Pen­ns­tate­colum­n­con­nectswith­read­ers

Times Chronicle - - OPINION -

Sev­eral read­ers were in­spired to write to me replies on my re­cent col­umn where I sug­gested that the NCAA had over­stepped the bound­aries of com­mon sense with their de­ci­sion to pe­nal­ize the en­tire football pro­gram at Penn State for the al­leged sins of three men (still no tri­alF and based on the con­vic­tion of a for­mer coach who had not, at the time, been in the univer­sity’s em­ploy for well over a decade. Here are some of the let­ters:

“Thanks for such great col­umn in this week’s dlobe ... I agree with you 100 % ... I wish more peo­ple in the me­dia had the guts to speak out as you have ... Thanks again ...” (Jim DaviesF.

You are wel­come Jim, for some rea­son a lot of me­dia peo­ple seem to be singing off the “po­lit­i­cally cor­rect” song­sheet and not both­er­ing to have an orig­i­nal thought.

“I wish to thank you for your ed­i­to­rial (sicF about Penn State and its many woes. My fam­ily … my hus­band, my­self and our four chil­dren all grad­u­ated from Penn State. We sat through many games in which Penn State did not shine, but we loved them any­way. My one hope is that when to­day’s fans sit through games where the Lions are not shin­ing they will re­mem­ber that ‘WE ARE PENN STATE’ and will love them any­way. All we can ask of the Univer­sity and the ath­letic teams is that they do their best.

“The Pres­i­dent and the Board of Trus­tees did not do their best in this sit­u­a­tion. The NCAA did not even touch the ser­vice of do­ing its best. I will stick with Penn State and the Nit­tany Lions through all that is to come and will continue to sup­port them.” (Suzanne Sut­tonF.

Thanks Suzanne. It might be pru­dent here to com­ment on where the “We Are Penn State” slo­gan came from. It had its roots in 1946 as a re­ac­tion to a civil rights is­sue when the host team at the Cot­ton Bowl in Dal­las asked the univer­sity to leave its black play­ers home. Penn State’s lead­ers took the high ground and they played (in­cluded in the group was Chel­tenham High’s Wal­lace TriplettF. The game ended in a 13-13 tie.

“I could not agree with you more re­gard­ing your ar­ti­cle re the NCAA over­step­ping its bounds. I have been wait­ing for some­one to write some­thing that made sense as far as Penn State and their football pro­gram. Why should the in­com­ing students or the students that will re­turn in Septem­ber be pun­ished for some­thing other mem­bers of the Penn State staff are re­spon­si­ble for? Also, the wins that Joe Paterno has are his. They are games won and have noth­ing to do with Jerry San­dusky as­sault­ing boys. I would like to see more of the vic­tims come for­ward anony­mously like vic­tim 4 and ask that the school re­tain its wins and like you said, help the other sports pro­grams and the town of State Col­lege. It was to­tally a knee jerk re­ac­tion and will hurt the col­lege and its pro­grams for a long time all be­cause of what one sick man did. Thanks.” (Kay Con­eryF

You have the Freeh re­port that some peo­ple see as flawed, full of sup­po­si­tions and un­sup­ported opin­ions — and lit­tle ac­tual proof. Coach Paterno was never given his day in court and all ac­cu­sa­tions against him are he said, she said, with­out any con­crete ev­i­dence and are un­ques­tion­ably onesided. Paterno’s fam­ily and now some PSU trus­tees and for­mer play­ers want to ap­peal their de­ci­sion and the all-pow­er­ful NCAA says “we don’t hear ap­peals.” Who’s run­ning the NCAA dod?

Reader Mark Nor­ton wrote: “I just con­cluded read­ing the ed­i­to­rial (sicF you wrote. I do not agree with your premise. I sup­pose you have lost sight of the fact that the most im­por­tant facet of life is peo­ple and they should al­ways come first be­fore an in­sti­tu­tion! You in­di­cated that the NCAA’s re­moval of the 112 con­tests won by Penn State was done to tar­nish the legacy of Joe Paterno … they did the right thing by ex­pung­ing the vic­to­ries. There are al­ways in­no­cent peo­ple who are pun­ished when a crime is com­mit­ted. Think of a murder, whose fam­ily has to live with the tragedy of the events. Think about the vic­tims of the Penn State tragedy … their lives for­ever dis­fig­ured and tar­nished be­cause ed­u­ca­tors cared more about sports and money, than peo­ple!”

I for­get, which court of law was Joe Paterno con­victed in? Oh, that’s right, he wasn’t. Ac­cord­ing to the law he com­mit­ted no crime. Nor, so far, have been the other three men named in the Freeh re­port, in­clud­ing the for­mer pres­i­dent. The NCAA based their find­ings on a re­port that con­cluded what it was told to con­clude, or­dered up by the univer­sity. The NCAA was too lazy to even con­vene its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A win, is a win, is a win. A de­cree va­cat­ing the wins from the NCAA serves no pur­pose. Did Penn State vi­o­late any­thing the NCAA has to do with? Aca­demics, el­i­gi­bil­ity? Of course not. PSU ran a clean pro­gram.

Stop singing the “peo­ple are more im­por­tant” song, we all know that, but many peo­ple have suf­fered here that had noth­ing at all to do with San­dusky’s crimes. No one dis­agrees that what he did was de­plorable, but did a kid play­ing half­back at Penn State 12 years ago and get­ting a good ed­u­ca­tion do any­thing? You know the an­swer.

Ted Tay­lor can be reached at ted@ted­tay­lor.com.

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