In a week in which most sports fans would love to be talking about the aftermath of some compelling college and pro football games or the implications of said games on the national title race, instead the world of sports (and the world as a whole) has been shaken to its core by the scandal going on at Penn State.
It's a shame that the career of coach Joe Paterno will end on this sour note. But it's even more of a shame that he and the rest of those in positions of authority enabled a predator to continue to prey upon young boys, shattering their lives forever. I don't care how great a coordinator this guy is, his pattern of behavior over a period of years showed he needed some kind of help and yet no one around him seemed to want to man up and help the guy. Or at least man up enough to make sure he never, ever violated the trust of those young men put under his guidance, leadership and authority or that of their parents.
In our society today, we have too few men who are willing to stand up and do the right thing. And make no mistake--in this situation, there was only one right thing to do.
Say what you will about the impact of scandals at UT, North Carolina, Miami, Alabama, Auburn or any other school whose athletic department has come under the radar the of the NCAA lately, but those scandals were only confined to the results on the field and the ethics of those involved. Whether or not a player got an illegal benefit or two or rules were broken to try and win on the field, the impact and implication of those scandals were confined to the athletic deparment.
This one could end up being every more far reaching. As law-suits come in (and they will come in), donors and alumni could be less inclined to give money to Penn State. It could be a reaction to this and it could be wondering just where the money will go--will it go to fund the programs they want to see continue or the fall out of this and the settlements that are coming. That could lead to a diminished offering in the classroom at Penn State and the overall quality of its academics taking a hit. Also, I have to wonder how this will tarnish the perception of a degree from Penn State. Like it or not, being associated with the school and listing your degree as being from there could be the small thing that gets a potential employer to hire someone else over you.
But these things pale in comparison to the horror that was inflicted on these young people for so long. I can't imagine what they've been through and will go through as their lives are put on public display in the weeks and months to come. I can only pray for them to find peace and the help they will need--not only now, but for their entire lives. I hope and pray they can find the right kind of people who are worthy of their trust to help them through this healing process--one that will probably never end for many of them.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/09/2011 03:39:00 PM