Rated one of Pennsylvania's top blog/sites, the LuLac Political Letter delves into issues of politics on all levels (with special concentration on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties: thus the name LULAC) and pop culture.
Monday, May 07, 2012
The LuLac Edition #2047, May 7th, 2012
Greg Skrepenak in his NFL days.
BIG MAN-BIG STORY
Greg Skrepenak has always been a big man. With his athletic accomplishment, he also turned out to be a big story. Throughout his high school and college career, Skrepenak always was a big part of the media. When he made the transition into education and coaching after his playing career, that too got news coverage. His political career was fueled largely in part by his media presence and some say, media savvy. Skrepenak used his notoriety and name recognition to get himself elected as a Luzerne County Commissioner. In the primary of 2003, he battled better known and experienced politicians. Then in the general election, he and his running mate, Todd Vonderheid told the general public of Luzerne County to “trust them” and vote down Home Rule. Upon taking office in 2004, Skrepenak was in the news front and center. Everything he did, everything his family was involved in, got notice.
When Skrepenak was charged with malfeasance in office, that was of course news. But now, Skrepenak is at the end of a long road and is coming to the end of his prison sentence. Last week, the media converged on a law office in Kingston to try and get Skrepenak to talk. Yet one of the conditions of his home confinement was to not talk to the media. Now I understand that any media person, directed by a news director. would want to stand by just in case Skrep got a case of the “yaps”. In the summer of 2009, former Judge Mark Ciavarella was notorious for holding impromptu press conferences which most likely in the end, got him harder time. By comparison, Skrep has not courted the media in this latest reincarnation of his very public life. The question then needs to be asked, how much media coverage is just enough? And why does it seem that Skrepenak has gotten the lion’s share of coverage for his jail release? When other felons have come home, there was nary a word. Some had small notices in the paper but none got the news coverage of Greg Skrepenak. Was it the fact that he was a County Commissioner? Or an NFL player? Believe me, I’m all for media coverage of anything to do with a scandal and the way said actor in scandal behaved. But is there a different standard set for Skrep?
Skrep’s father blamed the media coverage for his son being sent to a halfway house. I don’t buy that. The feds can’t control the media, news directors and a reporter wanting to happen upon a story. Joe Valenti in Pittston Politics reported that Skrepenak was sent back to a half way house because he had lunch with a Duryea politico and when the duo got to their lunch place, it looked like a third district reunion of Demos past and present. If that’s why he was sent back, then that makes sense. But again the question has to be asked, why the coverage? Usually petty criminals and felons transition back into society under the cover of some type of forced anonymity. Their friends who were their friends in most cases are now shunning them. Most would be hard pressed to even have family wanting anything to do with them. Greg Skrepenak, once the most covered of media types in this area has not lost that mojo and magic. Even prison has not dimmed the curiosity and interest in the big guy. So we have to ask again, why do we care so much? And when others are released, will they too be followed like Skrep? If so, it seems to me that we are rewarding bad behavior with one of the most coveted titles our pop culture can bestow on anyone, with or without a record. Celebrity.
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Currently, Yonki is a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appears on the Hazleton, PA. stations Election Night coverage and does special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".