The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

What to do when a man is playing God? Get another man to play God and say he’s the real God

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Yes folks more on the Penn State Child Sex abuse scandal. Recently I don’t seem to have written too much jolly but there isn’t too much jolly going on in my peripheral vision at the moment.

Yesterday Mark Emmert the President of the NCAA decided to lower the boom on Penn State football. Whilst he didn’t use the death penalty he did essentially kill Penn State as a football powerhouse for the best part of a decade and relished every single moment. He had appointed himself judge, jury and executioner but what he was really doing was appointing himself as God. The moral arbiter of the NCAA. He got all the power he wanted from the other presidents and decided to not only use it – but use it far beyond his actual remit. Luckily for him you won’t find too many people trying to defend Penn State so he could’ve done whatever he wanted and the public would have backed him – or said he didn’t go far enough – he was on safe ground.

He believed that Joe Paterno had become too powerful at Penn State. So to show everyone how it should be done he used a power-play himself and became the supreme being in charge of everything the NCAA rules over. The problem was the NCAA don’t rule over criminal cases – that is done by the police but that is but a mere minor detail. To show everyone that becoming too powerful leads to bad times he usurped more far reaching power than anyone in NCAA history. Yeah that will sort it.

He repeatedly said that this was a unique situation and he had not set a precedent. Anyone with a semblance of a brain knows that is laughable. The NCAA now have the power to rule over criminal acts. Personally I am all for due process and to allow the courts to decide on what is criminal and what isn’t but why wait for the law and due process when you are Mark Emmert?

I have no idea what happened at Penn State and do you know what? No-one else reading this has an idea either. If they say that they do then they are either a liar or they are called Graham Spanier, Tim Curley or Gary Schultz. Everyone has an opinion on what happened at Penn State and most people’s opinions are set in stone before any of the key players have faced a jury or spoken in public.

The Freeh Report was a horrific read but it was also a report without subpoena power. Mark Emmert said about how it was so thorough it had talked to over 300 witnesses and was good enough for him. The only issue is he didn’t speak to anyone with any first hand knowledge except Graham Spanier – and he has already claimed that most of his testimony wasn’t even included in the Freeh Report for whatever reason. Conspiracy theorists might claim that Louis Freeh already had a narrative and much of Spanier’s testimony didn’t fit that so it was left out but those conspiracy theorists are all crazy…

Something that did cheer me up (well cheer me up is not the right wording so let’s say made me less angry) was the fact many journalists after spending months whaling on Penn State have questioned his right to step in. Many have finally said that he has over-stepped his boundaries to make this big PR stand. Some people such as Jay Bilas to Chris Fowler to Tony Kornheiser to JA Adande to Bomani Jones etc… actually think the NCAA went beyond their remit because they wanted to be seen to be acting.

For the past few months I have said that this issue is the Salem Witch Trials 2012. It is such a lightning rod story that people don’t care about due process as they just want justice and they want it now. I spoke to a couple of my neighbours about it yesterday and all they heard was ‘child sex’ and they said everyone deserves whatever they get. I tried to argue that should innocent people deserve punishment too and they didn’t care. There was child sex involved and that was enough for them. That is sadly the way things are these days.

Should the catholic church be shut down because of its issues on this front? Should the boy scouts be culled? People want Penn State football finished but does that punishment fit the crime? The crime was perpetrated by an individual and it was compounded by other individuals. These individuals are either in jail, dead or facing criminal prosecutions. These people are not involved at Penn State any more and the university is already changing its culture and following the recommendations to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. How does penalising the innocent make up for the evilness and the criminal acts/bad decisions of others?

Losing twenty scholarships a year for four years means that there are eighty fewer scholarships for student-athletes at Penn State but it also means that eighty fewer student-athletes will get scholarships all over the country. So eighty people who will be recruited to play college football next year will not get a scholarship? Do these eighty people deserve that? How about all the businesses around State College? Do they deserve to see their incomes drop as the football programme at the university decreases?

All the other student-athletes on non-football scholarships will also suffer as the men’s football programme pays for all the other sports. These sports may well be cut as the university might not be able to afford them. How about the football players themselves? Yes they are transfer without penalty by why are they penalised for events that happened before they even got into junior high school?

What happens if Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are found not guilty at their criminal trials? What happens if the Freeh Report isn’t gospel? What happens if actually the main players in this instance actually were duped by Jerry Sandusky and actually didn’t know everything that everyone thinks they knew? There are so many questions and whilst we have heard many answers none of these answers have come from the people that know the answers. The answers have come from everybody else. At some point these people will answer these questions and then what do we do?

I know everyone wants to hit Penn State hard but was it the university that faltered or was it people? If I said that you moved into a house that five years ago a paedophile lived in would you be guilty of harbouring that person even if you didn’t know them? Should you face sanctions? The people involved in this horrific state of affairs are in jail, dead or facing criminal charges as I have already said. They are not playing football at Penn State today, they aren’t the hotel or restaurant owners in State College. Punish those who erred and not those that didn’t. That is my point of view.

One last thing – even those who have erred deserve due process. You don’t shoot first and ask questions later. Mark Emmert has played God because he believes he is serving the American’s peoples will. The general public have made up their minds and they want justice. They don’t care if the justice is fair or not but they want someone to suffer because these innocent kids had to suffer at the hands of a monster. Who suffers they don’t care as long as someone does and because Penn State employed all then they are right people to get hurt despite all the other innocent people at that institution. I’m sure these people want the catholic church shut down and the boy scouts dispensed with as well.

It is institutions that make these people evil – not individuals. If you believe that then I despair I truly do. You punish the people involved you don’t punish those that weren’t. That is maybe an old school belief but heck there is nothing like a (very) public witch hunt. Justice takes time but time isn’t something people have time for as it were. People want justice – or what they perceive as justice – yesterday. Whether they actually get justice is not important. The perception of someone paying the price is enough whether or not the people paying the price are people who should be.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 24th, 2012 at 11:58 am

Posted in American Sport

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