Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

November 10, 2011

Poison Penn

Filed under: Tools for Life Posts — by Life's Toolbox @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I should not be writing this.  I have so many others things to do, so many deadlines to meet.  I am afraid if I do not take the time to speak out, however, mine will be yet another silence that greets the victims of Penn State’s horrific inaction.  Over the past days, as the story of Coach Sandusky’s alleged abuse of numerous young boys (over 40 counts of abuse with 8 boys spanning 15 years), and the response, or lack thereof on the part of the athletic and University leadership, I have had endless opportunities to scream at my tv and radio.  I am beyond incensed.

I am incensed that the $70 million per year that football brings to Penn State has been seen as more valuable than the uncountable and infinite cost of a child’s soul and safety.  I am incensed that the players interviewed before the firing of long standing coach Paterno, sang his praises and waxed poetic about his caring contribution to the team.  Can we really celebrate a man’s accomplishment on the field if he turns a blind eye to such heinous damage of young children in his locker rooms?   It is beyond comprehension to me that last night, after Paterno and the University President were fired, riots of a sort broke out on Penn’s campus – NOT riots to support the many victims of abuse who have been, for years, watching in shadow while uniformed athletes and whistled coaches were cheered onto the field – but to argue against the removal of their beloved coach!  I listened with intense dismay at the temporary interim coach say, before he offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims, that his task was to give the current team for this weekend’s game – the senior game – the game they have worked so hard for and that they “deserve”.

If Paterno really was a great man, he would have built a team that would care less about what they deserve, and care more about contributing in a meaningful way to their world.   Frankly, if the University pulled its team off the field, devoted a day of learning to social injustice and abuse of power, and explored its failure to generate in its faculty and students a proper moral compass,  I would not think it an over-reaction.

I know this is a mother’s rave.  This is not how sports, or the world works.  You defend your territory, attack the opposition, run from those who would bring you down, and keep your eyes only on your goal.  I can’t help thinking how easily we ignore the words of great men – Machiavelli’s warning that power corrupts  – and the absolute power we assign to athletes and coaches has all too often corrupted absolutely.

I am incensed, but I am also incredibly sad.  There are very hurt children and our airwaves are clogged with accolades for the coach and debates over the University’s actions.  I, for one, can not keep quiet.    Einstein’s words ring in my ears – “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”.  We cannot raise healthy, safe children in a world with the evil of a Sandusky.  But until the Paterno’s of the world understand, and put an end to their contribution to this dangerous world – how can we be silent?


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