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Keidel: Nittany Liars

By Jason Keidel
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Cowardice has been the calling card of the galling crimes and cover-ups around Penn State for the last ten months.

And when the Paterno Apologists fumble for euphemisms – like "sad" and "unfortunate" and "forgettable" – to describe crimes of satanic contours, it only adds to the Sandusky/Paterno tragedy. Sadly, the masses were more concerned with protecting a coach than unearthing the truth. And equally surprising is the place where veracity trumped mendacity this week.

As incongruous as it feels, and even more so it sounds, I say I'm proud of the NCAA, who acted swiftly and sternly in dropping justice down on State College.

There was a phalanx of fools who said, with a straight face, that college football's watchdogs had no place punishing Penn State, that only courts of law could lean on the school, since Sandusky v Sanity was a criminal matter, not a competitive one.

It has been argued on this site and elsewhere that the punishment – a formidable, four-pronged sentence of rescinded scholarships no bowl games, vacated wins, and a $60 million harpoon – is not enough. But no measure can be commensurate to the pain Penn State's brass perpetrated on prepubescent boys. And while I would have sharpened the legislative knife wedged into the university, the immediacy of their action partially makes up for a certain leniency.

Indeed, I'm proud that they did anything at all. And make no mistake, what they did was prodigious and bold and belies the typical lethargy that normally overwhelms a colossal bureaucracy like the NCAA. The spanking they put on Penn State is much more than symbolic. It hits them in wins and in their wallets, with the lone symbolic win being the removal of Paterno from his perch as the winningest coach in college history. Instead of "409" beaming from marquees to Mt, Rushmore, the vilified coach will be a football footnote, more of a moral vacuum and cautionary tale than a victorious vanguard of Happy Valley virtue.

But, as always, there's an inexplicable and inexcusable phalanx of Nittany Lion devotees who see the whole sordid affair as an embellished witch-hunt, a myopic and misguided abuse of power by the courts and independent investigators, all of whom were only interested in some vague, vigilante justice against their beloved "JoePa."

If Louis Freeh's report – which took eight months, over 400 interviewees, and 267 pages to complete – doesn't satisfy the mores of the masses in State College, then nothing will. No one questions the ability or nobility of the former FBI director, save for the Happy Valley zombies who stagger out of the Pennsylvania woods to get their pound of flesh behind galling demonstrations, foxhole prayer, and preying on anyone who dare question their dead but still deified hero.

The fact that we're even debating the NCAA's right to sanction the school for the prudence of their jurisprudence speaks to the twisted sensibilities of the Penn State/Paterno Apologist. Deadspin ran a story about a couple in Pennsylvania (Mr. & Mrs. Price) who are Penn State Alumni and called the sanctions "Our 9/11," said Mr. Price. "I just saw planes crashing into towers." And the Price family is not the only one who feels this way. They cannot be reached, with law or logic. If only they knew the story probably is worse than we know.

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated describes the scene of the fallen statue, now an empty shrine, where the silhouette of a four football players linger like ghosts along a wall, Paterno's 900-pound visage visibly absent. "Several undergraduates left a bouquet of yellow flowers with a note reading, 'Joe they may erase you from this site, but NEVER' - five times underlined - 'from our hearts.'"

It is that kind of blind, baleful worship that not only got us here, but will keep State College an island from which the masses will look with disdain and horror..."Oh, that's where that whole child rape thing happened and the town did nothing to stop it." Even if the aforementioned omerta doesn't apply to all Penn State students or grads, the vocal minority has shown far more fervor than the majority. That needs to stop if Penn State ever plans to play football of some import ever again.

Don't forget that the unprecedented, unprincipled cover-up began in 1998, when Sandusky was locally investigated. So it is improper to think that Sandusky started assaulting children in '98. Indeed, it's quite possible – if not quite reasonable – to wonder if he began stalking boys back in the 1980s. What makes the last 14 years so grotesque is the notion that Nittany Lions were silent until the case imploded on them last fall. Had Paterno and his minions meted out proper justice, dozens of kids would have been spared Sandusky's satanic brutality. We've only seen the proverbial tip of the criminal iceberg. Experts assert that for every rape conviction, there are dozens of kids whose assault goes unpunished, if not unnoticed.

Every tentacle of our legal system has spoken, as has the citizenry who refuses to be drowned out by the drunken, demented minority who still defend the disgraced coach and the rest of the quartet who harbored a serial child molester. Sandusky is in prison, and should face a frontier town justice behind bars. Paterno is dead. If not, he'd have joined Sandusky in the orange jumpsuit business, Former athletic director Tim Curley and former university VP Gary Schultz face perjury charges, and could share the same cell, the same hell.

As much as it can be, this case is closed. For now. The Paterno Apologists, led by Mark Brennan, who think Paterno's role in protecting Sandusky under the guise of good publicity was literally a blip on his biblical contributions to mankind, will talk about healing, unaware that they perpetuated the harming.

Feel free to email me:

What are your thoughts on the punishment of PSU? Be heard in the comments below…

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