Hundreds of students at Penn State took to the streets to protest the ousting of legendary football coach Joe Paterno. I've read numerous comments on Facebook and news articles where people are crying foul and saying he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat for the crimes of others.
Having been born in San Antonio, and having lived in a state where football is God, coaches are Jesus, and players & staff are a host of heavenly angels who are worshiped by a culture that fuels the adoration, I understand how something like this can be devastating to a college community like Penn State.
But what I don't understand and refuse to be okay with is the fact that students took to the streets to defend a man who felt his only obligation to 10 year old children was to report it to campus officials-those in his chain of command. I don't understand the urge to tip over news vans and weep with sorrow for someone who thought that doing what was "legally right" according to the state of Pennsylvania, was enough. I don't understand the comments of "this is so unfair to his legacy" . What good is a legacy of wins, if you fail to stand up and fight for others who cannot? You can win all the football games you want, but if you lack the fortitude and values to do what is MORALLY right, then you are nothing but a loser in my eyes, legacy or no legacy.
This whole thing sickens me. The response to it sickens me. Frightens me. Triggers me almost. What kind of society have we become when we DEFEND those who choose to do what they feel is only "legally" right. Would he have done the same had it been his 10 year old grandchild? Would his morals be spurred into action then? If it were your sister, friend, relative, brother....would you still say that doing what's "legally" right is enough?
I've served in the USAF, so I know all about chain of command. It was drilled into me. But what was also drilled into me was to notify the POLICE if I knew a crime had been committed. POLICE first-THEN notify my chain of command. "Integrity in all we do" didn't just mean I should stop at going to my chain of command.
Out of all the students protesting and boohooing, I can tell you who isn't out there up in arms over this: students who have experienced sexual abuse and molestation. I can guarantee you they aren't out there tipping over news vans. I can give this guarantee because I am a victim of sexual abuse and molestation and there is NO WAY I would be standing behind this kind of neglect. I know what it's like for someone to not fully acknowledge what's being done to you and how you wish someone would have the courage to speak up and say what you can't. I know what it's like to want those who are supposed to protect you, fight the battle you can't and either refuse to, or only go but so far.
Everyone who failed to fully report what they knew should be held accountable for their actions, period. To support a man who failed his position as head coach, a leader in the PSU community, and as a member of our society as a whole, I find completely reprehensible and disrespectful to the victims who suffered because of his gross neglect.
I hope all of you who are up in arms over his dismissal never witness or learn of a crime committed to me or anyone I know....because you've made it quite obvious that you wouldn't go all the way or do all that you could to protect me.....or anyone else for that matter.
Only doing what is "legally right" is mediocrity at it's finest.
How proud are you now?
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, abused, and or molested, please do what is morally right and call the National Sexual Assault Hotline @ 1-800-656-4673. Have the courage and decency to speak up.
Jana from "Jana's Thinking Place" wrote an excellent piece about the PSU student riots. You can read it here: Open Letter To PSU Students - jana's thinking place | jana's thinking place.