Posted by Jason Plotkin
Brad and Frank were walking toward me away from the linebacker’s area.
It was Media Day at Penn State and one of their video ideas had fallen through.
Ben Kline, a Dallastown graduate and current linebacker with the football team had just turned them down to participate in a video.
Earlier in the week, one of our reporters noticed Kline had posted a video of himself in his summer dance class. Frank Bodani, our PSU reporter, thought it would be a fun video to have Kline show him some moves. The PSU linebacker didn’t think it was a good idea, though.
“This isn’t really the venue, you know,” said Kline.
I couldn’t let it go.
I went over to Kline and asked him again. And again. Then I invoked the name of family members I knew of his who would enjoy seeing him in this video.
Then I used the brilliant line which I’m sure changed his mind.
I think what actually brought him on board was either Frank or Brad, who was doing the video, suggesting he teach Frank how to do some of the dance moves he learned.
I wasn’t sure if Kline was just being modest, was concerned about looking silly in front of his teammates, or if something more was looming over the day.
It just seemed to me like nobody was having any fun.
In the years I’ve covered this event, it’s one of the times where I get a look into the players’ fun sides. Whether they are joking around with the media or each other, I can always count on having a good time.
I realize that this team is dealing with events that no team before them has ever to deal with.
The press conference with Bill O’Brien an hour before was riddled with questions about the NCAA sanctions, players leaving and names on the back of jerseys. I’m sure the players were asked many of the same things.
It’s a fine line these athletes and coaches are walking. If they come across too playful, then they can been seen as not taking the subject of child abuse seriously enough. If they seem too serious, they get some photographer writing a blog about how they need to loosen up.
No matter your feelings on the Penn State controversies, one thing most can agree upon is that this team had nothing to do with any of it.
They are here to play football.
To help rebuild a program.
To help rebuild the reputation of their university.
And to his credit, Ben Kline taught Frank some moves yesterday that you can watch in the video below.
And hopefully, he had fun.