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Thursday, November 10, 2011 @ 12:28pm

A Twitter timeline as the story of JoePa being fired unfolded

By: Katy Hartley/Arizona Sports

November 9th - 8:18 p.m.

I walk in the door after celebrating my friend Shaunna's birthday. Throw my purse on a bar stool and dump my coffee mug from that morning in the sink. Halfway through a chocolate cupcake from the b-day bash, my Droid beeps with a text:

"ESPN News - Joe Paterno has been fired as Penn State football coach; school president Graham Spanier dismissed."

I better hop on Twitter to get the whole story.

Cardinals kicker Jay Feely had some of the first tweets I see. Clearly he felt very strongly that the firing was the right decision. He started calling out other players, like Falcons' wide receiver Roddy White, who disagreed:

"Roddy would you say the same thing if it were your son raped??? RT @roddywhiteTV Joe Pa has done so much for that school this is wrong"

More from Feely, when asked by @vmads94: "what about Mike McQueary? He saw it happening. How do you not stop that. What man walks away from that" Feely replied by calling McQuery "A coward."

Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah didn't tweet much during the evening but one tweet seemed to be a constant theme: @hamzaAbdullah21 "This is bigger than Football!"

Ochocinco: "Touchy subject but i thought they'd let him finish the season out at least. RT @ScottyClaggett: @ochocinco Thoughts on JoePa?"

Tweeters were not happy about this one from Chad Ochocinco, lots of responses included profanities. Chad deleted this tweet before the end of the night.

This one totally caught me off guard, Ashton Kutcher expressing distaste for the firing: "@aplusk: How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste"

Fifty minutes later he recants, tweeting, "Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn't have full story. #admitwhenYoumakemistakes"

Really Ashton? Think they fired him because his team is 8- 1? I call BS on you Mr. Kutcher. He took Ochocinco's lead and deleted the initial tweet within a few hours.

This story tweeted by Stewart Mandel includes an interview with one of the victim's sister who still attends Penn State. She talks about her "mixed feelings" about the student rallies, and how she blames Penn State president Graham Spanier.

Ty Walker works at the Ticket in Dallas, @tywalkerticket "PSU ComRadio had one of their people relaying on air the rumor that seniors could sit out Saturday in protest."

I believe the best thing is for the Penn State team to play football on Saturday, a player protest will only cause more trouble. There are eight victims listed in the Grand Jury Presentment. I would call for 8 minutes of silence for the victims and their families before kickoff.

Here's a link to that 23 page disgusting grand jury presentment, obviously it includes every graphic detail [WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC MATERIAL].

Twitpic of overturned media van from SI's Jon Wertheim. I'd like to think students were just gathering to cause a fuss, not because they truly comprehended the magnitude of the situation.

Joe Schad @schadjoe "Paterno received at his home an envelope from a messenger with a # to call 15 minutes b/f BOT announcement"

It's a crappy way to do it, but I don't really care how they fired him. The victims didn't get a 15 minute notice.

"@schadjoe: Paterno is said to have been told of fondling, touching or horseplay but not sodomy or rape"

I think the Joe Pa supporters will cling to this one for a few a days. Just to be clear to my friends, family, co- workers and anyone in position of authority: if I'm being raped, fondled or touched inappropriately, and someone at my office sees it, or has the incident reported to them, I want you to call the police. Immediately. And should you be able to intervene and stop the behavior, I want you to do that too. Please do more than your legal obligation.

On my timeline, the most retweeted of the night was Daniel Tosh @danieltosh: "if you feel bad for joe paterno it's because you are an awful person."

One thing I still want to know: how did his wife not know?

Some of the abuse took place in her home, and on family vacations.

And what about his eight adopted children who are now grown adults?

I'm saddened to think how much more of this story will be revealed.

I pray for support, unconditional love, healing and therapy for the victims and their families. I pray that as a society we take the time to educate ourselves on these sick and unspoken situations. I hope our coaches, teachers, parents, managers, babysitters and neighbors now understand the importance and significance of the moral obligation we have to those who cannot protect themselves. I hope through this tragedy we find conversation and education about child abuse.

The most disturbing realization of the night: Jerry Sandusky is out on $100,000 unsecured bail, which means he doesn't have to pay the bail money if he shows up for his court date in December.

Do you think he was at home watching this whole thing play out?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 @ 4:00pm

Top 10 reasons why Katy loves the PBR

By: Katy Hartley/Arizona Sports

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas; except when it's the PBR World Championship, the bull riding equivalent of the Super Bowl. I discovered PBR (Professional Bull Riders) last March at the Glendale Invitational when our Arizona Sports 620 crew visited Jobing.com Arena to shoot a "behind the chutes" video. It sounded like a fun opportunity to learn about a sport that's different and unconventional. After seeing one ride, I was hooked, and have followed the PBR since. I was down on the dirt for the final bull rides of the season, and I can honestly say that it was one of the most compelling sports events I've ever been to.

Here are the Top 10 reason I love the PBR:

1. The rules are easy to understand. As soon as the gates open, the rider tries to stay on the bull for eight seconds. The ride is considered over when the riders' hand lets go (voluntarily or not) of the rope wrapped around the chest of the bull. There's a metal weight at the bottom of the rope that drops to the ground when the riders let go.

2. The bulls are not injured. It's a common misconception there's an abrasive strap tied around the bulls' genitals. The flank strap, as it's called, is actually tied around its hips; it gives the bull a sense of timing when it bucks. The bull is supposed to buck with some kind of rhythm, that's what makes it a strong competitor.

3. The riders don't wear cups. Seriously, they don't. I don't even have all the right parts and I'm still pretty sure if the bull bucks in a direction you weren't expecting, it would hurt.

4. Both the riders and bulls are considered athletes. There are 4 judges; each judge gives a score out of 25, making the rider's final score out of 100 points. Half of the judge's score is based on the rider's performance, the other half on the bull's. A rider is judged by how well he keeps pace with the bull, and how well he maintains control. The bull is scored based on his athleticism, height of bucks and difficulty to ride. If the rider doesn't stay on for eight seconds, he doesn't get a score. I didn't actually try it, but I imagine it's the longest eight seconds of your life.

5. It's dangerous. Right, you knew that. But it's more than the bull ride that's risky. The bull fighters are the real nutcases (and I mean that in the nicest way). They try to distract the bull after the rider is bucked off.

Joe Baumgartner has been fighting bulls for 29 years, and he took a horn to the chin on Saturday night, see the video here. He suffered a concussion but returned for the last ride of the night. His comment at the end of the evening, "It's bull riding, not a rodeo."

6. You can take the whole family. You can buy tickets for $17 apiece. The in-arena entertainment by the rodeo clown is witty for adults but fun for the kids. Commercial break activities include Stanley's "stud finder," and the best dressed fan receives free Wranglers Jeans (Brett Favre not included). There are no tussles among fans because there are no opposing teams. People have favorite riders, but there's no reason for hatred of another's autographed cowboy hat.

7. There are no lockouts in bull riding. There are no contract negotiations. It's really simple. If you don't ride, you don't get paid.

8. There are no egos. One rider told me the quickest way to squash an ego was to get bucked off a bull. And then have the 2,100 pound beast land on your leg. Each rider will stay at the event until every single autograph is signed. At the press conference they quietly walk in to the adjoining room, mingle with the media, and will take pictures, answer questions, and do it all with complete humility. I've been to a handful of NFL, MLB, and NCAA press conferences, and I've never seen anything quite like the PBR pressers.

9. Bull riding is an all or nothing sport. You don't get four downs. You don't get three strikes. You get one ride, and if you can't hang on, you don't move on. Each ride is like pitching to Albert Pujols on a full count. It's a fourth-and-goal-with-two-seconds-left-to-win kind of pressure every time.

10. It's a team sport. The camaraderie is tangible. There are about 40 riders at each event and they all cheer each other on, help each on the bull and prepare for the ride. Shane Proctor told me, "we don't compete against each other, we compete against the bulls."

Now that their Super Bowl is over, the riders will take a two month break to spend time with their families and try to recover from injury (think fractured ankles, legs and ribs, and severe concussions). PBR kicks off their season in January in Madison Square Garden. And you can bet when the PBR is back in Glendale next March, I'll be there.

Friday, April 22, 2011 @ 11:59am

Fun Katy's Social Media Mailbag

By: Katy Hartley/ArizonaSports.com

I get to read the best tweets, posts and texts on "Getting Social" with Doug & Wolf every weekday morning at 8am. There are many great tweets, posts and texts that don't make the show and I figured there had to be another way to let "getting social" live on.

With that said, we have created the Social Media Mailbag. Tweet me @FunKaty620, find me on Facebook, or email me.

Friday, April 8, 2011 @ 11:32am

Roethlisberger getting married. What is she thinking?!

By: Katy Hartley/ArizonaSports.com

I still can't figure it out. Why on earth would any woman want to marry Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger?

Is this just a bizarre publicity stunt?

Nah, too complicated.

A really sick way of trying to put these accusations behind him?

Nope, too obvious.

Is it the unthinkable? Could a pretty, blonde, twenty-something really see herself spending the rest of her life with him?

No way. Too… dramatic?

Ashley Harlan is someone's daughter. Someone's sister. Someone's best friend.

So am I. But I'm single. And not dating an NFL quarterback. I've never been close to marriage. Now, I'm not completely unfortunate. My family has met several of my boyfriends. Some nice. Some not so nice. Kind of a mixed bunch of guys.

My parents have always been accepting of my dates from different backgrounds, less-than-perfect jobs and unique personalities. They've always been hopeful that I'll end up with a nice guy who makes me happy.

I was curious to see what my immediate family would think of me dating a guy like Big Ben, so I took a quick poll to find out.

I asked my mom what she would say if I told her I wanted to marry a guy that had been publicly accused of raping two women. She laughed. Not exactly the reaction I was expecting but it made me realize just how ridiculous this situation is. Clearly she has confidence in the way she raised me. My mom knows I know better than that.

My brother asked, "marriage can be non-consensual?"

He just happens to be in the Marine Corp and could easily break Ben's nose again.

And my dad? Well, he said, "I'd ask you if you were crazy. And then I'd have you committed."

I'm guessing he'd probably not walk me down the aisle.

After my pops' response, I started thinking about that exchange between a father and daughter.

How exactly does that conversation go?

"Hey, dad, I have something important to tell you. You know that guy that's been on the news for being accused of sexual assault? The dude that was suspended from his job for violating the personal conduct policy?"

"You mean Ben Roethlisberger?"

"Yes, dad. That's him. Well, I love him and we're getting married."

Insert gasp followed by complete and awkward silence here.

OK, OK, I'm sure Roethlisberger did the gentlemanly thing and called her father to ask permission. To think her dad actually agreed is just unbelievable.

The two-time Super Bowl champ tying the knot isn't even the best part. Roethlisberger is claiming him and his fiancée aren't living together until they are married because of "religious reasons." What?! Since when is he so respectful of a women's wishes?

I wonder how Vegas will play this. What's the over/under on the length of this marriage? Two months? Three months? I don't think they'll even make it to the chapel.

The Steelers quarterback is going to marry his girlfriend on July 23rd. The couple has been on and off for six years so she's aware of the sexual assault allegations, drunken parties, strippers and obnoxious attitude.

I hope she has friends sensible enough to tell her she's making a mistake. I hope her family insists that she keeps her last name.

This girl knows exactly what she's getting into. I know that love is supposed to be blind, but love never trumps common sense.

Where's Tony Dungy when you need him?

Thursday, March 31, 2011 @ 2:55pm

Suns Social Media Night: My date with Lon Babby

By: Katy Hartley/ArizonaSports

Lon Babby sure knows how to get social. He kept me out until after midnight.

It's 12:45 a.m., waaaay past my bedtime, and I'm just getting home from "Social Media Night" with the Phoenix Suns… and the afterparty with Lon Babby.

After the Suns lost to the Thunder, 116-98, team president Lon Babby and general manager Lance Blanks stuck around to chat with me and about 70 Suns fans, taking questions from the crowd and answering tweets that listeners had been sending in the past week.

Here's what I learned from "Social Media Night" with Suns President Lon Babby and General Manager Lance Blanks:

The Phoenix Suns don't know whether or not they are going to trade Steve Nash.

I think they should. Nash's value will only decrease after this season. And depending on what happens after the NBA lockout (yes, I'm speaking in certain terms), the best and most financially responsible time to trade him is now. But I think the organization is 50/50 right now.

Robin Lopez will be wearing orange and purple next season.

OK, I wouldn't bet the farm on that, but it sure sounded like it. Lance chalks up his less-than-stellar season to a belated "sophomore slump." It's the California native's third year in the league.

The words "younger" and "more athletic" were used to describe the Suns' plans for the offseason.

Both Lon and Lance spoke with a lot of hope about the offseason. I think they are ready to put this season behind them and look to the future.

Trade rumors are just that. Rumors.

Twice the Jazz forward Paul Millsap for Robin Lopez trade was brought up. Twice Lon Babby made it clear that the trade was never even close to happening.

"If you were [Jazz GM & President] Kevin O'Connor, would you trade Paul Millsap for Robin Lopez?"

Ummm, I'm gonna go with no on that one.

Knowing what they know now, the Phoenix Suns would have made the trade with Orlando even earlier in the season. It's the one organization decision that Lon Babby would go back and change -- not the decision but rather the timing.

Perspectives have changed.

Lon talked about the difference in watching games now versus a year ago. He isn't worried about injuries and how coaches are treating his guys. The long-time player agent has changed his focus and now tries to concentrate on the team.

Lon wants to know what the fans think.

He'll answer the hard questions, even the ones he's not prepared for. There was no filter between him and fans at "Social Media Night." And it's not like the Suns are making a solid playoff run, or even coming off of a win. Pretty impressive.

The last question came from a girl about 10-years-old, "What's the best and worst part about your job?"

Babby responded, "The best part of my job is winning, and the worst part of my job is losing."

Brilliant attitude. And he's a great date.

Thanks again for the grilled cheese and fries, Lon.

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