Because this is the Internet, and thus one is required to stipulate things that shouldn’t need stipulating lest people infer that you are History’s Greatest Monster, I’ll start out with what should be obvious — Jerry Sandusky is a horrible predator, and Joe Paterno was his disgraceful enabler. After the run-up to the trial, the trial itself, and the release of the Freeh report, it beggars credulity that anyone could possibly believe otherwise about either of them.
Now the NCAA has handed down its own punishment to Penn State, about the majority of which I have no comment. I’m no sports fan, and have no way of gauging the justness of the decision. But one thing struck me as decidedly odd:
Emmert also stripped Penn State of its wins between 1998 and 2011, meaning that former coach Joe Paterno is no longer major college football’s all-time winningest coach. A total of 111 have been erased from Paterno’s previous win total of 409.
Did his team score more points than the other team or didn’t it? If his team scored more points, how does one call that anything other than a win? The man who coached the team may have been a moral vacuum tube, but how does that change the score? Am I wrong to find this aspect of the punishment downright Orwellian?
[Attention any potential comment trolls — this does not mean I am making any excuses for the raping of children or the covering up of same! I am glad the Paterno legacy has been reduced to a shambles, and think Penn State’s football program deserves a world of hurt for its role in the raping of children. Please tell me that’s clear enough to avoid any confusion.]
Events transpired in a certain way. By doing so, they are described using a set of commonly-understood terms. This punishment now renders the outcome of the games some wholly new concept, which must be plucked from the air. Unless the predatory or complicit misdeeds of the coaching staff somehow directly affected the final score, how does it make sense to say Penn State didn’t win?
Can someone explain this to me?