Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State Shame

"May no act of ours bring shame"
Too late, Joe.

Ok, so as the wife of a Football Coach, you know I couldn't stay silent about this horrific situation at Penn State University. I thought letting some time pass would allow me to calm down and see this rationally. Yeah, not so much.

When the Board of Trustees fired Joe Paterno, I was relieved to see that they seemed to finally be getting their priorities straight. But it seemed a matter of too little too late. While Joe Pa might be the most visible villian here, he is by no means the only one.

First and foremost, Jerry Sandusky is the lowest form of life there is - a pedophile. There is no punishment dark enough, painful enough to pay for what he did. He is simply a waste of skin.

Then there's Mike McQueary. He actually witnessed Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy in the shower. What did he do? He called his father. Then he reported it to Joe Paterno.

Did he call the police? NO.

The reports keep mentioning that McQueary was a graduate assistant at the time - making it sound as if he were a young student himself. The man was 28 years old. A grown man who made a choice NOT to notify the police after he witnessed a crime.

Then there's Tim Curley, the Athletic Director. After Paterno reported what was witnessed in the shower, Curley informed his superiors and 10 days later, he and Senior VP of Finance Gary Schultz interviewed McQueary.

Did either of these men call the police? NO.

It took them over two weeks to take Sandusky's keys to the locker room and they banned him from bringing children into the football locker room (a ban that Curley admitted was unenforceable).

Gary Schultz supervised the campus police at the time. He stated that he thought the incident involved Sandusky "inappropriately grabbing the boy's genitals" but it was "not that serious." He also told the grand jury that he knew about a 1998 investigation into a similar incident involving Sandusky and a boy in a shower and STILL did not report this.

And lastly there is Graham Spanier the University President. The incident was reported to him and he was fully aware that neither the campus police or any other police agency were notified. This man has a background in sociology and marriage and family counseling and it never occurred to him to report this or follow up?

All of these men knew and CHOSE not to report it. Nor did any of them attempt to identify the boy involved or make one move to protect him or future victims.

The only moves they made were to protect the football program. This was a cowardly conspiracy of silence.

As I've said before, Sparky coaches football. For years we've understood that when it comes to holidays, family gatherings, social obligations, birthdays and such, they all come in second to football. We try to schedule around games and practice. And when he is home, the conversation runs to what players he's recruiting, what plays they'll use in the game this week, re-plays of last week's game, who's doing well/bad in practice - it's all football all the time - we get that.


He takes his role as a Coach seriously. He spends his time reaching out to kids, encouraging them to work hard, keep their grades up, respect themselves and others and grow into decent, honorable men.

And I know without a doubt that he would NEVER put football ahead of the safety of a child. EVER.

My advice to parents of football players - do your research. Check out the Coaches and observe how they interact with the players on and off the field. Does the Coach invest in the players or does he demand blind obedience? Coaches are there to support the players, they are not Gods.

The men at Penn State created a Football Cult.

Football is a wonderful sport and it can teach youngsters about strength, determination, teamwork and life.

Just don't drink the Kool-Aid.

P.S.  Final score on these players:

Indicted: Jerry Sandusky
Fired: Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier
Admin Leave: Tim Curley (Penn State is paying his legal costs)
Retired: Gary Schultz (Penn State is paying his legal costs)


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