Nancy Nall has something to say to the students and alumni of Penn State and residents of State College and Nittany Lion football fans who seem to think something has been done to them.
What exists in State College exists in many, many other places. Columbus and Ann Arbor, to name but two of my immediate experience. Let’s think of some more, starting with the easy ones — virtually any city with a Big 10 school in it, with the obvious exception of Bloomington, although if you’re talking basketball, that’s another story. Tuscaloosa, Gainesville, Tallahassee. Wherever Texas A&M is. Oklahoma. Et-freakin’-cetera. All have vigorous football programs and devout fan bases, and aren’t so different from central Pennsylvania. Maybe they don’t have coaches they refer to as Pop-Pop or Baba or Gramps or whatever, but the depth of feeling for the team and the experience of going to the games? The same. Your stadium’s smaller than Michigan’s and less grand than Ohio State’s. They party hard elsewhere, they have beloved rituals and favorite chants and jeez, have you even been to a football game elsewhere? Ever met a Notre Dame fan, a Domer? They’re as bad as you guys. I’m sure you’d get along like aces.
All this you-don’t-understand-stuff is part of the collective defense mechanism. Every 19-year-old kid who had a mic stuck in his face in the last week and said, “It’s different here,” needs to learn it’s not true. Because while it’s benign coming out of his mouth, it’s only the flip side of the justification that allowed everyone who participated in this coverup to do so in the name of the special-special Penn State football program and special-special-special State College, which must be preserved at any cost.
You’ve got to read the whole of Nance’s post.
And make sure you also read the Grantland column by Charles Pierce she mentions, The Brutal Truth About Penn State.