CNN's John King interviews a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, reporter covering the Penn State sex scandal.
TO THE FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF PENN STATE...
I am Tom Fisher, husband, father, grandfather and private attorney who represented children and former county attorney who prosecuted a few (many more than I wanted) cases of child abuse, endangerment and neglect... including rape, incest, indecent liberties, battery and assault. Though I obtained convictions I did not win justice. I saw small children destroyed..their fear, anguish and shame to be constant companions in life's journey unto the moment of death. I saw families torn asunder. Such heinous acts to the most vulnerable among us ripple far beyond the immediate point of impact...to parents, grandparents, extended family, neighbors, community, to concerned and compassionate strangers.
I have zero tolerance for perpetrators of such acts. That said, I also have intolerance for those with direct knowledge of such acts or probable cause to believe or reasonable suspicion of the occurrence of such acts and fail to report the same or report within a "system" and fail to contact law enforcement directly. "Football", the sport, is not responsible for these criminal acts nor the obstruction of their reporting. "Football" the culture is responsible. Good men and women are not blind nor deaf nor mute but a culture can make them so. Large and small institutions public and private attract predators to prey on the innocent or infirm or vulnerable, child or adult within them...schools, churches, hospitals, the military, police, children's associations etc. Each institution and its culture is never more important than the safety and health of anyone within its parameters. But someone must "stand up" and do the "right thing". Penn State football is an example of how too often we respond to such life challenges. We fear embarrassment and public distain more than we fear the burden on our conscience of injury to others.
I challenge you players to respond and do the "right thing". It is too late to help those children some of whom are now men. But you can stand up for those children victimized in your showers and the thousands of children victimized in our institutions. I suggest you tell America that football is not "king" at Penn State but only a "damn" game that against human suffering has no value. When it is time to walk out on that field and play football on Saturday stand up against child abuse, forfeit the game and walk out of that stadium with your integrity and soul intact. Most of us do not live full and purposeful lives but from time to time there is an instant to stand for something greater than ourselves. Would you have the courage, the strength, the will to walk off that field to support those who were directly or indirectly victimized by vile or ignorant members of your coaching staff, administration and support staff? It will take courage but not even an iota of the courage those small children needed in your showers and will need for the rest of their lives. I would hope that by your example that you would not march alone from that stadium but be joined by like-minded coaching staff, administrators, support staff, relatives and fans and opposition players and their families, coaches and fans. Show that you have what some of your coaching staff, administrators and support staff lacked...a moral compass so that you will not possess the indifference that might require you to offer prayers and compassion at a later date for those you ignore now. Be leaders...lead your peers and I do mean your fellow students who chose old icons over innocent children. Do what you want, your life is yours. I just want to point out that on Saturday you have a choice.
Grace and Peace,
That hits the target dead ceentr! Great answer!
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