Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What I Think About Penn State


I've been avoiding posting anything regarding the tragedy at Penn State, and the controversy surrounding just about everything regarding the football program.

It's a touchy topic, for many people.  My husband is a Penn State alumni, as well as my brother.  Two of my closest childhood friends graduated from PSU, as well as two of my very closest friends now.  I'm surrounded by very proud PSU alumni who bleed blue and white.

And they should.  Penn State is an amazing place.  A few weeks ago my daughter finished gymnastics camp at PSU, and the few days we spent on campus were some of the best we had all summer.  The facilties, the stores, the coaches and the people are incredible.  It breaks my heart the school's reputation has been so terribly marred.

The devastating reality about the child sex scandal remains that it shouldn't have continued for years and years.  These children were innocent and trusting, and they were failed by several powerful and influential people.  Rather than protecting children, some men chose to protect a program.

The football program was winning games, and these children were losing their childhoods.

I don't know how much Joe Paterno knew.  I don't know how much any of the men on his staff knew.  All I know is that where I work, everyone knows a little bit of everything.  Every place I've ever worked everyone knows a little bit of everything.

People talk.

I imagine this is the same for most places and programs.  That's just what I believe.

I have an eleven year old son who is a football fanatic.  This scandal touches me so deeply because I know how excited he would be to be invited to a college football locker room.  To see a college football field.  He would have been just as trusting as every one of those boys was, and it makes me physically sick to think of how Sandusky took advantage of that trust.

Football programs can rebuild, schools can rebuild.  These boys will never get back a life of normalcy.  They may heal, but they are changed forever.  While we all discuss wins and statues and what should be done or what shouldn't be done, these boys are what matter.

Do I think the statue should have come down?  Yes.  I do.  It unfortunately will always be a symbol of this awful scandal that rocked the university to the core.  I also believe that Joe Paterno was a good man, and a phenomenal coach.  But I don't believe he did enough when he was faced with this crisis, and because of it the legacy he built is tarnished forever.  It took him decades to build the legacy he did and it only took months for it all to fall apart.

But the scandal is not his fault.  He is not to blame.  Just like politics, there are many people in play.  Unfortunately, it's his name that is being dragged through the mud. 

Do I think wins shouldn't count?  No.  The players earned those with hard work, sweat, blood and tears.  Those wins didn't just belong to the football staff.  They also belonged to the players, the fans and the students. 

At the end of the day, we all need to remember that the university as a whole is not to blame.  The players are not to blame.  There are a handful of people who really dropped the ball on this one.  And I say shame on them.

But I will always believe that PSU is an incredible school.  And I will most definitely will rooting for blue and white this fall.

I am certainly not the kind of person who is looking for any controversy.  It makes me want to run for the hills.  I would rather stick needles in my eyes than have a confrontation.  But I had to say what I had to say.

I will continue to pray for all the victims, and I pray that what happened has been a lesson for us all.

2 comments:

  1. This article sums up how I feel: http://catholicmom.com/2012/07/25/penn-state-penalty-unfair-but-the-right-thing/

    I've never been a Penn State/Paterno fan (We went to Pitt. It's just not possible.) and while I think punishing the players IS unfair, it's the coach who gets credit for those wins. He certainly doesn't deserve to stand in front of a plaque for eternity that bears the word "integrity" because he was sorely lacking in that.

    As far as the school goes, I think their actions FROM THIS POINT FORWARD will determine their success or failure - and that's as it should be.

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    1. Well said! And yes, if you went to Pitt I can see your lack of PSU love! "Integrity" was definitely lacking...I'm now off to read the link you posted. :)

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