Pride and gluttony at Penn State

November 13, 2011

The two cardinal sins of pride and gluttony have never been manifested more blatantly and arrogantly than by the immoral spectacle currently playing itself out on the campus of Penn State University in "Happy Valley" Pennsylvania.

This institution has dedicated itself to the financial exploitation of a sport that has become an absolute obsession with millions of Americans. In Happy Valley, one man, Joseph Paterno — husband, father, and co-author, with his wife, Sue, of a children's book ("We Are Penn State") — is the long-time (46 years) public face of this obsession at State College, Penn. He built up a reputation for running a clean football program and emphasizing the education of and the instilling of honesty and integrity in his "student-athletes."

Unknown, however, to the millions of fans and alumni the integrity (read morality) part slipped away during the past nine years as Mr. Paterno turned a blind eye toward the allegations of sexual abuse of young boys by his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. He avoided taking responsibility for reporting Mr. Sandusky to the police after he was informed about the alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy by Mr. Sandusky and, instead, passed the buck to his athletic director, Tim Curley, after which the issue apparently disappeared from Happy Valley, thus keeping everyone, well, happy!

This Saturday the gods of college football will again be adored on the hallowed turf of Beaver Stadium but without the high priest, head coach Joe Paterno.

Thank God for that! Perhaps the ghost of morality will hover invisibly over the field but, I suspect, will soon be blown away by the hot air of the roaring crowd, hopefully, some day, perhaps, to return to Happy Valley.

J.T. Murnane Jr., Perry Hall

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