As I watched the students of Penn State marching in droves through their campus, I could only sigh. Heavily. I knew the announcement of Joe Paterno’s firing would result in chaos, you could sense this college community was on the verge of hysteria. The man they held aloft as the symbol of success, their father figure, their football icon, was falling from grace right behind the tanking of their once-esteemed university.
Being a sports fan, I know Joe Paterno, I know Penn State, I know the powerhouse of their football program. I’ve respected Paterno and I never imagined his career and this storied program would end in this manner. Never.
It disgusts me. There are no words to describe the horror I felt when I heard the allegations. Sandusky is a monster, a predator, and Penn State kept the monster hidden. Sandusky should’ve been arrested the very day he was witnessed assaulting a boy on campus. The university, its administration and the football staff, including Paterno, should’ve done everything to stop the monster, but they didn’t and they are all to blame. Penn State chose money and football over the priority of protecting innocent children.
As well, what are we teaching our children, our youth? It was obvious in those news reports of the riots on campus. Why weren’t these students rioting out front of Sandusky’s home, protesting the abuse of those young boys? Why weren’t they out there demanding answers from their institution, passionately advocating for the rights of those young boys? Because as a society we place our sports figures on pedestals so high, we can’t bear it when they come plunging back to earth. These figures can do no wrong. And when they do make a mistake, we make excuses for them, place blame elsewhere. We tend to view these individuals as Gods, not humans doing a job related to athletics, they’re more than that, right?
Wrong. But, how do we change this perception? How do we stop this other monster? I don’t have the answers. All I know is Penn State has more work to do. There are young men out there whose lives have been forever ruined and someone, at long last, has to be held accountable and this includes the mighty JoePa.