Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Penn State Students' Reaction Points to the Greater Problem

I am a pretty emotional guy.  I lost my voice for a week after the Pistons won the 2004 NBA Championship because I was screaming with unparalleled passion for the entire five game series.  It should be noted, I watched every game from my house, which made for some awkward stares from my parents.

I cried watching "Rudy" and conveniently had something in my eye while screening "The Notebook."

I listened to Lionel Richie and Boyz II Men on repeat after one girl broke my heart.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

But, rarely have I felt as emotional and heartbroken as I did Wednesday night.

I watched the Penn State Board of Trustees press conference announcing the firing of football coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier with great intrigue.

The inaction of these two men of power in not reporting the allegations of child sexual abuse against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to law enforcement warranted their dismissal.  What they didn't do is as indefensible as what Sandusky did do.

PSU's Board had no choice but to remove Paterno and Spanier.  It had to not because of backlash across the country, not because of outcry from journalist, but because there are at least eight boys whose innocence and lives were ruined due to these men doing nothing.

But, what I found so appalling Wednesday was the reaction to the news of the firings from the PSU students who took to the streets in State College in support of their fallen, disgraced coach.

I can't understand what they are so mad about.  They are losing a football coach.  Football is a game.  The victims of Jerry Sandusky lost much more.

The students' reaction is a vivid reminder about what went wrong at Penn State in the first place.  Football was put before the well being of human beings.

I'm sure none of the victims will ever win more than 400 college football games, none will ever help the university build up a billion dollar endowment, none will ever donate money to construct a library on campus and you know what?  It doesn't matter.

That doesn't make their lives any less valuable than a man who was blessed with knowledge of a game and great opportunities.

Rioting because a coach will no longer draw up X's and O's is absurd.  Joe Paterno has been able to live a comfortable life for the past nine years since learning of what Sandusky did.  He has been praised and glorified by every part of the college sports community.

Meanwhile, the boys who were molested undoubtedly have been anything but comfortable.  They were tormented and manipulated for no reason other than they trusted a person who they looked to for guidance.

Joe Paterno could have done more to stop this tragedy.

If PSU students think Joe Pa's firing is unjust, where is the justice for the victims?!

Football is not more important than any single person and to protest because the likelihood of your team winning on Saturday is dimished is sick.

What is stunning is not that Joe Paterno and other PSU administrators were fired.  What is stunning is the lack of compassion and remorse for those whom they hurt.

Penn State should be ashamed.


  1. I had the same reaction as yours about Penn State students. Just wonder what if the victims were their brothers, do they still support Paterno.


  2. JoPa received the news second-hand from a graduate-assistant about a friend of 30+ years. He did not see it with his eyes. The grad-assistant, who was actually there, should have went to the police, or better yet, as a 28 yr old man, pulled the 50-60+ yr old man off of the child. JoPa did what procedure told him to do. Had he went to the police, it would have been hearsay and would the corroboration of the grad-assistant. The tragedy is still the pain of those molested, but using an 84-yr old who has dedicated his life to that university as a scapegoat because of the self-righteous, Monday-morning QB media is sad. The victims deserved better, JoPa deserves better, PSU deserves better. Sandusky will burn in hell. The board of trustees should be banned from campus.