Lack of attention to Penn State victims is ‘appalling’

by Zach James

It’s a problem that should never come up in this world we live in, let alone on a college campus.

Yet, we found ourselves with that problem this week as Pennsylvania State University received one of the largest black eyes in recent memory due to a child sex abuse scandal involving a former coach and eight boys.

It is a tragedy that makes any sane adult cringe and want to throw a TV out the window when hearing or reading all the details.

On Wednesday night Joe Paterno, Penn State’s head football coach, was fired due to the scandal. He was the leader of the group for 61 years.

No matter how involved he was, the one who oversees the most is the most responsible, no matter if it’s business or athletics.

Since this did happen on a college campus, it was the obligation of Penn State’s newspaper, The Daily Collegian, to cover the event. Well, they covered the event, but not to a level that is acceptable.

Along with that, the whole world got to see just how stupid college kids can be and place the blame among all of us.

During the Board of Trustees’ news conference, some student writers expressed emotions of disbelief and disagreement following the announcement that Paterno was going to be relieved of his duties.

Following the announcement, it led to writers asking ghastly questions which they should have a) known not to ask and b) knew the answers to. The writers, whose job it is to be objective and unbiased, allowed the best to get to them, which is unfortunate.

This led many media people, including Matt Perrault, a former radio show host in Des Moines, to lash out at media students, saying if they aren’t able to hide their emotions, don’t cover the event.

“As a former member of student media, it was disgusting to see,” Perrault posted on Twitter.

Perrault suggests that those reporters take a step back and get lectured on how to handle themselves properly.

I can’t say that I may not have done the same. Paterno was the face of that institution. Some students attend Penn State solely for the tradition of football.

If I were at that press conference, it would have been tough for me to hide my emotions, because sure, I would have been disappointed in the board’s unanimous decision.

However, if I knew there was a press badge around my neck, I would have known to set my emotions aside and cover the story as professionally as I knew how.

Then, later that night, Penn State students decided to take to the streets and riot Happy Valley. It wasn’t one of the worst riots in history, but what it did do was make every single one of us college students look miserably horrible.

They didn’t care about what was going on; they only wanted to party and get some national attention because of it. All they cared about was winning against Nebraska on Saturday.

Nonetheless, there were some who characterized college students as a whole and called them “dumb and disgraceful.”

Granted, we all have done something dumb while here at Simpson, but I don’t recall ever having a riot here. I’m not sure we have the guts to riot over something here, anyways. Nevertheless, people shouldn’t characterize us over what is going on in a large college like Penn State.

Finally, I am appalled at how little attention the victims got this week. ESPN turned its programming into “PennCenter” and focused on the people who didn’t follow moralistic standards.

Granted, it is not ESPN’s obligation to turn their focus on to the victims, but aren’t they the ones who should be getting the help instead of putting our energy toward getting coaches fired?

To the victims, I will never know how you feel. Never will I be able to sympathize with you, and for that reason, I grieve for you and your families.

May peace be with you.

To you Mr. Jerry Sandusky, may a black cloud hover over your head for as long as you shall live.

Zach is a junior multimedia journalism major and Simpsonian staff writer. He is the host of the Storm Coaches Show and is a daily writer for the blog Des Moines Sports Freaks.