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Memo to College Football Fans
What do you think about the firing of Joe Paterno? Do you agree with those upset that he was fired? If so, I urge you to read the Grand Jury Report on Jerry Sandusky. Did that ruin your day? Sorry, I can’t stop thinking about what those boys will think about their personal Psycho every time they see a shower. Also, I just want to know — what if one of the rape victims had been your son? Wouldn’t you want somebody to have stopped it, if they’d known, which they did.
As for all the witnesses and others in positions of accountability, especially in the athletic department, who remained quiet for years as Sandusky committed his shameful acts, there crime is more heinous. As MLK Jr. said (with Dante’s inspiration) “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
Now, for the student and player outrage over their beloved coach’s firing, and the potential impact on their lives. Do you have any idea how the rioting looks to people around the world? I grew up around football. My father played pro football, my husband played in college and one of my children played played OL in high school and college. I dutifully wore the team colors every game day, and cheered and despaired over plays I can no longer remember. Football games are certainly occasions to build school spirit, but my husband, son and I are horrified to see students supporting a coach who did not prevent a criminal from such disgusting abuse. A coach is a role model in our society. He has an obligation to set a moral standard for his team, as well as the millions who follow the games. No one is above the law, not even kings of the great American pastime. Couldn’t he say more even now — than that he was disappointed with the Trustees’ decision? Really?
Jon Stewart said it best on The Daily Show Thursday night as he compared the football institution to the Catholic Church, as well as the criminal coverups of child molestation. Addressing the Penn State students, he chided them:
“No one’s trying to take away your religion, in this case football — they’re just trying to bring some accountability to a pope and his bishops who funked up…and don’t worry, you’ll still get to go to your services on Saturday against Nebraska. Nobody’s going to try to take that away, because obviously you’re young, and that would be a traumatic experience, and we wouldn’t want that memory to scar you for life.”
- Photo: Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sideline. Taken by Associated Press. Released into the public domain (by the author).