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Fact Checking Ron Johnson’s Twitter thoughts on Silas Redd, Penn State

Former Minnesota wide receiver Ron Johnson got in to an unexpected Twitter feud this weekend with Penn State fans, students and even former players. Johnson sparked a storm on the social network following a comment about Silas Redd, the junior running back who took advantage of a free transfer under the NCAA's sanctions against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal fallout. Redd was taking on the Oregon Ducks Saturday night in the Los Angeles Coliseum, when the former Golden Gophers receiver suggested Redd was getting the kind of opportunities he would not have received at Penn State this season.

Haters gonna hate, right?

I readily admit I am not hip enough to understand what "showing out" means but I get the point Johnson is trying to make. Johnson believes Redd is being used in a way that will make him more attractive to NFL scouts and teams and playing in the spotlight at USC will benefit him more than if Redd had stayed at Penn State for this season.

Redd, in my humble opinion, made a decision to transfer to USC because it was likely to result in more national exposure for what was supposed to be a national championship caliber team this season according to the pre-season hype (myself sucked in). Redd called it a business decision to join a program thought to be able to make a run for a BCS national championship. As much as it may upset many Penn State fans, I cannot fault him for pursuing that opportunity. It is my opinion that nobody should be angry over a player leaving Penn State's football program. These are just kids trying to do what is right for them and their future.

Through nine games this season Redd has rushed for 732 yards and nine touchdowns, a career high. He could end the year with a career high in rushing yardage as well and USC will most certainly be heading to a bowl game, although the Trojans are currently projected to play in the Alamo Bowl against West Virginia, a far cry from the BCS bowl aspirations USC started the season with and likely sold Redd on prior to the season.

Getting back to Johnson's stance, and his defense of it, when questioned about his initial tweet Johnson suggested he was talking about USC being shown on national television, compared to Penn State.

FACT CHECK: Has USC been shown more nationally than Penn State this season? The Trojans have been available to a "national" audience each week of the season so far. Including this past weekend's loss to Oregon, USC has been featured on FOX four times. They have also appeared nationally on ABC once and to a split ABC/ESPN2 once. The Trojans have also appeared on ESPN primetime as the national game once. The two other times USC has been available to a national audience have come on the Pac-12 Network, where available.

Penn State has been available to a national audience just as often as USC, although the Trojans have gotten better time slots. Penn State has been available to a national audience every week of the season, through ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 as well as two games appearing on the Big Ten Network and ESPNU. Johnson's point is legit, but poorly crafted. It is not as though Penn State is struggling to get games on air without Big Ten Network's help.

But then Johnson follows up with this…

Penn State had just the one primetime game at Iowa this season, likely because the Big Ten Network guarantees every school will appear on primetime. But does Johnson's point have any logical support behind it? The networks put the best teams in primetime. USC played in primetime seven times during their recent two-year postseason ban. Ohio State has played in primetime this season despite being on a postseason ban. Even the most loyal of Penn State fans would have to admit Penn State is not an elite team this season.

Johnson's logic here is lacking legs to stand on. 

FACT CHECK: The Big Ten Network does consider itself to be a national sports network, as all events are televised to a national audience in up to 90 million homes in North America. Johnson, a former Big Ten Network analyst probably should have known that. ESPNU is available in 72 million homes. The Pac-12 Network is also available in an estimated 40 million homes.

In terms of television availability, Penn State has been more available to viewers this season than USC on a weekly basis judging by these numbers.

Tim Tolley from Victory Bell Rings had a lengthy back-and-forth with Johnson as this went on. At one point Johnson makes this outlandish claim…

FACT CHECK: California is indeed bigger than Pennsylvania.

Johnson went back and forth with a number of Penn State fans, some clearly not taking kindly to Johnson's remarks and going over the line at times. But when former Penn State wide receiver Graham Zug got in to the fray, it was on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACT CHECK: From Saturday, November 3, 2012 through Monday November 5, Ron Johnson has gained ten followers on Twitter.

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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