(CBS) — Yesterday, Joe Paterno was a 297-win coach who admitted to knowingly allowing a child-rapist to use his program to prey on boys.
Today, Joe Paterno is a 409-win coach who admitted to knowingly allowing a child-rapist to use his program to prey on boys.READ MORE: Chicago Sky Win First WNBA Championship As They Top Phoenix Mercury
The accounting change was made by the NCAA as part of a restructured agreement with Penn State, allowing $60 million in penalty money to be freed from legal entanglement and make its way to local charities, as planned.
I’m all for the true representation of the games Paterno won, and I’m never comfortable with attempts by any governing body to obscure history by trying to re-write it. It happened, and the record should reflect that.
What’s more, it’s that number – the one emblazoned on navy-blue T-shirts and bumper stickers on central Pennsylvania trucks – that should rightfully resonate as a representation of the diseased priorities that resulted in the Sandusky facilitation in the first place. Wins were all that mattered.
Those very wins.
A violent criminal was allowed to run free for their sake.
The NCAA is also trying to incentivize the remaining sane population of the Penn State Board of Trustees, rewarding them for adopting the recommended reforms to their toxic, football-first culture. The board is being overrun by alumni-elected Paterno cultists, bent on creating an alternate reality in which their fallen saint acted differently.
But the NCAA can’t magically change sworn testimony to a grand jury, or in exploratory depositions.READ MORE: Jubilant And Inspired Fans, Booming Businesses Near Wintrust Arena As Chicago Sky Win WNBA Championship
In characteristic form, the Paterno zombies are reacting with sickening, misplaced glee, somehow reading the restoration of wins as an un-raping of boys. The Paterno family’s press release was unhinged, citing the “unjust vilification of the culture of a great institution.”
That great institution immediately justified every last bit of perfectly reasonable vilification, responding like the hive of lunacy that it is: The hockey team added “409” to their helmets in celebration. The men’s basketball team announced their intent to wear defiant “409” shirts before Saturday’s game, dehumanizing all over again the young boys who suffered Sandusky’s evils. Twitter was abuzz with Paterno-worshippers, acting as if they themselves were the real victims, and not the boys brutalized by a revered football coach while Paterno chose at countless moments to do less than all he could to protect them.
This school-as-victim pathology was depicted in chilling fashion by director Amir Bar-Lev in his disturbing documentary “Happy Valley,” which played as an unsettling, claustrophobic horror film. To these people, this can’t have happened – so, they bend reality to make it fit. In this world, they have been wronged.
They lash out, they chase conspiracy theories down labyrinthine rabbit-holes, and feel sorry for themselves, all because of their religion of Penn State football and one man’s tragic moral failure.
“409” is a talisman to them, somehow imbued with the power to justify selective memory, blind eyes, and black, empty hearts.
I’ll choose to instead be mindful of other numbers:
Guilty on 45 counts, and 10 boys. The real and only victims.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Slow Warm-Up Beginning
What do they get restored?