End of an Era
At first, I was going to try to just not comment, but after the NCAA sanctions came down yesterday and I watched the fall of football legend and icon, Joe Paterno, I felt it necessary. It took much soul searching on my part to think about exactly what I wanted to say about all of this.
Yesterday, at Penn State, one of the greatest schools football has ever known, was stripped down to its very core. A lot of writers and some of my readers out there will not agree with what I have to say, but when has that ever stopped me? So here goes…
The sanctions brought against Penn State were as follows:
- A $60 million fine that is about a year’s worth of football revenue that will now be donated to benefit victims of child abuse and preventing child sexual abuse.
- They will have a four year ban on any post season play.
- A reduction in scholarships.
- Any returning player is free to transfer without restrictions.
- And vacating all of their wins from 1998-2011, which strips Joe Paterno of his title as the winningest coach in college football history.
I am not going to recap the disgusting details of the entire sordid tales about how assistant coach Jerry Sandusky went about using his foundation for kids in need to lure in his victims and then used his notoriety working for Penn State to continue to rape, molest and torment those kids for years to come. There are plenty of reports of that out there if you wish to read the details.
So far a lot of sports writers have said that NCAA president Mark Emmert went too far, punishing the wrong aspects, punishing future players, saying that what he has done is no more justice for anyone than it is just to keep Penn State from winning football games. Excuse me? I have read more than one writer say something to this nature. And here is what I have to say to that:
Yes, Jerry Sandusky was convicted of his crimes and he will be locked up for hopefully the rest of his life and no longer be allowed to be near children, ever. Hopefully, some really big ex-football player will be his cell mate in prison…We can only HOPE that is what he suffers for the rest of his life. But was justice really served if we just stopped there? Not in my opinion. A mother came forward years ago, and they ignored her, swept it under the rug. And because of that, there were more victims. How could anyone who knew that live with themselves?
I LOVE FOOTBALL. But football means NOTHING when you are talking about the wellbeing of a child. The lives of these victims will forever be changed for what happened to them. It will shape their lives, it already has. There are thoughts that cannot be erased from the minds of these men, and they will have to live with that forever. They should be given medals of Honor for having the guts to come forward and testify on a subject so taboo and shameful and about a person who thought he was invincible. As it turns out, he wasn’t the only one in that fraternal brotherhood at Penn State who thought he was untouchable. And for years, these poor boys had to live in fear and shame while they were constantly being subjected to this over and over. What if this was your son? Your brother? Your husband?
Were the punishments that were dealt out by the NCAA harsh? Yes they were and rightly so. A message had to be sent that THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Not only is hurting a child absolutely incomprehensible but KNOWING IT IS HAPPENING AND COVERING IT UP IS JUST AS BAD. And if you think differently then I will honestly say I hope to someday meet you in a dark alley. I am GLAD that someone had the courage to stand up and make an example out of this situation instead of turning the other cheek. I am sorry that it had to drag so many “good men” through the mud to do it. But the definition of a good man is not one thatH covers up disgust and allows boys, children, to get hurt in such a vile and disgusting way. I’m sorry, it’s just not.
The best thing I have heard of all of this so far is that in the early morning hours on Sunday, Penn State President Rod Erickson said that he decided to have the statue of Joe Paterno, which stands outside the stadium, removed. He is quoted as saying he did it because “it has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing.” He said “I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.” Thank you Mr. Erickson, for realizing the harm that has been done, doing something about it regardless of what people may think and continuing to think of others in the future. Now, he my friend, is a ‘true man’.