Focus on Penn State's administrators

July 12, 2012, 8:24 pm
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After seeing and reading the variety of cries for restitution at Penn State University, we have seen that the targeting remains indiscriminate, even scattershot.But that figures. People are angry at something far larger than they can comprehend, and they want everything to burn, either in hell or on the temporal plane.RELATED: Freeh report says Paterno, Penn St. officials 'concealed critical facts'
Well, everything is too much, because too many innocents and uninvolved people burn too. Justice must be targeted, and the kneejerkery of closing the football program is just lazy thinking.And why? Because nobody who has advocated the death penalty for the football program has followed that logic train to closing the administration building. Because this was, and well need capital letters to emphasize this properly, A SERIES OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTS.The Freeh Report makes this eminently clear. And do not be confused Joe Paterno was an administrator when he helped cover up the evidence of child rape on campus. He was not a coach in any sense of the word on this, and this wasnt just a bad choice. It was an act of criminality. He was in this up to his eyelids, like Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and whoever else we discover on the truth trail. They are equally culpable, because they were all administrators, making administrative decisions.RELATED: Ratto -- Paterno put 'the brand' ahead of human decency
So the demand to death-penalty the football program must logically extend to the schools administration, including those who never knew anything about Jerry Sandusky.Or it doesnt, because you dont punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.No current players or football staff members that we know of were aware of Sanduskys behavior if there are, they should be prosecuted with zeal. If there are not, they should be allowed to pursue their work and study without hindrance. And the same rules should apply to the people who work in the ad building.As for the money the football program generates, thats easy to solve. You make the program non-profit (which, frankly, all programs should be anyway) for an indeterminate period of time. Any money it generates should go to a rape crisis center or centers, or to restitution for the victims we know of now, or will learn of in time.And the Paterno statue and other honors that seems to chafe so many people? Im not one to support revisionist history, but a statue is nothing; a building name is nothing. Tear the statue down, leave it there, or put up one right next to it that has him covering his eyes with one hand and covering his mouth with the other. It doesnt matter, because thats not about making the wrong right. Thats about the biggest distraction in the entire mess.Joe Paternos legacy, Or, more accurately, legacies.He has as many of those as he has people he influenced. A persons legacy is not his or her own anyway it is defined by others based on their interpretations of his or her life. Joe Paternos legacy is everything that has been said about him, good, bad and potentially criminal. Its an eye-of-the-beholder thing, fodder for the marketplace of argument. And so shall it be forever.So screw the statue. Its a hunk of iron, symbolic of nothing except when it is beheld by an observer.Finally, lets remember that this story is the story of power and the defense of it. It is not the story of Penn State or the story of Penn State football, but of the oversized power it was granted by adults who had no right not to know better. It is about evil ignored, and how evil ignored is evil promoted.So fight the evil, and keep fighting it. Downgrade the power of the program, and pry open all the barriers that obscure full oversight of the entire university. Penn State did lose the right to institutional secrecy because of this, and that takes us back to the beginning.Close the ad building. Put the desks out in the quad, and let the university do its business where everyone can see it. It would be the best lesson of all for a problem that Louis Freeh showed was an administrative one.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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