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Gary Alan Fine at the New York Times finds Penn State’s “vacating” of victories from the sports history of the school from 1998 to 2011 a move Orwell might have written about, had horse and porker not been serviceable for his purposes. His conclusion:

Social institutions, like the N.C.A.A., have an absolute right and a moral obligation to respond forcefully to crimes and infractions that occur in areas of their responsibility. The N.C.A.A. properly recognized that Penn State should be sanctioned, but it should not create a fantasized history. Men in suits should not undo what boys in uniforms have achieved.

While the shame of honoring flawed people in a record book is understandable, covering up what happened is never the solution. Building a false history is the wrong way to recall the past. True and detailed histories always work better.


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