Penn State’s Conspicuous Lack of Compunction
Arguably no sport in America is as rooted in its past and traditions as college football. Growing up a fan of the sport I heard the game spoken of with a religious reverence. Its great plays and great games were miracles to be cherished, and the titans that roamed the field before me were icons to be worshiped.
First among those mythical figures were the coaches, the men who cast long shadows over their programs and schools from beyond the grave. No matter how far forward we moved the names of men like Stagg, Robinson, Rockne, Warner and Bryant were never far from the lips of die hard college fans. They were mythical figures that seemed a million miles and a million years away, elevated above the game and the people who love it.
That is except for Joe Paterno.
While we spoke breathlessly of these hallowed figures here manifest before us was one of them. A man who had stood shoulder to shoulder with many great coaches of the past and squared off against them on the field of battle. Paterno was a bridge to a divine era of football that every fan celebrated and seemed to embody all the romanticized aspects of that era we held dear.
Sadly we now know that his image may have been more fable than fact, and as time wore on he became a willing vessel for our idealization of a past that probably never really existed. Paterno failed us, he failed his school, he failed his community and most importantly he failed each and every child that Sandusky victimized. When faced with a monster in his midst he did more than just hesitate, he wielded that mythical power and influence to discourage his cohorts in cowardice from notifying the authorities.
No matter what good he did throughout his life his legacy will be defined by that failure. A failure he repeated day after day for year upon year as he continued to fail to act. It was not a singular act, it was an uninterrupted string of moral bankruptcy that allowed children to be raped again and again while he smiled and charmed the cameras with his down home image.
Coming to terms with that incongruity has been a challenge, and I don’t doubt it’s been a greater challenge for the students and alumni of Penn State. For the first time in their lives the bond to their school and the greater Penn State community from which they’ve drawn so much pride and strength is a source of shame.
That shame has driven some to circle the wagons and cultivate a persecution complex that allows them to dismiss any criticism of Paterno or the institution he helped build. I cannot say what percentage of Nittany Lions these people represent, but what I can say is that in light of the grand jury testimony, the excellent work of investigative journalists like Sara Ganim and the comprehensive and damning Freeh report there is no longer any excuse to be defiant in the face of criticism.
While there may be jurisdictional arguments to be made about the NCAA’s actions it’s difficult to argue from a moral standpoint that Penn State should not share in the blame for the horrors that occurred on their campus at the hands of their employee enabled by multiple other employees all to protect their football program.
There is however a dissenting voice in all of this, a shadowy figure calling themselves TEAM OUTLAW who is hoping to turn the tide against those who would hold their school (and more importantly their football program) accountable for their failures of oversight.
Their twitter profile reads as follows:
We are a group of PSU fans that don’t care about our perception with others. We know our value, we know our character… We Are…
Word choice is important here. They don’t identify themselves as Penn State students or Penn State alumni. No, they’re Penn State fans. As ever, football comes first which is how we got here in the first place.
One of their most recent string of tweets as of this writing comprise the following textual bowel movement:
At the end of the day the men pretending to impose justice are no more honorable than ones they were passing judgment on. Is this really that surprising? The NCAA for years has catered to special interests, but now Emmert has a vested interest to imposing his will…One man’s power trip is another man’s punishment. Simply put Mark strong armed the (weak) PSU leadership into accepting a deal that was not fair, not judicial, and certinaly not about the victims. To say this punishment is in the names of the victims is a farce, and frankly disrespectful to those who have endured. Mr Emmert, you sir are a dishonorable business man using child rape to further your own career, and along with Corbett’s role in this, might be one of the most disgusting parts of this mess.
Let’s address these points, such as they are, individually:
- “At the end of the day the men pretending to impose justice are no more honorable than ones they were passing judgment on. “I am no fan of the NCAA. I would agree with those, these buffoons included, who say they’re a corrupt organization desperately in need of reform. That does not however automatically nullify any conclusion they reach especially in a case as self-evident as this one.
- “One man’s power trip is another man’s punishment. “A desperate broseph attempt to sound poignant (and boy do I know about trying to sound poignant) that doesn’t communicate anything meaningful. Yes, there are potential jurisdictional arguments to be made regarding the NCAA’s course of action, no this impotent jab of his rapier doesn’t make any of them.
- “To say this punishment is in the names of the victims is a farce, and frankly disrespectful to those who have endured.”If this punishment isn’t about the victims just what is it about? TEAM OUTLAW has made allusions here to corruption within the NCAA driving this action, but to what end? Was Purdue and Indiana throwing their weight around to hamstring Penn State to scramble atop the Leaders division? Was Northwestern planting evidence of sexual abuse in Happy Valley in hopes of one day laking the dishonored corpse of Joe Paterno? It’s like someone hinting that they’re going to link you to Loose Change but not actually doing it.What’s disrespectful to the victims and what they endured is to continue to value football above all else while wallowing in denial. What’s disrespectful is firing out ignorant invective like this in support of the myth of Joe Paterno and his blighted program:
As hard as TEAM OUTLAW may try to give off an air of indignant intellectualism, this tweet is ultimately far more illustrative of the actual feelings and motivations of the thousand brah march. This is about as deep as those intellectual waters run. They’re MAD! Not mad about children being repeatedly raped on their campus and those rapes being covered up to protect their football program they’re mad because their school has been called on it.
- “Mr Emmert, you sir are a dishonorable business man using child rape to further your own career, and along with Corbett’s role in this, might be one of the most disgusting parts of this mess.”Yeah, THIS might be one of the most disgusting parts of this mess. Not potentially decades of sexual abuse, not years of cover ups, not the victims being threatened and harassed by the Penn State faithful. What’s disgusting is the NCAA acting to hold the school accountable. Quelle horreur!And again we have an allusion to something nefarious going on. Mr. Emmert is a businessman! That means this is about money! He’s furthering his career with child rape!It’s like watching someone try to scrawl the outline to Fahrenheit 911 in shit.
Let’s run through some more insightful posts from TEAM OUTLAW, second only to Team Edward and Team Jacob for emotional and intellectual maturity. First, however, in tit size:
Much like earthworms some of the behavior you’re seeing may seem self-aware but they’re really just reacting to stimulus like light patterns and scents in autonomic ways.
No human being with any capacity for reasoning would think that the desire to hold Penn State accountable is some kind of football-driven agenda right?
They do, however, clearly embrace the villian (sic) role:
Something that boy who McQueary scrambled away from sure couldn’t say. TEAM OUTLAW! THE BIG TEN’S BAD BOYS!
Okay, that was a tough joke. Let’s take a moment to enjoy a photo.
No, he’s still #team mewling man-child who rode his father’s coattails into a position his skills didn’t merit who will spend the remainder of his days futilely attempting to defend the honor of a man who willingly and knowingly allowed children to be raped to protect his image and his football program. It’s an unwieldy hash tag.
Scott Paterno’s #TeamGynecomastia is a bit easier.
Digging into the #teamoutlaw hash tag opens up a Pandora’s Box of intellectual lightweights and moral midgets lending their swords to TEAM OUTLAW’S cause:
Hmm. On one hand we have an accusation of petty vandalism against a football player. On the other we have a coach who used his access to the program to help facilitate serial raping an untold number of boys over the years. A pattern of predation he engaged in with impunity because the University President, Athletic Director, Head Football coach and others decided the football program was sacrosanct.
I might need to diagram this one out.
Wear your minimization of rape loud and proud. TEAM OUTLAW!
Don’t worry, it’s a flavor injector.
Hold on a second, let’s take a closer look at that profile picture. ENHANCE!
FUCKING MANDATORY REPORTING LAWS, HOW DO THEY WORK?