Penn State is one of the most well known state universities in the nation. Recently, that reputation in both football and as a university has been severely damaged, along with the careers of several of its legendary coaching staff.
In November, a scandal broke out about the defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was accused of sexual assault on several boys around the age of 10.
This case became the most talked about topic on the news and radio for several weeks after.
The story was not only important because of the magnitude of sexual assault on children but the backstory that lay behind.
Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, allegedly knew of Sandusky’s actions and reported it only to his superior, the athletic director.
In the state of Pennsylvania that is all that is required by law in order to not be responsible.
Although Paterno did not get in trouble, the scandal resulted in his firing as the head coach, a move that caused riots where students flipped news vans across the state college campus.
In addition, a graduate assistant claimed to have seen Sandusky in the showers with a young boy and did nothing to report it to anyone.
This entire case brings into question the integrity of both professional and college sports and Americans themselves.
In an age of skepticism and cynicism, people may no longer trust coaches like Paterno, even if he is from the age where Americans had stronger values and faith in each other.
Everyone thought he ran a football program that followed the motto “Success with Honor,” and turned his players into men, demanding their respect for years after their days as Nittany Lions.
He was a role model not only for kids but for football coaches across the nation and a mentor for everyone in his program.
In an interview Sandusky claimed he was innocent, and other stories have come out with evidence he may have not committed the alleged crimes.
Even so, Paterno should have done more, even if it meant firing his partner and damaging his program’s integrity.
The children who might have been raped could be subject to lives that are filled with fear and mistrust.
In regard to the graduate assistant, it is extremely hard to believe that you could just walk by an old man showering with a young boy and not say anything to anyone or the police. Hopefully all of us would make the right decision in that situation and stop what was going on.
The fact of the matter is bad things do happen. What is important is how we respond, whether it is reporting it to the police or stopping what is going on yourself.
This not only applies to the Penn State case, but things that go on every day at school.
As a Catholic school we should never allow things like racism, bullying or cheating to go on.
That is not because we want to get people in trouble or be a snitch, but because the earlier we get used to acting as men, the less likely it will be you will be making one of the mistakes Paterno and the graduate assistant made.
Joe may know football, but there seemed to be a lot of other things he knew as well, things that he had a responsibility to address and expel from his esteemed football program.