Unless you live under a rock, you no doubt have been mortified, like the rest of the country, by the child sex abuse scandal that is rocking Penn State and its football program. The shock that I felt was compounded by the fact that students, upon hearing of the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, began rioting, tearing up everything in their path, because they were pissed. Pissed that Coach “Jo Pa” was being dumped. Pissed that they might not win under someone else. Pissed because, surely, they didn’t have all the facts.
Because what they should have been pissed about was the alleged “use” of young children for a grown man’s sexual pleasure. After I read the report and the grand jury’s findings, I wanted to sit every one of those college students down, one by one (because people behave differently in groups than they do alone) and look them in the eyes and ask them, if winning a football game was worth all this? I think we know what the answer is.
But now what? Penn state has gone through a couple of high profile firings but what of the kids whose lives have been irreparably damaged? And they were victimized not once, but twice, allegedly by Jerry Sandusky and then again by the number of adults who let them down. The number of adults who knew they had a problem but did nothing about that problem except make it “retire”. And then what did they do? They went ahead and played football. Damn.
Something is really, REALLY wrong with a system that prides winning football games over the health and wellbeing of children who were already at a disadvantage. Like a cancer, it was insidious and quiet, until it exploded, threatening to take the host with it. Frankly, I’m not so sure that SHOULDN’T happen.
Look, I’m not a student and a big-time football college. But I am a mother. The thought of these boys having to endure what they did for as long as they did, while everyone looked the other way, is despicable. In fact, that word is not even strong enough. If Sandusky did these things, and in this country we’re innocent until proven guilty, well, then there’s a special place in hell for him. There has to be.
While the courts will take care of Jerry Sandusky, what should happen to the Penn State football program? Should a scandal this big, this horrifying, cause it to close its doors for good? Will keeping the football program alive, trivialize what these young people allegedly went through? Or after some time and distance, will they once again, be on the 50 yard line? I wish I knew the answer. What do you think?