|Israel worships the golden calf (Exodus 32)|
Keown may be correct in his analysis—or maybe not. The matter is debatable. The point here, however, is that as a sports writer he is looking for a way to deal with idolatry, that is to bring it to an end. He writes, "You can't tell us the problem is with the idolatry that comes from winning and then make decisions that are based solely on the importance of wins and losses." He is taking the concept of idolatry seriously and using it to deal with a real-world issue that has important social implications.
In the church, we make one additional critical observation that does not appear in the sports analysis of idolatry. That is, idolatry is essentially a spiritual issue. It happens whenever we elevate the mundane to the status of God. And, ultimately, the only effective antidote is faith in God, Creator & Lord of the universe. The worship of anything else—Joe Pa, for example—will one sooner or later collapse in on itself, sometimes with devastating repercussions.
(For another thoughtful piece on the Sandusky scandal see the Christian Science Monitor editorial, "NCAA sanctions on Penn State football: Why only penalties?" Although it doesn't use the theological language of idolatry, it is similar to Keown's analysis in calling for fundamental cultural changes in college football.)