By Jimmy Phillips
Two nights ago, I was watching the news. I witnessed awful riots in which young people were acting as feral beasts. There were cars overturned and people hanging on light posts. I was sure it was a scene from the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. Okay, Egypt. Nope. It was University Park, Penn., home of Penn State University.
These college students were protesting the dismissal of Joe Paterno, a legendary coach and head of the school’s football program.
For the most part, I am not commenting on the scandal itself, one that involves child molestation at the hands of Paterno’s assistant coach. I find the protesting to be nearly as despicable as the crimes committed, and it is this about which I am opining.
Since when is it acceptable for our society to blatantly excuse sexual crimes? Sure, the fella knew how to win a football game, but he also failed to stop a child molester. If I were Santa, Joe Paterno would be on the naughty list in perpetuity.
The fact students felt the need to flip cars at his firing tells me that perhaps Penn State should spend more time exercising the minds of its pupils than engraving Big Ten trophies. I am appalled that people think Paterno should keep his job.
We are civilized members of a democratic society and while these students have a right to protest, they should be doing nothing of the sort. Not only are they demonstrating support for their coach, they are also demonstrating their woeful ignorance.
If my hypothetical son were being fondled by a man and a third party could have done something to stop it but didn’t, I would act in a very unhappy fashion. Not only do I believe Paterno ought to be fired, he, along with everyone else who allowed such foul and unclean conduct to occur, should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
The mere idea of a child rapist is enough to turn my stomach; criminal behavior should take priority over athletic tomfoolery. Maybe Penn State students and those who are incapable of understanding the gravity of the situation should try realigning their moral compasses.