• Jerry Sandusky: How Could This Happen within the Football Fraternity?

    Like everyone else, I was horrified to learn the alleged details about Jerry Sandusky. I really don't want to get into the details of the case, but what really bothers me is that it happened within the football world. If football people could be trusted to do anything right, I thought they could be trusted to protect the young men in their care. The fact that so many "football people" had knowledge of what happened in this case and not one of them did anything about it, is beyond my comprehension. Football coaches develop young boys into young men. That is job one for almost every coach I know, especially those at the youth level. It would absolutely break my heart if one parent of one kid that I have coached thought that I did anything but my very best to develop their son as a man. The idea that a "football person" could destroy a young boy, and other "football people" could learn of those actions and do nothing about it has left me shaken.

    I hope if nothing else comes from this tragedy it is the lesson learned that a failure to act in an abuse case only leads to more abuse. I'm sure it would have been painful for those coaches to turn Jerry Sandusky over to the authorities, he was a friend and a colleague, but their failure act not only destroyed the life of that child, but who knows how many others after that. I have been around the game my entire life, I truly consider this to be the games' darkest day.

    Comments 57 Comments
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      Well said Chris, and there was no need to list more details here. We all know them, and they're disgusting. I'm saddened by the cycle of events that occured.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      As a Penn State fan, growing up in that area, it's nearly impossible to come to grips with what has happened. As a teacher who works with 10 year olds every day, it's even tougher. There have been many moments since news broke of this tragedy where I'm looking a kid in the eye, and my first thought is "my goodness...how can anyone even think...?"

      My job allows me the opportunity to work with these kids in small groups, which gives me the opportunity to have a tremendous impact on many of them. What I find every year is that they have even more of an impact on me.

      I've worked in the inner city. I've heard the stories involving some of the kids I have taught. And it breaks my heart.

      Now this mess, which does hit very close to home for me, just makes me want to have a greater, even more positive impact on these kids. Because the face of this tragedy isn't just the victims, it's 10, 11, 12 year old boys (kids) everywhere. So many kids are being let down by adults, whether at home, at school, wherever.

      I love my job because of the opportunity I have to make a real impact in these kids' lives. And for anyone that doesn't have the opportunity to work with kids like that on a daily basis, I encourage you to volunteer, whether as a Big Brother/Big Sister, or even simply as a mentor in a neighborhood school. Let's take this negative, horrible story, and use it as the impetus to make something positive happen in each of our communities. They deserve it.

      (Stepping off of my soap box)
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      This just goes to show you how big college football has gotten. The program was more important than doing the right thing. Its sad and disgusting, but also reality.
    1. bluestree's Avatar
      The game's darkest day indeed. If nothing else, maybe this will serve as a rallying point for "football people" to rededicate themselves to the values that the are at the core of the game.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      I don't want to say too much more about this since it's all been covered in the other Penn State thread, but I have to say I must be the only one who's not shocked by this. Maybe it's my female perspective, but these systemic abuses and subsequent coverups (allegedly) are the domain of the male-dominated enclaves; church, corps, scouts, and sports. (If you can stomach the thought, put yourself in the mind of a cunning pedophile and come up with the best hunting grounds.)

      These young victims are frequently culled from these institutions. Many are from unstable homes headed by single moms who are urged to give their sons father figures. These children are ripe for predation. The scars on them are permanent, and the parents undoubtedly will carry their guilt for a lifetime as well.

      I love football, but really, it's just a game. You want to really help your son become a man? Hire him a math/science tutor (preferably female) and give him some skills that will not only help build confidence and work towards a career, but keep him safe in the process. Isn't it time for some perspective?

      OK, one really disgusted femi-Nazi signing off ...
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Wow, Chris. I'm surprised you're not more cynical about football coaches. I have to respect your opinion, because you've been there and I haven't. But at the college level my impression is that too many coaches are more interested in advancing themselves than their kids. Perhaps you're talking more about the high school level?
    1. bluestree's Avatar
      Brauneyz makes some great points. In a way this is more about the dynamics of these large institutions than "football" per se. But I think Cris' point about this occurring within the "brotherhood" is powerful, and to some extent more exigent, because it is so personal. And maybe it's cornball, but football is more than just a game. It describes us as a nation in many ways. It reflects some of our most deeply held American values. Hard work, dedication, perserverance through suffering, fairness, true competition, and even faith. It's no surprise that that Fritz Pollard, Kenny Washington and Tank Younger all preceded Martin Luther King. If that's just a game, it's a helluva game. That's what makes this such a betrayal.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      I still wanna know how mccqeary saw what he saw, and did nothing. He's a football guy. If I'd seen that I'd have called the cops and an ambulance for sandusky for the state I put him in. How dare he, and how dare mccquery tell "coach" a day after for "coach" to tell administration a day after that.. I don't care about the events after that event.. that isn't something that should have action taken based on it 2 days later..
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mikesteelnation1 View Post
      I still wanna know how mccqeary saw what he saw, and did nothing.
      The answer could lie in his own past. Notvsayying he was himself a past victim, or that he thought he saw something consensual, but those are 2 of the three possibilities that come to mind. Third being an ostrich aproach to protecting the institution.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      This is one of those subjects where I put my fingers in my ears and yell "LA LA LA LA LA". I just don't want to know.
    1. Swami's Avatar
      With Penn State, I see most parallels with the Catholic Church. Both institutions are so powerful that people think bringing shame upon them is the wrong thing to do because of all their other good deeds and then end up allowing unspeakable atrocities to continue.

      The only solution is more and massive outrage and so Cris's voice is a welcome one here. A do think society is very, very slowly waking up to this issue. We have miles to go, but I think 30-year olds think differently about this type of despicable crime than 80-year olds. Just a gut feel.

      There is something to the Brauneyz comments as well.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Brauneyz's points are good ones.

      The scope of the coverup is what is astounding here, but we've seen sickening events like this before in a number of male-dominated institutions. Sadly, it seems that wherever men are given power and authority over children, there are incidents like this one.
    1. darvon's Avatar

      With respect.

      Your article tries to place coaches into the priesthood. [insert joke here]. I disagree. At the youth level, it is a "volunteer" service and deserves the same respect as the volunteer math tutor or other service volunteers. But not more.

      However, there are two main differences that place some coaching at a more self-serving level than other service positions. There is fame/prestige, at a local level in youth coaching, that simply isn't there in other service areas.

      Second, there is a career path for a few. Some HS coaches build a career to go to College Coaching, where it is a career, not a volunteer position. Again, that isn't there for the math tutor. Professional math teachers don't need volunteer experience to gain professional positions.

      At the College Level, the number one job is to make their mortgage payments, just like everyone else.

      Can they be dedicated? Sure. So can the other teachers at a college. Can they enjoy building maturity in college students? Sure. So can the other teachers at a college. If they succeed on the field can they get 99th percentile incomes? Sure. Not so much other jobs.

      The AD with a famous team making tens of millions in revenue has the same moral likelihood to cover pedophilia up as the Network Exec.

      To say otherwise impunes the Network Exec. Both are intelligent people who have spent years building careers and companies, that use talented young people in a commercial enterprise that is under high media scrutiny and fame.
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"

      Edmund Burke

      There was 'evil' at Penn State, and 'good men' did nothing!
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      We can all try to Explain what or why it happened, which is never the same as Excusing it. That is always the danger in these discussions.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      @ Phil,

      That Burke guy is smart. Where does he coach?
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      Phil. I saw that quote on Twitter. Brilliant quote.
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      @ darvon He coached the Dublin Dukes, 1756-1762

      @ vancemeek Winston Churchill used that quote when justifying force vs. Hitler. He was right.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      If you study psychology, look into Milgram's Obedience Study and if you follow some of the basic conclusions of following an authority figure, you can expand that basic premise into rationalization of the "others" into following the campus leaders in looking the other way.

      (and I feel dirty for saying that as the original study iteslf is quite disturbing)
    1. giantsfan97's Avatar
      An interesting piece written by David Brooks of the NYTimes

      It's about how many people say they would have acted and really might not have if they were actually in the situation. Just food for thought...