Innocent people are hurt, not only in the obvious sense — that boys were forever scarred by the sick and twisted selfishness of Jerry Sandusky — but there also are the innocent members of the Penn State community, who trusted their leaders to behave morally and correctly, even when doing so would be difficult and embarrassing and painful.
This is a fundamental life lesson, essential to the formation of a mature conscience. Yet we Americans, obsessed as we are with the concept of fairness, don’t want to accept that immorality always imposes unfairness.
Irrespective of your opinion of the NCAA (mine isn’t typically high), the organization by this decision put the promotion of human decency above college athletics.
In doing so, the NCAA reminds us all that life isn’t fair, actions have consequences and selfishness levies a heavy burden on innocents.
In an effort to protect the honorable and admirable men who participated in Penn State football during the tainted Sandusky years, Paterno and the university ultimately provided a sad avenue for the destruction of at least 10 boys who didn’t warrant “Joe Pa’s” paternal instincts.
It’s tragic, really, because based on everything we know about the storied Penn State culture, I’m certain that had the coach put the question of what to do to a vote of his players, they would have charged the doors to report Sandusky to the police.
Too bad they didn’t have that chance.