Cut off your arm for $1,000,000 ??

July23/ 2012

It is a staple for call-in talk shows. “Would you cut off your arm for $1,000,000?” The ensuing discussion always comes down to “price”. If you were in Joe Paterno’s position what level of crime would you conceal protecting your personal reputation or that of your entity? If not “child molesting” then what?

I am still wrestling with this NCAA verdict for what happened at Penn State. The spectrum of public responses run the gamut as any such “opinions are like noses, everyone has one” events always do.

Can we start with:

EVERYONE (except those Sandusky-ites with NAMBLA) is disgusted with “what Sandusky did to those boys”. Just so you know – NAMBLA is the National Man Boy Love Association. “They” believe “what Jerry Sandusky did” is just fine and quite normal. Yes, the good ol’ ACLU has represented NAMBLA on various occasions.

Penn State was NOT sledgehammered for what Jerry Sandusky did. Penn State was sledgehammered for what Joe Paterno and senior officials at Penn State apparently did – covering for what Jerry Sandusky was doing “in order to protect the reputation and image of Penn State Football and Penn State The University”.

Had Joe Paterno and Penn State reported Sandusky to the proper law enforcement agencies when they uncovered his activities; and assuming the authorities then apprehended him subject to all laws he may have violated….. Penn State would have taken a quick hit from rival fan bases, been the butt of a few jokes, and that would have been it.

Imagine Jerry Sandusky as a Sr VP in a Fortune 100 company ….. a Dean at a prestigious college …. a high-up in a political administration….. a renown doctor at a hospital….. a priest / pastor in a large church…. or a well-known football coach at a prominent football school.

His heinous acts, if revealed, were deemed to be disastrous to the image and reputation of the organization he was associated with. A conspiracy involving a handful of senior administrators took place in an attempt to prevent his acts being revealed and the subsequent collateral damage to the larger organizational entity.

To see this as simply a PSU problem or “a college football problem” is conveniently compartmentalizing it to convince ourselves it could not be occurring today in some prestigious organization whose image / reputation is considered sacrosanct to each of us.

So, to my title question….. what degree of wrong doing WOULD YOU conspire to conceal in order to protect the reputation and image of an organization you hold dear…. a reputation, that once tainted, might dramatically affect your own income and or your stature in your community. Your law firm, your medical practice, your alma mater, your family’s good name …… ???

Assorted misdemeanors…. financial scamming….. sexual improprieties…. alcohol / drug usage ??? Where do YOU acquiesce and let “situational ethics” takes over?

How about just cutting off a thumb for that $1,000,000?

I pose this question not to vindicate or excuse what PSU officials chose to do; but to put their quandary into perspective. They chose a path that led to their own disastrous downfall. And much much greater damage to the organization than would ever have happened otherwise.

Was the NCAA verdict “fair”? The co-conspirators in this mess have all been identified. They are either dead (Paterno), awaiting life imprisonment (Sandusky) or fired and awaiting their own trials. Does the NCAA verdict have any impact on the actual “perps” in this crime & cover-up? How?

We can all agree that the actual perps should be thrown into general population of D Block and the key thrown away? But how large is the co-conspirator universe?

Have the rank & file of Penn State alumni and fans been guilty of anything that could not be said for alumni and fans of 100+ other colleges participating at the highest level of Big Time College Sports? Their naïve passion allowed them to assume a pious sanctity for an operation they, in truth, knew very little, nothing about the inner workings.

Who was punished by today’s verdict that had any foreknowledge or input into the incriminating decisions that were made?

Will any of those other 100+ college fan bases reexamine their passionate blind loyalties as a result of the NCAA verdict? Probably not.

Do you hold yourself liable for your blind loyalty to any organizational entity in which you trust others to maintain the reputation and image of that entity? Probably not.

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