As some readers pointed out on yesterday’s post, I had my facts wrong.
Fact: Jerry Sandusky retired from Penn State in 1999, but retained all access to the facilities for his work with Second Mile. Therefore in 2002, he had no real authorization over Sandusky.
Also fact: in 2002, when Joe Paterno learned in 2002 that his then-assistant Jerry Sandusky had been seen sexually assaulting a child in the football team’s showers, he directed the witness to go to the athletic director, and the police were never contacted.
I am not a journalist. I’m just a mom and a blogger.
But I do like to approach blogging THOUGHTFULLY. Yesterday’s post was from the gut, a product of a sleepless night of worrying how I was going to protect my completely sports-obsessed son from people like Jerry Sandusky. I didn’t write the post for me… I wanted to share it. So I shared my post with my friends on Facebook. Who then shared with their friends. And so on and so forth.
The internet is a really big place, as it turns out.
So I’ve spent the past 24 hours looking at this from a bunch of different perspectives. Because it is my responsibility, as a blogger, to understand that there are perspectives out there which differ from my own.
From the Penn State student perspective, there’s a LOT of media sensationalizing. Joe Pa looks like a convenient scapegoat; there were a NUMBER of people that dropped the ball, including Mike McQueary, Tim Curley, and Gary Shultz. That’s true.
From Joe Paterno’s perspective, he had no authority over Sandusky, and he reported what he knew to his boss as soon as he heard about it. Maybe he didn’t KNOW how far it had gone, maybe he should have done more. But maybe he didn’t know.
I don’t know.
No matter how I think about it, I can’t rid myself of the unease whenever I think of the people who didn’t do anything to help that poor 10 year old boy back in 2002.
Apparently I can really only see through my own worldview, the lenses of my own experience.
I see a 10 year old boy abused by a guy who took advantage of his position of power. And I see a bunch of other guys that did NOTHING to stop him.
And because they didn’t stop him, I see more victims, and more pain, and more abuse.
This isn’t about football . (Though I will confess that in my more illogical moments, I have acknowledged a thought that I do not want my son to play football.)
It’s about doing the right thing, and making sure that you are aware of others and your impact of actions – or nonactions, as this case shows – on someone else. It’s taking RESPONSIBILITY and helping people who aren’t in a position to help themselves.
There were a number of people who could have helped that kid; and no one stepped up. Maybe they didn’t really know. But I have a really hard time imagining that’s the truth. I think they DID know, and they were too afraid of challenging the status quo. So they let a little boy who deserved SO MUCH MORE fall along the wayside.
And it breaks my heart.
So maybe I DID generalize in my last post. Maybe the facts will show that Joe Pa didn’t know the extent of the abuse, and he was scapegoated, and should have been able to finish out his tenure at Penn State without being sacked. Maybe the students of Penn State are RIGHT to protest his firing, because it wasn’t the right decision. Maybe McQueary should have gone instead.
But at the end of the day, all I’m left with is the fact that those men – all of them – were in a position of power. Where it should have been their responsibility to help that little boy. And for reasons unknown, no one did anything.
And that’s not okay in my book.