Because everything today needs an online petition for or against something and anything, there is an online petition asking Penn State not to hire Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
Penn State is planning a major announcement Saturday afternoon, hours after a contract is reported to be voted on by university officials. Franklin is expected to be formally introduced as the next head coach at Penn State, succeeding Bill O’Brien, Saturday afternoon. With the university still rebuilding from the debris left behind by the Sandusky scandal shaking the community like an earthquake, Franklin’s hiring has raised some eyebrows in light of recent events at Vanderbilt related to rape.
“We at Penn State do not want a football coach who has allegedly covered up his players’ gang rape of another student at Vanderbilt,” the petition, started by Michelle Rodino-Colocino, an associate professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies, opens. “Our university needs to stand up for human rights.”
“In response to some comments that allegations of a cover up [at Vanderbilt] have not been proven, it is important to remember that there has not yet been a trial,” the petition continues. “Media has reported that defendants’ lawyers may subpoena Franklin to testify about his role, if any, in a cover up of the alleged attacks by his players. If this happens, Penn State will then be embroiled in another set of rape cases.”
Yeah, sure, that should be a bit of a concern, but considering Penn State’s decision makers have their jobs potentially on the line with this hire you would think that homework has already been done. Of course, if you believe Penn State’s administrators are complete fools, this is a valid concern still. You make the call on that one.
The petition takes assumptions that Franklin is indeed guilty of being involved in a coverup among coaches, but a district attorney said last September there was “clearly no evidence that Franklin is involved in the coverup.”
There is still some healing to do at Penn State, for many people and many reasons. Penn State is still a split fanbase and community, but hiring Franklin is far from a move that should not be considered given the facts to date.