Sports

Silverman: Suspend Penn State Football For At Least Two Years

Joe Paterno (Credit: Perry Bindelglass / Special to CBSNewYork)

Joe Paterno (Credit: Perry Bindelglass / Special to CBSNewYork)

By Steve Silverman
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There is nothing left for Penn Staters to defend.

The report issued by former FBI director Louis Freeh today stated unequivocally that  Joe Paterno and three others repeatedly “concealed the facts” regarding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s systematic sexual abuse of children.

Freeh made it a point not to blame Paterno alone, but that he shared equally with Penn State president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz were also responsible for the cover-up.

Freeh’s report said Paterno “was an integral part of this active decision to conceal.” Freeh said the Penn State leadership’s disregard for the safety of the children who came in contact with Sandusky was “callous and shocking.”

Freeh said it was up to a grand jury to determine whether those involved in the cover-up were guilty of the crimes of obstruction or conspiracy.

Sandusky, of course, was convicted of 45 counts of criminal child sexual abuse last month. Those criminal convictions are just the beginning of the legal activities that surround the scandal.

What is next for the Penn State football team? The NCAA often reacts to the smallest violations by limiting scholarships and imposing penalties for unethical behavior.

They have yet to comment on this situation and their silence is deafening. The football program acted with impunity under Paterno, doing as it pleased and its primary motivation appeared to be to keep the program moving forward at ALL costs.

There is no hesitation here. If the program did not self-report the disgusting and criminal activity that Sandusky was suspected of committing, it would not have stopped its relentless drive for more power, money, tickets sold, All-America players and victories for anything.

The football program turned its back on society’s smallest and weakest because it would have impacted its financial coffers and overall power.

That decision was morally bankrupt. Justice needs to be visited on the Penn State football team.

Ohio State had a football coach named Jim Tressel. He ultimately lost his job for covering up activities like his players selling jerseys and rings so they could have cash. Tressel knew about it, covered it up and lied about it. He lost his job.

Tressel covered up his players’ financial gain.

How does that compare with a coach and a university that systematically covered up a former coach’s horrific abuse of boys who could not defend themselves?

A serious penalty has to be issued to this legendary program. Just because you run a high-powered football program does not give you the right to run over and abuse any members of society, let alone the weakest members.

To allow that football team to continue to play and compete is wrong. Penn State should not have the right to trot its football players out on to the field and compete as if nothing has happened.

This is far too heinous. All those who are associated with the program need to be educated for AT LEAST two years while it gets cleaned up and the seeds of true atonement get planted.

Thinking of fans filling up Beaver Stadium on a football Saturday this fall is nauseating. This program can’t be allowed to function as if nothing has happened.

The NCAA and the Big Ten have important decisions to make. They can’t allow business as usual.

Letting Penn State play without interruption would be an additional slap in the face to the victims.

There is no reason to delay this decision.

Should the Penn State football program be scraped? Leave a comment below.