Thursday, November 10, 2011

But what about the children?

The news of Joe Paterno's firing doesn't come as a surprise to me. I was more surprised when earlier in the day it was announced that he would retire after the end of the season. His last home game was to be this Saturday. But because of the great season that Penn State is having they would play in the Big Ten Championship Game and would surely get a Bowl Bid. So if he were to retire at the end of the season, he could have conceivably been around until January. That is a long time to be around with a scandal of this magnitude. But the Penn State Board of Trustees stepped in and fired Joe Paterno effective immediately.

But I don't want to rehash the entire saga.

Rather what I found most disturbing about this aspect of the scandal (nothing is more disturbing than the abuse of children) was the reaction of some of the Penn State students following the announcement of Paterno's firing. They took to the street and protested the Board of Trustees decision. According the the Chicago Tribune:

More than 1,000 students rioted and rallied at Old Main and on frat-house-lined Beaver Avenue. Riot cops, fire trucks and ambulances were on hand after midnight, amid reports that tear gas was being used to disperse the crowd.

Demonstrators overturned a TV news van, toppled street lights, shook stop signs and threw toilet paper. From rooftops and in the streets, they yelled "F -- Sandusky!" and "We Want JoePa!"

Joe Paterno was part of the coverup of child abuse. He had direct knowledge of what was happening when a witness told Paterno that they saw his former Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky molest a child in the Penn State locker room and Paterno did the bare minimum to protect children.

Take a moment and let that sink in. Then recall all the fervor of the Catholic Church's child abuse scandal and how the Pope was accused:

According to the document filed by CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights), the pope, as head of the Catholic church, is ultimately responsible for the sexual abuse of children by priests and for the cover-ups of that abuse. The group argues that he and others have "direct and superior responsibility" for the crimes of those ranked below them, similar to a military chain of command.

Paterno had direct knowledge (far more than what the Pope had) of the incident and all he did was tell the Athletic Director. What was going through the mind of Paterno when nothing beyond a wrist slapping was given to Sandusky?

What about the children?

What is going through the minds of those college students that were protesting the firing of Joe Paterno?

What about the children?

I think that we would all agree that the true victims in this crime are the children. But what I am starting to think is that through all of the debate over who should lose their jobs and who should be convicted of what is that we start to lose sight of those victims. What are those involved in this crime–from Sandusky to Paterno to the University–going to do about those children?

What about the children?

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