sam Sheehan ’12 would love to do one of these with actual emails. Talk sports with him at or follow him on Twitter @SamSheehan.