If you haven’t already heard from the vast coverage, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired last week for not reporting alleged sexual abuse of young boys committed by former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky.
Upon the firing, Penn State students became instantly manic and began rioting on campus, overdoing it as so much to even turning over a TV van. The students felt robbed of their football pride and tradition. A beloved coach had been taken from them and someone needed to do something… or all of them. And apparently staging a violent protest would totally make their voices heard.
The actions of Sandusky were disgusting, low and foul. Thus far, eight victims and forty counts of sexual abuse have surpassed his countless wins with Penn State, erasing anything considered “admirable” once before. Taking in account that Paterno had an opportunity of truth in the alleged actions on Sandusky’s behavior, not speaking up was the worst call of his football career.
The students’ reactions to the Board of Trustees’ firing of Paterno can be labeled as explosive and demoralizing. The ideal of American college football became a higher priority than that of the victims’ personal angst for the present and emotionally difficult future to come. As a college student myself, I find it embarrassing that a student body would put an organized sport on a pedestal before ethics and morals.
I would think, as a generation coming into age, that we would understand the words, “take responsibility for your actions,” even if they were indeed “inactions.” Joe Paterno may not have committed the heinous abuse himself, but he sure as hell didn’t do anything to stop it.
If the students of Penn State University want to show their concern for their former coach, it is not to take matters into their own hands and become destructive — it is to become constructive and support their coach with class, something that he lacked momentarily in a move that will forever tarnish his legacy.
Penn State students must realize the real matters at hand and not jump on the bandwagon of meaningless wrath without even checking its destination.
As for myself, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and any unfolding.