“A man near the front of the room repeatedly yelled, ‘The campus is going to burn!’ while Surma attempted to give answers. The school was not in fact torched, at least not as of about 1 a.m. ET Thursday, but students took to the streets of downtown State College to protest the decision. ‘There`s much more anger here,’ freshman Steven Garner said. ‘[Monday] night was more like a rally by a community. Things are being broken tonight.’Students turned over a TV station`s satellite truck on College Avenue and also tore down a light post and some street signs before police in riot gear used mace to disperse the crowd. Students also flooded Beaver Avenue and the lawn in front of Old Main, the school`s administration building. Some set off fireworks on Beaver, while chants of ‘F— the trustees!’ could be heard.”
Surreal scene after Joe Paterno`s Firing, By Brian Bennett and Wayne Drehs, ESPN.com, November 9, 2011Is it any wonder that the United States is in its current parlous situation? Jobs are being shipped overseas. Those students preparing to graduate from Penn State are about to enter one of the worst job markets in history. Yet they riot over the dismissal of a head coach—a man they apparently credited with the same God-like qualities as the Steve Jobs was upon his death.There’s more. Lost in the present furor is the fact that, over the last 10 years, Penn State has come to rely on disreputable recruits to keep alive the football glory of the past. Sports Illustrated recently found that Penn State ranked fourth in the 2010 Top 25 for players with the highest arrest rates.Indeed, today the bulk of the players on any college football team have no business attending the school—and would not be there if were it not for their ability to elicit the blind devotion on display in the Paterno riot.Back in 2008, ESPN did an Outside the Line investigation of the Penn State football program, publishing these unsettling findings:
“Since 2002, 46 Penn State football players have faced 163 criminal charges, according to an ESPN analysis of Pennsylvania court records and reports. Twenty-seven players have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to a combined 45 counts. “Most recently, former wide receiver Chris Bell pleaded guilty July 22 to making terroristic threats for an April incident in which he pulled a knife on a teammate in a university dining hall. “These criminal charges coincide with concerns from a former player, a recruiting analyst, local media and others that Penn State has pursued recruits who are good athletes but might have questionable character issues, in order to improve performance. The team under head coach Joe Paterno faced an unprecedented four out of five losing seasons from 2000 to 2004. “Paterno says the allegations about recruiting are simply not true. “‘We tried to get kids that were good, solid kids,’ the coach said. ‘We may have made a mistake or two, but there was no deliberate attempt.’ “Penn State`s certainly isn`t the only football team with athletes running afoul of the law. “Since January, players from Florida State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Georgia and the University of Colorado have been arrested and charged with a variety of crimes, including possession of illegal drugs, assault, sexual assault and robbery.” Has Penn State`s on-field progress led to off-field problems? By Paula Lavigne, ESPN, July 27, 2008Rumors were common in the early 2000s that Paterno needed to step down because he could no longer recruit athletes with “speed” (a euphemism for “black athlete” employed by sports analysts). Thus Rivals.com—along with Scout.com one of the immensely popular web sites that millions of grown men spend hours of their time on researching the 40 yard dash times ,bench press statistics, and other measurables of high school athletes, predominately black, who might be attending their beloved college, published an unflattering story on Penn State’s lack of recruiting success in 2003: Penn State`s problem is not recruiting, By Phil Grosz, November 10, 2003]After that, the floodgates were apparently opened, bringing kids of low character to the school in a convulsive effort to “just win, baby!”Here’s something that, needless to say, went unmentioned in the ESPN story: a rundown of the players who were arrested at Penn State from 2002- 2007. The vast majority of players in trouble with the law were black players. But Penn State’s student body is 75 percent white and 5 percent black. In other words, Penn State’s football program was actively recruiting athletes who brought crime to the school.One such prized black recruit, LaVon Chisley, was kicked off the team after severe disciplinary problems and was promptly convicted of murder after gruesomely stabbing his victim 93 times. [Ex-Penn St. football player gets life in prison for murder, September 29, 2007] But, hey, he ran a fast 40-yard-dash!Similar incidents involving out-of-control players are occurring in college towns across America. At Colorado-Boulder; University of Oregon; at the University of Washington; at the University of Miami; and at Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, the administration, alumni, student body and fans have turned a blind eye to the criminal behavior of players as long as wins are piling up on the football field the school’s coffers are filling up in the form of revenue and donations from fans.Thus back in the 1980s, Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma Sooners were the poster child for lawbreaking in college football but the alumni and administration loved him as long as his teams won. Of course, the majority of the players breaking the law were black—although they represent less than 2 percent of the overall student body population.Same with the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ so-called conservative Tom Osborne: he regularly played black athletes who got in trouble with the law—most notably Lawrence Phillips, who was accused of dragging his girlfriend down the stairs and beating her—but, hey, he produced national championships for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.And is there any need to even bring up the Miami Hurricanes program of the 1980s and 90s, one that even Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolffactually urged should be cancelled? [Broken Beyond Repair, June 12, 1995] (Of course, it wasn’t).The tragic fact is that many Americans derive their entire identity out of their alma mater. Since we are no longer allowed to have an American identity (and yes, that does mean an identity derived from our European racial and cultural heritage), we can have a Penn State identity; or an Auburn identity; or a Texas A&M identity.When good people—and college football fans are some of the most conservative in the country—care more about how their football teams performs, then the future of their country, you understand the power of the opiate.We can riot when a coach who covered up a child rapist`s actions is fired. But when illegal aliens rape and kill our citizens, we hardly even notice.But the day will come when American patriots salvage something out of this wrecked nation. And historians will look back on the Penn State scandal and date from it the discrediting of Opiate of America that delayed that day for so long.Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Captain America and Whiteness: The Dilemma of the Superhero. He works in political consulting and resides in Denver, Colorado. He thanks Luke Daren for assistance.