First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:
Is it fair to lump Lance Armstrong and Jerry Sandusky in the same narrative?
Before you cringe and react to the obvious — Sandusky is spending the rest of his life in prison for heinous crimes against children, while Armstrong is merely a disgraced former world-class cyclist — let's compare their pasts and presents.
Both men used charitable causes as a basis for their indiscretions: Sandusky operated Second Mile, which was advertised as an outreach to underprivileged children; Armstrong started Livestrong, an organization which raised millions for cancer research and awareness following his recovery from the disease.
Both men were enabled by people in power: Sandusky sexually abused young boys for years because iconic Penn State football coach Joe Paterno stood in the way of an investigation of his former assistant; Armstrong was a millionaire pitchman for globally famous products such as Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Oakley and Trek.
Both men were bullies: Sandusky preyed on vulnerable young boys, forcing them to satisfy his needs; Armstrong reportedly threatened many — men and women — who dared to try and expose his lies about performance-enhancing drug use.
Both men did things that crushed the spirit of the weak: Sandusky forever ruined the lives of at least 10 boys; Armstrong sold a tale of deceit — that a deadly illness can be the springboard to being a drug-free seven-time Tour de France champion — to cancer patients all over the world.
Both men live in a state of pathetic denial: Sandusky insists he's the victim of a vast conspiracy and his lawyers are pursing an appeal; Armstrong built a legend on a callous lie, but says he's the victim of a witch hunt.
Both men are getting what they deserve: Sandusky was sentence to at least 30 years in prison; Armstrong is being stripped of all his titles, his corporate supporters are abandoning him and he is plummeting into a pit of disgrace.
GOOD CAREER MOVE: First baseman Prince Fielder wouldn't be the first, um, full-figured guy to win a World Series ring a season after bolting the Milwaukee Brewers for a nine-figure free agent contract.
Fielder, who helped Detroit qualify out of the AL, is walking the same path as CC Sabathia, who won a World Series pitching for the Yankees in 2009.
Rooting for Fielder will be a challenge, just as it was for Sabathia, but for different reasons. Fielder casually abandoned a great situation in Milwaukee because his priority was the ego boost of a $200 million contract. Sabathia, meanwhile, signed with one of the most despised franchises in sports because the Yankees essentially gave him a blank check.
DON'T WORRY YET: The impact of the Packers losing defensive back Charles Woodson to a broken collarbone won't be felt for a while yet.
As he goes about his six-week recovery, Green Bay faces two of the worst offenses in Jacksonville and Arizona and gets a bye. Then comes the dicey part: trips to Detroit and the New York Giants and a home game with Minnesota.
PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Regardless of what happens down the stretch, it looks as though Bill O'Brien of Penn State will be your Big Ten Conference football coach of the year.
That's too bad for Bret Bielema. In a season in which the University of Wisconsin coach could win his third straight league title and take the Badgers to their third consecutive Rose Bowl — something only Bo and Woody have done — he gets overshadowed by a mini-miracle.
Contact Andy Baggot at email@example.com or 608-252-6175.