Scarlet Letter

Every year I make my students read all about Hester Prynne and her very public sin in Puritan New England. I rant about America’s refusal to leave behind its Puritan roots by making such a big deal out of every politician’s extra-marital affairs. Why should we care? I ask. And why does everyone need to know? It seems to be an incredible contradiction: don’t engage in unholy activities, but if you do, we’ll make darn sure the world knows about it.

So when I first read the story about Harvey Unga leaving BYU, as a fan I was devastated. His is a huge whole to fill, and recruiting for next year is mostly over.

But when I started connecting the dots, like this journalist did, I was sad for Unga, because just like Hester’s ‘A,’ the whole world can guess at his sin. And true, it is a guess–no one really knows or needs to know. But Miss Hester didn’t have to contend with a 24 hour news cycle, rabid fans, or insensitive bloggers.

I feel for him and his family. Every choice has consequences; it just sucks that publicity is part of his.

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