After reading and listening to all the hoopla about the Penn State mess, one thing comes to my mind. What about the children?
Being a big time sports fan myself, I can appreciate the greatness of Joe Paterno. He’s without a doubt one of the greatest football coaches who ever lived.
And as Franco Harris and many others have said, he has been instrumental in helping hundreds of young men, many if not most Black boys, become productive men over the years, which is more than most can say. I don’t think anyone is trying to take anything away from his greatness and his contributions to society as a whole, while helping young Black boys in particular. But what about the young Black boys who were allegedly raped by Jerry Sandusky and he didn’t do anything about it. He made a mistake, a huge mistake.
According to reports he did the right thing at first. When his student coach reported it to him, he reported it to the proper authorities. But when they didn’t take action, meaning the campus police, the athletic director or the school president, then he should have taken action himself. What action?
First going to the police himself, then starting his own investigation. Because remember, it was the word of an established coach and community leader against a student coach. And in this country we are innocent until proven guilty. But he could have suspended the coach pending investigation results. And unlike most people or most coaches in that situation, he had the power to go against the administration of the school on a moral issue.
Moral issue. The one thing that most students and others are forgetting is just that, the moral issue. By not stepping forward, he put hundreds of other kids in harms way. This guy, Sandusky, didn’t stop dealing with kids. The original incident happened in 1997 or 98, but it’s just now coming to light, 14 to 15 years later. But even that was 20 years late; he started his foundation in 1977. Just imagine how many young boys lives he destroyed.
Another question is why didn’t any of the young boys step forward? Especially once they became adults.
Well my understanding is that most if not all were urban Black youth coming from at risk homes, low-income single-family homes. Now come on. What chance would they, alone, have against an established community leader and assistant Penn State coach? What life they had would have been destroyed. Could you imagine the crucifixion of a young inner city youth or adult if they had come out with charges against this man after all he had done for them?
Another thing I have a problem with, is that it almost appears as though Joe Paterno did the raping and destruction of these kids’ lives. Even though his silence helped, the main responsibility goes back to the president of the school who made the final decision to cover it up, and the man who allegedly did the sick acts of rape, over, and over, and over.
I can’t even imagine the pain these kids who were already going through hell, many of them, had to go through when a man they trusted, who was supposed to be helping them, ended up being their worst nightmare. I’m somewhat surprised that one of them didn’t take him out, or at least seek him out and kick his butt, after they became adults. But again it would have been an urban, inner city nobody, against Penn State.
This thing has gone as high as Gov. Jim Corbett. Some are saying he knew about it as attorney general but did nothing. There was also a local district attorney investigating these incidents who came up missing, and they’ve never found him. So how many of these young men who may have stepped up ended up missing? I’m just saying. Only the families would know, because the news media would not have reported it. Who cared, just another poor Black boy in the inner city, dead or missing.
The bottom line is that this is not just about Joe Paterno. It’s about a huge school covering up one of the worst crimes, and moral acts that could be done to another human; and a man, Jerry Sandusky, using his position with the school and the community to commit these acts; and people in high places knowing it and having the power to stop it not doing anything. I understand it’s really hard to prove these cases without physical evidence, which was washed away in the shower. His access and connection to the school should have been cut off, and the school should have worked to make sure he had no access to kids, period.
Everyone involved in this, from top to bottom, should be prosecuted to the fullest. Maybe it will send a message to all the other colleges, corporations, community groups, religious congregations, etc. which deal with kids, that this will not be tolerated; that we are about saving our children, regardless of income or race, from all predators.