The fan posts recently have been great, hats off to all you guys for making a memorable off-season so far. Right now I want to talk about something that you can't really talk about with people outside the football community. This will probably be pretty serious and I employ my fellow Lion fans to think critically about this situation and not too irrational even though it can be frustrating to think about. My thoughts after the jump.
After the news of Penn State's penalty I was outraged that they did not receive the death penalty. The team that the infamous term "death penalty" was crafted from was of course the Southern Methodist University Mustangs (SMU). SMU cheated in a way that gave them a competitive advantage, one in which under-the-table tactics were used to recruit players. Penn State got the same advantage by not tarnishing their name or coach by turning in Sandusky. Perhaps the only difference was the bargaining chips were children not money. That's why taking away all those victories from Penn State was necessary.
You guys may not know this, but in 1997 Graham James, an extraordinary hockey coach was convicted of child abuse. Police estimated that between 75-150 boys were abused during James span as a coach, scout and manager. James was only convicted on two victims, and was rewarded 4 years in prison.
There are plenty of parallels between Sandusky and James for sure but James was a lone gunner. The Penn State scandal felt different in a way, almost surreal. A lone monster, sure we can handle that, we see it every day. The Penn State monstrosity wasn't just composed of a one person but it was a collaboration. It took effort in concealing the information, Joe Paterno actually talked some Penn State leaders out of calling CPS in 2001. This from a BIg Ten team, a legendary school with a legendary coach to match.
Somewhere along the line, Penn State justified winning more than anything. It used its' football program as a shield to protect the king instead of the sick. I asked myself was Joe Paterno more afraid of losing than doing what most of us consider is right or was it more simple than that, was he just watching over a friend? I feel like the friend argument is the most compelling. Turning in someone who you consider family has its own personal ramifications and I can't elucidate how difficult it would have been to make that call. However, something tells me a guy who had the most career victories in NCAAF history burnt a few bridges on his way to sainthood. Why would Sandusky be any different? In my opinion, Paterno exonerated Sandusky to keep on chugging out victories.
As I conclude, I would like to know how PoD would respond if an incident of this magnitude struck the Detroit Lions? It's hard to imagine, practically impossible considering how clean we kept our noses up until this year but if this can happen to Penn State it can happen to any organization, it only takes one person.
"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing"
Sorry Vince but you're wrong.