An Ex-Penn State Fan Renounces His Fandom
Growing up in central Pennsylvania, I of course was a fan of Penn State football, and this continued into adulthood, even though I did not attend the school. That's common in the area I grew up in. While the pro sports landscape was divided between Philly, Pittsburgh, and the Baltimore/DC area, Penn State football was the unifier, and of course, Penn State meant Joe Paterno. For the most part, he was as deified as everyone said he was. I was fooled. We were all fooled. We wanted to believe Paterno wasn't complicit. He was though, in every sense of the word.
The key word in that last paragraph is "was." Due to the content of this report and the entire Sandusky scandal, I hereby renounce my Penn State fandom.
Obviously, that's far from the most important development in this, and in the end, nobody cares what I think, but I must get that off my chest.
This was a harder decision that it looks, as I do have ties to the university outside of football. My late aunt was a Penn State alum, and a member of the school's first varsity women's basketball team. I had my most recent heart surgery at Hershey Medical Center, which is affiliated with Penn State's medical school.
The fact remains though that Paterno, and Graham Spanier, and Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz aided and abetted a child molester. Justice has been done against Sandusky (as much as it can be done in reality). Curley and Schultz have court dates coming, and today's report should result in charges against Spanier. As for Paterno, while he is gone, his legacy, the thing he worked so hard to protect, is destroyed. Everything we had been told about JoePa has proved to be a lie, and all the graduated players and money for libraries can't make that go away.
The fact also remains that even when everyone involved in this is rightfully purged from Penn State, even if the statue of Paterno comes down and his wins records are expunged, and even though the players and the new coaching staff had nothing to do with this, the stain is there at Penn State, and it will always be there. It can't be separate from what happened, if not ever, then at least for a very, very long time. It is for those reasons I can no longer be a fan of the program.
That said, I do not want the entire program to be given the Death Penalty. That would in effect destroy the athletic department, which would hurt student athletes in non-revenue sports who did absolutely nothing wrong. I also don't want the entire university on a pike. Anytime thoughts go to that, I think of the pediatric cardiology ward at Hershey Medical. The football program had a lot of power over the university, but it is not or was it ever the entirety of Penn State University.
The football program though? Who cares? The trauma of untold numbers of children lay at their feet. It will cleanse itself and start anew. I made the personal decision that the shame will not go away, and thus I can no longer support the program. That's a decision every Penn State fan must make now.