Regaining trust all that matters for Penn State now

November 8, 2011, 7:19 pm
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Penn State cannot manage this story any more. Not because theyve done such a miserable job, but because it's beyond anyones control.What it can do now is this. Find a president, an athletic director and football coach who are ready to apologize as many times as required for the crimes and moral lapses of their predecessors, and to pledge what Joe Paterno always pledged.Not even a Well, I wasnt there caveat will be allowed. Only this, a version thereof:This university, its students and alumni deserved better than what happened here. The victims didnt deserve it at all. The people responsible will remain responsible for as long as this university stands.RELATED: Key dates in the Penn State sex abuse case
But some people have to acknowledge the outrages done here, right them as much as can be possible for the victims and their families, and those people are us.Wins and losses are now secondary for us while we try to rebuild trust in a place that has lost it. We will continue to ask for your financial support, but not for a new weight room or academic athletic center. For the victims. For the mechanisms that will prevent such a horror from going on here again. For help in rebuilding what this place once was for those who came here.I mean, were in the Leaders Division, and if we cant lead on this, we may as well turn the whole damned place into a tune-up shop and spend the rest of our days standing under cars.Toward that end, we will hold our coach to one standard only while we transition slowly back to Success With Honor. Honor first. Then success. We have seen face-first that without the first, the second is only a mark of our shame. And if we get our brains kicked in on the field while were figuring it out, so be it. Its part of the price we need to pay for the sins of our predecessors, but more so for the benefit of those who demand we stand for more.We didnt earn this. Nobody earned any of this. This is just what this situation demands, and we are here to ask only one thing of you to tell us what more we need to do to restore the honor that we have lost collectively. We dont have to take the blame for the crimes and sins of those who came before us, but we do have to rebuild what you expect of this place. We have to because we took the job knowing the deal. We dont get to claim ignorance of the burden. We get to take on the burden. Thats the deal, and were on it.But dont trust us on this. Distrust us. Make us prove our words have weight. Make us prove it again and again. We have much to repair, and hiding from it or fronting off the responsibility is what got us here in the first place. Were who you complain to. Were who you cry with. Were who you roll up your sleeves and work next to. Were Penn State, and it will mean something again. Dont know when, but it will happen.Now, what can we do for you?Barring that, the athletic department is heading for a whole lot of doom in the next few years. It may anyway. But anything that doesnt look like what its doing now is the only way Penn State has of saving itself.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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