Column: Tebowing for JoePa supporters
Nov. 15, 2011
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
I never wanted to be controversial when I first started this whole column thing back in August.
But with how nauseated I've felt all week over this whole Penn State scandal, I feel like I have no choice.
I don't mind if Joe Paterno supporters see this column and feel offended because, unlike Paterno and others involved who did nothing to stop that (insert foul descriptor of choice) Jerry Sandusky, I'm willing to sacrifice a little social comfort for a strong moral conviction.
I'm not even here to debate whether those surrounding Sandusky were in the right or not. There's already a grand jury indictment to show that everyone involved contributed to a sick, systematic corruption that allowed an atrocious child molestation scandal to occur because people were afraid to sacrifice their time, job security or university reputation to do the right thing.
Even though Paterno wasn't the one in the shower with those kids, he still had years to stop Sandusky from (allegedly) doing it over and over and over again, as did former assistant coach Mike McQueary when he could've walked into that shower cell and broken Sandusky's jaw, or at least gone straight to the police and ended things.
In the wake of the scandal breaking and Paterno being fired before his final home game of the year, Penn State students showed up for a protest that was basically interpreted as the "we are all ignorant college kids and care more about this next football game than the victims of this sexual child abuse scandal" protest.
Simultaneously, kids flooded to their Facebook newsfeeds to defend Paterno with “logic” that rivaled the insensitivity of the State College protesters.
People decried the firing as an injustice against one of the most storied college football coaches ever: Why couldn't they just let him coach his last home game? He did exactly what he was supposed to by reporting the accusations to university higher-ups. Moral obligations can remain separate from fulfilling professional protocol (yeah, I know).
Really, everyone? Really? Does anyone realize what this says about our priorities?
Should we look the other way or downplay this just because Joe Paterno was arguably the greatest college football coach of the last quarter century? I'd rather see a Herman Cain-Michelle Bachmann presidency or have to survive a beat-down like the one Sandusky’s probably in for when he gets to jail.
Why is this even a question of whether or not Paterno was being wronged? How did that even make it to the mainstream media without being mocked out of existence?
Ironically, this brings to mind another recent, although less severe, sports headline trend: Tebow(ing).
For anyone living under a rock or still yelling foolishness at College Station, Tim Tebow's act of taking a knee in prayer before games and after touchdowns has become an act of mockery referred to as "Tebowing," popping up on blogs, Tumblrs and on the field after defenders sack him. It’s the new form of planking, but disrespectful this time around.
Many of you are probably already arguing that Tebow is asking for this mockery by putting his faith out there. But as a very solid college quarterback who hasn't lived up to unrealistically high expectations in his first two NFL seasons (Did anyone bother to look up Brett Favre's stats from his first year in Atlanta?) why are we all so quick to start with the “(something sucky) > Tebow” jokes on ESPN discussion boards and elsewhere?
Unfortunately, many people are arguing that Tebow and his beliefs are being mocked just because he isn’t playing up to par as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
So essentially, by this logic that so many Internet haters have used, sports performance is the moral scale that's being used to justify or condemn religious tolerance, not a general sense of morality itself.
It's the distracter that’s turned so many people into morally insensitive monsters when it comes to this whole Penn State thing, standing outside and rioting for the head coach that kept on a defensive coordinator who had been repeatedly accused of sexually abusing over a half-dozen children the age of their younger siblings.
Instead of discussing how the lives of eight children were ruined in the locker room, we're talking about who got to coach on the field Saturday afternoon.
If you're still sympathizing with those idiot protesters at State College or making tasteless Tebow jokes on Reddit for upvotes, allow me to employ one of your own jokes:
Tebow > JoePa supporters.