Passivity and Penn State

penn state football scandal

Most who follow the sports world know that today the Freeh report was released on the comprehensive investigation of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. I’ll leave it up to the media at large to digest that one (as they have with just about every other facet of this horrible event) and I won’t pretend as though there is much that I could say that hasn’t been said by someone else already. However, I do find the notion of weighing in on the event, now that everything is out on the table, to be pretty compelling. Before I go any further, I would like to just say that I will continue to pray for the victims of the selfish and intolerable acts of violence that were committed against them. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and suffering that one individual’s horrible decisions inflicted in the lives of innocent young men. I can only hope that by the grace of God they find healing and comfort somewhere and that this type of thing never happens again.

The Freeh report essentially revealed that there was a catastrophic failure to end the acts of sexual abuse occurring within the Penn State football facilities. Numerous employees of the university, including the late head coach, Joe Paterno, were aware of the incidents but refused to take a stand to stop them whether it was for fear of losing their jobs or fear of tarnishing the reputation of the program and school. If there’s anything the entire incident proved was that there are segments of our society that can be disturbingly passive when faced with the opportunity to end injustice. Simply being upset by the injustice of the sexual abuse of young boys wasn’t enough. It’s my opinion that every person who knew about the incidents and didn’t do anything to stop it beyond expressing their anger with it deserves to be criticized.

penn state football scandal
Where does Penn State football go after passivity has wreaked havoc through the entire campus community?

That’s what I’d like to focus on for the rest of this post. I wholeheartedly believe that passivity is one of the most dangerous forces in American society today. Passivity keeps injustice alive and its victims in harms way. Now it would be easy for me to focus solely on the Penn State scandal, but quite frankly, the lack of action take against injustice is everywhere. Things like starvation, sex trafficking, and HIV/AIDS affect millions on a daily basis. But the fact that millions are affected shouldn’t normalize these injustices. In fact, they should make us upset enough to go out and do something about them. I’m not saying you have to quit your job and move halfway around the world to work in an AIDS clinic (though I applaud you if you do), but do look for ways that you can actively support/be involved with a given cause.

The people within the Penn State community who knew of the acts of violence against young men going on behind closed doors chose the road of passivity. Consequently it will cost each of them their credibility, it will likely forever alter one of the greatest collegiate athletic programs ever, and may cost many their jobs, scholarships, or dreams. This travesty should teach every one of us something; that passivity can wreak utter havoc if it’s allowed to fester. So with that being said, let’s get angry and bring down injustice.

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