It's not about football!
If you have been following the ghastly news of the Penn State scandal, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
To recap, allegations of child molestation have surfaced against former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky has been charged with forty counts of sexual assault against eight boys attending his Second Mile charitable football camp between 1994-2009. Compounding this tragedy is the fact that Sandusky's alleged lecherous conduct was known to Penn State officials, including Coach Joe Paterno, who reported an incident of abuse but failed to follow through to see that justice was done. When news of Paterno's forced retirement was announced, students at Penn State protested in the streets and violently overturned two television news trucks.
Are they kidding? Wake up, kids! You're in college and old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. This is not about football! Let me break it down for you. Think of it like this: if you were en-route to a football game and saw a little boy being molested, would you continue to the stadium, or would you dial 911 immediately? Oh...wait...if you can't understand why Coach Paterno must resign, you probably don't know the right answer.
A job – any job – or, as in this case, a game, does not compare to the life and wellbeing of a child. There will be other coaches! For heaven's sake! People do their jobs, receive recognition, pats on the back, a gold watch at retirement, and then fade into history, hopefully with personal memories of a job well done. Someone new takes their place, and the cycle begins again. There is no do-over for a child. A child is an irreplaceable treasure that should be safeguarded at all costs. In a perfect world, adults in positions of authority, whether teachers, priests, coaches, or parents, would recognize and honor the responsibility and privilege of working with children. Sadly, our world is not like that. A despicable code of silence and complicity, one that protects the institution rather than the individual, thrives in our society. And if some Penn State students, the adults of tomorrow, are more concerned with football than justice, their priorities are alarmingly skewed.
If Jerry Sandusky molested young boys, and Coach Joe Paterno knew about just one such incident, then Paterno is guilty of betraying that one child and all others Penn State's silence and ignorance jeopardized.
I repeat: it is not about football!