Is it this simple? Maybe.
There are so many issues within this one scandal: the Penn State students’ reactions, the firing of Paterno, the children…
More facts will be revealed and feelings will evolve in this scandal. However, tomorrow Penn State’s football team is going to take the field and play. Mike McQueary, assistant coach, will not be on the field after being put on leave by the university today, but he is still a coach for Penn State. McQueary allegedly witnessed Sandusky raping a child, and he walked away from the scene. One more inappropriate reaction in this story, and in my opinion, one of the actions that seems the most difficult to rationalize.
The story continues to unfold and Penn State is clumsily navigating how to handle it. Due to this fact and the misguided reaction from their students, I think a symbolic gesture must be made: no game on Saturday. The majority of their student body has put football above human tragedy in the same way coaches did. It’s time to send a message that football can be put on hold, that it isn’t nearly as important as handling this situation that should have been dealt with a decade ago.
I know some think canceling the game would only punish the players and it doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it would send a message to the players? And to the victims and their families?
I wouldn’t call canceling the game a grand gesture, even. It would be a firm message that, as of right now, Penn State is finished with putting football ahead of the well-being of boys and young men. There’s no clearer way to signal a turning point — and a lesson learned — than canceling tomorrow’s game.