I’m not just a blogger mom. I’m also an experienced Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has worked with MANY troubled and abused children. Before I had children, the stories of physical and sexual abuse and neglect broke my heart. I was shocked and so naive about how common it was for children to be the victims of sexual predators. After I became a mother, I lost sleep on a regular basis fearing that I would be unable to protect my children from them. THEY SEEMED TO BE EVERYWHERE.
Sometimes I hate knowing what I know about the prevalence and severity of abuse suffered by children at the hands of pedophiles. What I know is burned into my brain and it has changed me forever. In the seven years away from doing therapy, the images of suffering and scarred children and families faded a bit, but for some time, I was constantly worrying and wondering about every person I knew. In time, I no longer because suspicious of everyone I met. I began to see the good in the world and to trust and be inspired by people. Joe Paterno used to inspire me. Papa Joe seemed like one of the good guys. Now I suspect that he is not and based on his lack of character and poor display of moral judgment over the past 8 years, I suspect that he never was.
You read that right. I am suspicious of Joe Paterno. I’m not suspicious that he is a pedophile. Allegedly Jerry Sandusky is the pedophile. Allegedly Tim Curley and Gary Schultz knew that Sandusky had some “issues” and they knew in part because Papa Joe did what he was REQUIRED to do by informing them of these allegations made against Sandusky. How completely out of character of him to be so average, to be satisfied with doing the bare minimum when he so famously said, “You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That is the mark of a true professional.” So much for practicing what you preach, huh Joe?
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. Joe Paterno, one of the most beloved, respected and successful coaches in the history of college football merely did what he was REQUIRED to do. This college football ICON who famously said, “Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.” I’m wondering if Joe knew that excellence off the field was expected of him and his colleagues. I’m wondering if he thought for even a moment that excellence is going above and beyond what is merely expected and being SUPERIOR.
Why am I focusing on Joe Paterno when clearly he is not the only one who ALLEGEDLY knew that kids were at possibly at risk of being taken advantage of by a possible sexual predator? I’m focusing on him because this isn’t the first time that his behavior demonstrates a complete lack of excellence as both a professional, a leader and a mentor. Not long ago he deemed the attention and inquiry about the large number of Penn State athletes with criminal charges as a “witch hunt.”
I am focusing on Joe because he is a Hall of Fame college football coach, a well-respected philanthropist, a champion of education AND A FATHER OF FIVE CHILDREN! Would he tolerate this mediocre effort from others when it came to his own children? He is being accused of putting the Penn State brand before the safety of children. If that’s true, it means that he values his association and reputation of 62 years as a coach over his 85 years as a HUMAN BEING. I'm not just suspicious of this allegation against Coach Paterno.
Like I said, I know too much. I know what happens to children who suffer abuse at the hands of people who are supposed to be responsible, respectable and trustworthy adults. They never fully recover from the fear, trauma and disappointment of being violated. Sitting with them and grieving with them as they replayed the horrible incidents, blaming themselves, feeling dirty and guilty is something that has scarred my psyche forever and I wasn’t even the victim.
I’ve heard all kinds of terrible excuses by adults when it comes to their blatant disregard of the safety of children. I’ve heard a mother make excuses for a boyfriend who raped her 12 year old daughter, saying that she must have been flirting with him and dressed too sexy. I don’t think any of the Penn State people can say their excuses are any less horrible. ANY excuse for not coming forward to protect a child or children in general is unacceptable.
I don’t think I’m alone saying that as much as I want to be surprised by the bad behavior of politicians, professional athletes and celebrities, I am not. It seems to be an acceptable part of the culture to engage in illegal, immoral and entitled behavior, but I expected more of Joe Paterno. I also don’t think I’m alone in feeling disgusted and disappointed that despite his 62 years of talk about being a loyal, confident, successful champion, focused on excellence, Joe Paterno lacks these characteristics as a human being and he is a loser in the most important game of all; LIFE.
Filed under: Uncategorized