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Institutional moral turpitude

Published July 21. 2012 10:55AM

Dear Editor:

It's called Moral Turpitude. Or, in this case, Institutional Moral Turpitude. From top to bottom, from Penn State's president to its locker-room janitors and all those in between - including Joe Paterno. From those who personally witnessed a monster at work and did nothing to stop it, to those who later knew of the obscene acts and made conscious decisions to not only remain silent, but to ensure everyone else remained silent as well. There is no other way to describe the systemic moral and ethical collapse of an entire organization….Institutional Moral Turpitude.

So, what now? First and foremost, clean house. Fire anyone and everyone who had even a scintilla of association with this scandal - immediately. No "golden parachute" retirements, no lifetime Cadillac pensions with health benefits. Fired, for cause, in disgrace.

The NCAA should impose sanctions severe enough to get everyone's attention and ensure this never happens again - anywhere. The first sanction is obvious; ban Penn State sports teams from interscholastic competition. No football, no basketball, no track and field, nothing for a long time to come. There are thousands of football fans who adore a professional athlete who was the head of a criminal enterprise and tortured dogs to death for sport before he was imprisoned. Those same fans, and many others, will certainly scoff at the suggestion that anything could be bad enough to warrant such drastic measures as censoring Penn State's sports teams. Too bad.

Because Joe Paterno was right. This isn't just a football scandal! It's so much more than just despicable criminal acts perpetrated in a football locker room. There are few taboos in our society today but we're confronted with one of the worst here and now. It's almost beyond comprehension that, for the sake of image and brand name, an entire institution would exhibit Moral Turpitude and shield a serial child molester in its midst for years.

L. Ernie Foucault


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