New Allegations Surround New Penn State Football Coach, James Franklin. Will Anything Be Done?
How does James Franklin still have a job?
Why does Penn State still have a football team?
Are these questions strong? Of course.
Are these questions worth asking? Of course.
The allegations that came to light yesterday against Penn State’s newly hired head football coach James Franklin are disgusting and disturbing. As was previously known, while at Vanderbilt four of Franklin’s football players were accused of the rape of a female student. The new information that was released alleges that Franklin both had contact with the victim after the alleged rape and had previously created a fifteen girl hostess committee for recruits. As detailed today by Tony Gonzalez of the Tennessean:
- Franklin and then Vanderbilt strength and conditioning coach Dwight Galt — now also at Penn State — contacted the victim four days after the alleged rape during a medical exam because “they cared about her because she assisted them with recruiting”
- Franklin had previously contacted the victim and told her he wanted her to “get fifteen pretty girls together and form a team to assist with recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules”
Contacting the victim because she “assisted with recruiting” and trying to create a fifteen girl hostess crew are serious enough allegations on their own. More troubling is that evidence in this case has been destroyed. As first reported by Buzzfeed last September there are further allegations (which Franklin through his attorney has denied) that accuse Franklin of knowingly telling his players to destroy of a video of the incident.
The Tennessean reported Franklin has declined comment and he has since issued a statement saying he has been in full cooperation with authorities.
Do these allegations mean that Franklin is guilty? I don’t know – I don’t think any of us do at this point. But they do mean that Franklin was involved on a level that is unsettling and concerning at best, and a level that is disgusting at worst.
Unfortunately, as this is not the first time we have seen a case like this develop, it has become increasingly clear that this goes beyond Franklin and Penn State to an institutionalized problem with college athletics. But the fact remains we now KNOW of a situation at Vanderbilt where this did take place and we KNOW of a situation at Penn State where a culture of cover-up of rape and sexual assault was fostered. Anyone who tries to pin this on “the culture of college athletics” is trying to deflect criticism at Penn State and/or James Franklin and not address the issue at hand.
Penn State today should suspend Franklin while the investigation continues.
Penn State today should reinstate the original punishment handed down by the NCAA and hope that is all that is handed to them.
If you want to pin this as a cultural issue – fine so be it.
If you want to pin this as an isolated issue at Penn State – fine so be it.
But we have a duty as a society that operates under a Social Contract to address tragedies and promote justice and rectitude.
The NCAA got it wrong with Penn State the first time.
Penn State got it wrong with their hiring of James Franklin.
Its time for the NCAA and it’s institutions to properly address evil and wrongdoing and act like institutions that still care about education and justice.
The day after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gave former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling a lifetime ban for his deplorable comments, the NCAA has a chance to right a wrong. If the NCAA and it’s institutions acts timidly as they have in the past it will allow for a despicable culture to continue.
Does anyone wonder still why Bill O’Brien ran for greener pasture of the NFL when he saw the chance?
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