Coming into the Penn State-Nebraska game that took place earlier today, a number of commentators said the game should be played. The current players aren’t responsible for any of the problems and so should not be punished and the football game itself could start the healing process. The ceremonies before the game, including a mid-field prayer with both teams participating, were shown live on ESPN.
Here is what I think should have really been done today at Penn State: the Penn State players and coaches should have come out onto the field like they would for any game. However, when the game was just about to start, all of the players and coaches should stop the action, kneel, and refuse to play. They could then issue a statement that would read something like this:
“Today is not a day for a football game. Our campus has experienced a tragedy and we are embarrassed since this involved a number of men that we thought were leaders and whom we respected. Although we were not personally involved, we realize that life is much bigger than football. The world will keep turning if this game is not played today. We need time to think, reconnect, and build up the trust for which this campus was once well renowned. We will play football again when these important matters have been taken care of.”
Imagine what sort of message this would send. In the midst of tragedy, this would be a statement that the billion-dollar (NCAA-wide) football machine plus its incredibly popular culture wouldn’t run roughshod over lives for a few hours. Football would be put on the backburner, which is arguably the primary issue here anyway.
I wonder what would have happened if the players would have really wanted to do this.