This week’s man up dishonor goes to Penn State. My usual lighthearted tone for this column won’t be found in this week article. I can find absolutely no humor in this situation. For the last week multiple media outlets have been flooded with responses and articles about the biggest scandal to hit a college sports program ever. This is bigger than tattoos, it’s bigger than selling game apparel, it’s bigger than accepting gifts from boosters, and it’s bigger than sports.
Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was formally indicted on charges that he sexually abused 8 boys over the last 15 years; a total of 40 criminal counts of sex abuse. Some of it occurring in Penn State football facilities. Mike McQueary, who is currently a wide receivers coach for Penn State witnessed Sandusky raping what appeared to be a ten year old boy in a shower in the team’s locker room back in 2002 when he was a grad assistant. What did he do about it? He left. He left the little boy with his rapist and went and called his father. The next day he told head coach Joe Paterno, Paterno told those above him, but no one told the police.
While no one in this situation is guiltier than Jerry Sandusky, everyone who had knowledge of the situation is to blame for not protecting this child and the countless others who may have come before and after him. It is beyond my comprehension how these adults could have knowledge that a child was raped and do nothing about it. How could McQueary stay on with Penn State after witnessing a child being abused and then observe Penn State do nothing about it. How could Paterno, the athletic director, and the president continue to allow Sandusky access to their facilities? How could anyone continue to see this monster and turn a blind eye?
Joe Paterno deserved to be fired. The school president, Graham Spanier, deserved to be fired. Mike McQueary deserves to be fired. Each and every one of them put the football program in front of a child’s wellbeing. There should never be a point when sports become bigger than protecting someone, especially when that someone is a child who depends on us as adults to keep them safe. I will never understand the outrage that the Penn State students displayed when Joe Paterno was fired. Where is that same outrage for the children who were molested? Where is the same outrage for the child that their beloved coach knew was being raped but did nothing to protect? Every one of these men need to “Man UP” and take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof. When the most vulnerable member of society needed them…where were they? Written in the Penn State alma mater is the line “Let No Act Of Ours Bring Shame,” and unfortunatley the acts of the very adults who represent Penn State is bringing nothing but shame to the university.