Saturday, December 3, 2011

Taking one for the team?

In light of the, "new" revelations of sex crimes committed by coaches, assistants and volunteers in school athletic departments, we ALL need to get real; the sexual exploitation and abuse of underage players and students in school athletics is so prevalent, it's practically an open secret. How many of us know of, or should have known of, inappropriate relationships between coaches and players and/or students in, not just High Schools, but Junior High Schools, as well.

The only, "new" aspect is the new level of media involvement, i.e. Sandusky; these, “inappropriate relationships” are the dirty-little-secrets in school and NCAA programs, with administrators historically, and shamelessly, supplying cover. With the enormous monies; bazillions of dollars raked in by NCAA programs; the protecting of the cash cow is the bottom-line priority for administrators, NOT the, “molding of young minds and character.”

Look, when Barry Switzer says, “Everyone had to know.” He means it. He speaks from long experience in NCAA and professional athletics. Literally, everyone did know.

In the Penn State scandal, protecting the jobs and reputations of school officials and the coffers of their monied interests held sway. The abuse was known from stem to stern, with no one willing to quarantine the grossly infected ship.

Penn State football, and perhaps all their athletics, should suffer the nuclear-option. An obscenely rotten culture focused on status, on money and on fame, created this free pass for sex abusers and will not be undone by the loss of a season. An intensely deep and painful house cleaning is called for, requiring letting the chips fall on all, ALL of the guilty parties, whether abusers or enablers.

Who will make that call?


First Hint

“I had to quit my job over that tornado.” Obie resolutely told me in 1981, sitting at a long table in the employee break room. A room that, unnoticed by me, was now going gradually silent.

“That tornado,” being the monstrous F4 funnel that struck Wichita Falls, Texas in 1979, killing 42 people, causing over 1,700 injuries, destroying over 3,000 homes and leaving 20,000 homeless.

With my tactfulness, perhaps, needing a little tweaking, there in my first day as a newbie to the brand new operating unit for the, “phone company” (and new resident of Wichita Falls). I asked, “You had to quit your job over the tornado? How’d that happen? Did it hit where you worked?” (I usually asked three to four questions at a time, back then.) Obie, slowly shaking his head, responded, "No... It didn’t. I... guess that might’ve been some part of the problem.”

“Part of the problem…?” I was stumped. Until Obie, who was black, told me that since the tornado had missed the, " black part of town," instead wreaking havoc on the most affluent (and white) areas, that the, "white folks" said the, “black folks” (see nig**r) had brought it… BROUGHT the Tornado ON the White People!"

Picking up my chin, I nervously giggled, “Oh man, that’s crazy!" Obie, his voice hollow as if from some deep well, solemnly answered, “Yeah, but the white workers on my job harassed me so much over it, every day, that I finally had to quit that job.”

I was completely shocked and spouted, incredulously, “I can’t believe that. That is just nuts!”

Seeing a warning in Obie's face, I then began to glance around and noticed that, unlike me, all the other, “white folks” sitting at that long table seemed to be swelling up like toads.

Startled by the sudden whip of negative energy, I instinctively acted to snag that energy and deflate those fat toads:

With an exaggerated conspiratorial tone, combined with a, “pre-Palin” wink, I turned to Obie, saying, Soto Voce, “Well, you know Obie, I DID see a picture of it and… it WAS black.” Obie’s eyes went wide, he sucked in his breath and then, as I cackled, he joined in, looking terribly relieved and surprised by my attitude, or lack thereof.

But...we laughed alone.
None of the toads croaked in.
First hint of things to come.