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Tags: Penn | State | scandal | Paterno

Penn State's Players Deserve Support

By    |   Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:41 PM EST

I'm rooting for Penn State's football team to win the national championship this season.

The school's recent scandal was covered from every angle, and we all know how horrific it was. The people who have been accused of wrongdoing merit no sympathy. They'll get what they deserve in both a court of law and the court of public opinion.

But the student-athletes on the football squad deserve to get a break.

Penn State is trying to create a new legacy. It has hired Bill O'Brien, the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, to replace the disgraced Joe Paterno, who coached the football team to glory for nearly a half-century.

O'Brien looms to have the most challenging coaching job since Gene Hackman in the movie "Hoosiers." Remember, Hackman's team won a championship, too.

The school has flushed out the creeps, and the players deserve to have some support. College football players are often the bad apples, while the coaches say they had no idea what was going on. That's standard operating procedure.

It would be nice if the players who have to stick it out at Happy Valley are rewarded with the support from their fans and the nation at large.

The players have no recourse. Unlike the guys in the National Football League, they aren't permitted to become free agents and jump to another team. They have to remain with the Nittany Lions, or risk their hard-fought scholarships.

It's not easy to muster support for a college football player, I understand — or for this particular program. These athletes have a reputation for their abhorrent behavior off the field and they often lack any semblance of sophistication. Often, their mission is to stay in school long enough to qualify for the NFL draft.

I don't expect you to share my point of view. The world is in enough trouble without worrying about some overindulged college football jocks.

I just think it's an injustice for these Penn State players to get the short end of the stick in the much-discussed scandal on campus. But what's fair is fair. These players deserve to get a break.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:41 PM
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