I loathed youth soccer, but the little boys loved it. In fact I think sports are healthy for kids in moderation. Being a part of something larger than yourself, learning discipline, team work, driving hard towards a common goal. Those are all very important and impactful lessons.
Over the last few days my Twitter stream (which by the way is my source for news. If the tweeps are talking about it, it is probably something I so at least take a gander at. I also follow the AP news wire.) At first I ignored the Penn State news. Football, coaches, blah, blah, blah - just not on my radar. I blame the Buckeyes, no really I do. One cannot move around this city and not get blasted with some flavor of Buckeye Fever and so I have developed a finely honed protective anti-football talk filter.
This is until the posts in my timeline made it clear that this was sexual abuse or the attempted sexual abuse of children, young boys. Um, what? For years. With witnesses. What? On what planet does someone see a child being assaulted by an adult and does not call the police, scream stop, break it up, jump up and down, yell, all of the above or something equally impactful. Run over and grab the child out of the abusers clutches? There are dozens and dozens of better responses than the doing nothing...
What is wrong with people? I mean we are talking about possible life long physiological scars, which sex abuse and attempted sex abuse leave, verses possibly offending a coach of a football team.
If the graduate student saw a coach, in a locker room, with a 10 year boy and the adult's mouth is on the child's genitals, or worse yet there is the adults fingers, mouth or genitals are in or near the child's anus, I think some immediate action to stop that is in order. Do not pass go, do not go for coffee, do not even take 5 minutes to pee, stop the behavior, yell - scream - do something for the love of mike. That behavior is illegal. Period. Beyond that the sexual abuse of a child is immoral. There are somethings which just are not allowed to happen, under any circumstances and the sexual abuse of a child is one of them. Period. If the kid had his pants down and there was some question, is the coach looking at a possible injury, well then, I think the witnesses should have made themselves known and at least asked a question, "Um, what's the issue? Should we get the team trainer or doctor?"
(UPDATE: After rereading the grand jury indictment a janitor saw something similar two years prior and reported it to his supervisor. Nothing was done. Seriously people, did it not occur to you to intervene and aid the child?)
Instead they go to the head football coach's house to discuss this. What is there to discuss? This is illegal. If you saw it in a mall bathroom, you call security and or the police. In a public park, you call the police, in a train station, you call the police. Is anyone seeing a pattern here?
My eyes about popped out of my head as I read multiple news reports where the lawyers are playing legal semantics. The statute of limitations, the burden of this, the burden of that, the following of internal protocol. We have a strong defense.
Newsflash - you have no defense. You are morally bankrupt. Every single person, who knew what was happening and DID NOTHING has no defense.
Now hear this the lot of you. You are horrible, vile excuses for human beings. Anything short of benching and sacking and throwing the book at everyone and anyone who knew about the abuse of children is unconscionable and speaks to how devoid of common decency we as a society have become. They should all be hung in public stocks and pelted with rotten fruit for days for starters.
These 8 to 10 children had something very important and sacred stolen from them and then they were violated again when other influential people, who were in a position to help them and furthermore prevent the possible abuse of another child, decided that protocol, chain of command, and unbelievably FOOTBALL was more important.
What play book are we working from? What has happened to our society that this was even allowed to become such an issue? Is a National Title really worth that???