Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Screaming at the radio

One of the observations I have of many humans is how easily their lives tumble out of control.  I have found my self observing the occasional mess of a person and thought "it was probably one or two decisions, probably seemed harmless enough at the time, that snowballed into the disaster you have now."

Since the revelations of the horrifying sexual abuse perpetrated by former Penn State coach Sandusky, there have been many conversations about child abuse, responsibility, and who should have done what and when.

Which is what led me to screaming at the radio today, while some dip of a student was interviewed on a news program I was listening to.  This poor, stupid child, was nearly in tears as she declared that the sanctions imposed on Penn State by the NCAA were going to ruin her opportunities to get an education.

Um, how?  Are you losing your football scholarship?  Does your degree depend upon Penn State going to a bowl game?

These sanctions are not about the actions of Jerry Sandusky.  They are about the actions, and lack of action, from the administrators who decided to take the cowards' way out.  This punishment is about the athletic director, head coach, and president who KNEW they should have (legally, ethically, and morally) reported the abuse to off campus authorities, but put their own comforts, the reputation of the school, and the game of football above the well being of untold children.  In doing so, they communicated to the victims that football is more important than their very lives, and to Sandusky that so long as they didn't have to confront it themselves, carry on.

Lots of talking heads have plead that JoePa's lifetime of achievement shouldn't be forever tainted by the criminal acts of another.  But, when JoePa's influence convinced others to not act, he committed a crime nearly as great as the abuser himself.  One decision, seemingly harmless, snowballed into a tragedy.

So, Penn State student who thinks this is about you . . . perhaps you stop to consider that JoePa and your athletic director and your university president were criminals too.

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