Monday, November 14, 2011

It's About the Children, Stupid!: Penn State and the Politics of Football

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

I am so angry. And disgusted. Of course I am talking about the so-called, "Penn State Scandal." First, let me begin by saying, I'm not a big football fan. In fact, I watch on average, one football game a season and that game is the Super Bowl. And really, I'm only watching it for the commercials and the excuse to eat pork rinds and nacho cheese dip without anybody looking at me funny. So, naturally, when I heard about a big scandal with the Penn State football program, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention.

I remember hearing something about young boys, and a failure for the university to act appropriately, blah, blah, blah, but mostly I heard about the importance of football to Penn State and to the entire state of Pennsylvania. And I certainly heard one man's name repeatedly, Joe Paterno. I don't care that much about football, remember, so this whole 'scandal' barely penetrated my world. The next thing I heard, this 84-year old Paterno guy, the beloved football coach at Penn State, was issuing an apology and promising to retire at the end of this season because he realized he'd done wrong. People, at that point, I figured we'd come to an end of whatever this scandal had wrought.

So, over the weekend, more information started leaking out. Something about multiple people catching the coach 'assaulting' a young boy in the showers at Penn State but doing nothing about it. Or they told someone but nothing was ever done about it. So, then I started getting intrigued. I mean all the talk and the media coverage was about the football program and Joe Paterno and the football program, but you put the football down and there's a man 'assaulting' a 10-year old boy in the showers at a state university. Was it Joe Paterno? No. The man doing the 'assaulting' was the assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Where was his name in all the headlines?

I think more than anything I am enraged at the media coverage of this atrocious situation. Why are we reading headline after headline about Joe Paterno --clearly he is guilty of many things -- but the evil elephant in the middle of the room is Jerry Sandusky. He is accused of molesting and RAPING little boys (at last count there were 40)  many of them poor and Black? Why is this not the main story? I expected full coverage in the Sunday New York Times, but The Times put the story in the Sports pages and talked about, you guessed it, football.

Perhaps because Sandusky is considered innocent until proven guilty, we have to tread lightly, but come on, more than three people reported seeing him raping little boys in the public showers. Rape people. Ten year-old boys were being raped at an institution of higher learning. And we're talking about football? If you want to throw up your breakfast, read the list of accusations against Sandusky here. He is a pedophile who apparently used his charity organization to get access to vulnerable boys. He gave them gifts, made them promises and then asked for thanks in sexual favors.

If I were one of Sandusky's victims, or one of their parents, I'd be really angry at the emphasis on football. It's about the children, stupid.

Sound off in the comments section, if you think the media is paying too much attention to Penn State's football program and not highlighting the real crimes that were committed.

I'm angry and I'm listening.



Itsbugart said...

I think a lot of the upset about Paterno is that he KNEW and just looked away. He only made a formal report to his boss but didn't contact the police. So, as far as I am concerned, he is an accessory to Sandusky's crimes. Unlike the abuse victims, Paterno had no reason to fear reprisals or that he would not be listened to.

Rose Anne said...

Again it is about how much money they might lose because their cash cows that give them money to have big football events will go some where else! Schools should pretend atleast to be a place to learn! but not about what they wanted to teach. Want to make a bet if it had be a black coach in the showers with little white boys it would be front page of ever newspaper! I am a white momma of a black 10 year old son Makes me sick to think of what those children have had to go through because they(the adults) are scum and need to be done something with!

LT said...

Very good point. Thanks.

Sad but true. It's always about the money.