As the nation struggles with the unveiling of the Penn State child abuse scandal and cover up, the real question is What kind of environment did the Penn State community create to allow abuse to prosper? Why did professors, boosters, students and businesses cover up the weaknesses and sins of men in favor of football glory?
Pointing the Finger at The People
The child abuse scandal and cover up at Penn State University teaches us lessons that we had better all pay attention to as Americans. Fingers have been pointed at Joe Paterno. He is now fired. Fingers have been pointed at the president, the witness and the accuser.
Who is pointing fingers at the people of Penn State?
Joe Paterno Larger Than Life
Who is it that allowed Joe Paterno to become larger than life? Was it his own doing to become a figure who was untouchable and potentially untouched by a sexual abuse scenario that would have brought down his program? Is this all JoePa’s fault?
The People of Penn State Are Responsible
What about the community who praised him as a legend? What about the students who showed up to the games assuming that he was a man who would always act with integrity? What about the parents who paid the tuition to a university that upheld JoePa so highly that they could not ask him to leave, even into his 80’s? What about the boosters who chose to focus on the cash rather than count the cost of honesty, playing the Penn State brand for all it was worth? What about the businesses – hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, apparel shops and sporting goods stores who benefited from the Penn State throngs?
Doesn’t every reasonably intelligent adult who is a member of the Penn State community and who artificially elevated Joe Paterno and the football machine that is Penn St. have a measure of culpability in this sexual abuse cover up?
Football More Important Than Innocence
Penn State, I’m not blaming you for the sexual abuse scandal. I’m blaming you for putting a man, any man, in this case, Joe Paterno, into a position of prominence that would make him and his football team more important than a ten year old boy who was taken advantage of by another man praised for his defensive prowess.
Each of you needs to look at yourself in the mirror and question Why?
A Warning for America to Stop Worshiping Sports and Athletes and Coaches
This is a warning to the rest of us Americans who also need to question why we continue to elevate men and women into positions of prominence, authority, responsibility and fame based solely upon their records, stat sheets and their abilities to run, jump and hit people hard.
All of this nonsense over a mere game that we play in our backyards, a sport that is based upon hitting and beating each other up.
As an avid sports fan, I can’t believe I am writing these words.
Football Gods Go Away
The gift of Penn State to the rest of America is a wake up call that allows us to call into the question the worship of our football gods.
Penn State is playing another football game this Saturday. Seriously?
For those at Penn State who participated in this cover up, implicitly and explicitly, I feel for you. Use this shame as an opportunity to re-prioritize your lives.
For those left to pick up the pieces and who have awakened to the consequences, be strong in leading your people down the path of righteousness.