Penn State and the two sides of the coin of injustice

Taking a temporary break from our continuing series on marriage, we briefly address the NCAA sanctions against Penn State.

The weight of the heavy sanctions and penalties that the NCAA has placed upon the athletic program at Penn State largely falls upon the innocent.  Prohibiting the college’s football team from being in “bowl” games for the next four years punishes the current athletes at Penn State who had absolutely nothing to do with the terrible crimes committed by Mr. Sandusky and by those (enablers) who covered up those crimes in the past.  Sandusky is awaiting sentencing and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.  Joe Paterno, who was the iconic de facto head of the football program for many years (decades), is deceased.

So, why does the NCAA choose to lay some serious hurt on the young aspiring athletes at a storied college football program?

Is it to make a very strong statement of condemnation of the crimes that took place some years ago?  We think that there are better ways to make such a statement, and that any remaining culpable individuals can be more accurately targeted (for appropriate penalties) without crushing the hopes and aspirations of current athletes and their families. 

The coin of injustice has two sides.  One does not have to be a philosopher, nor even a not so humble social critic, to recognize the injustice that occurs when a clearly guilty party gets away with his or her outrageous crime(s).  (Getting off “Scot-free” as the slang expression describes it.)  But, one must not overlook nor ignore the flip side either.  When the innocent suffer punishment for the crimes of the guilty – that is also an injustice.  (In the Old Testament, there is an account about God wanting to spare the innocent living in the cities of mostly wicked people.)

Two wrongs do not make a right, so the old adage goes.  The NCAA has committed a not insignificant wrong against the innocent athletes currently at Penn State.

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