I know, I know….nobody reads the fanposts, but I have to share this with someone.
This past summer, I moved to Europe with my wife. Although sports are mostly lacking in Europe, I have been able to easily follow Penn State sports (with the help of BSD and Ben Jones). After the tumultuous offseason, I loved this year’s football team.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a fellow American in the small town I reside. He is from Michigan (don’t worry, he went to Western Michigan), and like myself, he is an avid sports fan. During our language class today, I asked him if he read the Paterno’s response to the Freeh report. His exact response was, ‘Why would I care about Joe Paterno? He was a scumbag that allowed children to be raped.’ He was adamant in his response and believed every word of what he said.
Now I have read every report out there thus far (still reading Paterno’s reports), so I held back my immediate comments. Instead, I asked him to explain.
He said, ‘Well, Paterno SAW A BOY BEING RAPED BY SANDUSKY IN THE SHOWER. Paterno did nothing to stop this.’
This is where I lost it. I explained to him that he literally just showed me that he only read ESPN headlines and did not understand the situation at all. After our talk, he said, ‘Okay, I understand, but Joe Paterno is still an awful man.’
I was absolutely dumbfounded. Why didn’t he blame Corbett from ’98? Why didn’t he blame the police? Why didn’t he blame Mcqueary? I was hopeful after Paterno’s report that people would, at the very least, be enlightened. Instead, now, more than even before, I realize that people are lazy sheep. If this is how an unbiased sports spectator views the situation, I cannot even begin to imagine what the layperson believes. Will America ever learn?
One last note: I am an educator, and like Paterno, I found myself in a similar situation one year ago. A student approached me to explain what was happening in their home life. I contacted guidance consolers, child services, and the principal. They decided there was not enough evidence to go any further with investigations (believing the child was making up the story for attention), and I was told that if the child came to me again to ask for help, I could be sued by the parents or lose my job if I assisted. Instead of helping this child, I was forced to avoid them. I consider myself a morally sound person with great integrity. Am I a bad person for not doing more? Am I a bad person for only contacting child services, guidance counselors, and my boss? I know the answer to this, and those preaching from their pedestals do not have the slightest of clues. Thank you for your time and allowing me to share my experience. God bless you Paterno family.