Daily Archives: November 9, 2011
I realize that this is a departure from the other content of my blog but William is actually from Pennsylvania and a good portion of his family went to Penn State, therefore it is still within somewhat of the same context. Having known people from the aforementioned state quite intimately, I am not altogether surprised that this kind of thing was allowed to go on the way that it did. I know that may seem a touch harsh and judgemental, perhaps even stereotypical but I am merely making the statement based on the ten to fifteen people who I have met from there. They do seem to go about life in a slightly different way than we do down here, I live in Texas. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas and have lived here the majority of my life.
Texas is a HUGE football state, hell our High School games are televised. Some would say that in Texas, we live for football. If you are from Austin, you bleed orange. If you are from College Station, maroon. In Fort Worth, its purple. Our colleges start recruiting athletes when they are in middle school. The University of Texas is a football machine. Myself, I do not agree with the level that we have exalted this sport or any for that matter but if you live here, it is ubiquitous. As much as I disagree with athletes getting away with reprehensible behaviour, solely because they are athletes, I can honestly say I do not think that child molestation would have gone unchecked down here. Yes, we have had athletes that were caught with pot or partied too hard and were cited with public intoxication and again, I do not condone their behaviour and they should all be punished just like anyone else charged with the same. But, I still can not shake the feeling that if someone were to walk into one of our locker rooms and witness a child being sodomized that a full on ass-whooping would have followed shortly after. Maybe it is my Texas pride and maybe I am naive for saying that anyone from Texas would do that so maybe I should just say, I would have stopped that on the spot! Is it possible that because I used to be a professional boxer that I would feel more comfortable forcibly removing someone from that scenario? Yes. Is it even more likely that the pure ire that would have erupted in me from seeing something that heinous would launch me into action? Definitely!
Suffice it to say that I am appalled. I am appalled that someone witnessed such an atrocity and walked away. Sure, he went and told his superiors but that child was still being raped. He (the graduate assistant) should have called attention to himself at the very least so that the child would have some sort of reprieve. He should have taken that poor soul out of harm’s way and done whatever he could for that boy. Instead, he walked away and merely told someone else. This apparent lack of personal responsibility continued right up the chain of command, every link solely doing the least amount necessary. As if I was not appalled enough about this whole story, I read earlier this morning that students held a pep-rally for Joe Paterno last night. What exactly are they supporting? The fact that their precious, dignified and ethical Coach allowed many more innocent children to become victims of a vicious predator? Or is it that they have allowed themselves to become so brain washed by the idealism of their alma mater that even when presented with the facts, they still can not seem to have an intellectual and humane reaction? To these students, I say shame on you! So what he called his superiors? Reality check, he was legally obligated to do that. These were you own people! The graduate assistant, the Head Coach, the predator, the people covering the whole thing up and lastly the victims, themselves. These people are from your state and in your school. You should be appalled too! You should want justice for these poor boys and nothing else! No pep-rallies, no support for anyone that could have stopped this at any time and did nothing.
When I think of all the pain, emotional and physical that these kids had to endure, it makes me nauseous. Children expect adults to protect them and they should. It is all of our jobs to make sure that our children are safe. And when I say “our children ” I mean all the children everywhere, not just mine or my friend’s or neighbor’s. As adults we have an obligation to all the children in our communities. The pain that is caused by sexual assault is scarring. It lasts far beyond the actual attack and has much more far-reaching consequences. The boys that were allowed to be assaulted will be dealing with the repercussions of those actions for the rest of their lives. Many of them will most likely have severe trust issues, sexual intimacy issues and I am sure a lot of anger. These are emotions and issues that they never should have been exposed to and someone could have saved them from it all. What would these school supporters say to these victims? Our Coach told his superiors? He did want he was supposed to do? Sorry you were raped too but…….. I have worked with people who have survived sexual assault when there was not anything that someone could have done to end it and they are scarred for life. Imagine finding out that you were assaulted by someone who was a known predator and was allowed to continue preying on the innocent. The level of betrayal is unspeakable.
My heart goes out to all the victims. I hope that they are getting all the help and support that THEY need. And I would like to see this as a wake up call for all of us. If you see something like this going on, STOP IT. Pick up your cell phone and call the police, immediately. If you feel comfortable, make your presence known and perhaps the sheer shock will cause the perpetrator to cease. Whatever you do, make sure it is not just what you are legally obligated to do. Make sure that it is what you are morally, compassionately and humanly obligated to do. We need to protect each other and take care of each other always. That is the most important thing. Not football, not alma maters, not athletic figures, those are all inconsequential and they should start being treated as such.
I apology for the rant but this really struck a chord with me. I am sick that people lack personal responsibility or that we allow and even condone unacceptable behaviour on any level because someone is our friend, or our brother, or our prized coach. Unacceptable behaviour is just that, unacceptable. If you truly love people you should hold them to a higher standard, we should all hold ourselves to a higher level of moral standard. We should stop the cycle of excuses. When I was training at my first boxing gym, there were all sorts of motivational posters on the wall and my favorite read:
“When you are good at making excuses, it is hard to excel at anything else.”