UPDATED: Friday, Jan. 2, 8 a.m.:
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
The “developing story” at the top of the ABC broadcast of Thursday’s Rose Bowl, after Brent Musburger told everyone they were looking live at “the site of a holiday tradition that has brightened a new year for over a century,” had to do with Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
Did he fall down and couldn’t get back up?
No, ABC sideline reporter Lisa Salters was a little miffed at him.
Paterno didn’t come down on the field during pre-game warmups. Nor did he do “a scheduled interview with us even though he was contractually obligated because of our Rose Bowl game deal,” she reported.
Paterno instead told Penn State officials he was tired of the focus being on him all week, and rather than draw more cameras and reporters to him before the game against USC started, he’d just retreat to his press box seat.
“I can tell you Paterno has been on a slow boil about this (attention) issue all week long,” said Salters, who relayed a story about asking him before the game if he’d talk to the team on the field before heading up to the press box, he snapped back: “Stop talking about me!”
Salters added that Penn State could be “fined up to $10,000” for Paterno’s refusal to let her interview him before the game, “and apparently he doesn’t care.”
For the record, Paterno didn’t seem to mind talking to ESPN’s Chris Fowler in the press box after the Nittany Lions’ 38-24 loss. Paterno also spoke to Musburger at halftime, and Musburger relayed some of Paterno’s comments as the second half of the broadcast began.
An ESPN spokesman reitereated that the network asked Paterno for a pregame interview “as we are entitled to receive as the rightsholder and he declined. Any questions regarding a fine should be directed to Penn State, the BCS and the Rose Bowl. It’s not our call.”