Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Shame of Penn State - Students and Coaches Alike!

   It is bad enough that administration personel and coaching staff at Penn State have been covering up child rape, but what may be worse is the reaction of students and other supporters of Joe Paterno.

   First it was rallying outside Paterno's house in support of Paterno, but now it has turned into rioting in reaction to Paterno being fired. Such behavior is simply indefensible.

   I have also seen support on Facebook, with some people making comments along the lines of "he wasn't the guy who did it." Sure. He wasn't. But, according to the grand jury report, Paterno knew about the allogations and did very little about it. This makes him an accomplice. Supporting Paterno at this point is equivalent to supporting accomplice to rape. That is pretty sickening.

   The one argument I have heard that I can partially accept is that Paterno be given a chance to defend himself. Others have been calling this "Duke II." That's a disastrous situation* to compare this to, but one implication seems to be a concern that a decision was made too quickly. (The other implication is that Paterno has been falsely accused; this seems quite unlikely and I cannot support such a defense.) Even with such arguments, I feel the Board of Trustees would have at least had to suspend Paterno.

   But, in spite of those more valid defenses of Paterno, I cannot help but suspect if this was pretty much any other coach, few would have objected to such quick action. I cannot help but get the feeling that there is special pleading taking place here. And it sickens me. It sickens me for at least two reasons:
  1. This gives special protection to people with privelege and weakens the chance that the victims, when they belong to a less priveleged group, will get their justice or if they'll even report their case.
  2. The support of Paterno sends the message that a significant portion of the populace finds #1 to be acceptable.

   So, Penn State protestors and Joe Paterno supporters, consider yourselves a disgrace to the human race. Whether you realize it or not - and I suspect many of you don't - you have effectively made yourselves part of the problem of covering up for rape.

   As for the Board of Trustees, h/t. Thank you for treating Joe Paterno equally as you would have any other coach. Equal treatment for all is the way society should operate.

* I am disturbed about people bringing up the Duke rape allogations because one of the disturbing parts of that situation was how the accuser was treated. It was one of those cases where she "couldn't have been raped" because she was (1) a striper (and thus probably a "slut") and was (2) allegedly either drunk or drugged up or both. It's the problem where rape is not considered rape by many people because they think the victim "had it coming." And while the accuser in this case was making false accusations, this discrediting of potential victims based on looks and behavior - as opposed to examining the evidence of the case - makes it harder for actual rape victims to speak out honestly, if at all, about their assults. This effectively promotes the rape culture in America.

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