When I heard that students at Penn State were rioting in response to Coach Joe Paterno being fired, I literally felt sick. A police statement estimated the crowd totaled as many as 4,000 to 5,000 people. This crowd toppled light posts, street signs and even turned over a news van.
Paterno had knowledge that children were being abused and did nothing about it. As a result of Paterno's inaction, there are more victims of Jerry Sandusky out there. How could all of these people possibly support this man?
I tried my best to understand. I read about all of the wonderful things that Paterno has done. I tried to get a sense of why so many support this beloved 'JoePa'. I read articles where people defended Paterno and insisted he should have been able to finish out the season. Ultimately. none of this mattered to me. At the end of it all, upwards of twenty (and likely many more) children suffered. Who the hell cares about FOOTBALL in the face of that?
People obviously agreed. A mural that included a picture of Sandusky no longer does. His image has been painted over by the artist and replaced by an empty chair with a blue ribbon representing Sandusky's alleged victims. The Big Ten Championship Trophy, which was to be called the Stagg-Paterno Trophy, will now be known simply as the Stagg Trophy.
I started seeing talk online about what was to happen at the Penn State/Nebraska football game on Saturday. It was decided by the fans that people were going to wear white in support of Joe Paterno. Alternatively, those supporting the abuse victims planned to wear blue.
I watched the beginning of the Penn State game on Saturday. I looked at the stands and saw an ocean of blue and saw hands being held and eyes full of tears. I saw the two teams come together in prayer before the game started. I witnessed the emotion and the silence of those moments.The rioting students didn't understand what the abused boys went through but it was apparent to me that the people in the crowd at the football game did.
P.S. Danielle was kind enough to ask me to do a guest post on her blog about how I felt about the riots. You can find the original post here. My husband suggested that I post it here as well and Danielle graciously allowed me to do so.
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