Thursday, November 10, 2011

Success With Honor

I chose that title for today's "My Two Cents" because it is the motto of the Penn State University football team.  It's a motto that thousands of students who took to the streets of State College, PA last night protesting the firing of Coach Joe Paterno seemed to have forgotten.

Anger is never a proper motivating factor ("it only leads to the Dark Side" said a very wise philosopher a long time ago)--but I wonder how the anger of Penn State fans has become so misplaced?  The signs and chants in last night's protest directed that anger at the Board of Trustees--who had finally brought some semblence of sanity to this tragedy and fired Joe Paterno--effective immediately.  It took a group of business and academic leaders to look at what was going on and realize that there was no way to meet the expectation of the above motto with JoePa still at the helm.  Also, the Board decided that two other coverup participants--former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz--can enjoy the "full support" of now former University President Graham Spanier.

Paterno and his hired damage-control PR firm had earlier in the day made a last-gasp effort to maintain control in the situation by announcing Coach would retire at the end of the year.  Just give me these final three games and I will leave--on my own terms.  But the Board of Trustees correctly stepped in and re-established that it--and the school itself--is the one with the control here--and it would set the terms of JoePa's departure.

How football coaches and Athletic Department executives could have the run of the campus became clear in last night's press conference--where the local reporters only wanted to know who would be coaching the Nittany Lions Saturday versus Nebraska, why JoePa wasn't allowed to retire on his own terms, and why was Coach being punished for doing only what he was required to do?

Saturday's game between Penn State and Nebraska is now must-watch TV.  How will the fans respond?  Will they boycott the game in protest?  Will that protest be in favor of JoePa--or in support for the molestation victims?  Will the student section chant for those who allowed a child predator to lure in an unknown number of victims for an additional nine years?  Will the players even show up?  Even though they now have a chance to return some actual meaning to their motto: "Success With Honor".

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