Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coach Gets Fired; Fans Miss the Point

Last night was probably one of the craziest nights in sports history of my life time.

Sometimes in sports it's appropriate to cheer and sometimes it's appropriate to laugh. Usually on this blog I deal with those two, cheering and most of all laughing. The latest events involving some former Penn State employees are not matters to laugh at, there is nothing to cheer, but we are left to somehow make sense of all of this. A hideous crime against humanity was committed and was allowed to continue for years. The perpetrator of these crimes is a monster, the scum of the Earth, accused of committing a crime that turns the stomach. A crime that everyone, even the worst of us, find issue with.

Sandusky being detained by Pennsylvania authorities
A few days ago when the news of allegations against Jerry Sandusky surfaced, allegations I don't want to get to deep into because of their just sickening nature, I had a feeling this would blow up. And last night, it blew up. Unfortunately for all parties involved I think the passion that was on display last night was misguided.

A little bit after 10:00pm EST the news broke out that legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, had been fired. The university decided to fire him in an effort to move forward, past this scandal appearing to have some control. When this termination was announced it was met  with a shocked reaction by the media. They seemed overtaken by this news. I'll be the first person to admit that Joe Paterno is a legend and up to this point has literally been Penn State, but the media's reaction at the press conference confused me. Were they really so shocked at the news of his firing? Did they really feel the dismissal of "Joe Pa" more significant than the disgusting crimes that were committed by Sandusky? It seemed to me as if they were missing the point. As legendary as a coach as Paterno is I think that in this story, his fate is an insignificant factor. I gave them the benefit of the doubt though and chalked it up to spur of the moment reactions that once rationally thought about would be put aside.

After the press conference the madness began.

It began rather peacefully with people, most likely Penn State students, protesting in Penn State and at Paterno's modest home. They were protesting what they felt was a wrongful termination and they had impressive numbers. Once again this took me by surprise. Did they feel somehow Paterno was a victim of all of this? Did they feel THEY were victims in this? No, no they couldn't. They couldn't be that ignorent. That's what I kept telling myself. This mass of angry protesters couldn't possibly think that the firing of Joe Paterno was more important than what had happened to the poor young boys who had horrible crimes committed against them. Or could they? Were they just completely missing the point? Nobody seemed to be thinking about the children. There were no signs, no chants, no mention of the real victims in all of this. Everyone seemed so preoccupied with their own selfish agenda that they were completely missing the point. Once again, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and hoped that more rational minds would prevail in the end.

Police attempting to control protesters
As the night went on I began to become convinced that even if there were any rational minds in attendance, there were so few that their voice was not heard. The protesters went on to flip over a news van, knock out lights, hurl rocks at the police. All reactions that both stunned and infuriated me! Why was nobody this angry when the allegations came out but now that a coach had been fired people at State College decided to rise up? Nobody stepped in to stop what Sandusky had been doing for years but everybody seemed to be more than willing to show their support for a football coach. A football coach! You know that I am as big of a sports fan as it gets but this scandal has nothing to do with sports. This transcends and goes so far beyond sports. This is a scandal against humanity and makes petty sports issues seem insignificant. They were this passionate over a man who was a football coach. A football coach who did what was legally right, but probably came up short morally in doing what was right. A football coach who must have been aware of Sandusky visiting a closed practice in 2007 with a young boy and did NOTHING about it. A football coach who allowed Sandusky to use University facilities for years after hearing about the accusations against him. Why were these protesters ignoring the real grux of this scandal and focusing their concern on the termination of a football coach? It sickened me. It sickened me to think that people could be so far off of the point. It sickened me that half of the people protesting were probably drunk and completely unaware of what was going on. It sickened me that people were forgetting the real victims of these crimes and as a result of that, disrespecting them.

Do I think Joe Paterno should have been allowed to finish the season? I don't know, probably not. Should he have been allowed to coach and get a final hurrah this weekend? Maybe. But considering the magnitude of the crimes against humanity here do I really give a damn about how who coaches the Penn State football team any time in the future? Not at all.

The real face of this scandal.
Notice that Paterno's name isn't mentioned in the title of this post and there are no pictures of him. I did this because it's wrong for us to make him the face of this issue. The real face of this story should be the monster also known as Jerry Sandusky. Unfortunately with that too, people seem to be missing the point.

One more thing. Pray for justice to be served in this case. Pray for the people who seem ignorant to the real problems at hand. And most of all pray for the victims and their families who have been affected by this horrible crime against humanity.

I'll finish with a quote from Irish philosopher Edmund Burke.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Class Dismissed,
Student of Sports

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