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The Penn State Report: Punishment At What Cost?

Just when we thought the Penn State child sex abuse scandal couldn’t get any worse, comes The Freeh Report. The former head of the FBI, Louis Freeh, spearheaded an independent investigation into the scandal involving former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse after it was discovered he had been abusing young boys who were part of his charity.

When the facts were presented in court, many of us suspected that Penn State officials must have had some knowledge; I mean former assistant football coach Mike McQueary testified seeing Sandusky abusing a boy in the showers, then told authorities, including Coach Joe Paterno, all of whom did nothing. Now Paterno is dead, Sandusky is in jail and a whole host of other, high-level school officials are facing charges. Needless to say this story has been burning up the Twitterverse and is all over Facebook, which leads me to the point of this post.

What now? What should happen to Penn State’s football program? And what sort of impact will it have?

It’s interesting to see the reaction when you ask that question. For example, someone on Twitter worried that shutting down the Penn State Football program would punish kids in who couldn’t play football anywhere else. Someone on Facebook worried about the economic impact and livelihood it would have on others in the community. And of course we can’t forget the students who rioted in the streets after it was announced that Paterno, the grandfatherly, head coach of Penn State, affectionately called JoePa, had been fired.

There’s a part of me that wants to understand. I get that it might be hard on the lives and livelihood of those left to pick up the pieces. But you want to talk about lives that need to be rebuilt? How about all of Sandusky’s victims? Talk about trying to pick up the pieces.

See, here’s the thing. I am a mother of a teenage boy. When I see, hear, read about this mess, I think about my boy. I think about the mothers who told their sons they would be safe with Sandusky; that he was a good man who was trying to help them. And I think if the adults with a bunch of misplaced priorities, who knew something was up yet didn’t do a damn thing. According to the  Freeh report, they showed a “striking lack of empathy” in dealing with this case and its victims (for 14 years), apparently more concerned with the humane treatment of their colleague.

WHAT?! They were more concerned about the frailty of a grown man abusing young boys? Come on now. Talk about misplaced priorities.

And this where we find ourselves now. Maybe it’s just me but honestly I have a hard time understanding how any parent could think about the future of the Penn State football program where there are lives that have been shattered by the men associated with it.

Can anyone explain why Penn State ‘s program should not be shut down for a long, long time? What do you think should happen to Penn State’s program?

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