As far as any reasonable person can tell, from a couch far away, Joe Paterno was never a great man. Was he a great football coach? Maybe. As a person though, Joe Paterno is no Pinball Clemons, who is no Mahatma Ghandi. Some of the players on his football team graduated from college. He gave back. Paterno’s status as a football coach is now forever tied to his inability to keep a member of his staff from sexual assaulting minors, including at least one on team property.
It doesn’t matter though, because football doesn’t matter. We invest it with meaning for fun. The swarm of failed human beings who flipped vehicles and chanted themselves hoarse in support of someone who covered for a child rapist would do well to remember that, but this should not be expected. Those who lack even the basic empathetic skills necessary to grasp Paterno’s moral failing have given no indication that they are capable of that kind of abstract thought.
‘Disinterest’ is the term which describes the perspective with which one says to oneself ‘If I were not a Penn State student, and my self-worth were not completely dependent on the record of the school football team, I would want the criminal reported and apprehended.’ While the previous statement may be considered flippant by some, any claim that it misrepresents the morons who flipped the news truck is a claim that begs a question: Why do they care so much?
The meaning which sport has is granted to the sport by the fan. In other words, the record of a given team only matters to you because you want it to matter to you. If a football fan wants to imbue a team with meaning as ‘their’ team, why would they select a fake amateur one? Because the stadium is technically part of the campus, and the uniforms bear the school crest? Sure, why not?
Well, if the reason why not is ‘because they shield child molesters from the law,’ then any warm-and-fuzzies one gets when a pro or semi-pro athlete pretending to be a student at the same school reels one in the endzone have been trumped. Sadly, commentary on this matter has consistently sought out dark corners, as interested parties and their legion dupes try desperately to avoid confronting the ugly truth of NCAA football.
It is not amateur. It is not collegiate. It is not noble, and it is not honest. It is a beer ad. It is poor people receiving brain damage, a choice they make when minors; often illiterate ones. Perhaps this post takes on a bitter tone, but that is not because I hate football. It is almost the opposite. The NBA is gone, and deserves no attention when it returns, and for those of us looking for something to invest with meaning, College football could be that sports outlet. Could be, but is not.
Oh yeah; and don’t apply to Penn State.