By the time you’re reading this, you may already know the details.
There are significant rumors swirling regarding what type of penalties Penn State University will be handed down Monday by the NCAA, but they seem to be consistent. It appears as though PSU football will lose bowl eligibility for multiple seasons, suffer multiple scholarship reductions and be fined tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. There could be more handed down by NCAA President Mark Emmert, there could be more handed down by the Big Ten Conference.
The penalties coming just after a statue of former Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno was removed from outside Beaver Stadium in State College. The penalties have been explained as being less than “the death penalty” famously handed down to Southern Methodist University over 20 years ago by the NCAA. The penalties however are thought to be potentially as bad as possible while football is still allowed to be played.
I’ve thought a lot about the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State over the last year. I’ve written a good bit about Sandusky, Paterno and others in recent weeks. I’ve spoken even more during the course of my radio show. I guess I would describe myself as “fascinated” with the story. I will work under the assumption that I’m not the only one.
Some will debate the merits of the penalty handed down by the NCAA. I’ll probably work with the thought that there isn’t a penalty that I’d consider too strong. I’m not sure how much more really needs to be said about that, truthfully.
I’ll admit that the one statement I can’t help but continuously repeat over and over again is “Thank God I’m not at all associated with Penn State.” Thank God I don’t have to think about this. Thank God I don’t have to feel any culpability and guilt towards the fact that I worshipped a coach and a program that was willing to risk the wellbeing of children in order to protect their own reverence. Thank God I never helped build a community where sport was more important than human life.
But a particular Facebook post I came across this weekend caught me off guard and made me think a bit. HFS morning show host Maynard Edwards mockingly posted about the Baltimore Ravens’ re-signing of RB Ray Rice earlier this week, jesting about his overall lack of concern about the sport of football. He followed up a question about why he didn’t like football with a particularly interesting answer…
“Our national obsession with that particular sport I believe has gotten a tad bit out of hand. I realize it didn’t happen in the NFL, but when we(‘ve) got people more willing to go along with the (rape) of children in order to preserve a stupid game, we might need to do a national (gut) check on that.”
For the sake of full disclosure, Maynard Edwards is one of the first people that helped me get into the radio industry. He’s also the last person I would have thought I would have ever quoted in a sports column.
It’s an interesting thought process. Perhaps the culture created by rapid Penn State fans that believed “football above all” was more about the culture of the game itself. Perhaps all football fans at all levels (NFL, college, high school) need to ask themselves if their obsession with the game would interfere with their ability to do the right thing and take a stand against a criminal.
(Continued on Page 2…)