July 18, 2012

If Your School Has a Penn State Story

Remember when the Catholic church child abuse stories started to break, and we started thinking these were just random outliers. "Not my church." We had no idea how widespread this behavior and cover-up were.

So, why do we think Penn State is the end of the story here, or even the worst part of it?

Just because it's so inconceivably horrific?

Right now, sports talk radio is full of people debating how hard to come down on Penn State - whether or not to strip away the school's NCAA designation entirely - and the need to send a clear message to other schools.

But, what message does that actually send to schools who are currently sitting on their own cover-up? Who, like Penn State, thought there might be a better way to handle it. To stop the problem without the catastrophic PR consequences.

Now, you're telling me coming forward might mean the certain destruction of the entire University, and potential jail time for me as an accessory?

While coming clean on my own might be better than getting caught, I think I just have to cross my fingers and hope I can get away with the secret forever.

If our goal is for whistle blowers to find the courage to speak out against power, we need to be certain we don't incentivize staying silent.