Upfront disclosure: I love football.
I love college football.
Especially Big 10 college football.
So if it's possible to be even more horrified by the abuse going on at Penn State than that which pours out just by being human, I, along with other Big 10 football fans are that horrified.
We're appalled. Sickened. It's vile. Evil. Disgusting. Who isn't outraged, when facing greedy, selfish, power-hungry, abusing child-haters masquerading as leaders and mentors to young men?
And it's no help to see the students at Penn State rallying against the mandatory, no-choice punishment dealt to Joe Paterno, one of the key players in the scandal. You're football fans? You ought to know the rules. You play the game, you take the hits.
But, I'm a Big 10 fan. And believer. I'm waiting, optimistically, for students at Penn State to remember who they are, who is supporting them at their fantastic school, and who their hearts should be broken for. I'm sure they will show up - to speak with their real voice.
Who are they? Our future. The future that includes no more tolerance for bullying, for brutality, for greed, for abuse of power. The same future that's rallying against greed and abuse of power on Wall Street. Money-grubbing greed, the worship of money over skill and talent and education, are the factors that have allowed more than one state university to be ruled by football profit-machines, losing their way in cover-ups that worried more about avoiding a black eye for an athletic program than honoring what should be their noble mission.
Penn State students will remember that. They'll remember they are our future.
They will also remember they are in school at the will and sufferance and financial support of the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. The "State" in Penn State is, after all, the state of Pennsylvania, the hard-working taxpayers who have more than enough financial challenges without their premier school covering up child abuse. Because that's who will pay for this mess. The state of Pennsylvania will be on the hook for reorganizing governance at Penn State, revamping their athletic programs, in addition to the cost of lawyers and criminal investigations, and money owed to victims.
The students will remember that. They will remember who is paying for their education.
And as sure as autumn brings foliage and pumpkins, and the cold smack of football helmets, and the breathtaking arc of a perfectly thrown pass landing flawlessly in the hands of a receiver just inside the end zone, it will bring some sense to the rallying crowds at Penn State to stand up in support of the children at the tragic center of this horror.
The same unified cacophony of sound that rings for a Nittany Lion victory will be the voice against a reign of terror enabled by criminal co-conspirators: the abuser, the coach, the athletic director, the president, the silent witnesses. Those criminals deserve no sympathy from us or from the students.
We do have a future. They'll remember who they are and speak accordingly.
Kyle G. Brixton