Former Seminole LeRoy Butler weighs in on FSU sanctions

March, 11, 2009
3/11/09
2:33
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Former Florida State cornerback LeRoy Butler gave his take on the current sanctions his alma mater is facing in an interview with WSSP radio in Milwaukee. He's a bit embarrassed, and he should be, but said it doesn't take away from the respect he has for coach Bobby Bowden.

All of these discussions of course include Penn State coach Joe Paterno, as he and Bowden's careers have long been intertwined. I've covered both of them, and it's like any other situation -- winning cures everything.

I'll never forget how beat-down and exhausted Paterno looked at the end of his 3-9 season in 2003, the worst record in school history with just one win in the Big Ten. I thought for sure he was done. But then a few big-name recruits started to walk through the door and the Nits started winning again. The same people who had been calling for Paterno's retirement were the same folks buying tickets to the 2006 Orange Bowl to watch Paterno vs. Bowden. The same fans chastising Paterno for his lack of discipline after ESPN's report were probably among the first in line for Rose Bowl tickets last year.

What's worse, 46 Penn State players being charged with 163 criminal counts between 2002 and 2008, or 61 FSU athletes across 10 sports cheating in class from the fall semester of 2006, through the 2007 spring and summer semesters?

No coach in the country is immune to public relations nightmares, no matter how many games they win, but if either Paterno or Bowden decided to retire in the midst of their respective controversies, that is how they would be remembered.

How many people remembered Michael Phelps' 2004 DUI after he won eight gold medals in 2008? How many people will remember his latest public embarrassment after he wins more gold in 2012?

Bowden's current team has the potential to play for the ACC title, and next year's team should be even better. Paterno has already begun to make fans forget. It won't be as easy for Bowden if he is forced to vacate as many as 14 wins -- the record books are memories you can't erase. But he still has the chance to go out on a winning note, and that's one thing the NCAA can't take away.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?