PENN STATE DOESN’T DESERVE TO HEAL YET

The scene outside Beaver Stadium where Joe Paterno’s iconic statue formerly stood, prior to its removal Sunday upon orders from Penn State President Rodney Erickson.

The continued string of disturbing information coming out of State College surrounding the Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal shows that Penn State’s administration, student body, alumni and supporters have refused to take full ownership of their responsibility for this disaster, and in no way should the school’s football team play this season.

New assault victims continue to come forward.

Questions about what the administration knew remain damning, and while these officials deserve a legal defense, they also need to accept responsibility for their wrongdoing and face the consequences.

They are teachers and administrators.  They have preached this same message of “individual responsibility” for their entire careers to young people. Now they must throw themselves upon the sword of justice. Otherwise what message do we as a society send to our young people?

In the days leading up to the Sandusky investigation going public, Joe Paterno re-negotiated his contract to arrange for a golden parachute. The perks included a $3 million bonus to retire at the end of the 2011 season, interest free loans from the university in the amount of $350,000 were forgiven, and he specifically secured luxury box seats at Beaver Stadium and the use of Penn State’s private plane for his family – for 25-years.

Let’s just get this out in the open. Joe Paterno was a self-centered, egotistical, narcissistic, parasite.

He is a criminal and he needs to burn.

That the board of trustees approved this 11th-hour contract re-negotiation further demonstrates their need for removal. Only the ex-chairman has thus far shown the common decency to resign.

Without question Graham Spanier, Gary Shultz and Tim Curley need to burn. It has yet to be determined if Thomas Harmon, the chief of Penn State’s university police, the governor, or the state police commissioner deserve a good roasting as well.

And what’s this crap that the tent-city where students gather to secure home football tickets has changed its name from “Paternoville” to “Nittanyville?”

That is the best you got? You want to walk in and face these child victims and tell them you changed the name of your stupid tent-city to “Nittanyville?”

There are consequences for the empowerment students and fans of Penn State football gave to Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno.

A member of this football team raped little boys in the school’s showers and the head coach allowed it.

Penn State doesn’t deserve to heal yet. They haven’t suffered nearly enough.

This whole cover-up was done in the interest of protecting the reputation of a football team.

How’s that working out for you Penn State?

“Joe-Pa did not care less that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile or alleged pedophile,” said Buzz Bissinger, Daily Beast columnist and author of Friday Night Lights. “Joe-Pa all his life and the Penn State brass cared about one thing, that GOD DAMN FOOTBALL TEAM!”

Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

Paterno’s best years passed him by long ago. He was somewhat of a laughing-stock outside State College.

Here was this crotchety old man wandering the sidelines. He doesn’t call plays. He doesn’t know his players names. He gets injured in practices because he can’t get out of the way of the players being tackled.

After the scandal broke there was this sweet but disturbing depiction of him not knowing anywhere else to go on Saturdays accept to the stadium, so Penn State let him come wander the sidelines like some dementia patient on weekend furlough.

The administration tried to retire Paterno several times, but his bullheadedness and the Nittany Lion sycophants gave Joe-Pa the authority to remain in power and ostensibly allowed Sandusky to continue raping children.

If women had held any of these positions of power, Sandusky would have been in jail long ago and Paterno would have been up in the stands watching Penn State games.

It doesn’t matter what kind of difficulties it presents with other teams’ schedules, forcibly remove Penn State from the field of play, or at the very least sanction its program to the depths of hell.

If we as a society are serious about not letting this kind of predatory behavior stand, then we will put children before big-time sports.

This is an opportunity for Penn State to show they value substance and education over sports.

This is a chance to lead. Don’t pass the buck.

The mug shot of Jerry Sandusky, taken after being found guilty.

Sandusky will get his just punishment. Now the men responsible for the cover-up of his crimes must be held accountable, along with the university and the fans who supported this “win at all costs” mentality.

Sports and our society’s value system are culpable here as well. We’re enablers for this kind to thing to go on.

How many times have fans, administrators, club owners, law enforcement and politicians looked the other way to allow wrong-doing by athletes and coaches?

Shut down Penn State and clean house.

Send a message to every college fan-base out there that creating a safe environment on campus comes before winning.

It’s going to hurt, but leading takes sacrifice.

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” the Freeh Group reported. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

The thing Penn State needs to be mindful of here is the university’s long-term reputation is on the line right here, right now.

Doing things the “Penn State Way” has destroyed this school’s reputation.

The people in State College live in an insular culture, which is part of why this tragedy was able to occur. All this outside attention scares them.

The prying. The embarrassment. The judgment.

But if the university tries to move too quickly in order to get things back to normal and fails to change the culture that allowed this scandal, then the stain on Penn State’s reputation will remain.

I’ve gone out and asked several people what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say Penn State — and the answer is they envision little boys in the shower, hands against the wall, and the rhythmic slap, slap, slap, of flesh on flesh.

“WE ARE PENN STATE!”

If this university wants to again be recognized as an upstanding academic institution it best forget about athletics for a minute and clean house.

This goes way beyond taking down Joe-Pa’s statue out in front of Beaver Stadium.

Go after all those who were enablers. Find the wealthy boosters who exerted the power to suppress this investigation within the university community and through the attorney general’s office.

Sports hold an artificially high plateau in American society, and they need to be brought down a notch.

This is about personal accountability, poor choices and consequences.

The men at Penn State owe, and we as a society need to show some respect, and the dignity to turn off ESPN more often so we can get back to focusing on our children and our communities.

# # #

[Part 2 of 2 part series; see 07-15-12, Shut Down Penn State Football]

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