Over the weekend, Rutgers played the first game of its Big Ten career, squaring off against Penn State University in a 13-10 defeat. In the prelude to the match-up, certain Rutgers fans decided to engage in some good-natured ribbing with their opponent, announcing themselves loud and clear to the rest of the conference. And by "good-natured ribbing", we mean "super offensive taunting involving a convicted child molester". Don't you just love the pageantry of college football?
Rutgers fans tail-gating before the game were spotted wearing shirts that read, "Beat Ped State!", a clear reference to the imprisoned pedophile, Jerry Sandusky, formerly the defensive coordinator for Penn State. As you can see, one fan was even wearing the shirt around a child. Must've been a fun conversation for that guy when he had to clarify what "Ped" means.
Meanwhile, another fan made a sign bearing the logo for the Arlington Pediatric Center, which is really the last thing you should pair with the words, "Penn State University".
Today, the Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann issued an apology to Penn State fans, calling the behavior, "regrettable" as well as "inappropriate and offensive":
On behalf of Rutgers University and the Athletic Department, we would like to apologize for the regrettable actions of a handful of Rutgers fans on Saturday that do not convey the message of good, competitive spirit that we look forward to having with our new Big Ten rival Penn State University.
Some of the signage and t-shirts that we have been made aware of were both inappropriate and offensive.
I have spoken with and apologized to the Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and I would like to apologize equally to the Penn State University fans, as well as Rutgers fans that were subjected to this classless display that does not represent the ethos of our university, athletic department or fan base.
The two inappropriate pictures that appeared briefly on our Facebook page as part of a 200-picture montage were immediately removed when we were alerted to their content.
It is unfortunate that the actions of a few spoiled an otherwise historic and recording-setting night that Rutgers fans provided for our first Big Ten football game.
Of course, let's not forget what likely spurred these Rutgers fans to act so tastelessly in the first place. Recently, the NCAA prematurely relieved Penn State from the sanctions levied against them following the Sandusky scandal of 2011. As a result, the school will be able to appear in bowl games starting this postseason. To celebrate the NCAA's leniency, Penn State students gathered in large numbers last week chanting Joe Paterno's name, along with, "Where's the statue?"
They also chanted, "4-0-9," a reference to Joe Paterno's career win total at Penn State before NCAA sanctions vacated 112 of his victories. By the way, just so it's clear, Joe Paterno may have been an all-time coaching legend, but he was also an enabler for Sandusky, who, again, is a serial child molester. But, hey, school spirit!
So, really, nobody wins here. Rutgers fans are tasteless for bringing up the Sandusky scandal, while Penn State fans are tasteless for trying to bury their regrettable history. Yum!