Sunday, July 15, 2012

Penn State ...or the State of the Program

James Carville, on "This Week on ABC" took the position that the Penn State Football program should not be gutted as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  He spoke eloquently about all the people who would be hurt by a trash and burn campaign.  At one end of the spectrum were all the contract holders whose businesses depend on Penn State games.  At the other end of the spectrum stood all those scholarship kids whose dreams are tied to a Penn State sport program,  Nowhere in the Carville philosophy is forgiveness for the self-serving fools who let all those crimes and all that harm come to children.  Mr. Carville suggested we turn loose the lawyers and let them feed on the bones of Penn State and all those individuals who deserve to be stripped bare and marched before the public eye.

I agree.

I have always had difficulty with blanket punishments because they inflict pain and suffering on everyone - innocent and guilty.  Everyone who had absolutely nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky and the abuse of children, everyone who had never heard of Jerry Sandusky, everyone who had no knowledge of his crimes and no means to stop and/or prevent them should not be tarred with the same brush as coaches and administrators who saw nothing but dollars signs and the need to protect the program and the profits it generated.  Besides, gutting the program has the effect of diluting the guilt pool. In giving into a punitive blood lust, in slapping down and destroying everything in our path, we lose sight of the individuals who deserve the ignominy of the spotlight.  Every single selfish, self-serving, greedy, morally bankrupt fool who could have stopped harm and injury from visiting even one child should be put in the position of losing everything - reputation, treasure and freedom.

George Will, on the same program, went on to say that “big-time football has no business on college campuses” because it is "inherently corrupting".  If you consider academic sport beyond the immediate Sandusky moment, as Mr. Will was, you face an entirely different subject and, again, I agree.  When you consider that top tier college coaches make more money (by significant margins) than university presidents, when, to but things into perspective, you consider that Albert Einstein, today,  would bank a pittance for the Theory of Relativity compared to the salary and successes of Joe Paterno you can understand why certain highly positioned individuals sought to protect a game before children.  Worse than the injury caused by Jerry Sandusky is the lesson taught every kid in High School and every kid  who makes the collegiate cut. 

My father was a junior high school teacher.  One of the stories he brought home from the classroom - one I am sure many teachers can tell - was of a kid who told him he was waiting to drop out so that he could run drugs for the local dealer.  The kid told him point blank that nothing he could say would change his mind because he (the kid) could make more in a week than he (my father) made in a year?  Without the squalor of drugs, are we sending the same corrupting message to future collegiate gladiators?

I do not have - or offer - answers.  I don't know what they would be.  I just know that present reality doesn't work.

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