COMMENTARY | What a number of powers that be who’ve run Penn State and its football program have been condemned for via the just-released report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh goes beyond the field. Penn State’s conduct has stained this nation because glory, image, and profits were put before victims of Jerry Sandusky’s pedophilia.
Freeh’s report commented that “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” as reported by CNN Thursday.
For the sake of this society, and to show Americans that college football isn’t the all-and-end-all of life, the NCAA needs to give this football program the “death penalty.”
The reaction around the country to Freeh’s report has elicited a lot of outrage. The Associated Press reported on various reactions, such as by Penn State’s Board of Trustees Chairwoman Karen Peetz, who said of Joe Paterno, “(Paterno’s) 61 years of excellent service to the university is now marred.”
Peetz is right. It doesn’t matter about all the so-called good that this man did. It means nothing now. He reportedly helped cover up serious criminal behavior. If Paterno was such a great guy, why wasn’t this culture of enabling pedophilia nipped in the bud before the turn of the century?
But no, Paterno’s conduct in the report shows he was more concerned with football. Anyone who puts football over the lives of innocent children is to be rightfully condemned, even in his grave.
The argument that shutting down a whole football program would punish those who’ve had nothing to do with the scandal is weak. Think of all the other college football programs whose innocent members have been affected when NCAA penalties are handed out. Penn State is the last football football program that deserves any preferential treatment.
Reuters reported Thursday that the university’s latest fiscal year saw $4.6 billion in revenue, along with a $1.8 billion endowment. This is money that should be going to all the victims of Sandusky’s reign of terror on children, not new football gear.
Penn State football should be shut down for at least five years, if not longer. Penn State football must be made an example of that willfully covering up the victimization of children will not be tolerated even for the sake of a game that has a religious, cult-like following.