”We give ourselves license to play a little faster and looser than we normally would.”
Paterno in Happier Days
College football fans always wondered when Joe Paterno’s football career would begin to slow down. The answer came this week with a sudden, whiplash-inducing crash. From USA Today:
A little more than a week after legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno got his record-setting 409th win, the view of his storied, 46-year career suddenly is undergoing a stark revision — tarnished by a child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State involving a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Paterno initially announced his decision to retire at the end of the year, but that was not soon enough for the school’s board of trustees, who announced late yesterday that college football’s winningest coach was fired, along with Penn State President Graham Spanier.
The following morning brought news of nightime riots, as thousands of Penn State students took to the streets to protest the firing. “Joe Paterno broke no law,” said one rioter. (Curiously, the students decided to smash street lamps and turn over a television news van in order to make the righteous case that no laws were broken.)
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“Within minutes of Elvis arriving in my office the wheels are already turning to get a meeting set up with the President.”
Bud Krogh enjoys the moment as Nixon and Elvis chat. Photo by Oliver F. Atkins
Bud Krogh will never forget the phone call he received the morning of December 21, 1970. On the other line was Dwight Chapin, deputy assistant to President Richard M. Nixon.
“He said, ‘Bud, the king is here.’ And I looked at the White House appointment calendar and said, ‘King? There aren’t any kings on the schedule today.’ He replied, ‘No, no no, the king, Elvis Presley, the king of rock. He’s here in Washington, D.C., and he wants to see the President.’”
Krogh, who served in the Nixon Whitehouse as an advisor and liaison to the FBI and the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, recounts the story today with self-effacing chagrin. What many may view as a harmless oddity of White House history, he remembers as a lesson in how good intentions can turn sour in an instant. Krogh should know; he was later imprisoned for his part in the Watergate scandal.
A lesson in inexperience, decision-making and ethical blunders.
In an ethics presentation at the McCombs School of Business, Egil “Bud” Krogh drew upon the Nixon-Elvis meeting as an amusing morality play in integrity, and how it can be lost through vanity, ambition, incompetence and failure to ask the right questions.