Sandusky-Penn State Revelations Keep Coming
I am not going to repeat the lurid details of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes against young boys and the whole of humanity. I suppose what he was able to accomplish was a pedophile’s dream — The specific charity (the Second Mile) for “helping young boys” that brought him a steady flow of victims, the who judge had been a volunteer for his charity.
Now, there are allegations that his own family contained alleged victims – possibly his grandson.
It’s not that nobody knew — People had complained and reported many times over many years.
Some how it never got out.
Maybe, in some works of fiction, there is a Cosa Nostra of deceit in say, Sicily or something, that everybody knows about but says nothing. (Apologies to my Italian friends. I have to look to fiction to imagine something as large in scope.) And in such a situation people would keep their mouths closed out of fear for their own lives, a believed enforcement by those who have the ability to kill – or maybe just get one fired and blackballed from ever working in the sports or university fields again.
Here there is nothing analogous. This story amounts to a conspiracy of silence that lasted a minimum of 20 years. No enforcement, no threats other than perhaps to the boys themselves. I mean, who knows what happens when a man and a boy are in a room together?
This has gone light years beyond that. There were adults who knew, and plenty of them.
Barry Switzer, former Oklahoma football coach who weathered some scandals of his own (although not being accused of being a sexual predator) said, “The community knew.”
His assertion has to be correct. This could not have gone on so long without a lot of silent witnesses – powerful enough to keep the lid on.
The question becomes what happened for so long, and how it could go on?
I have found no easy answer. One of my usual ploys; look for an analogy. Where has this happened before???
I can think of only one place.
I’ve written before about a place on the web that tells the story of young kids who have been abused for years by the Catholic priesthood, where there was a massive conspiracy of silence.
I am also on the record as calling Sports “The new religion.”
I have also said that I classify sports as a major mental illness.
I wish I had not seen my theory proved in the laboratory that has been Penn State – the football fans and the supporters of coach Joe Paterno as well as the accused offender, Jerry Sandusky.
I wish a community had not been able to sacrifice the pain of individuals in favor of saving the hierarchy, saving the system, saving this idolatry of sports.
I remember, vaguely, being told by my parents that sports was supposed to improve my character. I remember telling them that when an evil girl cracked a hockey stick over my foot at prep school it did nothing for my character, but did fracture my scaphoid bone in the right foot, something which will be with me for life and occasionally causes trouble.
Nobody among my forbears was any good at sports; I had no mythology to live up to in that department and to say I was happy about same is an understatement.
For most folks, (presumably those who were not given intellectual achievement as an option) the moment of sports victory, the winning team that turned the tide around as a miracle, is an analogy to a religious institution.
I have a suspicion that the kinds of things Coach Sandusky did are far more widespread than even we sports cynics can suspect. I believe that a coach, like a boy scout leader or choirmaster, who “loves” young boys may go over the line more frequently than anyone wants to know or believe. How many of our institutions would get shaky and crumble if this were the rule and not the exception???
Let’s leave my meanderings and get back to the facts.
If sports is a religion, Sandusky was one of its demi-gods. Nobody is going to talk now about the number of championship teams, goals achieved, players who went to the pros. It is assumed these were good things. They must have happened for him to become “beloved” in the first place.
These are public things, of public knowledge and record. His family must have been part of public record, too; often interviewed, “photo opportunities.” A local hero, not one generally known in the United States by anyone except (I suppose) sports fans, the keepers of the faith.
People have written on the secret lives of the famous – notably the sex lives. Napoleon Hill has written on high achievers as “highly sexed” and I had to check out some of the people on his list before convincing myself that this did not mean being bipolar – as such people are often hyper-sexual.
I think about the intrigue and treachery profiled in Mario Puzo’s historical novel on the Borgia family. Somehow this account is a lot more believable than the traditional idea that these men – one a Pope, and several cardinals and bishops in the family — kept vows of chastity.
I have expressed my ideas before, that sports ruin a human life, that a life in competitive sports leads to professional sports, physical injury, and a life so broken, so spent, that nobody seems to know when pointing their life in that direction how horrible the outcome can be.
The amount of enforcement and surveillance that would be necessary when coaches and under-aged athletes are together would be onerous if not downright impossible.
Human competitive sports need to simply be banned, in favor of sports played by robots, with the understanding that no human should be exposed to a lifetime of psychological as well as spiritual trauma.