NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.
The Nittany Lions of Penn State are making a very big mistake this weekend in their home bout with Temple. The university is planning on commemorating longtime football head coach Joe Paterno on the 50th anniversary of his first game coaching Penn State. Many outlets have openly criticized the school for this move and many point out this is the first time since Paterno’s departure from the program that he will be recognized by the university.
My contention is far larger than a simple “shame on you” to Penn State. I truly despise what the university is doing and have a course of action I believe the Big Ten must take if Penn State continues down this embarrassing path of tone-deafness.
First and foremost, why is Penn State doing this now? Especially after all of the effort they have put themselves through to distance themselves from Paterno. What would you feel like if you were a player who was in the program right after the scandal broke, where your team was crippled down to a sub-par program and you played simply for moral victories over tangible rewards?
This action spits in the face of these players that they penalized so severely and distanced themselves from Paterno by doing so. All of the pain and suffering Penn State’s players and fans went through is all for naught if they will simply turn around when it’s convenient to do so.
This also is obviously damaging to the victims on so many levels. There have been numerous reports of Paterno covering up Jerry Sandusky’s actions as far back as the 1970s. This news broke this year and it again sheds horrendous light on a negligent man that doesn’t deserve any of the praise and honor he received for over 40 years. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be for these poor people to receive closure when Paterno and Sandusky’s shadow continues to loom over their lives. Having a public affirmation of Paterno in any capacity of the institution that enabled Sandusky’s actions is simply and profoundly wrong. Penn State simply can’t be this insensitive or tone deaf. Or else there is a price to pay.
There is a big moment of truth coming up for the Big Ten Conference in regards to this Penn State situation. They have a choice to make and I propose that they penalize the Nittany Lions if they continue with this act of no self-awareness. I am not proposing something as drastic as a post-season ban or the death penalty, but there is something more constructive that the Big Ten could do. The Big Ten has the power to do something and they should as a way to stand up for the conference against Penn State and to stand their ground against the damaged reputation that Penn State has plagued the conference with. Something like a fine or citation to force the university to help programs to help the victims or future victims of sexual abuse could work. Forcing the university to do something to counter-act their actions in a constructive and beneficial way would be all I ask.
Penn State’s reputation is already as good as gone, and now it seems they will need the pressure of the Big Ten and the college sports world to do the right thing. It is truly disappointing it has come to this, but Penn State needs to wake up to reality and stop letting the ghost of Joe Paterno embarrass them anymore.