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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
If I get a pick, I’m going to prostrate before God in the end zone.
- Husain Abdullah, free safety for the Kansas City Chiefs and a practicing Muslim who was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for excessive celebration for bowing in prayer after intercepting Tom Brady on Sunday. Funny, I don’t remember Tim Tebow getting penalized…
Everyone knows that the key to winning as a big-time coach is keeping your players eligible. Some of that effort is legal, some not. Give the players tutors and gut courses, or even have someone write term papers for them. Get the campus police and the local cops to cooperate. Hey, boys will be boys. Overlook. Blind eye. Forgive them their trespasses as game day approaches. Keep them eligible. Joe Paterno was a football coach all of his long, adult life. Like all coaches, after a while, keeping your players eligible is second nature. When his old assistant was in trouble, that must’ve kicked in. Joe Paterno kept Jerry Sandusky eligible. If he has a legacy, that’s it.

Joe Paterno’s Legacy: Protect Players At All Costs by Frank Deford

A brutal remembrance.


Are Legal Obligations Enough? Did Penn State’s Joe Paterno Fail a Moral Test? What’s His Culpability?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

The Patriot-News editorial board has issued a stinging condemnation of the moral and ethical responsibility of Penn State officials, including the university’s legendary head football coach, Joe Paterno. How are you thinking through this mess and the moral and ethical responsibilities of Paterno about these alleged crimes against children?

The Patriot-News calls for Joe Paterno's Removal


Soccer, Futbol: Beauty in Simplicity

Shubha Bala, associate producer
Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Jessica HilltoutThe World Cup final expects to draw 700 million viewers in a few hours. And with all the fanfare and elaborate ceremonies preceding this championship game, soccer at its core is a game of universal appeal and absolute simplicity. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the continent of Africa itself.

We saw a continent come together to support its last surviving participant, Ghana, when all others were eliminated. Can you imagine the English doing the same for their Scottish brothers, or Americans celebrating Mexico advancing?

As photographer Jessica Hilltout, who documented the many ways in which the sport is played across Africa in her series "Amen: Grassroots Football," points out in her interview with The New York Times, “The beautiful game exists in its purest form in what I saw — people playing for the joy of playing.” And, the game can be played almost anywhere using almost anything: driftwood fashioned as goal posts, leather sandals as soccer shoes, pitches as gravel parking lots, and even balls made out of old socks and plastic bags and twine.

This passion for play, regardless of one’s environment or circumstances, takes place in the farthest reaches of our planet. The slide show below is a selection of photographs from Flickr capturing that joy of the game.

(photo: Child in Soale, Ghana by Jessica Hilltout)

My decision today is not based on a finding that you violated Georgia law, or on a conclusion that differs from that of the local prosecutor. That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans.

—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in his letter to Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Goodell handed “Big Ben” a six-game suspension in his most recent action against a player violating the National Football League’s personal conduct policy. Goodell called it "early-intervention."

Is he raising the ethical bar for professional athletes?

I saw it as a sign from God that this was the right thing to do.
- —Urban Meyer, head coach of the University of Florida football team, on his 18-year-old daughter’s jubilant reaction (“I get my daddy back!”) when he told their family on Christmas day that he is stepping down from his position.