Penn[sive] State

Posted on January 24, 2012 by


Although not surprising, given the average American’s zeal for both football & their Alma Mater, it’s still distressing to me to witness the outpouring of sentiment over the death of the  ex-coach of the Penn State football dynasty, Joe Paterno.

His role, or lack thereof, in the homosexual sex scandal involving assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, in one fell swoop forever tarnished ANY good he may have done within the sacred (and if you’ve ever seen a rabid Penn Stater, ‘sacred’ is quite apropos) halls of the now disgraced university.

Had Sandusky been stealing Penn State pigskin (footballs) and selling them at Flea Markets; or if he had gotten Joe to sign said pigskin, thereby upping their value…that would have been one thing…and Mr. Paterno would have been justified in merely fulfilling his contractual obligations by reporting the misdemeanor up the chain-of-command.

But Jerry Sandusky wasn’t selling ill-procured  pigskin…

…he was habitually and repeatedly raping, groping and sexually abusing young boys in the shower, at his home and in hotel rooms. And that’s a crime that warrants more than a mere reporting…it involves immediate action…even to the point of physically confronting Sandusky and turning him physically over to the authorities.

If I’m eating lunch in the mall and, after washing my hands in the men’s room, hear and/or witness a woman’s screams or cries for help in a back hallway – merely reporting it to a mall watchman isn’t enough. I’d either call aloud for men to help me, or myself stop the crime from going any further. I’d have a moral duty to a fellow human being to stop the crime. I wouldn’t categorize the event as “horseplay” (as was done at Penn State) or wait until I arrived home to call the police or, worse, Mall Management…

…I’d DO something about it – not only to prevent the specific crime – but  ensure that the perpetrator didn’t continue on in his victimization of women.

And that’s my problem with Penn State and Joe Paterno. They let the great god “Football”, and their scores, cloud their moral obligation to scores of young men and their families. Joe’s defense was “I wasn’t sure what to do about the charge”, “I did what I thought was the right thing” and “I wish I’d done more”

…hardly the actions of the “hero” or “man of moral courage” that his misguided fan-base (drunk college kids looking to get laid after the football game) paints him as.

There’s a warped irony at work in a culture that jeers Tebow, while cheering Paterno…or, perhaps it’s simply a microcosmic encapsulation of our stunted society. Either way there are a lot of young skulls full of mush who, I pray, wake up one day to a world where they can clearly distinguish between “wrong” & “right” – at the rate we’re going, however, it could be farther off than the farthest known horizon.

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