Let me be clear: I know how much Joe Paterno means to Penn State. I know how much Nittany Lion Football means to the pleasant utopia of Happy Valley. I know JoePa will always be synonymous with Penn State Football, and rightfully so.
I’ve been to Penn State on game day. I have many friends who go (or went) there, and I’ve experienced firsthand what it’s like. I also understand how much PSU students love their school, their football team, and their college experience. And, although I’ll never fully understand how it feels, I get why the students feel the need to respond emotionally to this ordeal in some way.
But how dare they.
How dare they support this man, this school, and this program? How dare they rally around a figure during an event as egregious and nefarious as this?
Now is not the time to celebrate PSU tradition! Now is not the time to support an iconic figure! Now is the time to react, weed out the guilty, and punish all those involved in this morally putrid wrongdoing.
I won’t get into the moral responsibility of Mike McQuery, Joe Paterno, the Athletic Director, the Vice President, and so on. They’re all in the wrong and all need to be fired and given leave to deal with their deplorable consciousness.
I will get into the stark reality that says this vile, evil, and most despicable of all acts was covered up for TWO DECADES to save the reputation of a coach and iconic football program.
Happy Valley has put the reputation of a man and an athletic program over the sanctity and well-being of innocent little boys. The very thing PSU students appear to be celebrating is the very thing that was used as a justification to not pursue, convict, and destroy a man who was molesting young boys.
When did we forget who this was really about?
I don’t care about JoePa’s part in this. That couldn’t concern me less, but he is the figurehead so the attention is his.
I do care about the lives of young boys who will never be the same. They will never be whole again. They have been scarred in the deepest ways physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For two decades this went on. For two decades this was covered up, not looked into, and no legal action was taken.
And for what? Football? Reputation? Tradition?
I spit on the reputation of a school willing to let a football program be more important than the lives of children.
Now is not the time to celebrate what the school stands for, or to give your support to Joe Paterno. Now is the time to root out the evil that has infested this organization in the most corrupt way imaginable.
We grilled Michael Vick for years. We hated him, spat at him, defamed him, and mocked him relentlessly for fighting dogs. Now we chant “We want Joe!” when young boys (humans!) are molested and raped.
When did we become so morally bankrupt? How did we let a football program, and a man, become so big?
Those PSU students standing up for child abuse and rallying around the families and victims, I applaud you. But, to the others, do not celebrate the tradition of a school that has been so penetrated by vile men so willing to put a football program above the sanctity of human life.
I weep for the kids. No one else.