I haven’t written much about it, but I’ve followed the Penn State scandal pretty closely since in first came out in November. I find it hard to believe at this point there are still people out there defending Joe Paterno and that his graduation rate and other things somehow can balance out covering up a serial child rapist all for the sake of football program. Yet those folks are still at it, ready to cheer on their team come September which just seems unseemly to me in light of everything. I wish the university itself would take the step and not call it a death penalty, but a retreat or words to that effect, and say this isn’t the time for football. Say that the university and its community have been rocked to its very foundation and a break from football, the part of the institution that had so much to do with the scandal, is needed by everyone. I know that would never happen, too much money involved among other things, but in so many human endeavors, we need a break, we need to reassess and reflect and then move on. Instead what we are already hearing from Penn State fans and alumni are sentiments about this being an “us against the world” situation; that this is the media out to get Penn State and Joe Paterno. The reality is a lot to bear, that an institution and football team that gave so many an identity, turns out to be as rotten, if not more so, than any other program. The die-hards who can’t see any wrong in their heroes or their team will never admit that Penn State did a horrible injustice to so many of Sandusky’s victims.
This leads me to a similar though not nearly as large circumstance in my own rooting interests. As anyone who is a regular reader to my blogs knows, I’m a White Sox fan. In the past week, the Sox made a trade for a relief pitcher, something that the Sox desperately needed. He has been having a good year and should provide some much needed stability to a bullpen that has eight rookies. A bit of a catch though, the pitcher in question, Brett Myers, beat his wife in 2006, not allegedly, but was witnessed doing so outside of a Boston nightclub. Nice guy, no? Now, his wife asked that he not be prosecuted and as far as I can tell, they are still together. Also, not to be an apologist, but it was six years ago and there has been no incident since then. Even so, guys a prick, right? Not cover up fourteen years of child rape prickishness, but still a prick. The conundrum comes down to this, do I cheer for the guy or not? I get that it was a business move and that it was good for the team that I support, but ick. I know there are folks out there who will forgive just about anything when it comes to their team, their guys, but I really can’t do that. And to keep flipping this around, the charges were dropped, his wife hasn’t left him as far as I know, so shouldn’t I forgive him as well? I know what he did was awful, but doesn’t he deserve a chance? I’ll admit I don’t think I can be very enthusiastic about Myers when he enters a game, but I don’t think I’ll boo either. I also don’t feel like too much of a hypocrite if, god forbid, he does something similar in the future that I will then actively show my disapproval with him. I would hope that as an organization, the White Sox would do the same, but that is probably, sadly, too much to ask of a professional sport organization.