Bill O’Brien’s Response to SI Article
From the outset of his media teleconference, the anger in Bill O’Brien’s voice could be heard. The second year head coach responded in a big way Wednesday after Sports Illustrated published an article questioning the handling of medical care for the football team.
“It is our top priority to take care of our players,” O’Brien said. “It is irresponsible, reckless and wrong to accuse otherwise.”
The Sports Illustrated article, which O’Brien stated was a, “character assassination on Dave Joyner” and written by David Epstein, centered around the removal of longtime team doctor, Wayne Sebastianelli, and the involvement of current Athletic Director, Dave Joyner. Sebastianelli was removed as head doctor for the football team in January, just four days after Joyner’s “interim” tag was removed.
“It is my responsibility to recommend and choose who is the best fit to the organization,” O’Brien noted. “There was no problem with the medical care 20 years ago or last year, I just want to assemble the right team that behaves in the right way and moves in the same direction.”
Epstein, citing financial and political motivations amongst other things, accused Penn State of lessening their athletic care with the football team. O’Brien emphatically denied that notion, stating the athletic care was “superb” and that it compared favorably to other big time schools around the country.
Also brought to light in the story is the ongoing battle between the “old guard” and “new guard” of Penn State.
O’Brien was asked if he felt some were trying to undermine the football programs as it heads in a new direction for the first time in over five decades.
“I guess I’m naïve, but why would anyone undermine us?” said a confused O’Brien.
Early today, outspoken Board of Trustee member Anthony Lubrano responded to the article in an interview stating, "the fear is that in becoming more like the NFL, there might be more of a rush to get the student back on the field."
This did not sit well with the fiery head coach as he angrily responded, “How can someone say a quote they know nothing about?”
Audio highlights of the teleconference can be heard below.
Willie Jungels is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.