As much as we may want to, we’re not going to get out from under the Penn State story. It’s the biggest sports scandal of our lifetimes, the scope and details of which are only going to get more disturbing.
At the heart of all of the accusations, the firings, the riots and the reactions are victims. We don’t know how many, and we may never know. The Second Mile brought a lot of kids under its umbrella, under the guise of “help and hope.” That’s their slogan – Providing Children With Help and Hope. Instead, some number of young boys had no choice but to become a part of this horrific mess. They can’t be un-raped, and it can take a lifetime to learn how to trust anyone again.
If you are going to the game on Saturday, please keep those victims in mind when you are interacting with Penn State fans. Please do not make jokes. I am loathe to try to censor people – I love the First Amendment! – but you must understand that all of this is incredibly traumatic to the victims, how ever many there may be. Some of them may have repressed the abuses; I’m sure many have never been able to tell anyone they happened. But as all of these things get brought to light, those young men are re-victimized.
Please, please, act with the class that visitors to Lincoln praise after seemingly every game. At home games, you might enter the stadium under the inscription “Through these gates pass the greatest fans in college football.” On the road, carry that title with you. The nightmarish details emerging from Happy Valley this week are not a laughing matter for the victims (both direct and indirect ones), nor should they be for fans in the stands. The rape of children is not funny.
My mom put it this way: “They should act the way they would if the head coach had died Wednesday. The Penn State nation is in deep shock, turmoil, and mourning. Imagine how we would feel if this were in Nebraska and the fired icon were Tom Osborne.”
I’m climbing down from my soapbox now. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to just watch some football.