Don’t feel sorry for Joe Paterno.
Don’t feel sorry for a man who is a legend in his sport. He has the all-time record for wins for a Division-I coach, which was set in the last game he coached. He can “take his leave” now with a record, given the state of Division-I football’s coaching carousel that probably will never be broken. How’s that for timing?
Don’t feel bad for Graham Spanier. The former Penn State University president participated in a cover-up of one of the most egregious scandals possible and the sexual assault of multiple young boys. All because he wanted to maintain his status within JoePa’s Grand Experiment — that a school can be a football power and still maintain high academic and moral standards that have been flailing at such flagship schools as the University of Southern California, Auburn University, the University of Tennessee and that school down South.
Feel bad for the Board of Trustees at Penn State. This board did one of the bravest things possible and did not let a disgraced coach control his fate due to his name — unlike how the Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee joked about The Vest during TattooGate. This board took a step in the right direction and thought about the future of the university first, the football program second. In fact, this board followed JoePa’s tenets better than JoePa did. This board showed its commitment to Penn State as a university, something of which Penn State should be proud.
Feel bad for the players at Penn State. They came to that university on the promise of gaining quality educations in both football and in life, learning from one of the most enduring men of our time. Now, all that they were promised was revealed to be false. They were learning morals from a man who did what he was bound to do by the law, but not what he was bound to do by the morals that he claimed to profess. For many of the seniors on the team, a higher percentage at Penn State than other schools, last Saturday was their final home game. They were supposed to bask in the glow of having a powerful sendoff by their friends, family and fans. Now they had to play under the shadow of Paterno’s dark secrets. They went onto the field knowing that it is the first time in more than 50 years that JoePa would not be coaching at Penn State. They are among those who will suffer.
Feel sorry for the Penn State community. They are the ones who will be picking up the pieces of this scandal. They are the ones who, day in and day out, will have to deal with the aftermath of Penn State losing a multitude of its leading voices and proponents. They are the ones who will have to deal with recreating Penn State as a wonderful place to be. They are the ones who will have to deal with making Happy Valley a truly happy community. They are the ones who have their work cut out for them in the years to come.
Feel the most sorry for those poor boys who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted adult, coach and friend. Sexual abuse is not an insignificant topic. The deep running emotional scars are beyond the comprehension of any who have not suffered this kind of abuse. The abuse goes beyond the mental problems associated with rape. Sexual abuse like that which occurred with these boys involves betrayal at a deeper level — a betrayal that could greatly impair their ability to trust anybody in the future, out of fear that they may be betrayed as such again. Sexual abuse victims have to live with the pain and relive the horrors every night — knowing that the adults that they counted on to protect them cared more for themselves than the fate of an innocent child. Betrayal such as this will hinder these boys’ ability to live.
Lastly, feel sorry for yourself.
Be sorry that you live in a world where even the most wholesome of institutions have problems such as sexual assault and rape waiting in the wings.
Be sorry that scandals such as this force you to question the integrity of the institutions that you know, love and even attend.
Be sorry that you live in a world where people only care about a series of sexual abuses because it involves a football coach — not because there were sexual abuses at a university. And that is the greatest shame of all.
God, what a world we live in.
Nirbhay Jain is an LSA freshman.