The lessons of the Paterno case

By Edgar Pagaza

Most people are shocked by the blatant disregard in which coach Sandusky conducted himself and abused of children under the guise of “helping underprivileged kids,” yet this shouldn’t be surprising at all.

In a culture where people follow sports in a religious fashion, where fans make weekend rituals to prepare for the “big game,”  it is no surprising that fans blindly follow what their teams and players do. In a way, it is no different than following a religion without ever questioning its authority. This is the main reason why the Catholic church was able to cover up the molestation cases that occurred for decades and were never reported to the authorities.

Unfortunately, it is hard to believe that this is the only case of molestation in sports across the nation. People have drank the Kool-Aid and truly believe that the players and coaches follow the values and ethics that their favorite team upholds as part of the school code.

There still seems like a long way to go, and this was clear a couple of weeks ago when most students decided to first show their support to coach Paterno by gathering, outside his home and only after criticism of the support given to the coach was made, did they decide to hold a vigil for the rape victims; an act that seems disingenuous at best. It is obvious that Penn State and the majority of their students have their priorities mixed up as they still see football as the most important part of not only their college experience but life experience. If they had truly wanted to show solidarity towards the victims they would’ve held the candlelight vigil first and not as some afterthought.

It is easy to comprehend the fascination that fans have when they become part of a winning team or tradition. Some fans tend to own up to the triumphs and loses of the teams they support, sometimes losing perspective and reality that they are only spectators and pawns to those who profit  in that enthusiasm. The loyalty to these teams is often taken for granted and the end result is blind faith to what an organization does.

This should serve as a wake up call to fans that there is an ugly side to winning at all costs. Those who bleed the colors of their teams and that believe the people representing the team are close to walking on water and that they abide by those values they preach need to wake up. That air of superiority and grandiosity needs to be put in check for acts like these to never occur again.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *