Penn State v. Nebraska Game Will Honor Child Abuse Victims

Beaver StadiumIt will be hard to avoid the dark cloud hanging over the final home football game for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Hard. But not impossible. The onus is on -- of all people -- the fans of the Nebraska Cornhuskers to help squeeze a big pitcher of lemonade out of the world's biggest vat of lemons. They can wear Penn State colors this weekend, and stand in solidarity with the very team they're trying to beat.

I know it's crazy! But it's the best way to stand up for the real victims. With Coach Joe Paterno and School President Graham Spanier fired late last night, the board of trustees at Penn State is doing everything they can to say "we do not support anything our staff did surrounding the allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky." They leave the Cornhuskers two choices: rub it in their faces or show they're the "bigger people." They have the power to set the tone of the next conversation in this whole Sandusky scandal.

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The enormous burden may seem unfair.

The Huskers aren't bringing a horrific child sex abuse scandal to State College, Pennsylvania. They haven't lost their legendary coach. And temptations to scrawl nasty signs and hold them high in the stands are understandable. The allegations against Sandusky make my skin crawl. Nebraska fans have every right to be angry.

But they have the upper hand in everything: probably on the field, but most definitely off. They can dress in their scarlet and cream and sing Dear Old Nebraska U. Or they can dress in the colors of the Nittany Lions and stand in solidarity.

Penn State is encouraging the members of its own community to Blue Out this weekend's game, to dress in shades of blue, the color linked to child abuse awareness, and to turn Beaver Stadium into a sea of support for the kids. It's a smart move by the university to try to claim ownership of the flip side of scandal. But it's more than that.

It's a way to turn the conversation back to the true heart of this matter: to kids who deserve coaches who are in their lives for the right reasons, to kids who deserve adults who will fight for them no matter the cost.


Image via jmartcmu/Flickr

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