No penalty harsh enough for Sandusky
Reputation of sports tarnished by evil actions
Todd Colin Vaughan
Jerry Sandusky will die in a prison cell. Is that enough?
Unfortunately, due to the nature of his heinous actions, there is nothing the legal system can do to truly do to provide justice to his victims. The law has done its due diligence, but the victims will always suffer because of Sandusky.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the former Penn State football assistant coach was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison. He will essentially spend the rest of his life in a jail cell. He was convicted of 45 counts of raping or fondling boys he met through the youth charity he founded, The Second Mile.
The sentencing hearing included a rambling speech by Sandusky where he denied the allegations, even with the testimony of three of his now-adult victims, who told their stories of the ongoing pain that Sandusky has inflicted upon their lives.
Sandusky was given a fair trial and will pay for his actions to the full extent that the law permits. The pain of his victims, unfortunately, is much greater then Sandusky will ever feel in his jail cell.
It seems to be the status quo for child-rapers to plead their innocence to the very end.
Sandusky, appallingly, had help hiding his crimes and was allowed to maintain his position of power at Penn State University even though others knew what he was doing.
Even longtime and once-revered head coach Joe Paterno was involved with hiding the actions of his assistant coach.
Why do people allow this to happen? Is it something about the machismo of the sports world that forces male hierarchies to look the other way, even to the point of malicious and evil action?
Sandusky was wrong. Paterno was wrong. Penn State University was wrong and the rest of us in the sports world are once again worrying about the safety of locker rooms the world over.
We shouldn’t have to.
I grew up playing organized sports. Like many youngsters, I had several coaches, all of whom I trust and consider friends. None of them would ever misuse or betray that trust.
For me, the bonds that grew in the locker room were those of brotherhood. My teammates and coaches were my family for many years. That type of trust is very special. When you are in that locker room, you feel like you have people that will go to war with you.
The fact that people like Jerry Sandusky and convicted sex offender Graham James (a former Canadian hockey coach) betrayed that trust and destroyed lives in the process is a travesty. On top of that, it undermines the spirit of sport itself.
I learned so much from growing up with organized sports. I learned how to compete. I learned how to make friends. I learned how to care about something more than myself in attempting to reach goals with 12 other guys that wanted the same thing.
I wouldn’t want to deny my experience and the lessons I have learned to anyone.
I was a lucky one. People like James’ victims Theoren Fleury, Sheldon Kennedy, Todd Holt and Sandusky’s 10 victims were not. Their lives were never the same after some asshole betrayed their trust and took the beauty of life and sport away from them.
How do we give these victims the justice they deserve? Sandusky will not be up for parole for 30 years. James is serving a ridiculously short two year sentence that Holt has called a “national travesty.”
One day I want to put my kids into organized sports. I want to trust that when they go on road trips, they are in good hands with people who are legitimate role models. I was lucky to have great ones. I want that for my children.
I hate the fact that this is a concern for parents. I hate that people like Sandusky, James and any other sub-human child rapist forces us to worry about our children participating in sports.
It shouldn’t be that way.
Sport is a great thing. Everything I know about camaraderie, friendship, leadership and passion, I learned on the court, on the bus or in the locker room with my teammates and my coaches.
I weep for those that didn’t have that experience. I pray and hope that they find happiness and peace despite the actions of twisted coaches that betrayed their trust.