Sad Valley

by - July 23, 2012 - - Comment Now »

I don’t have much to say on Penn State because it isn’t a topic that is any fun to discuss. It’s not a sports story, it’s a tragic story that happened to take place on a famous college sports campus.

Now the NCAA has levied its judgment against the school and the punishment is a hefty one indeed (amounting to a huge fine, lost scholarships and vacated wins). What puzzles me a little bit though is the celebratory nature with which this news seems to have been greeted. What exactly are people celebrating?

I’m not saying PSU shouldn’t have been penalized, I don’t care what happens to them. I’m also not saying that Joe Paterno’s statue should not have been taken down. Believe me, anything lauding him at the moment seems impossibly incorrect. What I am saying is this accomplishes nothing.

Whenever something so heinous takes place, people want to see the incredible wrong righted. But how does this make anything better? The kids on the football team now had nothing to do with it. Neither did alumni, current or future students. And I don’t buy the this sends a message argument. Do you think people who think and act in the vile ways Jerry Sandusky did will ever have their twisted behaviors influenced by disciplinary action from the NCAA? This was a unique situation that does not pertain to typical athletic violations. (The best part of the sanctions is the $60 million fine that will go toward child abuse victims. That is at least productive punishment.)

Again, I’m not even saying the decision here was wrong. It just doesn’t make anything right. As much we may want it to, nothing will ever change the horrible things that happened on the campus of Penn State. Remember, the people responsible for these atrocities are not there to feel these sanctions. The main villain here, Jerry Sandusky, is in jail for the rest of his life. The other semi-accomplices who failed in their human duty to put a stop to him are being prosecuted. And Joe Paterno is dead.

There is nothing to celebrate or be happy about regarding anything that has taken place at Happy Valley. Let’s just hope (to borrow a little wordplay from the late Notorious B.I.G.) Sandusky and everyone else involved finds the state pen much less forgiving than Penn State.

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