This situation at Penn State has really gotten my hackles up.
I’ve got 3 kids and my eldest son wants to play football. This was something I supported until recently when it seems to be coming out more and more how coaches, leagues, and even follow players are covering up trauma to children. I often think there is no value in organized sports these days because of the things that allowed to happen behind closed locker room doors. This Penn State mess scares me to the core and I am reacting from a place of momma bear and emotion.
In life sports (hockey, football, basketball) coaches are put on a level of trust by parents and as a result of trickle down children trust them too. They believe that these people are trust worthy because their parents say they are. If the recent stories involving abuse of NHL players in their youth have taught me anything it’s that coaches become a corner stone of a budding Gretzky/Stegall/Jordan’s dreams and that can be used to hurt a child in such a deep way.
Sandusky was seen as someone trust worthy. He started a charity which it now seems allowed him to prey on at risk youth. The ones most likely to keep his secrets because they would be the easiest to threaten because while they have next to nothing they would have the most to loose. I’m guessing no one would speak up if they really believed that they could be taken away from their families by someone seen as having more power than your own parents do.
JoPa or St. Joe as many like to term him turned a blind eye and he’s guilty of that. Victims of abuse don’t need his prayers, his guilt or his thoughts that hindsight is 20/20. They needed his action 9 years ago and he failed. They needed someone to stand up, to protect them, to be their saviour. Epic fail on all accounts for St. Joe.
He might be one hell of a coach but he’s one very terrible human being.
If that were my son Joe’s prayers wouldn’t heal his soul.
If that were my son Joe’s guilt wouldn’t take away the shame or the pain
If that were my son Joe’s hindsight wouldn’t have saved someone from that same fate.
I also don’t understand how someone could stand up for him. I tweeted a CFL player who appeared sympathetic to Joe because I wanted to know if what he said would be enough for him if his child was a victim. There is no two ways about this…
Joe turned a blind eye to RAPE of a CHILD. A 10 year old boy. He had the power to stop someone not just committing a crime but an act of terrorism.
Maybe but the stories from survivors of molestation make it clear that there is a pattern of terror used by many pedophiles to keep their victims under their thumbs. I will kill your mom or dad. You will get taken away to some place bad. Even the very effective no one is going to believe you because I am some big shot and you are just a bad kid that tells lies. These are all used to scare and terrorize a child into being complacent to their abusers. So yes, to me that is an act of emotional terrorism.
I ache for all those boys who are now men and having to deal with ghosts I am sure they hoped were buried. I hope that now at this time they will get their justice, get their support and hopefully heal and become survivors and not be victims.
For those rioting. I give you some leeway because most of you probably aren’t parents yet. You’ve never looked into the eyes of your young child and realized that out there somewhere someone with bad intentions would hurt your child if the opportunity presents itself. You’ve never gotten a letter from a school telling you that some one who likes to Break and Enter homes with kids toys in the yard and rape children in their beds is moving near you after serving a sentence and is considered a high risk to re-offend that will keep you awake at night while you mentally check list how secure your home is.
But you will someday.
On that day St. Joe will stop being Coach to you and become a man. A very flawed man and you will understand why mothers like me, fathers like my husband and others were so angry and blamed him for something that he did wrong.
I wish I could say that Joe was the only player at the heart of this but the cover up goes deep and I hope everyone who failed to act has to account for what they failed to do.
But Joe was a person of respect and authority and his voice would have given credence and strength on behalf of these boys.
He really could have been a Saint.
For now I have to go home and talk to my son about how adults can be bad, that you can’t count on all of them to protect you sometimes and finally that there is nothing that he can’t tell me that I won’t believe.
Eventually I will swallow my fear and consider letting him play football.
His sister however, probably never now.