Grow up Penn State

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, contributor

It’s been written about, bandied about, and talked to death probably a million times by now, but the behavior of the Penn State student body continues to amaze even the most even keel of sports fans.

And yes, we know it’s only a few that ruin it for the majority by tipping over media vehicles, and claiming that the Penn State faculty board “killed” their beloved Joe Pa, but any semblance of dignity or integrity seems to have been lost on the current incarnation of “We are PENN STATE.”

That’s the funny thing, too; everyone who lauded the late Paterno spoke highly of the integrity, class, and humility that he brought to the program, turn around and do the exact opposite. This is not an indictment of Paterno, or the mistakes he made at the end of his career, but the legacy that is left behind seems to have been lost on those more interested in stirring the pot, rather than taking the high road.

Another thing about claiming integrity, it’s one thing to speak it, profess it like it’s some standard that everyone meets, it’s another to live it and act upon it. In the case of Penn State, the idea of being a living, breathing embodiment of integrity and class was better than actually living up to it. It’s evident by the disturbing reaction from the Penn State faithful upon the firing of the legendary coach, and the media swarm that followed.

The allure of a tight-knit student body that fully understands the tradition and history of a proud school is a highly overrated phenomenon. Every school is full of the same character types that most college students have come to know and love or resent; the douche bag frat stereotype, that movies like “Animal House” have sheltered in. And in the wake of the Joe Pa firing, these walking clichés became the head of the student movement, like a Hydra with unlimited, spawning heads.

There’s nothing wrong with this, except for the part where you lie to yourself and pretend like it’s not the truth, when it so clearly is. The same arrogant students who irrationally protested the firing of Joe Pa, and continue to project anger toward the higher ups are no different from a group at any other University looking to be angry for the sake of attention. So instead of preaching that Penn State is above inappropriate behavior, it would be more beneficial to take it down a notch and continue to accept the reality that your school is imperfect.

In the meantime, we will wait for Penn State to grow up.


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