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Monday, July 23, 2012

Penn State, hypocrisy and grace


Regarding the Wall Street Journal editorial "What Penn State Should Tear Down," B8, July 16: As a Penn State alumnus who worked for Joe Paterno as an academic counselor for players and knew of Jerry Sandusky through my roommate who played linebacker under his tutelage, I've listened to the condemnation of the university with sympathy and sadness. Sympathy because an internal investigation indicates that leaders at my alma mater protected football over children. Sadness, because decades of laudable goals and achievements are being swept away by personal failures and by hypocritical critics.
The laudable goals and achievements of Penn State's football program over the past half-century are chronicled in an impressive graduation rate and more importantly, in the character built in players who by their own testimonies learned lessons of life through the program.
The hypocrisy of Penn State leaders who violated their own standards is indisputable and merits censure and correction. Yet we expose our own hypocrisy by too eagerly condemning others while subtly approving ourselves by comparison. None of us is without moral lapse; we each violate either external moral standards or our own consciences. The main difference between our own hypocrisy and that of the accused Penn State officials is national media exposure.
The Penn State community is acknowledging its deep moral failure and undoubtedly will be attempting to re-establish its goals with authenticity and humility. Rather than casting stones, we should support that effort, since we ourselves can testify to the need for grace and redemption. 

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