"Circle the wagons!" The problem of loyalty in the culture of college sports
What are the cultural aspects of college athletics that led employees of the athletic department and the university administration to cover-up the sexual abuses of revered coach Jerry Sandusky, who was sodomizing children for years in his dual role as the boss of the Second Line charity? Is Penn State football so revered in Pennsylvania that football coaches can’t be held accountable to the same moral and legal standards as all citizens? How come Sandusky wasn’t cut loose and dealt with in 1999, when charges first began to surface?
The answer lies in a disturbing part of the human psyche, in one of our tragic flaws that is essential for survival, but has also created its share of human misery throughout time. I’m talking about loyalty, which has the power to bind you to a group that means more than yourself, but also to blind you to the abuses that a group may make in its own interest.
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