Bernstein: Trying To Enjoy Bears Amid PSU Anger

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) I couldn’t look at Robbie Gould or Anthony Adams without thinking about what occurred at their alma mater. Sorry.

I want to care only that the Bears dismantled and humiliated Detroit, ran their record to 6-3, and established themselves as something more than a fringe postseason contender.

I want to freely celebrate Devin Hester’s magic, the resurgent defensive backfield, the relentless Julius Peppers, and some old-fashioned bad blood.

But I have been seeing football more through a cloud of anger, revulsion and sadness.

It’s not that I’m choosing to be so mindful of the events of the past week – believe me, there’s something to be said for the real value of escapism. It’s that I simply cannot entirely escape, yet, as the game’s images keep morphing back into something sinister.

I can’t watch coaches coach without wondering what else they do. I can’t hear messages about charity efforts without thinking awful, truly unfair things. I see throngs of cheering fans and think more about the game’s vast power over simple minds, how it is used to build great myths and shroud terrible truths.

Even the usual, gung-ho military imagery reminds me that I’d prefer to see some ferocious-looking helicopters hovering over State College, disgorging black-clad rappellers to seize computers and drag conspirators away to places that don’t exist.

For More Bears Coverage:
Bernstein: Trying To Enjoy Bears Amid PSU Anger
Shepkowski: Good, Bad and Ugly Of Bears-Lions
Hoge: Stafford’s Frustration Boils Over As Bears Dominate
Gallery: Bears 37, Lions 13

If you can shake the image of the tone-deaf cultists genuflecting at the Joe Paterno statue Saturday, I’m envious, as an icon that would be better defaced and toppled was instead worshipped. These were not drunken, leaderless student rioters, but grown adults who should know better.

If you could listen to those chilling, bizarre chants of “We are Penn State!” and not seethe as they sound to you more like “We support the decades-long conspiracy to aid, abet and conceal the rape and molestation of children!”, then you are stronger than I.

Saturday gave us uncomfortable mixed messages about the importance of football in our lives – “healing” through ignorance and distraction, praying en masse after the fact to some god who was apparently powerless for years in the face of evil, displays of support for bad people for bad reasons, and the apparent belief that redemption could come via scoreboard.

That was all still echoing during the Bears game. While I tried to keep my internal tuner from slipping, I guess my compartmentalization skills need work.

(It didn’t help my efforts that Deadspin broke a story during the game that the judge that set Jerry Sandusky’s $100,000 unsecured bail is a Second Mile volunteer. Prosecutors had asked for $500,000 and a required leg-monitor.)

We will do our thing and cover the Bears’ snap-back to quality, enjoying the season’s most satisfying win to date and ratcheting up expectations, while still dealing with the burgeoning hideousness in Happy Valley.

And there will be more news this week of civil suits in the works, more victims coming forward, and the possible involvement of the FBI and other agencies. All roads will lead back to a primitive town, in a state where the unfortunate influence of a game has made its citizens something less than human.

The lens through which I view football is glowing red hot right now.

It will stop, soon. As the regular routine returns, the wrath dissipates into something heavy and grim, but bearable.

At least I hope so.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Trying To Enjoy Bears Amid PSU Anger
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

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  • Patrick

    Tales of Laziness on Friday helped, but truer words have never been spoken!

    • jackj

      just want to echo others’ thank yous re you & boers’ shows last week

      truth told i dont follow sports these days but
      i know of you guys’ stuff
      & admire it

      wish i could adequately state how powerful those shows were to
      listen to

      thank you again

    • Shawn Oetzel

      Well said, Dan.

      Again thank you for voicing the frustration many of us feel and keeping the focus where it needs to be – the real victims, and for also continuing to call out for those who turned a blind eye while children were being harmed to held equally responsible.

  • Doug Gross

    Great column Dan. YOur show last week was the most important show I have ever heard on radio. Big thanks o all of u, Terry, Matty, and Jason. You guys nailed it and wre talking for me. Thanks again

    • Cris Benson

      “Great column Dan.” No it wasn’t it was awful. Their is little or no correlation between the two stories.

  • Ryan Harry

    Dan I truly think this has been one of the best weeks of radio you and Terry have ever done and I thank you for making me more aware of everything going on at PSU and while it still needs to be discussed, I want some Bears Victory Monday. Creepy Valley is that, but allow yourself to enjoy VICTORY CHICKEN.

  • tired of your same old line

    This story is the perfect story for Bernstein. It gives him a chance to do what he does best which is speak holier than thou, and talk negatively about sports and religion. It’s a despicable story true, yet you can find these stories anywhere in the world at any time. It need not consume your sports time, unless you WANT it to. Getting back to enjoying sports is not that hard, unless you find it hard to say something positive once in awhile. There is your problem Bernstein.

    • Dave Corzine Reference

      I don’t know what world YOU live in, but “These stories” do not happen in MY world all the time. You may want to move.

      • tired of your same old line

        I am willing to bet that many at Penn St. would have said the same thing two weeks ago.

    • EK

      Yes – because when the world of sports intersects with reality (i.e. little boys getting raped by a coach) we should forget about sports’ role in the environment that allowed it to happen and move on.

      That’s obviously the correct thing to do.

  • Mark

    Dan, get over it – have and I am not a child rapist. Bad sh** happens all over the world everyday. Bad stuff that we are able to filter, to forget, to be ignorant about. Maybe I am too cynical or just flat out de-sensitized but I do know that life goes on and this is just one more effed up thing that has happened in an effed up world. It is a shame you cannot look at people without thinking about child rape. I see different people everyday and know that I have looked at someone who has done some reprehensible things, but this does not stop me from enjoying life. Dan, I do appreciate what you do on the radio and think you are one of the more intelligent people in sports but you need to stop making it alter your life.

    • Tony

      I agree get over it. The Bears and Penn St. are two separate things. If you can’t separate the two then don’t watch the Bears then. You can focus on the two teams separately. I wasn’t thinking about Penn St. at all while watching the Bears.

    • johnbres2

      What is funny to me is that Boers and Bernstein are the two most offensive, obnoxious and downright mean people on sports radio, who abuse and trash people, including their own callers, on their show. But now they are all on the high road of outrage. Gimme a break. Everyone is outraged. Let the courts handle it and get back to work. Alternatively, get a talk radio gig where sports doesn’t have to interrupt your true calling..

  • John in Cary

    I guess the question you need to ask yourself is this – Can otherwise good people do seriously bad things?

    There’s a want in this world for white hats and black hats – to believe that people don’t struggle with right and wrong on a serious level and make a devastatingly wrong choice from time to time.

    Did Paterno sanction chid rape? Of course not. Did he do enough to stop it? Of course not. Should he have done more? Of course he should have.

    But towards those same ends, who among us doesn’t advance ourselves by not going all out against the exploitation of others? You, my friend, have made a very nice living working at a radio station that has sold a hefty amount of air time to gentlemen’s clubs. “Sure,” you might say, “but those are all consenting adults!” – as if the exploitation of the weak should have an age attached to it or the marriages lost. the homes broken, and the children affected somehow don’t count because all parties were the age of majority.

    We all find ourselves in situations where we could have done more but have not. Could have made the world better – significantly better – but have not.

    Why? Because we are “bad” people donning the black hats?

    No. We fail because we are people.

    What gives us hope, though, is that from time to time we rise to the challenge and we do make a differnce. We all do good – all of us.

    Even those of us who, from time to time, wear the wrong color hat.

  • George Offman's Towering Line Drive

    Oh, I thought you were going to express regret over all the people you wanted to machine gun last week.

    • Denver Deadite

      They all still deserve to be mowed down.

    • tired of your same old line

      Bernstein’s ends always justify the means. Just ask him.


    Dan, unfortunately, there’s fresh scandal as someone opened fire at a party on UofI campus.
    I sure hope the injured fair well, but I just wish he’d have. . . .
    called the cops! Your party is getting out of hand–call the police! This wasn’t in the Sunday Gazette (as far as I can tell). I hope that, by tomorrow, they’ve found the guy.
    as Confucius said “I, myself, will be good.” (or, in so many words).

  • Denver Deadite

    As a Bears fan, that was a fun game to watch, even if the offense didn’t (have to) do a whole lot. And yeah, I was able to mostly forget the PSU stuff while watching the game – I too saw the Deadspin story while watching the Bears, but there will be plenty of time to watch PSU get dragged through the mud.

    And there’s no defense of Suh any more. He just flat out plays dirty, period. Stafford didn’t help himself any today either.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      I agree.
      Sus ought to have another talk with the Commish…about a fine.
      He plays dirty.

      • SPAULDING!

        The Lions still might make the playoffs. Dallas could be real. No one knows which Giants team will show up.
        But, that Eagles or Falcons thing is ovah. it is all ovah!
        Kudos for Seattle bewitching the Ravens. Sure, it killed my yahoo pick ’em, but few teams are as boring as the Ravens.
        Drama in the bird house, indeed!

    • Likquid Swordz

      I have a feeling that the playing dirty edict comes from Detroit’s d-bag HC. I don’t really enjoy fighting in sports, but if Harbaugh had two-pieced Schwartz I would understand.

      P.S. go to urban if you need to know what the phrase “two piece” means

  • Larry K

    A post I made elsewhere in which Dan may recognize himself:

    Seems to me that our culture’s seemingly broad response to the grim facts of child abuse is to construct a Gothic and itself near-pornographic horror story of “unimaginable” disgusting crimes that justify (even cry out for) the most extreme/violent forms of punishment imaginable. What lies at the base of this? Our need to at once regard childhood as a state of primal innocence (sexual innocence in particular), the fact that childhood is not in many ways a state of sexual innocence, the apparently increasing need on the part of many of us (at some times and in some ways) to sexualize the image of children and adolescents, and, the icing on this circular cake, our need to find something in this increasingly relativistic world that we can agree on (and virtually feed on) as an absolute, quintessential evil.

    Take a look back at the Jon Benet Ramsey murder case and the need/desire of much of our culture to gaze again and again at images of that sexualized and now dead child and the assumption on the part of so many who did that gazing with so much fascination that the parents who sexualized her so overtly must have killed her. Well, it seems clear now that they didn’t, but doesn’t that circle of intense communal response tell us something?

    Again, the above is not meant to minimize the grim facts of child abuse but to suggest that our culture (or much of it) is inclined to take that ball and run with it in a manner that itself borders on the pornographic. As one far from unintelligent sports talk show host in my area has been saying over and over in response to the Sandusky-Penn State affair, “When it comes to child abuse and its victims, the horror never ends.” One knows what he means here in one sense, but I think this is also evidence in part of our Gothic desire that there still be a “horror that never ends.” As this same commentator also said, “You may feel as I do, wishing you actually believed in Hell.” Here, I think, the circle closes.

  • Adam McElwain

    I agree Mark. The Bears game has nothing to do with this at all. Awful stuff like this happens all the time. You could be upset about this stuff all the time, not just when it is a big news story. Penn St. is pathetic for how they handled this. However, that doesn’t mean people should dwell on it all day long and during the Bears game. I am certainly going to enjoy this Bears’ win, and Penn St. doesn’t ruin my enjoyment one bit! There is more to life than worthless Penn St! Yes, what happened was terrible, but there is more to life than dwelling on Penn St.

  • Larry K

    To clarify, in case I need to. When I said “‘unimaginable’ disgusting crimes” above, I meant not that they weren’t horrific crimes but that they ARE quite “imaginable,” and that our apparent need to speak of them as “unimaginable” — as though we must demonstrate that in the face of them our emotional fuses have been blown as never before — is, again, near pornographic.

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    It was warm out today, but I couldn’t enjoy it because of Penn State.

    That pizza was delicious today, but I couldn’t truly enjoy it because of Penn State.

    That BM I had today would have been a religious experience if not for Penn State.

    I’m going to go to sleep now, but I don’t know if I’ll get to sleep because of Penn State.


    Terrible story at Penn State, but it has nothing to do with the Bears game. Wow. Just wow.

  • Jackie Treehorn

    Dan, I applaud the work you’ve done this week on the radio. This affected me too while watching the game. Watching the fervor (bycracky?) with which people cheer for the men in their color to stop the men in the other color just seems trivial. The curtain has been pealed back on what sports does to societies. Sure, we knew sports turns even the most docile among us into combatants sometimes, that our perceptions are altered about people based on what color hat or helmet or shorts they wear, and that sports can drive us to do things we might not otherwise be proud of. But no one knew it was this dark.

    This week sports taught us a different lesson. That no matter how heinous your personal crimes, how twisted your mind, you will be protected if you can move a ball from one location to another or coach others to do so. It creates a sense of entitlement never before seen in our lifetimes (unless you’re old enough to remember Roman times like Terry). I always knew college coaches and fans too the game too seriously. That a score next to a logo meant life and death to these people. That the outcome was more important than almost anything. This week, though, we learned that it’s more important than everything. We learned that we live in a world where some believe that a “W” on the scoreboard is worth the price of the young boys and girls we’re supposed to protect. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m like Dan. That still shocks me. I don’t know that it ever won’t. I hope not.

  • Puddin Head

    all of football should be required to eliminate the “tight end” as it will always remind me of penn state thus ruining my life…just stop dan jeez

  • Likquid Swordz

    I think I may be leaning to de-sensitized because I have so many others depending on me that I can’t allow the actions of the sick and twisted monsters of the world to affect me like many others. I will say that after the events of last week, college football psychos have shot up my rankings of worse subhumans.

  • Harry's Phlegm

    Bernsie takes another shot at God (and yes, Dan, I use a capital “G). This is not the time nor the forum to explain doctrinal things about why terrible things happen to the innocent. I have some of those answers but it’s taken years of studying the Bible.

    So all I can say is I give up on you Dan. And that’s the saddest thing I can ever say about anybody. I’m sorry.

    • vetdana

      Bernsteins comments about a god having no power only reinforces the fact that he, as a self imposed” intellectual does not yet know the truth.When you do know the truth,” the truth shall set you free”.God..the real one, is not compromised because Bernstein does not believe in Him., but is no doubt very disappointed. I gave up on Bernstein a long time ago because of his caustic comments that prove his lack of knowledge of truth..

      • Jackie Treehorn

        Gave up, yet you read and comment. Interesting.

    • Bronzo

      Harry I kind of agree with you …I don’t understand Dan’s aversionn to religion…ie praying before the game? What is wrong with that? look we are all sickened by this horror….

      But hey how about them Bears!! great game one of the best games to watch all year. Offense kind of meh..defense and special teams were outstanding.

      • Harry's Phlegm

        Hey Bronzo,

        The thing that kills me about Dan is that he thinks he’ll be the first guy to “blow the lid off this ‘God thing'” by asking the same simplistic questions a 10-year old would ask. Not gonna’ happen.

        Lions don’t have a running game and teams are taking advantage of it now. I think one of the underrated stories was when the Leshoure (sp?) kid got hurt in the preseason. He could’ve been a beast.

  • H8ter

    i think Dan truely resents the Bears…

    • H8ter

      and as far as the religon thing goes…isn’t Dan a practicing Jew…and for him to play the religon card, WYC?

  • John1407

    Very nice site!


    There are many, many layers to the Penn State scandal, and needless to say, it’s far from over. At this time though, while there appears to be new developments every single day in a tragic, hideous story involving one of the most famous football programs in college athletics, I’m Paterno-ed out at this point.

    As for the Bears’ 37-13 crowning of the Lions yesterday, while the offense got just over 200 yards total and there was a Caleb Hanie sighting at the end of the ballgame, I felt the Lions got as chippy as their pro counterparts starting with DT Nick Fairley nearly taking Jay Cutler’s shoulder out of socket in the 2nd quarter and the fight between Detroit’s Matthew Stafford & the Bears’ D.J. Moore that got D.J. an early trip to the showers yesterday. Quite frankly, Matthew and that hideous head of hair (by cracky!) should’ve also been ejected for starting the fracas, based on what I saw. Needless to say, while the 6 takeaways were nice, not to mention 2 interceptions for TDs, the Bears will need more balance moving forward. A win Sunday over Philip Rivers and the free-falling Chargers on the “NFL on CBS” would be just as sweet.

  • Mike Tice's Hair

    “All roads will lead back to a primitive town, in a state where the unfortunate influence of a game has made its citizens something less than human.”

    Can’t make a stupid, blanket statement. That’s second-rate, hack writing. Surely in your infinite wisdome Dan, you can do better. Based on your dumb logic, we all should associate all bad acts to a few bad people? There are people in that town who are horrified at what happened. They want justice for the victims. But you conveiently ignore those voices, so you can write your blanket story.

    If someone from CBS ever raped a child, should we all consider employees of CBS a bunch of hillbillies with no morals? I’ll wait for that news, and then demand your resign.

  • Micheal Savage

    Hey joo joo bean what have you overlooked in life or even help destroy some one to further your career,you HYPOCRIT!

  • Jim

    Please check out this essay (, “Pictures of Boyhood,” by Richard Hoffman. The author analyzes and contextualizes some deeply painful incidents from his own childhood in a way that helps make some sense of the relationships among organized sports, systemic, institutionalized violence and male gender identity.
    Love your show, etc.

  • Big Papi

    For the Jewish and God question–Dan’s a JINO..jew in name only. Oh he’ll take the Jewish holidays off and light candles because his wife demands it, but please, he’s godless and his constant Socratic approach to all subjects (and callers) is a rouse to prove the only Truth is his own. That aside.

    His moral outrage all week long, along with his overpaid sidekick (half a mil a year) speaks to a certain hypocrisy. Recall the B and B take on all that is UM and Hester–their stance? “Nothing to see here–everyone does it, so get all you can get until they finally pay the players”…sorry boys, you cant have it both ways. Moral outrage for certain rule/law breaking, but others, as defined by them, can go without scorn. Its this very kind of thinking that sets the table for not having the courage to turn in child molesters—why do that, when all along the way other violations get a wink and a nod–afterall, it’s the Program that trumps everything.

    Either call it all out, or save the week long moral diatribes. You’re picking and choosing, and in that kind of world, there becomes no laws or rules.

    These two are sports media entertainers, things like the PSU Program allow them to be millionaires and (Boers) half millionaires. They’re part of the whole corruption of it all, for not calling the rims and ho’s Hester took out–because, “hey, he’s one of our own, a Bear”.

    I’m as outraged as anyone on this all–but I was appalled at these two “look the other way” on the UM and Hester’s violations. You either have rules for all, irregardless of your allegiance to them (greatest kick returner is one of your own), or you dont for any. Paterno and PSU are far away from the place these two have to live in–how easy to come out of their chairs over it all…yet they remained seated and approving of all that was UM and Hester. No, they’re not the same “violations” but the looking the other way on any of it is what creates the monster Systems like PSU that allow for a “The Program at any cost” thinking and environment.

    Speak up on all of it, even if it hits close to home. I mean think about it, if they truly did call out Hester, how could a Laurence Holmes or Zach Zaidman ever step foot in Halas Hall again? Just like the environment at PSU–the Program trumps everything, and the closer the Program is to where you live, the blinder you are to whats right and wrong anymore. Unless you can separate it and call out the wrongs every time on everything. These two dont do that. Where you live and who it was involved, is always the first priority for this crew.

    The little violations that dont get called out always lead to the largest and worst imaginable. B and B, start calling the little ones out, irregardless of affinity to the violator. It helps keep the biggest most grotesque violations of humanity from being so easy to do and cover for.

    • Paterno's Conscious

      So you just compared Hester getting money from boosters to a man that rapes kids? Nice! And whats with all the angst towards Boers salary? Half a mil is a nice chunk of change, but you act like he’s rolling in a Bentley to his mansion with ten servants. Let me clue you in on something, there’s wealthy and there is rich. For you not to know the difference tells me you are probably white trashy or hold some kind of grudge against the wealthy because you never hacked it….or both.

  • tired of your same old line

    I am willing to bet that these two didn’t spend two half the time after 911 speaking ill about radical Muslims and Al-Qaeda. I remember them saying they needed to get back to sports to forget about the tragedy… They should remember they are a sports talk show, and not a WLS program trying to shape American culture.

    • Danny

      The difference is, Penn State isn’t some foreign “ghost” of a terror cell… they’re a profitable American institution that is being able to continue right along as if nothing happened, right before our very eyes.

      • tired of your same old line

        It wasn’t “ghost” that knocked down those buildings, and it certainly isn’t some small cell. The point is, it was a major event, and yet life did go on. Duh, the Penn St. story is a tragedy, however, you are a sports station. COVER SPORTS. We don’t need your constant preaching about how prayer is a joke, and religion is for hillbillies. This story does not need the push of two sports jocks who make pubic hair jokes constantly, and love to laugh about anal sex. It’s been a week, we get it, now back to the Bears. Everybody else seems to be able to do it.

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