Those of you who look to The Turkey for instant, up-to-the-second news will be thrilled to know that I just learned of the Paternoesque punishment for the pugilistic party-crashers of the Penn State football team. My derivative news is subject to the delay factor of my whim of the moment, or my pain in the neck, or whatever. In any case, Paterno has decided on a unique form of punishment for “the incident”—the April Fool’s Day Massacre, better known as “On Any Given Saturday Night in State College.” This, of course, gives us something to talk about now that the muted buzzing following a dull Nittany Lion Blue/White spring game, the offensive line disappointments, and the ho-hum performance in the NFL Draft has long been lain to rest. Accordingly, let me take this opportunity to be the last of the acknowledged non compos mentis bloggers to weigh in on this background noise.
On Monday of last week, Paterno decried that the punishment for the team’s involvement in the fray would be levied against the entire team, not just those players singled out by the State College Police Department and the Centre County Assistant District Attorney. The punishment for what Paterno referred to as a “team embarrassment,” as you have undoubtedly read elsewhere by now, will take place over the entire 2007 season, and will require that the team de-trash Beaver Stadium after each home game.
These poor sumbitches are going to be sore from the previous day’s game and now, they’re going to be bending and stooping and climbing ramps and carrying trash bags? Every home Sunday? I’m dyin’ here! Paterno’s sadistic streak is showing! Maybe his leg pain is rendering him even more of a curmudgeon than before, but I’ve got to say that I love this cranky old guy’s tough love punishment!
I fondly recall that in Fifth Grade we would be punished as a class whenever a couple kids acted up. This worked, fostering an impromptu internal imposition of order by classmates. When Miss Harris left the room for a moment and kids starting acting up, Little Sammy Liberto would stand up, shush us, and sternly shout, “Punish assignment!!” So, we shut up, knowing that not only would we have to do extra, menial work but also we would be castigated by our innocent peers for emburdening them with the same. I think that Miss Harris meted out only a single punish assignment that school year, at the beginning. Sammy’s reminders kept us in line for the rest of the year. (That was in 1956, back when one had to behave in school.)
These man-children of the football team, of varying maturity levels but uniformly devoid of fully developed prefrontal cortexes, acted like bratty kids, exercising poor, alcohol/testosterone impaired judgment. Thus, they should be punished like bratty kids. Clean the stadium after the game, and no cookies with your beer tonight.
This is a simple-ass matter, with simple-ass punishment. It’s not international intrigue, and it’s not a chess game. It’s a simple-ass family situation. Paterno did well.
More serious punishment could still be imposed on Scirrotto and Baker by the criminal court, but that is another matter. In this case, I think Paterno has done his job, leaving the rest to the halls of justice. Nebulous accounts of the Saturday Night melee make it difficult to single out individual participants from the potential dozen or so suspects. So, the whole team gets the punish assignment. Maybe they’ll think twice before engaging in childish reprisals again. Paterno has done his part to instill a realization that one’s negative actions beget negative consequences, and he has attempted to amplify this notion through peer pressure. None of the players involved—and a dozen might be an understatement—took any action to stop the stupidity on that Saturday Night at the Meridian II; maybe next time some stupid behavior evidences itself, someone will rise to the occasion like a latter-day Little Sammy Liberto.
Life is not a paintball game. Perhaps Paterno’s Paternoistic punishment will put some hyperinflated egos in their place.