Let It Go, Penn State

Penn State announced their 2016 promotions yesterday and it’s the usual stuff. The home opener against Kent State is Youth Football, Cheer and Dance Day. The “Scout Celebration will include Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations, who can purchase special ticket packages at a reduced rate by calling 1-800-NITTANY.” The second game of the season, against Temple, will be a Stripe Out, where each section wears either all blue or all white. And the student section will wear all white, for a White Out. They will also honor Joe Paterno. Whoa- what?

Yep. The game against Temple will be the “Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Coach Joe Paterno – Activities during the game will take place to commemorate Joe Paterno’s first game as the head football coach at Penn State — September 17, 1966.”

Congratulations, Penn State. You played yourself. You really can’t let this one go, can you? Just couldn’t resist celebrating a guy who at best didn’t know one of his assistants was sexually assaulting boys and at worst, knew about it and didn’t do anything.

Honestly, you couldn’t be more tone deaf if you tried. And it’s not even like its some great milestone. You’re not honoring a national championship team, you’re honoring his first game.

Honoring the 50th anniversary of Paterno’s first game? Are you serious? You do know why his time there ended, right? And you do know that three former Penn State officials are still facing criminal charges for their roles in the scandal, and that there are still civil cases that are ongoing. Maybe you resolve those before you start having Joe Paterno Day.

And here’s the thing about that terrible idea – you don’t need to do it. Like you really, really don’t need to do it. We know he coached at your school. Everyone knows that. That’s actually kind of the problem. He’s intertwined with Penn State and every time you bust out with some tribute to him, it seems like you’re forgetting what actually happened. And you’re definitely making sure the rest of the country never forgets. Have you any idea how this looks to the rest of the world?

Honestly, I’d forgotten that you still had a football team that was still playing because the only time Penn State football makes the news is when you’re fighting a legal battle, or when Sandusky makes an appeal, or Paterno honks are trying to hype their guy.

Just a few months ago, documents were unsealed that said that a Sandusky victim told Paterno about abuse in 1976 and was ignored. So which game are you going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that? Against Minnesota? Or maybe Maryland? Because if you’re going to celebrate his first game, you better have a tribute to the first time he ignored a sexual assault report. And when you do, make sure it’s a White Out, because that seems to be how you’re dealing with the allegations against your beloved coach.

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