Yesterday, I posted the following question: Should Penn State cancel or postpone this Saturday’s home game against Nebraska?
Tonight, in light of Joe Paterno’s firing and reports of unruly mobs in State College, I want to reiterate that question but with an important distinction: Should Penn State cancel or move Saturday’s game against Nebraska?
And I think the events of the 36 hours since I posted the original question warrant adding a fresh poll:
Now that you’ve (hopefully) voted, I’ll give my opinion.
In my original post, I said that I didn’t know the answer to the question I was posing and that my goal was simply to open up the discussion. My ambivalence is gone after tonight.
I think it’s become clear that Penn State needs to cancel Saturday’s home game against Nebraska. Or, if it is somehow possible, they should move the game either to a neutral field or even to Nebraska.
I know how “unfair” this is from a football standpoint, but frankly I think any football issues should be the last issues dictating what is done in this case. Making important decisions with football as the #1 barometer is what got Penn State in the situation it’s in; I think it should go without saying that it should now be moved to the bottom of the importance scale, even though I’d hate the negative effect on the innocent players who currently man the Nittany Lion roster.
There were reports tonight of media vans being tipped over and rocks being thrown at reporters. When I shut down Twitter to start writing this, police dogs were on the verge of being unleashed according to multiple reports.
Does this sound like a campus that is ready to host a football game on Saturday?
I don’t think so.
And to those who will say that things will die down by Saturday, I respond thusly: yes, maybe they will…but what if they don’t? And it leads me back to where the benefit of the doubt now needs to go in Penn State’s decision making: away from football and as close to an 100% assurance of safety as possible. I don’t think a football game just days after all of this, with emotions still likely to be raw and even unbridled, guarantees 100% safety.
If Penn State is committed to making changes that will ensure innocent people aren’t horribly violated on their watch in the future, this is a no-brainer first step.
Cancel Saturday’s game against Nebraska, or move it out of State College if you can (my preferred resolution, for the record). Any other decision is putting football over safety, and in case you need to know why that’s wrong, just remember that it’s the most likely reason for why we are here in the first place.