Dad's Powerful Penn State Game Protest Puts Victims In Spotlight


Penn StateExcept for the giant onfield gathering of Penn State players with Nebraska players before kickoff, to a TV watcher, today's game in Beaver Stadium doesn't look a heckuva lot different than any other college football matchup. There are downs and tackles, passes and rushes. But a protest happening outside on the streets of State College, Pennsylvania has ensured the little boys allegedly abused by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky are honored in the right way.

A Penn State graduate named Jon Matko, father of a 4-year-old little boy who has spent all week thinking about the children, stood outside the stadium before game time today. He had black tape over the logo of his beloved alma mater on his hat. His signs demanded people not forget Sandusky's alleged victims, and he put the blame right where it should go.

As one sign quoting Albert Einstein said:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

Matko isn't just doing something. He's doing the right thing with his protest. I commend him for standing where he did and doing what he's done.

Onfield isn't the place to have a discussion about something as serious as child sex abuse. It's a GAME. It's a place where guys chase an oddly shaped ball. It's supposed to be fun.

More on Penn State Scandal: Penn State Riots Show Students Care More About Football Than Child Abuse

Not to mention, the game that's going on even as I type this is being played by guys who had no involvement in Sandusky's alleged crimes. They weren't even at the school when now suspended coach Mike McQueary says he walked into the locker room and witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the shower. They have no power over the decisions of fired Coach Joe Paterno. If they did, don't you think they'd all be starting quarterbacks, all be NFL-bound?

Horrified by the allegations against Sandusky, there's been a part of me that, as a mom, also felt for these teenage and young adult boys caught up in a scandal that wasn't of their making. They just want to play football. And now they've got wackos calling in bomb threats on their stadium and folks insisting their game should be cancelled. They don't deserve that.

But that doesn't mean the situation that has happened this past week at Penn State should be forgotten on game day either. It just has to be addressed in the right, most respectful way. 

More on Penn State Scandal: The Conversation Parents Need to Have After Sandusky Scandal

By standing outside in a quiet protest that focused on the real criminals and the real victims, Matko reframed the conversation. He reminded us that the players of Penn State are just caught in the middle. He reminded us where our anger should be directed.

This dad reminded us that these little boys deserved better, someone to fight for them. That's a lot more effective than a bomb threat, isn't it?

Have you gotten behind the protests against the game and the university or do you think they take the focus off of the victims?


Image via Caitlinator/Flickr

college sports, football


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KristyB KristyB

I live about 30 minutes from the University. In my neck of the woods, everyone bleeds Blue and White. Penn State is a great University and a great place to get an education. The behavior and the actions of a few individuals does not define the school or those who attend there. From this tragedy we will become a stronger community and I believe that students at the university in the days, weeks, and even years to come will do great things to raise awareness about child abuse. We will rise above this. WE ARE... PENN STATE!

Readi... ReadingIsSexy27

This father is right in demanding that the focus be put  back on the victims and the abuse.  The media has focused on everything but and done them a great disservice.  Its time to stop focusing on Joe Paterno and start focusing on supporting the victims and bringing their abuser to justice.

nonmember avatar KathyT.

If not for the power and prestige of Joe Paterno and his ability to orchestrate a coverup, lots of young boys (most likely many more than we will ever know) would would have been spared this nightmare. To think that they knew that Sandusky was raping and violating 8 and 9 year old boys and they let him quietly resign and keep doing it, and keep his "charity" work going, makes me sick to my stomach. I think the current Penn State kids who rioted and raised hell the night that Paterno was fired just weren't thinking. College kids just looking for an excuse to drink and party. My thoughts are with the boys and their families who have lived this horrible nightmare. Sandusky and everyone who knew what he was doing should be in prison.

fraoch fraoch

Did I miss an article where it state Paterno is the one who orchestrated the cover-up?

KristyB KristyB

Fraoch, there is no such article because it isn't true. I am really disappointed that Joe did not report what he heard to the police because he definitely should have. He did however report it to his superior. He could have and should have done more, but he did report it to his boss. The real question in my mind is, how could Mike McQueary witness the abuse with his own two eyes and walk away without intervening or immediately calling the police. He hasn't even been fired yet... He's on "leave"... PAID leave at that! So Paterno, who personally witnesses nothing was fired and McQueary who saw the abuse as it was happening and did NOTHING to help, is still receiving a pay check. This whole thing is just sickening. My heart goes out to the victims and their families and may Jerry Sandusky burn in hell. WE ARE... PENN STATE!

clg1213 clg1213

i rambled on my own thoughts yesterday:  i live one town over, about 10min from the stadium.  i was VERY glad to hear that a group of folks organized fund-raising apparel sales.  i hope the emotion, both anger and school pride, gets channeled to something positive

nonmember avatar Elw175

Amen, kristyb. Bothy husband and I attended psu at university park and I completely agree with both of your comments. Yes, he could have done more but so could have many others. Everyone says Paterno had to of known there was more going on but what about his wife? The social workers who oversaw his six adoptions? Neighbors, coworkers, other coaches?

Nraw2011 Nraw2011

Every single one of them should have charges brought against them.  Telling a supervisor is not the same  as telling the police.  They all continued to work with this man day after day knowing what kind of monster he was.  Not one of them gave a damn about those kids.  If they had they would have done every thing in their power to get that animal off the streets.  So many boys could have been saved from him if any one of them had done the right thing.  

If I know someone is hurting your child.  I don't think years later hearing me say "I'm sorry about what happened to your son/daughter but I told my supervisor" is going to make you feel any gratitude towards me.  


tuffy... tuffymama

Yeah, when I see someone being raped or murdered, I'll make sure I run my coward ass to my boss and let him know what I saw. NOT. I'll tell the damn police, as anybody with a drop of human compassion and some common sense would do. Then again, I'm not more concerned with my wallet than a child's life. The lowdown pieces of crap who covered for and enabled the putrid garbage who destroyed these kids' lives are complicit in the crimes. Paterno committed a crime in not going to the police, IMO.

Avitar Avitar

 Way to go!.. I'm so glad he isn't letting people forget what happended to those kids. That man should never see the light of day. He has commited one of the worse crimes on innocent precious children who were already in need of help. Those boys will never be quite right again because of some filthy, heartless, abusive, preditorial pig. Too many famous people get away with murder.

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