Our readers sound on Medicare for all, abolishing football at Penn State and what the New York Times got right and wrong about inequality and marriage. Let us know what you think—in the comments!
Belinda Manning: I’m conflicted on this one Dave, kind of in time out mode. Your argument to me seems like the "too big to fail model" of big banks. I’m not there. I’m also not one looking to punish the innocent. (I would like to point out that we do it everyday when we imprison fathers and mothers who have committed crimes. Some of them may even be parents of children in the Second Mile Program. Hmm…).The scary thing for me, is what I’m seeing and hearing from many Penn State students and alums, especially the younger folks. My witness is that they have taken this notion of "reverence" to a whole other level. Really. Now I have as much love for my alma mater as anyone. And there were many role models and mentors who I continue to thank for guidance, direction and a strong foundation for continued learning. Some of my deepest friendships were formed within its boundaries and have extended beyond. We have a shared history of struggle through the challenges of the civil rights era. And we can be a bit "cliquish;" some might say elitist. I think you can say this is what happens with all "tribes." It even happens to a great extent with allegiances formed with pro-teams. BUT from, what I’ve seen, beginning with the riots of last year; and the recent posts on blogs, Facebook and twitter; this behavior looks more like cultish than tribe.
Now I don’t think that the NCAA is the appropriate body to be responsible for addressing this deep cultural issue, although they have had a hand in creating it. The responsibility for change rests with Penn State, and that’s not going to happen with the same Board that abdicated responsibility and turned over the reigns in the first place. On that we agree. I also think they need to reduce the size of that Board and ask for resignations–beginning with those that initiated Paterno’s final contract. Penn State has a HUGE leadership void right now. The recent press conference did nothing to demonstrate that it was even close to being filled. Given a national press conference… Who speaks for the board? For the President of the Board not to take TOTAL responsibility for responding to the press…not a pretty picture.
Destruction of Penn State football? That’s a thought. Painful as it may be, it’s worth consideration. I would prefer a more thoughtful strategy that would "put it in its place." Renovating the showers? Sorry, I really don’t think there is a great deal of mileage that comes with that. As a matter of fact that was just a– DUH? The action that needs to happen to marshal in change has to be one that says: "This is a new day, that crap is over!"
In response to Dave Zirin’s "Against Abolishing Football at Penn State." July 15, 2012