Posted: 11/15/2011 2:09:12 PM
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he believed Penn State, amid the controversy engulfing its campus and football program, should have canceled last Saturday’s game against the Cornhuskers.
This is the same guy who seemed to think there was nothing wrong with verbally lambasting his then-19-year-old freshman quarterback last year in front of a national television audience.
In both cases, he couldn’t have been more wrong. Canning the game would have accomplished little other than penalizing a group of college football players who have no connection with Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach who is facing allegations of child sexual abuse.
If there’s one thing we should learn from this whole ordeal, it’s that the proper perspective is hard to come by. Yes, we need to stop and take stock of ourselves and acknowledge that there are more important things in life than a college football game.
We also have to make sure we don’t veer too far the other way. The Sandusky scandal already has cost a lot of people their jobs, reputations and potentially jeopardized their personal safety.
Some of which is deserved, but I’m not sure the fallout has been falling on the right people. Least of whom, Joe Paterno. The legendary coach now has to go out on someone else’s terms instead of his own, and sympathy for Joe Pa has been hard to come by because the consensus seems to be he “should have done more.”
I guess this depends on your definition. I’m here to argue the coach did enough and his superiors, the AD and president who also lost their jobs, should more so be the target of the incessant – and mostly justified -- outrage that has been thrust toward Penn State because of this incident.
The notion that Sandusky should be presumed innocent is an awfully thin one, even for my open-minded nature. The evidence appears to be overwhelming and damning, and the former coach did himself no favors last night in a horrifying interview with Bob Costas in which he repeatedly hesitated to answer questions about his level of attraction to children.
Still, it’s too easy to jump to conclusions and assume blind eyes were turned and arrangements were made in order to protect the reputation of Paterno and uphold the sacrilege of Penn State football. This might have happened, but it doesn’t mean Paterno was in on it.
From all accounts Paterno, who is not under investigation for any wrongdoing, relayed the incident reported by an assistant coach and took it to his superiors.
From my experience, this is the protocol in just about every employment setting in the country. If you felt harassed in the workplace, would you contact the FBI or your HR representative?
Paterno essentially did the latter, took steps to fire Sandusky, and I think it’s unfair to assume he could have or should have done more when none of us were there to see what took place. It appears that his superiors are the ones who really dropped the ball here, no pun intended.
Even so, it seems the general public and even Penn State students are so enraged by the charges against Sandusky that they’re not sure who deserves their ire, and perhaps it’s a question that doesn’t have a black-and-white answer.
When news of Paterno’s firing came down last week, it was fascinating to watch coverage of the rioting on Penn State’s campus. What appeared at first to be a show of blind support for their beloved football coach turned out to be something else entirely.
At least half the students interviewed said they supported the decision to fire the coach and any administrator connected to the case.
Why, then, were they out on the streets, vandalizing vehicles and engaging in potentially dangerous mayhem? Some of them struggled to find an answer, other than the incident couldn’t help but inspire anger on many levels, and this seemed like a good way to vent.
I’m not sure playing the game against Nebraska equated to any sort of healing, as some who took part suggested, but I’m pretty sure nixing it would have unnecessarily punished players and fans who didn’t deserve it.