I’ve been listening to various sports talk shows lately regarding what to do now with the future of the Penn State football program. “Should they take down the Joe Paterno statue in front of the stadium? Should the football program be sanctioned for a period of time? If so, for how long, and what, if any type of message does that send, and to whom?” said various hosts. I couldn’t help but think to myself, seriously guys? The answers seem so obvious and logical to me. Absolutely yes, they should remove Joe Paterno’s statue.
Yes, the football program should be punished by shutting it down entirely. Regarding the message it would send and to whom, the message would be clear to the unknown amount of children who were violated by Jerry Sandusky, and the so-called leaders of the institution at that time. A strongly worded message declaring cultural change within the university to those on the outside would demonstrate the first steps in the right direction. Instead of asking what message it would send, the question they should be asking is, why did this occur over and over on campus, and why was the one responsible being protected? The answer is quite simply this, the damage it would cause to “their football enterprise” and “legendary coach” could be irreversible. The financial risk to their machine was too high. Therefore, they felt they must protect it at all costs, even when it comes to something as vile as the sexual abuse of young children. What does that tell you? If this was a major accounting firm or any another corporation, they would immediately shut it down (as they should) for illegal activity. And yes, there would be several employees and their families who would suffer, though they had nothing to do with it. It’s amazing to me how the majority of people will quickly say yes to the question of corruption, cover-up, or potential illegal activity within government or major corporations. And if a serious crime is committed within these institutions, we will immediately attack and demand the strongest punishment possible to the people involved and the entity as well. But when “the corporation” involves a sport we all love, emotion takes over and our attitude and logic completely change.
So I ask you, what kind of message would we be sending by keeping the culture the same?