I want to comment on the heinous new/grand jury report that was announced on Sunday. Growing up in Delaware, a few hours from Penn State, I know a good number of people who are connected to the university. I have many friends, including a good friend from high school, who graduated from Penn State. I also know a lot of people through the Y who live in the State College area. This child sex abuse scandal is really hitting home for me... it's showing up all over my FB newsfeed, and is being discussed all around me. And I'm having a really hard time hearing what some of these people are saying. The urgent jump to defend the University and Joe Paterno seems a little strange to me. My friend S (who lives and works in the State College area) put it best in her status on Facebook last night:
corrupt innocent children, altering their lives forever. There is one question I just keep asking myself. How did not a single person go to the police with this information? I also wonder just how many people knew... it had to be a lot more than just those 5 or 6 men.
So, with so many people not going to the police with such a pressing, devastating, life altering matter, one has to question, why? As I posted on my Facebook status, with a link to an interesting article in the NY Times today, the sense of secrecy must have been fueled by something. The urge to protect the prestige of the program, the money flow (Penn State brings in millions of dollars each year from football games), salaries and pensions, and the good name that Penn State has in our country and with college football fans. The 'Grandfather of College Athletics' as JoePa is often referred to, obviously wanted minimal tarnish to his program's name, a program that he has been in charge of for 45 years. And covering it up at the cost of children and their innocence is beyond me...totally beyond me.
Everyone is so worked up about it. People have all these opinions and, as with most high profile sex abuse scandals, the attention is being thrown to the wrong places. In my opinion, these nameless boys that have come forward and bravely given information about their abuser are the ones who deserve our attention and our support. Not Penn State Athletics, and certainly not the Coach-God who knew that it was happening and did not do enough to stop it.
How do these boys feel right now? Yes, their abuser will receive punishment for his crimes. But, showing support for the man who didn't do enough, who could have done so much more... that's embarrassing. The message being sent it, "It wasn't okay for Jerry Sandusky to abuse you, but it was okay for Joe Pa to know about it and let it happen".
The least that can be done is to turn the support those nameless boys who have come forward. They are the victims.
Not an 84 year old football coach who may be forced to retire from his job.
Support the real victims in this case.