An issue of pride

Guess what sports and scandal fans? Both applications to and the alumni group at Penn State are bigger this year than they were last year. Really?? Really!

I can see both sides and really dislike that. If I could just fully embrace one side of this issue, I’d be a better – or at least a more interesting – blogger.

I get that those who achieved a degree from Penn State are justifiably proud of themselves and their chosen alma mater. Your mom – you’ve got no choice. Your alma mater … at least that is partially your choice, once you survive the vetting process. And you do feel a connection/bond/affinity for that alma mater… you gave time and money, she conferred a degree and opened the door to a profession.

And I also understand the affection for Paterno. Geeze … he was around forever. He was successful. We like that when our alma mater can kick cousin Fred’s alma mater to the curb. Bragging rights and all.

But can we really brag? Did we knock Fred’s team to the curb? But can we – should we –  feel ashamed? Did we abuse young boys? Can we accept one of these premises and NOT the other??

I don’t know. I feel for grads and ungrads and those making the decision about Penn State this year, and I feel bad for the alumni whose shining past got more than a little tarnished this recently, but ….

As a lapsed Catholic, I understanding walking away – financially and emotionally – from an institution that safe guarded the victimizer over the victim. Churches have gone broken making restitution. The restitution money didn’t come from the abusers, but from the parish, who thought they were supporting their faith and in turn were providing a financial compensation for abuse. So wrong, whether church or state or school.

I wish I had the answer. I wish I could even narrow down the question.

Paterno and other Penn State admin made the decision that ‘the show must go on’ had a higher value than ‘children must be protected’. By cheering for a team, am I endorsing that? What’s my personal culpability? Low, I guess – especially if I don’t know about it. But what if I do know? And what if I become just one more person to walk away from what I know is wrong?

Is it right to penalize a football team and a school because of a ‘misdeed’? Maybe no, but if the misdeed was allowed to perpetuate because of the football team, do we get another answer?

I’m sorry to go digging on this again … but until we – as a society – find some answers, the rules of the game aren’t going to change. And that just isn’t acceptable.


Categories: General


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