Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Penn State...And Why It Bothers Me So Deeply

As the mother of sexual abuse survivor, any story of children being molested turns my stomach and makes me feel just a "tiny bit" violent toward the perpetrators. The more I hear about the things that went on at Penn State, and the "cone of silence" that apparently dropped over the whole thing, the more I want to lash out at people.

Granted, the majority of those involved have NOW been punished, with legal charges as well as losing their jobs. However, one person still goes unpunished, untouched by anyone, and it irritates the soup out of me. Joe Paterno is a human being, just as fallible as the rest of us, not some superhero, pop icon, football god.

This is a man who, for decades, has preached to his players, and the world, that “You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That is the mark of a true professional.” Where was that philosophy when he chose to do only the MINIMUM required of him, and to only report the molestation of a ten year old boy to his immediate superior, and then let it go...for nearly TEN YEARS...without pushing for something more to be done.

How many children might have been spared the humiliation and trauma of molestation if this had been reported to the police in 2002, or sooner? Why was taking away Sandusky's keys to the locker room considered a reasonable penalty for having been discovered having anal sex with a child? What sort of world have they created at Penn State that makes this acceptable?

And now, Joe has announced that he'll retire at the end of this season, when his current contract runs out. Big deal! I have a feeling that he was already planning to retire then, anyhow. IMO, he should step down IMMEDIATELY, regardless of the position that might put the football team and their precious win/loss record in for the remainder of the season. Once in a while, there are, in fact, things more important than football, even in Pennsylvania!!

Jim Tressel was vilified for not reporting what he knew about TATTOOS...tattoos, for pete's sake!!!...and I was among those who believed it was important for him to step down, morally and ethically. How much more important is it now that Paterno not get a pass for his involvement in child molestation, because, let's not sugarcoat it, he was an accomplice to that crime by keeping silent and not taking his knowledge to the police.

So....those are my thoughts on the situation as it stands now. Feel free to discuss.

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