In honor of the Badgers' Nov. 26 home game against the Nittany Lions, I thought I'd dip into my mailbag for views on the sex-abuse scandal in the Penn State football program. Turns out that Madisonians have a thought or two about Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach ousted for doing practically nothing after a boy was molested in his facilities. Judging from the letters I've gotten, Penn State fans would be advised to leave their "We ? JoePa" signs back home in Pennsylvania.
Dear Tell All: I'm as jaded as the next guy, but my jaw dropped when I saw headlines about Penn State students rioting after Joe Paterno's firing. I actually had to read the news twice to make sure I had it right. The students weren't rioting because Paterno failed to go to the police when he learned that his colleague Jerry Sandusky was abusing young boys right on campus. They weren't rioting because the school administration covered up the 15-year pattern of abuse. They were rioting in support of the morally reprehensible Paterno!
"We want a winning football team at all costs," students seemed to be saying when they tipped over cars and threw rocks, causing $20,000 worth of damage. Never mind that a few kids have to be sacrificed in the process.
Talk about screwed-up priorities.
Dear Tell All: I am horrified that the Penn State football team is still allowed to play. How bad does a team's behavior have to get - from the awful coach, to the coaches who did nothing to stop it, to the students who rioted over Joe Paterno's dismissal - before their season is shut down? Oh, wait, Penn State can't shut down the season because of all the money the school would lose, right?
Well, sometimes losing money has a cleansing effect on the soul. Not only should Penn State forfeit the money from this football season, it should set up a fund to compensate the victims in this sleazy affair. After it does all that, we will consider welcoming the team back to Camp Randall. But not before.