Why the hell are we rioting?

Has your team won a championship? Has your team lost a championship? Did your superstar sign with another team? Did your coach leave town in the middle of the night? Are you just drunk and looking to burn some shit?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions that apparently licenses you to start a riot in this day and age.

Rioting may be the single dumbest premise, not only in sports, but in all of human nature. The idea that you should burn and pillage your own local businesses and properties is beyond ridiculous. Yet, people have rioted since the dawn of time for good causes, bad causes, historically insignificant causes, and for just no damn reason whatsoever. However, last night at Penn State, rioting got taken to an extreme new low.

With reports that Penn State’s board of trustees is currently planning an exit strategy in regards to Joe Paterno’s status as head coach, a group of nearly 1,000 Penn State students took to the street. Joe Paterno has undoubtedly built up an unbelievable amount of leeway when it comes to his status as the head coach. The man could practically be comatose, and the Penn State faithful would still owe him the luxury of going out on his own terms.

However, that hasn’t stopped people from complaining that Joe needs to be forced out before. From 2000-2004, Penn State posted losing records in four of five seasons and people pleaded for Paterno to step down. The Nittany Lions weren’t winning, Joe was a recruiting liability, and by golly it was just time for him to go.

So how now, after you bury the details of an alleged child molester can Penn State fans possibly justify standing by Paterno? No matter how much slack the man has been given, surely this is enough to sever ties, right?

Yet, Tuesday night, Penn State took to the streets, rioting in support of their coach. A man who failed to report accusations of a heinous child molestation crime to the authorities and potentially subjected a number of other children to the same fate. How is that possible?

The sad truth, if Penn State wasn’t 8-1 and on top of their division in the Big Ten, they likely wouldn’t, and therein lies a problem. Should wins and losses ever trump right and wrong?

There’s certainly a grey area in right and wrong; for example, if we’re talking about hundred-dollar handshakes to student athletes who can’t afford to provide for their families that’s one thing. However, when it comes to protecting the innocence of a child, it’s cut and dry, and wins and losses should never even enter the equation.

The bottom line is, you could be virtually certain that none of those students show up in Joe Paterno’s support if Penn State is 4-5, and that is wrong on so many levels.


About Ryan Wooden

Told people I was a sportswriter enough times for it to become true. Contributor at ChicagoSideSports.com, correspondent for the Morris Daily Herald, general freelancer and all-around idiot.
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