Friday, July 20, 2012

Penn State. The next chapter

While the NCAA handing down the "death penalty" to the Penn State football program for a year or two might serve as a punishment as well as help in the overall healing process, it would also unfairly penalize the current innocent football players. It's worth as a deterrent is negligible. It is unlikely any future pedophiles would take heed of such past sanctions.

Here's the rub. The NCAA is charged with the oversight of such things as recruiting violations and the improper (not illegal) transfer of money or other goodies to the student athletes. Many, including myself, think they don't do a very good job of even that. Do we really want the NCAA to appoint itself judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to matters of legality, much less morality? I don't think so. The NCAA has its rules and regulations but they are not a court of law, nor should they hold sway over how different people interpret moral issues. The NCAA needs to butt-out of this one. It's not their business.

Whether or not the statue of Joe Paterno comes down and his name is taken off the library are minor matters. Both were merely symbolic acts when they occurred, and both will be merely symbolic acts if and when they go away. Besides, I doubt it's of much importance to JoPa right now.

Many have said the Louis Freeh report confirms their suspicions. Actually, it does no such thing. Freeh and his minions did a lot of investigative work, then wrote a report. In it, they expressed their opinion of what happened. To draw conclusions from this is wrong. Confirmation can only be achieved when all available evidence is presented in a court of law, witnesses examined and cross examined and a jury has rendered its verdict. How soon we forget the George Mitchell report involving steroids in baseball, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and even the OJ murder trial. Just because people from a prosecutorial point of view make allegations, or even convince the court of public opinion of guilt, doesn't necessarily mean everything they allege is true. Sometimes the charges will stick and sometimes they won't. Agree or disagree as you will, but what the jury says is the only thing that matters.

Regarding Paterno personally, everyone certainly has the right to their opinion of him, but it's doubtful we'll ever know for sure just what and how much he knew, and when. People in some positions, such as teachers, are required by law to report suspected child abuse. Most are not. Even if Paterno suspected something bad was going on, there's a huge difference as to whether he chose to not investigate further, perhaps tipping off the cops, and whether he actively participated in a cover-up allowing a pedophile to continue his atrocities. One is a moral decision and the other a very serious felony.

JoPa himself said, "with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more". Many interpret this statement as an admission of guilt, but that's not necessarily so either. People can hypothesize all they want but the reality is we don't know what he meant by "more", and we likely never will.

In the end, I fail to see how smearing the name of a dead man, who obviously can't defend himself, accomplishes anything positive.


  1. Penn State football should get the death penalty for at least two years.

    I agree that innocent football players would be penalized, but they would be punished having to play under the stench of a regime that cowered under the pressure and power of the football program anyway. Therefore I would propose that:

    Athletes in all sports at the university are smeared by the actions of the leadership and football program.

    Any Penn State athlete competing in any sport be allowed by the NCAA to transfer to another school and immediately be eligible to compete. Those athletes on scholarship would be given an equal scholarship at the new school, with Penn State paying all costs. The school receiving a Penn State athlete would be granted an exception to exceed the scholarship limit by the number of PSU athletes accepted. (obviously a maximum number would be set)

    John, I don't know but it sounds like you did not even look at the Freeh report. This thing went back years and Joe Pa is at the head of the line in protecting his beloved football program. PSU football brought in millions to the school. The university benefitted and the university must be punished. And this is not a court matter.

    1. That's a lot of one-time rule changes you're proposing, and I don't see the NCAA going for it. As for Paterno, of course he protected his program. Head coaches do that, but that's a far cry from proving he actively participated in a cover-up to allow Sandusky to carry on. Not a court matter? Really? Tell that to AD Tim Curley and ex-VP Gary Schultz who are currently under indictment and awaiting trial. What's next if they're both acquitted and PS has already been given the death penalty? Could happen. Of course PS benefited from the football program to the tune of millions. Every D1 college does. That's irrelevant to the situation at hand. Once again, everybody's in an uproar before all the facts are in. We've heard one side only. I prefer to wait until everybody has their say before jumping to conclusions.