There's been a lot of hand-wringing over the Penn State scandal. Much debate over who did or did not do the right thing.
I've tried to ignore the daily news ticker on the case, the lawyer-fueled battles for favorable public opinion. Stories are changing as parties involved cover their own asses.
But when I heard this piece of news, I was comforted by its banality: if Penn State wins the Big Ten, the Rose Bowl will "welcome them with open arms."
This is doing the right thing.
Now, I'm not so naive to believe this is an act of compassion by Rose Bowl officials. Bowls are big business, with television partners and sponsors all interested in making money. If Penn State just so happens to win the conference championship (doubtful, but possible) they would be contractually obligated to take the Nittany Lions. But they could have given a more vague answer to the question, saying they "would hope Penn State would do the right thing" by backing out, saving them the public relations nightmare of hosting a university that is going through a severe identity crisis.
I applaud the Rose Bowl for not falling into the collateral damage trap related to this scandal.
Child rape has no twin, no act from which you can draw a suitable comparison. What is happening to Penn State students, tainted by their association, is not an equal exchange of heartache and pain. It stinks, but pales in comparison to the long-term damage of Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims. But let's not make it worse by taking away what this year's football players may earn on the field.
The seniors on the Penn State team have nothing to do with this scandal. They entered college with the belief that if they did what they were supposed to do, on and off the field, they would be rewarded. And if they earn the right to go to the Rose Bowl, they should be allowed to go. Do not compound the actions of a misguided, morally bankrupt few by denying these young men the opportunity to finish what they started.
Critics will say football doesn't matter. By playing a game, you are insulting the victims, or even endorsing what happened. I say that is wrong. What message are you sending by doing that? Our leaders have let us down, and we are giving up. How is that respecting the victims? If anything, it is teaching students and young people that not only is life unfair, it is spiteful as well. You should feel ashamed of your associations, not prideful. Shame on those who believe that.
I thank the Rose Bowl for doing the right thing. If they earn it, let Penn State play.
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