November 10, 2011, - 2:31 pm
Despite requests from many readers, I’ve stayed away from commenting on the Penn State football scandal involving retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s serial rapes of young boys. That’s because I wanted to learn more about it and I also didn’t think I had much to add to the cries of outrage (though I wonder how many of the “outraged!” would have done the same thing to protect their job situations and comfortable lives, rather than speak out and raise the hell they are raising now). But now that I’ve learned more, as the rest of you have, I have a few observations.
Yes, it’s true that it turns out Penn State head-football-coach-for-almost-life Joe Paterno did, in fact, report the allegations–once–about Sandusky to school officials, did nothing else and the school didn’t do much either. Maybe they felt they couldn’t prove it. But I’m not sure why not because as we all know by now, assistant coach, Mike McQueary, walked in on Sandusky raping a young boy in the showers. That should have been enough to at least fire the guy, Sandusky. I don’t know how you see a guy raping a kid and you don’t immediately yell at him to stop–and if you’re a guy, as McQueary is (and he’s a physically big guy who could have stopped this), how you don’t punch the rapist out or at least pull him off. What if that was your kid?
On the other hand, I’m not surprised little happened and that Paterno and company did the least amount possible that they were required to do and chose, instead, to protect their football program. We live in a nation of cowards and sheep, where the status quo and protecting lucre and businesses–and college sports is a multi-trillion dollar business–is the way of the world. Courage in this country is rare. And people who speak out are vilified. Most people would rather say nothing and protect their lives and what they have. That’s why are nation is sinking. Most Americans would rather not be called bigots, so they don’t speak out against the ever-encroaching Islamic threat or even suspicious Middle Eastern men on their airplane flight. We tell Americans, “if you see something, say something,” then beat them up as “haters” when they do. Moreover, most Americans would rather not rock the boat. It’s something that always bothers me. (I also wonder if the more “politically correct” gay rape of boys is something less likely to be reported because accusers and witnesses don’t want to be labeled for life as “homophobic.” Maybe he thought a guy named “McQueary” reporting gay rape in a place called “Happy Valley” would make him the butt of jokes on late night TV and sports talk radio.)
But there are many Mike McQuearys in this world. The Kitty Genovese story–about a woman who was raped on the streets in America–is famous because it’s the story of many other Americans looking on as the woman was being raped . . . and doing nothing, not even calling the police. That’s, sadly, who we are. And the people who do “speak out” are often frauds, like the Herman Cain accusers who are serial complainers, Clintonista/Obamaniks, and otherwise loony. Plus you have morons majoring in such useful topics as art history and sports business rioting on campus at Penn State against the firing of the men who allowed this to go on and did nothing. That’s America, for you.
While this isn’t just about football and lucrative college sports fiefdoms being protected at all costs, we know that goes on at every college in America that has a sports program and a high-dollar TV deal. When I was in grad school, I took a job as a tutor at the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department. It was an easy job, but it was frustrating. Most of these people were dummies who didn’t belong in college. Many tutors wrote papers for these guys and, as it turned out, that was a necessity. They were idiots, with a savant skill for the playing fields, period.
I wrote about this in an op-ed in the Wisconsin State Journal, and, as I expected I would be after I wrote the piece, I was fired from that job. If I wanted to pursue it, I probably could have sued on First Amendment grounds, but I wrote the piece when I knew I’d soon be leaving town. After I wrote the piece, I received violent threats over the phone and in-person threats from giant athletes–both men and women–who approached me when I was at the bar with friends. I knew then, as I knew later as a sports agent, and as I still know, that in college sports, it’s “win at all cost.” “Protect the program.” There’s a reason Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary continued to work with a guy they knew had raped a kid in a shower and probably not for the first time. It’s the same reason they did only what they were legally required to do, a long way from what they were morally required to do, but didn’t.
Again, this isn’t just about college sports. It’s about America, where courage and decency are uncommon and becoming less so by the minute in our Kardashian-drenched, tattooed-Barbie, “Don’t Snitch”-t-shirted country.
We’ve lost our way. And many of us would, sadly, also say nothing (and install beefy home security systems to protect against potential rapists0, rather than rock the boat and report a rape of a kid that might jeopardize our comfortable livelihoods.
Tags: Assistant Coach, child molestation, child-rape, college football, football, football team, Happy Valley, head coach, Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Kitty Genovese, Mike McQueary, Penn State, Pennsylvania State University, sexual assault