There’s little to add to my friend Murali’s thoughts on the Penn State shame, but it’s still fun to try. I’ve also had a pretty dim view of Division I college sports ever since I was in school when Clem Haskins managed to pull a Minitrue and get the Gopher’s appearance in the 1997 NCAA tournament erased from history. It’s a money machine that puts the best interests of the players below that of the dollar, yadda yadda. It’s nothing new, but it is still wildly popular, and financially lucrative.
Popular as it is, however, I never would have expected riots over the firing of a coach who turned a blind eye to child abuse. That’s what this boils down to: people at Penn State knew what was going on, but instead of going to the authorities and risking a blemish on their record, they tried to ignore it. The program was more important than protecting these victims. Not only back then, but even today according to some people.
This does beg for a comparison with the coverups in the Catholic Church. While there is no excuse in either situation, at least with the church, I can almost imagine how some people who invested their lives and very definition of self in their religion would want to defend it. But college football? Really? Their lives are over because a coach was fired?
I don’t care about Joe Paterno’s legacy or the lives of those players who are now worried about whether a game is going to be played. The only people who merit concern are the victims who were ignored.