In the wake of my recent article about the child sexual abuse case and cover up at Penn State University I have to admit that I was somewhat shocked, amazed and even disturbed about some of the responses I received from readers of Canespace.
I was shocked that some readers felt that it would be unfair to apply the so-called "Death Penalty" to Penn State because it would punish the current players and coaches for the sins, transgressions and criminal activities perpetrated upon innocent young children by a past employee and the cover up of these facts by the head coach and administrators of the University.
In my opinion it is the academic institution and the athletic department that needs to be punished for their actions (and inaction) regardless of the type or severity of impact it may have on current players, coaches or fans of the Nittany Lions football team.
I was amazed at the fact that some readers seemed to try to find a way to rationalize or minimize the incredible crimes of child abuse as something that was so trivial or simply not important enough as to interrupt a football season or to inconvenience or displace a few football coaches and players and fans at PSU during the 2012 season.
Did anyone ask the kids who were abused if they thought that their sexual abuse at the hands of a Penn State coach was insignificant or "fair" to them as children?
I was disturbed that some people felt that these crimes and the cover up to protect the former head coach and the program were "in the past" and that life and Penn State football should just go on as planned just as Joe Paterno would have had it if he were still alive and wearing his trademark tie on the sidelines.
The abuse these children suffered will not just go away and will likely be with them the rest of their lives. According to national statistics on child abuse that I posted the other day here on the blog approximately 80% of abused children will develop a mental health disorder and over 60% will develop substance abuse disorders during their lifetimes.
I am sorry but none of that seems right, or just, or fair to those kids who in a sense lost their lives to the pedophile named Jerry Sandusky under the blind eyes of those at Penn State University. How can those criminal acts and the cover up be intentionally over looked in an effort to keep Penn State Football alive?
Is one year for a sports team, and few coaches and players of college football, more important than the entire lives of what appears now to be more than 12 children who were abused over a decade and whose lives will never be the same? I for one cannot and will not accept this situation as "just another insignificant NCAA issue".
Sammy Watkins getting arrested at Clemson for smoking some herb and bumping a curb in a Cadillac is one thing. But more than 12 children being raped repeatedly when others knew about it and chose to do nothing about it is something completely different and unprecedented in NCAA history.
That is where I, and the NCAA, should absolutely draw the line.
Any rational person has to ask: If not there, then where?
Or let me put it another way: Who will you rather be cheering for this Fall on Saturdays, Penn State football or the 12 or so young men who had the courage to come forward to testify in court about their innocence being stolen from them and are just now trying to get their lives back?
If there ever was a "no-brainer", there IT is right there.