Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Penn State Story is About Pedophilia, Not Football

The horrifying scandal emerging from Pennsylvania State University is first and foremost about the repeated sexual abuse of boys by a man.  What makes it worse is that the man used his prominence as a coach to run a charity for boys, who he then took advantage of.  And that scandal, horrible as it already was, was made worse by two of his bosses lying and covering up for the coach, which let him keep abusing more boys for more years.

The best element of the story thus far is that the criminal is in jail and the liars have been fired.

A relatively minor element of the story is that two of the criminal's bosses, though they did further the investigation of the crimes, did not do so with enough diligence.  As a result, Penn State also fired these other two bosses.  It matters a bit that the university trustees were willing to fire the university president because he was not zealous enough in prosecuting sexual abuse of children by a university employee.  This is to the university's credit.

The least important part of this story is that the head football coach was also fired for not being zealous enough in furthering the prosecution of sexual abuse of children by one of his staff members.

So why was the lead element of the news story in many venues - including those that don't care about sports - that head coach football coach Joe Paterno was fired?  Why did Penn State students riot in the street about the firing of the head football coach - and not about the sexual abuse by the assistant football coach?

Because big-time sports are the religions of the masses.


Brendan said...

I was trying to make this same point just now, but I couldn't fit it into 140 characters. Even religion isn't religion. No Catholics rioted when widespread rape and abuse by the clergy came to light, but then, priests don't win games.

Susan Perkins Weston said...

Actually, pedophilia is way too soft a word. It's about raping children and preparing to rape children and it's about hearing a direct first-hand report of child rape and doing nothing that would keep it from happening again.

No matter how many scholar-athletes a coach helps and no matter how many games he wins, he doesn't get to average that together with knowing a rapist is still working with children and knowing he's using his connection to your team to recruit his victims. It doesn't net out as he gets to keep his job and stay a hero to his fans.

Pastor Dennis said...

I think we are not properly educated in morality or ethics or priorities. I remember when I was in college, being told by another student about a frat party he had attended where a girl had been gang-raped: I mean that (reportedly)there was apparently a long line of guys in the back yard of the fraternity waiting for their turn with a drunk girl who was resisting. The other guy and I were both Christian kids and we never thought of reporting it. I am ashamed of that now.

gruntled said...

I think what shames us is not that we didn't know the rules, but that we did not have the strength of character to act on them. I include myself in that indictment.

Anonymous said...

I think it's frightening for us a humans to contemplate what we would do in certain situations. What would we have done in Abraham's situation, or Judas,or Peter? What would we have done in Mike McQueary's situation? I'm not defending Mike McQueary, I think he should be fired.

But it frightens me to think that I might have done the same. I hope not, but I wonder.+

Anonymous said...

The Occupy movement camp grounds have rape free zones and don't report rapes. Why no outrage? Because they are not right wingers?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see the quiet prayerfull riot before the Penn State game. It was quite touching.

Redspect said...
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