Seems like there’s been a lot of very disturbing news around lately (yeah, if “lately” means “forever”), but the story that has haunted me personally is this atrocious business at Penn State University.
The sordid details are emerging like a sullied butt plug. In 2001, highly revered officials in a prestigious university football program closed ranks to protect and conceal a pedophiliac among them. An eyewitness — former player, assistant coach at the time, and now an NFL professional — went running home to his daddy (literally) when he encountered the demon anally raping a 10-year old in the locker room’s shower, eventually told head coach/football legend Joe Paterno, but the matter never advanced to legal authorities.
Yesterday — years after the fact — Paterno is finally dismissed after announcing he’d retire after the season. Student riots break out in protest. After all, the football program is one of the main reasons kids attend that frat-rat, party-hearty institution of higher education, and it[s a huge money-making operation for the school. To hell with pedophilia — the show must go on!
The rapes and cover-up are sufficiently disturbing. But the students’ reaction? That’s the part that’s got me gagging. Where are the adults? Where are the values?
The Miami Hurled’s Fred Grimm, not my favorite writer, does an excellent job of linking the 2006 incident at Miami Northwestern High when a star football player lured a 14 year old into sex on a school bathroom floor. (No, wise ass, this wasn’t part of the sanctioned sex education program.) As Grimm recounts, the only issue troubling officials was, Can the kid play next week? They’re in a championship run! (Oh yeah — the kid played. No question.)
Adults? Responsibilities? Values? Is there something about football, of all the idiotic frivolous pastimes, that clouds med’s minds like the Shadow himself? Where is the outrage? Why are these athletes and their so-called mentors and managers revered like gods, their transgressions overlooked, and rules of both moral and legal integrity bent past the breaking point?
From Grimm’s column:
The Miami-Dade grand jury report noted, “Sadly, we have learned that the culture of football has permeated almost every crack and crevice of our school district.” In 2011, amend that to read: “every crack and crevice of our sad, warped, sports-addicted society.”
I wouldn’t have used the expression “permeated every crack and crevice” under the circumstances, but I think the sentiment is right.
Insiders’ note: Sure hope I don’t get an angry letter from the Hurled for quoting its columnist’s prose.