I once heard a university president say that you will be remembered more for how you treat others than for any particular decisions you made. After ten years as a university president, I'm not sure that is entirely true. Presidents can become frozen in their tracks, make expedient decisions designed principally to calm the waters, or take actions that will make people feel good in the short run, but focusing exclusively on such criteria is not good leadership. Sometimes - not too often, I hope - principle and progress must take precedence over popularity. Nevertheless, there is wisdom in the concept of focusing first and foremost on people. "Putting People First" is a motto for me personally, and it ties in squarely with my professional upbringing. Looking forward, I worry about the soul of the profession.Graham SpanierJournal of Family and Consumer Sciences; 2001, Vol. 93 Issue 3, p18-19, 2p
As Americans, much of our life revolves around making mountains out of molehills. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are breaking up? Hold the presses and call CNN! President Obama and Mitt Romney twisted numbers and facts to discredit the other in a political ad? Let us all tell our friends and make updates to Facebook about the travesty. The Kardashians did something other than waste space? Get everybody on it. Let's face it. We sensationalize and attack because we crave news. At this point in our lives, it is exactly what drives us to our opinions. Honestly, without this culture, a site like Off Tackle Empire would never exist because without this need to digest information and make glib comments about this or that, our entire reason for 'social' reporting goes out the window.
As such, while most of us would believe that we are above the petty details of news and understand what is right and what is wrong, we often overcomplicate the basic details of a case. In regards to everything that has happened at Penn State, I want to admit that I was one of those people. The day after the Freeh report was released, the immediate call to arms by the media caused a kneejerk reaction by almost everyone. On one side you had, and still have, a mob amassing waiting to burn the stadium down in not just a metaphorical sense, but most likely also a physical sense. On the other, you have people clamoring for reason and forgiveness because there is so much more to it than just football. Arguments of the complicated magnitude that this situation presented were not only offered, but argued relentlessly, and being a person of sound logical nature, I am easily quoted as saying we should take a measured response to everything that happened.
However, the more I have pondered the events that transpired, including Jerry Sandusky raping children and the subsequent coverup and enabling provided by Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Joe Paterno, the more I believe that this is a very cut and dry matter. Especially in light of the NY Times report today in which we learned that Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier worked out a deal where money made everything okay for them, it is time for Penn State football to take a break. This does not come out of a sense of self-aggrandizing morality, this does not come without a lot of thought, and this does not come lightly. With all the information that we have on the table, even understanding the magnitude of loss and hardship this will cause to innocent parties, it is time for Penn State to show the world what it really values by, "putting people first." After all, isn't that what Spanier said Penn State is all about?
Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.Joe Paterno