By Paul E. Gable
(Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint of a column from The Shelbyville News, Shelbyville, Indiana)
A child has been violated.
Perhaps, it is the same child you have loved, given a kiss good night to or dreamed about how he or she would look in a football uniform or a cheerleading outfit.
However, an athletic surface is the last place where this child wants to be. Not after what has happened between this child and the coach they trusted.
The same coach that vowed to the child’s parents that he or she was going to take care of and protect their child.
And that is sickening.
It doesn’t matter if the incidents were at Penn State University and brought down a legendary football coach, at Syracuse University, where the Orange basketball program is a serious contender each and every year, or at a high school here in Indiana. The bottom line is these events are revolting and if the people who are accused of doing these acts are guilty, they are evil.
We can talk all day about the breakdowns at Penn St. until we are blue in the face.
We can question how former assistant Jerry Sandusky still had access to the facility where he allegedly committed ungodly acts against young boys.
We can talk about how Syracuse University men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim played the holier than thou card at press conferences after allegations surfaced with assistant coach Bernie Fine (pictured here).
And, we can talk about how grateful these individuals should be that the only thing they lost were their jobs and reputations. As I told someone, if it were my son, I wouldn’t be writing this column.
While all those things are fine to talk about, the big issue and thing that really needs addressing is how and why are we letting down our children?
Jobs and reputations can be replaced.
If we’ve learned anything about this great country of ours, it is that we, as Americans, love the underdog and second chances.
I’d be willing to bet Fine and Sandusky, if they get rid of their potential legal problems, will get a second chance sometime in the future. Perhaps, not in the college ranks or as a coach, but don’t be surprised if they are some sort of glorified consultant somewhere in the future.
Here is a stat that will make you hug your child twice and think about who they truly are hanging around.
According to the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute, it’s estimated that two of every 10 girls and one of every 10 boys are sexually abused before they are 14 years old.
And you still think we, as a society, are doing enough to keep our children safe?
Unfortunately, for the people involved in the two biggest sex scandals to rock college athletics, enough was not done by the people who witnessed or were first notified of the incidents.
And, as a result, the pain they, along with the children who were molested by coaches elsewhere, may never end.
Whatever happened to the moral obligation to report any sign of abuse?
The days of turning a blind eye and acting as if it is none of our business have to come to an end.
After all, if we don’t protect our children, who will?
The writer is a native of Loris, S.C. and a graduate of Newberry College. He is currently a sports journalist at “The Shelbyville News” in Shelbyville, Indiana.