My family is from Pennsylvania, and includes several Penn State graduates. When I first heard that former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing eight boys, and the abuse seems to have been ignored and/or covered up by Head Coach Joe Paterno, and other administration officials, I immediately felt rage and anger. As a mother of two pre-teen boys, I cannot imagine how anyone could witness such abuse, or hear about it firsthand, and then not act to help or avenge the victims.
Here are five things to think about in the wake of such a tragedy:
5. It’s not the first of its kind. From the beginning, the creeps at Penn State took their cues on how to handle this situation from the Catholic Church. When people are deified, whether in sports or religion, they believe they can do whatever they want.
Remember the Boston Red Sox and a similar scandal a few decades back? Donald Fitzpatrick, a clubhouse manager for the team, was charged with sexually abusing at least 12 young boys. When allegations surfaced, Tom Yawkey, Red Sox owner, protected Fitzpatrick and refused to get rid of him.
Arrogance and violence go hand in hand with organized sports, so when professional athletes are arrested for victimizing women and animals, is it any surprise that some of them hurt children as well?
When we take fallible human beings and bestow upon them a godlike status, let’s no longer pretend the consequences aren’t devastating. Men in sports, or a priest’s robe, are not deities. They are people, like everyone else, and the extraordinary power they are given does harm to everyone in their path.
And how about those students, rioting over Paterno’s firing? They weren’t angry about child rape. They weren’t angry that Paterno didn’t do much of anything to stop the abuse. They were angry that he was fired as a result.
Perhaps you need to live outside Happy Valley to know that a) Scrapple isn’t a food group and b) Paterno should have been arrested and charged with a crime for not going to the police.