Sports

Instead of Vilifying Penn State for Jerry Sandusky’s Crimes, Why Not Look for Solutions?

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It’s time to put down the pitchforks and look for a rational solution that helps the victims and helps charities that help protect children.

We’ve heard it all in the last week – ban the football program for a year, shut down the program forever, close the school, burn down State College, everybody in the state is a child molester. You name it and I’ve heard it.

Every day – heck every hour – somebody tries to outdo the next with what penalty Penn State should pay.

The more outrageous the penalty, the better. You get more attention that way. You get on more radio stations to discuss “the Penn State situation,” you get more traffic to your website, you get more publicity.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Everybody is trying to outdo the next. Heck, if we could actually close the border to the state, somebody would propose it.

People want vengeance.

That is actually an understandable emotion given the horrific acts of child molestation that Jerry Sandusky committed for years. It’s understandable given the fact that leaders at Penn State didn’t do anything to stop it.

The conclusion of the Freeh report (and of most people around the country it seems) is that four men at Penn State put football ahead of the victims’ welfare.

That’s just plain horrible and wrong – not the conclusion, the acts.

But so is putting vengeance ahead of the victims’ or potential victims’ welfare.

Shutting down the school or the football program isn’t going to help the victims and it’s not going to help prevent future child abuse across Pennsylvania – or the nation for that matter.

What is going to help prevent child abuse is awareness. What is going to help prevent child abuse in the future is money going to the appropriate agencies and charities.

And while there isn’t enough money out there to properly repair what the Sandusky victims went through, they are rightfully going to get large sums of it.

Nothing anybody can think of can generate more money to fund this cause than Penn State football. Shutting down Penn State football will shut down the largest pipeline of money that that this cause will ever have.

If people or the NCAA want to penalize Penn State football, take the money the program generates and give it to the correct people and charities to make sure these horrible tragedies don’t occur anywhere again – not at Penn State and not anywhere else.

In addition to really helping child abuse prevention, a solution like this allows the NCAA to actually say they did something without having to delve into uncharted waters. That could prove to be difficult to handle down the road with cases involving the law and not just NCAA bylaws.

Other local and national columnists have noted that a shutdown of Penn State football will have the unintended consequences of destroying the economy of State College and Central Pennsylvania. Playing football to raise money to prevent child abuse will prevent that from happening.

I don’t know the length of time that this should go on. I don’t know what the dollar figure is that Penn State should turn over. Accountants and smarter people than I can figure out those numbers and details.

What I do know is that it’s time to start talking about solutions that are going to help real people and stop focusing on what’s going to happen to an inanimate statue.

Along with Jerry Sandusky, the men who the Freeh report singled out as the most culpable – Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Joe Paterno – are either already gone or will be shortly. Paterno is dead. Sandusky will die in jail. Schultz and Curley are already in the legal system and Spanier isn’t far behind. They will never be part of Penn State football or Penn State again.

Those five are already being punished by the legal system – something far more important and more severe than the NCAA.

So that leaves us with thousands of people left behind. Thousands of people who had nothing to do molesting children or any cover up.

If you want vengeance you can make their lives more difficult as well.

If you want a solution – one that can be financed and not just talked about – then we should start looking at ways to help prevent further abuse and looking at ways that can best help the victims.

Take the cash cow that everybody says caused the problem and start using it to help.

So, please, put down the pitchforks and let’s look for solution.

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