La La How The Life Goes On

Say It Ain’t So, Joe.

Posted on: November 10, 2011

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Which begs the question of how long a man can ignore evil and still consider himself good.

I am speaking, of course, about the absolutely stomach-churning grand jury report detailing years of child sexual abuse at Penn State University by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Or, perhaps more accurately, I am speaking of the years of obfuscation and coverups of this abuse by university principals. The Penn State board of trustees has quite rightly fired both Joe Paterno and President Spanier effective immediately.

Why am I blogging about this when, until a few days ago, I could not have explained the difference between Joe Paterno and Joe Piscopo? Because this situation is so egregious, so horrifying and so disgraceful that it transcends any one athletic program or any particular university. It cuts to the heart of child exploitation, abuse and endangerment. It cuts to the heart of the often consequence-free environment in which many athletic programs operate. It cuts to the heart of how we, as a society, fail to protect at-risk kids from predators.

A few disturbing defenses I have read online:

1. Where were these kids’ parents?
Yes, let’s begin by blaming the victim. Then let’s ignore that Jerry Sandusky set up his foundation specifically to gain access to children who were vulnerable. Please note that wealthy kids with 6’4″, 200 lb. fathers living in a stable home environment were not targeted. That is no coincidence.

2. Why are we crucifying Paterno?
If I have to detail this to you, then you need help. He was told that his assistant coach was, at minimum, being “inappropriate” with young kids in his locker room; at worst he had been seen anally raping a child in his locker room. Hello? You want to give him credit for sending it one level up the chain as if his responsibility ended there? Please remind me to not leave my children in your care.

3. These guys aren’t totally to blame because they were not expected to know the signs of pedophilia like perhaps elementary and high school staff might.

What part of seeing or learning that a middle aged man put his penis in a 10-YEAR OLD BOY requires an advanced degree in social work? It’s straight-up criminal depravity that ought to have been taken to law enforcement (as the law requires in cases of child abuse) before Sandusky had a chance to leave the building. Still not convinced? What do you imagine would have happened if Sandusky had been seen raping a 10 year- old girl? And what of the grad assistant who witnessed one of the rapes? Well, he has been in full employment of the football program since that time. Clearly the powers that be at PSU allowed a monster to remain in their midst, in close contact with young boys. For that they are morally, even if not legally, guilty as sin.

4. Just another example of homosexuality’s evils.
Please listen, morons. Homosexuals are attracted to adults of the same gender. PEDOPHILES are sexually attracted to children. I’m not sure how much plainer I can state it.

5. It’s a travesty that Joe Paterno as been fired! He is praying for the victims!
Well, let me be not the first to say the victims don’t need Paterno’s fucking prayers; they needed him to lift a goddamn phone ten years ago. They needed him to maybe ask himself what he would do if that boy had been his child or grandchild. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have let it drop. Paterno’s program bore the motto, “Success with Honor.” I challenge you to find any honor left in his office. He got credit for all successes of the football program, and he must take responsibility for its abject moral failures. This is bigger than football and bigger than Paterno. This goes to the values of an entire university community that must repair its now-destroyed reputation.

So much anger and disbelief and heartache at a school I’ve never attended with a football team I’ve never seen. So what’s the real reason I care? Because I pray to God that YOU would step up to help my children if they were being hurt. I pray to God YOU would not value your job more than the life and safety of a child. I pray to God that YOU would not allow any adult–even one you like–to harm a child, however “nothing major” it seemed. I pray to God that all of us resolve to see the humanity in everyone– even the poor, at-risk and nameless among us.

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1 Response to "Say It Ain’t So, Joe."

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