It's the day after the Freeh Report and, as you probably could have guessed, sportswriters have begun falling all over themselves to call for the end of Penn State football. Here's Slate arguing for the death penalty. Here's FOX's Jen Engel doing likewise. And Christine Brennan. And, of course, Dan Shaughnessy. Fucking Shank. He's the worst.
Obviously, there's a sound argument to be made that PSU football should no longer exist (along with all of college football, frankly). But it's just so EASY for a sportswriter to call for its abolition and make a cheap claim to the moral high ground. Sportswriters love to make big, supposedly bold declarations such as this. You can practically hear Shaughnessy coming into a paper bag while he writes that screed.
In fact, I'm shocked that no sportswriter has yet called for the abolition of Penn State itself. Just clear out the campus and then BOMB the fucker until it looks like a Kabul suburb. Bomb the statue. Bomb the stadium. Bomb the fucking Paterno Library (honestly, it's just a library, we have lots of them). And then sterilize all the alumni so that they don't have kids that end up getting molested because Daddy was too busy painting an R on his chest to spell out WE ARE with four of his douchiest State College buddies. You may as well take it to its furthest extreme. No one will miss Penn State anyway. Trust me: the only people who think Penn State is some kind of revered academic institution are people who went there, and people who went there are stupid. Call me when you have a degree from PENN, not its woodchuck third cousin.
HOWEVER, we at Deadspin do not endorse such extreme measures. Nor do we consider the abolition of PSU football to be a good idea. And it's not because we think that it would unjustly punish the current players or coaches. Fuck them. I could give a shit about their feelings. The problem is that if you abolish PSU football, you're essentially giving the school the martyr complex it so desperately craves. You're giving the school a reason to become even more embittered and more insular. The cries of injustice would instantly override any lingering sadness and shame stemming from Joe Paterno's death and the Freeh Report. You don't want that. You don't want Penn State to become even more warped than it already is.
Furthermore, getting rid of Penn State football means giving it an unjustified clean slate once it returns. You can already see the narrative coming. That first win for Penn State after their return from the death penalty will be treated like fucking Hoosiers. There will be any number of soft-focus Tom Rinaldi pieces about the program rising from the ashes. THE FEEL-GOOD STORY OF THE SPORTS YEAR. That one- or two-year death penalty would essentially serve as a shortcut to the program's redemption. They wouldn't have to do much of anything to generate a decent comeback narrative. They'd just simply have to begin existing again. And Penn State doesn't deserve such shortcuts. That's why, instead, we offer the following five-step plan.
1. Keep playing football. With one caveat...
2. No more Grand Experiment. That phrase alone makes me wanna throw up in a sand bucket. No more hypocrisy. No more pretending you're better than anyone else. Embrace the fact that you're just Ohio State with lamer uniforms. Don't bother telling people you're doing things the RIGHT way now. That's how you got into this mess to begin with. You need to become an unapologetic football factory, as openly corrupt and greedy as the rest of them. Change the team colors to gunmetal and vibrating magenta. Bring in shitloads of juco transfers with questionable backgrounds. Have lots of agents hanging around at practice. Never let the players anywhere near a functioning classroom. In other words, act like goddamn professionals, so that people aren't dumb enough to make the program into some kind of ethical unicorn. Do everything the WRONG way. Get embroiled in ticky tacky scandals involving hookers and drugs that are far more comforting to people. That's how do to business.
3. Change the school name. Pennsylvania Tech. Remember when ValuJet had that crash that killed Rodney Culver and everyone was like, "Fuck that, I'm never flying ValuJet again"? And then they changed their name to AirTran and everything was hunky dory (except for the fact that AirTran kinda blows)? That's you, Penn State. You're like an airline, if a pilot on that airline had just raped all the passengers. When people think of Penn State, they think of little boys getting diddled in a shower. And they always will, forever and ever and ever. Jesus himself could come back 10 years from now and enroll at Penn State and all I'll think is CHRIST, I HOPE CHRIST DOESN'T GET RAPED THERE. A new name would quickly allow you to shed all that pesky baggage. Kids got molested at Penn State. NO ONE has been molested at Penn Tech! You could even incorporate it into your school seal: "Penn Tech: Molester-Free Since 2013."
4. Sell out. The Paterno Library becomes the Verizon Library Built By The Home Depot. And we can finally pick up those swooshes on the jerseys and slap them right on the helmets. With a bunch of little swoosh stickers on the back for every slobberknocker hit: I JUST DID IT®! No more of this, "Our uniforms are simple because we're good simple folk" bullshit. You're whores like the rest of them. There should be a big-ass Dorito painted at midfield in Wawa Hoagie Beaver Stadium, and every time a PSU player scores a touchdown, two Hooters girls should make out in the end zone.
5. The first person to cry out WE ARE PENN TECH gets tased. That's just common sense. It's gonna big a big change for you old PSU fans, but I think you'll comforted by the fact that you still have a football program, and that your football program will never again have its head up its own ass.
Image by Jim Cooke, original photo via Getty.