Rick Reilly: Penn State deserves the death penalty for Sandusky

I’m persuaded, but then I also believe that the New Orleans Saints, franchise and all, should get kicked out of the NFL permanently for the bounty scandal.

Fuck Penn State. They should tear Beaver Stadium to the ground and salt the earth.

Penn State football is nothing but an excuse for alcohol abuse, vandalism, and public nuisances anyway. Evidence.

Can’t say I disagree.

Should they… nuke it from orbit? :smiley:

I don’t see the Saints situation as the same. That doesn’t mean I disagree though. College football itself should get the death penalty, it’s nothing but legalized slavery, and a cult. And whenever you have a cult, kids get raped. As for the Saints, it’s legal private enterprise, but the cuplability for what may have been crimes* should extend to all those involved, and those who should have used the proper level of diligence to prevent such things.

*Even though football as a regulated sport allows people to commit acts which would otherwise be a crime, those acts have to conform to the regulations. If a football player decided to shoot an opposing player on the field, he would be charged with a crime, not just a fine and loss of yards or a down.

Why should the football program be punished?

Yeah, I don’t agree that the football program itself is to blame and hence should be punished. Although if what SMU got is any type of benchmark, they very well might get it.

Clean house, prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent, etc but don’t strip the university of its program. What would that accomplish?

Because the administration committed acts which demonstrated a gross indifference to the lives of others in order to protect the reputation of the football program. The culture of the university and its reverence for that athletic program allowed them to act in such a manner that put the preservation of public opinion of their institution over their obligation as both mandatory reporters and human beings to be concerned for the children who were being raped at their own facility.

This. And if the above isn’t the definition of “lack of institutional control,” I don’t know what is.

Yes, but aren’t all those people out of jobs/being prosecuted now? I’m in favor of the school being punished, sued, the statue of Joe taken down, his name removed from the library, all culpable parties imprisoned…but once all that is accomplished, why remove the football program? The former admin/coaches that committed these acts of negligence and molestation effectively already killed the program in the short term anyway. Nobody high profile will want to play there now with that stigma surrounding the school.

Let them keep their program and be forced to rebuild it from the bottom up. They are going to need the revenue to pay off all these people that are going to sue them.

Their obsession with the reputation of the football program was the only reason a coverup existed in the first place, so it would probably result in them learning the hard lesson of what happens when you prioritize sports over people. It’s meant to be punitive to the entire school because the coverup was systemic. If it were always as simple as saying “well the offending individuals have been fired, nothing left to see here folks”, then the death penalty wouldn’t need to exist. The culture that allowed those decisions to be made is still pervasive. If they had come clean about the allegations and reported them to the proper authorities, nobody would be talking about the death penalty. However, they chose “unethical door #2” to put their money on, and this is what happens when you make unethical decisions with fucked up priorities. The reverence for Paterno is still so strong that people are still saying that they don’t think he knew anything or did anything wrong.

Let’s repeat that for effect.

After the investigation demonstrated that the school administration changed their mind about reporting Sandusky to the authorities following a discussion with Paterno, there are still many people whose respect for Paterno and the Penn State football program runs so deep, that they don’t care.
Of course the death penalty is appropriate.

The reason this was possible is because of the fanatic and obsessive nature of the alumni and football fans, a large chunk of whom will do anything to get the football team back on track. The program has to be killed to sever this relationship. They have to be given no reason to contribute money for a few years. Only if that fervor can be killed will there be a basis for reform.

Are you kidding me? the football program is the reason for Penn State covering up a child rapist,. I don’t care who they fire, there should NEVER be football at penn state again. It would accomplish sending a message to every other school that ever considers covering up child rape for the sake of a god damn game.

Yeah, it is a phrase that the NCAA loves to throw around when doling out punishments. This situation implicates the head coach, the AD, a school VP and the president. That is pretty much what the NCAA means by institution.

In this case I can see the death penalty being used and it would be an appropriate punishment for Penn State.

It would destroy the toxic football culture at Penn State that put sports ahead of protecting children from rapists. That culture still exists, despite the removal of the ringleaders. And it will remind other universities that covering up crimes to protect your football program is evil.

Just to nitpick, the author of the OP’s link is not calling for a permanent ban on football at Penn State. He’s calling for a two-year ban. He’s calling for precisely the same punishment as SMU received in 1987 for gross and repeated violations of NCAA rules.

I’m not seeing it. The culture which enabled the coverup is not specific to PSU; it’s the disease all of major-college football shares. If the people involved are removed, and anyone else who failed in their responsibilities leave too, then who is actually being punished?

Besides, the program’s recruiting, and therefore its on-field competitiveness, are crippled and will stay crippled for years to come. That’s part-way to the death penalty (and in some ways it may be even worse to have a bad team than none), and it eliminates the fans’ ability to shift blame to the NCAA.

I agree with this somewhat, but the football program is merely incidental here. The real problem is that people generally don’t do the right thing when they are aware of abuse. One study found the following:

So 2/3 of people don’t report general child abuse they witnessed, and nearly half don’t report sexual abuse. That’s a huge problem. Presumably, the vast majority of those people who stayed silent did not do so to protect a football team, or another organization. That’s part of the reason why I think focusing on the football program is sorta misguided. The existence of a well respected football team was not a necessary condition for this to happen anymore than the university itself was. Should we shut down the university? Now, I don’t think that should be the only factor in determining punishment, but it makes punishing the program a bit of a harder sell IMO. I think everyone involved is now gone or dead. The only people this would hurt now people who had nothing to do with this whole fiasco.

:dubious: The “death penalty” exists for egregious violations of NCAA rules governing football, not (generally) for conduct unrelated. No team would get the dealth penalty if, for example, their administrators steal money, or if there is lax security on campus.

Again, the “culture” is American culture. People from all walks of life, with all different responsibilities, and all different motives fail in the same ways Penn State did. I don’t think that excises them, but getting rid of football isn’t gonna make future Penn State officials more likely to do the right thing.

Besides, this scandal went up to the top; far wider than football. Why not just shut down the entire school?

<nm poll already made>

Football was the top. It isn’t like Sandusky had access to all those kids and a culture where he’d be protected and was incidentally a big shot in the football program. His status as a football big shot operating under the aegis of the football program was the only thing that enabled him to get away with it for so long. If he were another university employee he’d have been in jail for years. It’s a ludicrous thing to say that the football program was incidental.

Are those people mandatory reporters in their state? Do those people run institutions where abuse has been suspected and brought to their attention, and only after weighing the implications of the public knowledge of the abuse, choose not to go to the authorities?

This is a terrible example. The abuse is not the reason the death penalty is being considered. The institutional coverup is the reason. The motivation for the coverup was to protect the school’s public image and protect the image of the football program. It wasn’t unrelated conduct by any stretch of the imagination.

Sorry that you’re still not getting this, but the fact that other people also don’t report child rape doesn’t mean the people who fail to report child rape should not be punished. Not all individuals have the same responsibilities when it comes to a situation like the one Penn State encountered.

I’m not even sure why you’d suggest shutting down the entire school. Would you care to point out any governing body or regulations therein that would make that a viable option? Or perhaps just discussing the NCAA and their rules and authorities as it relates to this scandal that occurred specifically because of the powerful nature of the football program wasn’t broad enough for you.