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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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105 Responses

  1. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe November 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    Somebody who was identified as an engineer and a Penn State alum was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as railing about how Paterno was being railroaded and destroyed by the media, “just like Sarah Palin.”

    I don’t know what kind of engineer this guy is supposed to be, but I sure hope he didn’t design any bridges that I’ll be driving over.

  2. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    One disapproving student said, “Not now, man. This is about the football players.”

    Oh, fuck you.

  3. Shannon Drury
    Shannon Drury November 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    Again, I must repeat Nick Coleman’s plea to law enforcement: please stop beating Occupy protesters and start beating Penn State football fans.

  4. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley November 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    The whole game was a fucked up shit show, for all this talk about the victims it became about winning one for Joe, we will miss you Joe, his son crying saying he wished his dad was here. It became a fucking funeral fora still living child rapist enabling piece of shit. Fuck the whole system, that entire program should be shut down.

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen November 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Lara Emily Foley — absolutely. On the upside, the Penn State fans are making the most wonderful case for the closure of the program. You don’t have to be a member of the “sanctimonious women’s studies set” — or even close — to be disgusted by their ongoing, aggressive apologetics.

    (of course, I’ve also seen — by “reading the comments”, always a mistake, I know I know — the generation of a narrative about how Penn State’s morally corrupt football culture can all be laid at the feet of “campus liberalism”. ha ha ha ah aha ha ha a haha ha ha weep.)

  6. ats
    ats November 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

    Sheelzebub: One disapproving student said,“Not now, man.This is about the football players.” Oh, fuck you.

    fucking SERIOUSLY. Won’t someone please think about the football players.

  7. Cat
    Cat November 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    I do take hope from this much: this Matko guy saw a wrong and did something about it. Combined with the young man who bravely addressed the crowd that became rioters and told them to take down the “support joe” signs because they were inappropriate and they needed to hold their leaders accountable, that makes two (I saw video on Rachel Maddow Friday). Two people who stood up in the face of this culture of complicity and said no. At least there was that.

    The rest was utterly unsurprising. You see this everywhere. You see this in colleges without major athletic programs. You see this in corporate culture. You see it in the church. Anywhere where people leverage their own identity and self-worth through identifying with an organization and the worthiness of that organization you will see this kind of culture of complicity where the institution can do no wrong because then we can do no wrong.

  8. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    “You see this everywhere. You see this in colleges without major athletic programs. You see this in corporate culture. You see it in the church. Anywhere where people leverage their own identity and self-worth through identifying with an organization and the worthiness of that organization you will see this kind of culture of complicity where the institution can do no wrong because then we can do no wrong.”

    Quoted for truth.

  9. LC
    LC November 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Quoted for truth and all too human. “Tribalism” (I’m not always happy with that word) is a powerful force. And it’s a force for good, too. It lets us bond and throw in with people and do great things. It gives community and support and succor. It also enables shit like this all too often.

  10. jillian
    jillian November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    even as the news stations were talking about prayers and healing, they showed a large banner (one that someone spent money on going to a printer and getting it done on vinyl) saying “god bless you, joe pa.” *vomit*

  11. jillian
    jillian November 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

    also, i heard on NPR that law makers are looking at changing madatory reporting standards in light of the abuse. i gotta hope it will help in the future.

  12. gidget commando
    gidget commando November 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    I want to marry David Zirin.

  13. Anon21
    Anon21 November 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm |

    Kathleen:

    (of course, I’ve also seen — by “reading the comments”, always a mistake, I know I know — the generation of a narrative about how Penn State’s morally corrupt football culture can all be laid at the feet of “campus liberalism”.

    In a similar vein, have people been seeing the constant references to “political correctness” doing Paterno in among some of the dimmer segments of his fanbase? I know it’s their stupid term and everything, but I expect at least a modicum of consistency in application. Political correctness is supposed to be about language or humor policing (in the febrile imaginings of right wingers). How on earth does failing to report child rape qualify?

    My sense is that these dimbulbs have grasped the underlying utility of the concept without appreciating its subtler features; basically, they think that whenever something unpleasant happens to a rich, white, powerful dude, that’s political correctness run amok. The next time a GOP legislator is arrested for DWI, I’m going to be looking out for charges of political correctness, in order to prove my theory.

  14. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    This whole mess is beginning to add proof to my theory that no one can be a sports fan (especially of football, basketball and to a lesser extent baseball) without having to engage in some form of rape apology.

  15. protocoach
    protocoach November 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm |

    Politicalguineapig:
    This whole mess is beginning to add proof to my theory that no one can be a sports fan (especially of football, basketball and to a lesser extent baseball) without having to engage in some form of rape apology.

    Uh…whoa. It’s totally possible to condemn rape, rapists, and rape apologists and still be a fan of sports. Every athlete is not a rapist, and presupposing that they are is a good way to make sure there’s never any constructive dialogue or progress between the athletic power structure and people who want to reform it.

  16. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

    Not every athlete is a rapist, true, but a lot of team sports encourage pack behavior, and the results tend to be horrendous for any woman or vulnerable group around. Football fans and basketball fans have proven that they don’t have a problem with rape, so pardon me if I give a lot of athletes the stink-eye.

  17. konkonsn
    konkonsn November 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    Anon21: …basically, they think that whenever something unpleasant happens to a rich, white, powerful dude, that’s political correctness run amok.

    Yup. He should be above the moral code of lesser mortals because then, OMG, this means any white, powerful dude could be held responsible for his actions, and that’s just. not. acceptable.

    I mean, if I could get in trouble for not holding my bros responsible when I’ve suspected they’ve raped/are raping someone, that might me I would have to, like, disapprove of my bros and call them out on this shit. I might even have to report them!

  18. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho November 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    One disapproving student said, “Not now, man. This is about the football players.”

    Oh, fuck you.

    Second.

  19. Andy
    Andy November 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Politicalguineapig:
    Thiswholemessisbeginningtoaddprooftomytheorythatnoonecanbeasportsfan(especiallyoffootball,basketballandtoalesserextentbaseball)withouthavingtoengageinsomeformofrapeapology.

    I played (bench warmed) D1 football, does this make me a rapist? Was everyone who cheered for my team a rape apologist?

    WTF is wrong with you? I agree with every word Zirin wrote, but how exactly does athletic competition normalize rape?

  20. William
    William November 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Onedisapprovingstudentsaid,“Not now, man. This is about the football players.”

    Oh, fuck you.

    Cosigned.

    …but…they’re right. Absolutely right. This isn’t about children who have been raped. The fans didn’t don blue to show awareness for child support. No one, at any level, gave two shits about throw-away poor kids being raped. Even the huge young man who witnessed Sandusky raping a child ran to his father like a coward, did the bare minimum, and then walked away like he had discharged some kind of duty.

    Its not about rape victims, its about Penn State’s football program. At the end of the day thats why this is a national story: the implications for Penn State and a storied coach are what attracts interest. Penn’s student body, with their riots, are perhaps the most honest voice in the whole debate. They’ve stood up and said that they don’t really care so much about children being raped if its somehow going to cast a shadow on their overpriced beer and amateur football. Right and wrong don’t come into it and they don’t care who knows.

  21. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    Andy: You might think rape is wrong, but that doesn’t mean your friends, fans or teammates do. Athletic competitions normalize rape because men tend to let success go to their heads, and when they are constantly in the company of other men, women stop seeming human to them.

  22. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser November 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm |

    William: Its not about rape victims, its about Penn State’s football program. At the end of the day thats why this is a national story: the implications for Penn State and a storied coach are what attracts interest.

    This. Imagine this whole ugly, sordid horror happened at CalTech, except it wasn’t a football coach, it was an assistant professor of astronomy who raped a kid who was there for a youth telescope club meeting or something. Would we be talking about this story, even if the head of the Astronomy department was a Nobel Laureate and was complicit in the coverup?

    Oh, there would be news about it. But it NEVER would have gotten to this level because in this culture sports is more important than almost anything. Actually, strike the almost. People may profess to put God and Country over Team, but do you actually SEE people doing that?

    This is not to say that all athletes = rapists or all sports fans = rape apologists. But damn… the way that athletes at all levels from highschool up to the pros get away all sorts things from rape to much lesser offenses… it gets very, very tiring.

    And infuriating.

    As for ““Not now, man. This is about the football players.” I concur with a giant FUUUUCK YOU. Or to quote Uncle Kurt: “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don’t you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?”

  23. jillian
    jillian November 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    Politicalguineapig:
    Noteveryathleteisarapist,true,butalotofteamsportsencouragepackbehavior,andtheresultstendtobehorrendousforanywomanorvulnerablegrouparound.Footballfansandbasketballfanshaveproventhattheydon’thaveaproblemwithrape,sopardonmeifIgivealotofathletesthestink-eye.

    to be fair, a few years back sean avery (US hockey, dallas stars, he was traded and it was way early in the season) made a crack on live tv about “sloppy seconds” when he was asked a really dumb question about his ex-girlfriend dating another hockey player, or something like that. the rest of the team essentially said they supported whatever penalties the league would give him for such comments and didnt even try to give a good spin on it.

  24. Athenia
    Athenia November 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm |

    Andy: Iplayed(benchwarmed)D1football,doesthismakemearapist?Waseveryonewhocheeredformyteamarapeapologist?

    WTFiswrongwithyou?I agree with every word Zirin wrote, but how exactly does athletic competition normalize rape?

    Quite easily actually! Athletic competition especially *male* athletic competition is all about being “manly” or being “men.” What do men do? Men make “fag” jokes! Men fuck (rape?) drunken women! Men earn tons of money and spend it on strippers (and then call them n*ggers and then become appalled when they are accused of rape!). Men be men by displaying their awesome strength! Men get angry fucking punch the shit out of players you don’t like! (And bash their girlfriend’s head against the wall and then blame her for her death!)

    I could go on.

    You’re right, technically it shouldn’t matter whether you play chess or play football. But as long as we associate masculinity with all the above things, I don’t think we are going to find sports culture as the most progressive culture out there.

  25. astute
    astute November 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    ats: fuckingSERIOUSLY.Won’tsomeonepleasethinkaboutthefootballplayers.

    Wow! Humanity at its finest. What about the football players? Their lives will go on…they can transfer…their not traumatized. Your comment is exactly what Paterno did. He thought about the football players and the program and forgot about the victims.

  26. The Outlier
    The Outlier November 15, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    There is no doubt that Penn State Football is an institution of power that generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the university. When given the choice between protecting children or the institution of power, Joe Paterno chose the institution. He chose himself. His power is derived from the fact that the program he runs is a bonafide revenue generator. When someone chooses to protect their own power rather than exercise responsibility, that person is corrupt. The great Joe Paterno is corrupt. The great Joe Paterno who had the reputation of running a “clean” program was susceptible to the corrupting influence of power.

    This is not about throwing Joe Paterno under the bus. This is about understanding the irresistible corrupting influence of power on human beings. Wherever there is a concentration of power there must be oversight and accountability. The greater the power, the greater is the need for oversight and accountability. Wherever power concentrates in the absence of oversight and accountability, there will be corruption. This is axiomatic. The corruption will not always manifest in the form of child abuse, but it will always occur.

  27. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser November 15, 2011 at 12:31 am |

    Athenia: Men make “fag” jokes!

    I find it very telling that there is not a single openly gay male professional athlete who is currently playing.

    I also find it telling that it is a standard joke that ALL female professional athletes are gay.

  28. Caisara
    Caisara November 15, 2011 at 3:51 am |

    I’m not sure if it’s about power so much as it is about social structure.

    The Outlier:
    ThereisnodoubtthatPennStateFootballisaninstitutionofpowerthatgenerateshundredsofmillionsofdollarsfortheuniversity.Whengiventhechoicebetweenprotectingchildrenortheinstitutionofpower,JoePaternochosetheinstitution.Hechosehimself.Hispowerisderivedfromthefactthattheprogramherunsisabonafiderevenuegenerator.Whensomeonechoosestoprotecttheirownpowerratherthanexerciseresponsibility,thatpersoniscorrupt.ThegreatJoePaternoiscorrupt.ThegreatJoePaternowhohadthereputationofrunninga“clean”programwassusceptibletothecorruptinginfluenceofpower.

    ThisisnotaboutthrowingJoePaternounderthebus.Thisisaboutunderstandingtheirresistiblecorruptinginfluenceofpoweronhumanbeings.Whereverthereisaconcentrationofpowertheremustbeoversightandaccountability.Thegreaterthepower,thegreateristheneedforoversightandaccountability.Whereverpowerconcentratesintheabsenceofoversightandaccountability,therewillbecorruption.Thisisaxiomatic.Thecorruptionwillnotalwaysmanifestintheformofchildabuse,butitwillalwaysoccur.

  29. samanthab
    samanthab November 15, 2011 at 6:06 am |

    That student is pretty misinformed. Gifts to Penn State for the fiscal year of 2011 were $136.3 million, a record year for them. That’s a fuckload of money, no doubt, but it’s a lot less than the research income generated by Penn State: 814 million. Penn State has been known as an engineering school for a long time. Joe Paterno didn’t fucking do that. How about giving some credit to the professors, kid? You know, the people you’re supposed to be learning from?

    Also, Penn State’s ag program is doing some pretty cool stuff in relation to sustainable farming, international farming education, environmental research and so on! Sorry, kid, if that doesn’t make you feel cool and important like a winning football team. On the other hand if you like to eat safely and care about people around the world eating safely, it’s kind of a big fucking deal.

  30. Andy
    Andy November 15, 2011 at 8:39 am |

    You guys sure do know me, I’m just a rape loving, queer bashing, woman hater all because I chose to be “manly” and “macho” by playing football.

    Do you guys actually read what you type before you submit it? You could not be more wrong about what it’s like being on a football team, but I’m sure you know better then me.

  31. Andy
    Andy November 15, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    We had a starting Running Back sexually assault his girlfriend. He was kicked off the team immediately. The athletic department turned over everything the DA asked for. The team did not rally around him, they were disgusted by his actions.

    Do not paint all of us as terrible people, instances like this happen all over the country but don’t get reported less then the cases where people cover it up.

  32. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT November 15, 2011 at 8:56 am |

    Woah.

    It’s one thing to say that there are obvious problems with our culture’s concept of masculinity (there are!) and these appear to be heightened in team sports (again, I think that’s so). But this:

    no one can be a sports fan (especially of football, basketball and to a lesser extent baseball) without having to engage in some form of rape apology.

    Is taking it too far, IMO. You can enjoy the sport without explaining away bad behavior. People often don’t, but that’s not because it’s impossible.

    Of course, I’m a Yankees fan so you’re free to hate me. It’s our role in the baseball universe, after all. It’s like a public service. ;)

  33. William
    William November 15, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    I’m not sure if it’s about power so much as it is about social structure.

    Caisara: They’re one and the same. Power is social structure and social structure is the means of applying power. They’re different sides of the elephant. Power is the ability to marshall coercion in defense of a social structure and social structures are ways of doing things designed to increase power. Its a self-replicating design.

    Paterno followed that blueprint. Penn State football keeps alumni donations and broadcast money coming in, alumni donations and broadcast money keeps Paterno employed and riding high on prestige, Paterno keeps the football going. Turning in Sandusky wouldn’t have hurt the football, but it would have hurt the prestige so Paterno conspired to bury it. He was in a position to do so because the social structure gave him, and the athletic director, the power to do so.

    Even if people do end up going to jail over this, he’ll get to plead old man and live out the rest of his days at home because compassion (convincing power not to be applied) is something people like him can eke out of the social structure by virtue of their status within in. He can even sleep well at night in the knowledge that 60 years from now no one is going to remember Sandusky when they look at all the libraries and roads named after Paterno. The student riots and support are little messages from everyone else in the structure that the forgetting has already begun, that the structure will defend itself, that external power cannot affect internal prestige.

  34. EG
    EG November 15, 2011 at 9:18 am |

    Andy: instances like this happen all over the country but don’t get reported less then the cases where people cover it up.

    I’m glad to hear about your team, Andy. It’s good to know that there are teams that don’t support rape.

    But don’t assume that people on these boards are making statements because of media coverage, either. We’ve been to football, basketball, baseball games. We’ve interacted with male fans; when not on the professional level, we’ve interacted with players. The kind of frustration and anger you’re reading here isn’t about things that we’ve heard about. They’re about things that we have actually known happen.

  35. Andy
    Andy November 15, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    EG: I’mgladtohearaboutyourteam,Andy.It’sgoodtoknowthatthereareteamsthatdon’tsupportrape.

    Butdon’tassumethatpeopleontheseboardsaremakingstatementsbecauseofmediacoverage,either.We’vebeentofootball,basketball,baseballgames.We’veinteractedwithmalefans;whennotontheprofessionallevel,we’veinteractedwithplayers.Thekindoffrustrationandangeryou’rereadinghereisn’taboutthingsthatwe’veheardabout.They’reaboutthingsthatwehaveactuallyknownhappen.

    You are supporting statements that say that being a sports fan at all means you support rape. I’m sure you’ve seen idiot fans, but again, your experience is highly limited. Try walking on the field as the away team; you’ll hear some terrible things. Go home and see your home fans do the same thing to the visitors. It’s frustrating, but it is not all fans, and very little of it could be considered to be condoning rape.

    You think that you know about this, but you are still a complete outsider telling me how it is.

  36. JRS
    JRS November 15, 2011 at 9:27 am |

    This. Imagine this whole ugly, sordid horror happened at CalTech, except it wasn’t a football coach, it was an assistant professor of astronomy who raped a kid who was there for a youth telescope club meeting or something. Would we be talking about this story, even if the head of the Astronomy department was a Nobel Laureate and was complicit in the coverup?

    You don’t have to imagine it: this did happen, several years ago, at Yale. A geology professor was arrested for possession of child pornography, and then later he was convicted of sexually assaulting a young boy whom he had once mentored. His sexual assault conviction received some press, but nowhere near the media storm that is surrounding Sandusky.

    I was an undergraduate at Yale at the time of his initial arrest (for child porn — the sexual assault did not come to light until later). My memory of the events is a bit hazy, but from what I recall there was nothing but disgust and outrage among the Yale student body.

  37. EG
    EG November 15, 2011 at 9:34 am |

    Andy: You are supporting statements that say that being a sports fan at all means you support rape.

    Yes, that one I disagree with.

    Andy: You think that you know about this, but you are still a complete outsider telling me how it is.

    You’re on a feminist blog telling a bunch of women about rape culture, boyo, so I wouldn’t play that card if I were you. First time my mom went to a baseball game, a male fan stuck his hand up her skirt and grabbed her genitals not once, not twice, but three times in a row. That happen to visiting team players very often?

  38. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 15, 2011 at 9:56 am |

    JESUS H. CHRIST. ATHLETES ARE NOT AN OPPRESSED GROUP, AND THEY ARE OFTEN GIVEN LEEWAY TO GET AWAY WITH SOME SERIOUSLY EGREGIOUSLY MISOGYNIST SHIT.

    I am glad we are being reminded what the important shit is here, and that it’s not actually sexual assault. My lady-brain gets terribly mixed up at times.

    Also–there are a lot of women who are also athletes who read and comment on this blog. So, that shitty comment about outsiders? Yeah, shove that where the sun doesn’t shine.

  39. Andy
    Andy November 15, 2011 at 10:15 am |

    I never once claimed that I was oppressed, and I never claimed that there aren’t other athletes on this blog. Nor have I claimed that evil shit like the Sandusky incidents have never gotten covered up in Athletic Departments.

    What I take issue with is people saying that football (something that I doubt anyone here has as inside a view as me, but would be happy to be proven wrong) is not innately supporting rape culture (and it seems like most everyone here agrees with that)

    I understand that I have male privilege in many of these regards, however I can say that if the incident that happened to EG’s mother happened in my (former) home stadium today, the offender would be arrested, and be banned from the stadium for life. I can say this because I have opportunites to continue to interact with my former athletic department which is something not a lot of people can do. They take fan safety very seriously, and are more then happy to send the police who they pay to provide safety at these events, and are also quite happy to place offenders on the ban list.

  40. jillian
    jillian November 15, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    there was a sandusky clip on NPR this morning where he totally admitted to showering with and hugging and touching players. it was incredibly creepy. platonic hugging i could totally get, but it never occurred to him that a grown man showering with a group of boys might be crossing a line somewhere?

  41. EG
    EG November 15, 2011 at 10:39 am |

    Andy: however I can say that if the incident that happened to EG’s mother happened in my (former) home stadium today, the offender would be arrested, and be banned from the stadium for life.

    Sure. If whoever took my mother’s report believed her, if the guy could be found and identified, if he wasn’t a big-money donor, if if if. You say you know how this would have gone down because you still know the people in your former athletic department. But how seriously people say they take sexual assault frequently does not match up with how seriously they actually take sexual assault when a real man does it to a real woman. Hey, what if the skirt was really short? What if the poor guy was drunk and didn’t know what he was doing? What if my mom had had a few beers herself, and so clearly her version of things can’t be trusted? That’s how these things play out extremely often in real life, especially in the context of male-run institutions.

    But yeah, what Sheelzebub said. Clearly, the most important issue to address in this thread is the defamation of athletes and sports fans. Andy, you’re coming off just like the commenters in the thread on child abuse who felt the most important issue to address was how unfair it was associate these abusers with Christianity in general, because then people on the internet are mean to Christians, poor things. Seriously? Poor athletes, being insulted on the internet, however will you deal with the injustice of it all? Cry me a river.

  42. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 15, 2011 at 10:42 am |

    Andy? If you take male privilege very seriously, then consider this: you are making a thread about an ongoing coverup of sexual assault–a coverup by college coaches and college administration officials–all about YOUR feelings. It’s bullshit. You don’t have to complain you’re oppressed when you derail the fucking thread about how horrible it is that commenters here have seen a lot of misogynist attitudes in the sports world, see the macho culture in sports as a problem, and who have experienced the shitty end of this first-hand.

    If you actually give a fuck, how about you fucking listen instead of getting so outraged on behalf of nice athletes? How about you stop lecturing the people on this thread–many who are survivors of sexual assault themselves? How about you stop making it about you?

  43. Andy
    Andy November 15, 2011 at 10:49 am |

    Again, you are making more assumptions about me. I can say these thing because 1) I HAVE seen high level donors get on the blacklist for things as basic as bringing in alcohol to the stadium, and 2) The same police who arrested our star running back for sexual assault patrol the stadium.

    I did not start the conversation about how all players/fans are condoning rape culture, PoliticalGuinneaPig did. I stood up to her ridiculous statement, because it was bullshit and offensive. I never once claimed that I had it bad, or was being oppressed. Good grief.

  44. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 15, 2011 at 10:53 am |

    Andy, there are people here who have seen athletes not get punished for sexual assault. For THEIR sexual assaults. Good grief indeed.

    Maybe you could stop derailing the discussion? Or are you that hell bent on pissing on the comment thread?

  45. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 15, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Sandusky has no choice but to admit to being in the shower with children, because a credible witness will testify to that. He has to either plead guilty or formulate a defense, and his options for defenses are not good. Where I predict this is going is that he’s going to try to say that he was close to the kids, did things that might seem strangely intimate, but never molested, and that they’re all lying and looking for a payday. It’ll be ugly. I predict ultimately it won’t work, and it will fall apart so completely that he’ll take a plea rather than blow trial. But the offer for him might be so bad that he might as well go to trial, in which case we’ll be treated to the awful spectacle of his lawyer dragging every victim through the mud, calling the kids liars and impeaching their credibility with everything they’ve done wrong in their lives.

  46. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 15, 2011 at 10:55 am |

    Oh, and BTW, your shitty comments about “outsiders” are duly noted. Know this: some people here HAVE experienced sexual assault and HAVE seen the perps not get punished because they were athletes. Because being female or effeminate or not on the team means you’re an outsider and you don’t count.

    Thanks for perpetrating more of that bullshit here.

  47. rain
    rain November 15, 2011 at 11:12 am |

    The Outlier @ 25

    There is no doubt that Penn State Football is an institution of power that generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the university. When given the choice between protecting children or the institution of power, Joe Paterno chose the institution. He chose himself. His power is derived from the fact that the program he runs is a bonafide revenue generator.

    Actually, there is doubt. There’s been quite a bit of ink spilled over the last decade or so disproving the economic benefits argument used to sell stadiums (for pro sports, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be applicable here) to the tax-paying public. So the football program is a bonafide revenue generator in the same way every business is, including the ones on the verge of bankruptcy – by having gross income. The question is, after accounting for all the costs and subsidies, is it still a revenue generator?
    To just look at one item, according to the Beaver Stadium’s website, the seventh expansion in 1999 cost $93 million. Who paid for that?

  48. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 15, 2011 at 11:25 am |

    I think many of the students defending Paterno are doing so out of their own subconscious guilt, particularly the young woman mentioned in Zirin’s article. They know that they themselves have benefitted from this cover up, so they want to pretend like it’s nothing to minimize their own guilt. They know how badly this scandal reflects on them. I feel pretty confident in saying, if this happened at, say, Florida State, Penn State students would not be defending the head coach, even in a rhetorical way. It’s all selfishness, that’s the sad bit. The sad fact is that these kids would probably be marching to string up a pedophile if he was found in the liberal arts department for making their school look bad (that’s the real reason, but the signs would be about how wrong it is to rape children.)

  49. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin November 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    I know that if the same thing happened at the University of Alabama, the response would be very similar. An entire state has based its self-esteem and focus upon a game. Sports fans are not always the best at keeping things in perspective. The issue here is so broad and systemic, I have no idea where to begin to dismantle it. One coaching change at Penn State will not even begin to address the problem.

  50. Natalia
    Natalia November 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    This whole mess is beginning to add proof to my theory that no one can be a sports fan (especially of football, basketball and to a lesser extent baseball) without having to engage in some form of rape apology.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

    Rape culture is insiduous. We all participate in it to one extent or another. Singling out sports fans is stupid, especially because it allows you to pretend as though other similar pursuits are more “pure” somehow – when that’s simply not true. The music industry is notorious for its treatment of women, for example. And hey, Phil Spector shot a woman a few years back. Chris Brown hit one. Music fans? Fuck you!

  51. Natalia
    Natalia November 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    An entire state has based its self-esteem and focus upon a game. Sports fans are not always the best at keeping things in perspective. The issue here is so broad and systemic, I have no idea where to begin to dismantle it.

    Fear is a big problem. People cling to these sports programs because they offer a genuine escape from some of life’s more depressing aspects. They’re afraid of holding a particular program to scrutiny, because, well, they might discover that omigod, it can fall prety to same follies they see elswhere.

    Well, that and the way society treats rape victims in general. There is always that whiff of “blame” about them. That carefully crafted insinuation that they had somehow “earned” their fate. Better to just make them “go away” so they disturb us no longer.

  52. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery November 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    Andy? If you take male privilege very seriously, then consider this: you are making a thread about an ongoing coverup of sexual assault–a coverup by college coaches and college administration officials–all about YOUR feelings. It’s bullshit.

    IMHO, the derail came from PoliticalGunieaPig’s wacky theories about anybody who enjoys or plays sports being a rapist/rape apologist. Not everybody knows she’s an extremely clever satirist trying to undermine legit criticisms of the rape culture, after all, so his mistake is understandable.

  53. zuzu
    zuzu November 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Andy: Try walking on the field as the away team; you’ll hear some terrible things. Go home and see your home fans do the same thing to the visitors. It’s frustrating, but it is not all fans, and very little of it could be considered to be condoning rape.

    How much of it is sexualized, and how much of that sexualization relies on casting the other team in a female/submissive role? Because there’s a strong tradition in male sports of denigrating players by telling them they’re girls, or that they’re going to get reamed or somesuch.

    While my heart bleeds for you that you have to be compared to a girl when you walk on the field, you might want to consider just how that sort of thing plays right into the devaluing of women and the encouragement/apology of rape.

  54. zuzu
    zuzu November 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

    Andy: I understand that I have male privilege in many of these regards, however I can say that if the incident that happened to EG’s mother happened in my (former) home stadium today, the offender would be arrested, and be banned from the stadium for life.

    You haven’t been to any Jets home games recently, have you?

  55. ats
    ats November 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    astute: Wow!Humanityatitsfinest.Whataboutthefootballplayers?Theirliveswillgoon…theycantransfer…theirnottraumatized.YourcommentisexactlywhatPaternodid.Hethoughtaboutthefootballplayersandtheprogramandforgotaboutthevictims.

    um hey. (not sure why the comment-quoting is leaving out all of the spaces, but)

    I was seconding what Sheelzebub said, not arguing with it and 100% not *actually* suggesting that football players suffer from a lack of concern. I was being sarcastic; the whole thing makes me upset, and the sarcasm is just my coping mechanism.

  56. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos November 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm |

    You could not be more wrong about what it’s like being on a football team, but I’m sure you know better then me.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    *GASP*

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    You know, as blatantly dishonest posts go, this was a damn funny one.

    Andy didn’t experience any problems on his football team, therefore we’re wrong about ALL football teams. Its really just a lovely little venture that is totally pure and clean and has no problems. ALL football teams in the whole wide world are perfect angels who do nothing wrong. And they automatically and immediately deal with the rapists in their midst. Except when they don’t, which is every fucking time.

    But Andy, the ex-football player’s fee fees were hurt. Won’t someone think of the poor, oppressed football player!!!

  57. William
    William November 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    I did not start the conversation about how all players/fans are condoning rape culture, PoliticalGuinneaPig did. I stood up to her ridiculous statement, because it was bullshit and offensive. I never once claimed that I had it bad, or was being oppressed. Good grief.

    Andy, I’ve played sports. Hell, I’m even a sports fan. I disagree with some of whats been said but…seriously…time and place. This isn’t the forum to air your grievances, its not the time to be howling “what about the good ones.” I get that your feelings got stung a bit but its absolutely inappropriate to be running a derail because you feel the need to defend yourself on the internet from someone who wasn’t even talking to you directly.

    Thats doubly true when you and I both know, as men who have been behind closed doors, that the experiences you’re talking about are exceptional while those you’re defending against are much closer to the norm. Maybe your D1 program was awesome, but its a distinct minority. You’re being disingenuous and making this about you and your beloved football when it isn’t. Its about Penn State defending a goddamn rapist because of their beloved football. Its about a big man who didn’t have the courage to pry an old man off a child. You’re enacting the same bullshit here. Stop it.

    Wanna talk about healthy masculinity? Start showing some.

  58. librarygoose
    librarygoose November 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

    But William, anecdotal evidence is the only evidence I believe, (because this one time this story I heard made way more sense than all the other damning evidence.) Now that Andy has told me that rape culture in football doesn’t exist I must believe.

    Also, just so Andy doesn’t feel oppressed, I’m just kidding.

  59. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    I’ve now heard Sandusky’s interview with Costas. The best case I can make for his lawyer is that he must have believed Sandusky would do better than that. For me the critical point came not in what he said, but when Costas asked if he was sexually attracted to young boys. For us non-pedophiles, that’s not a question that occasions a pause. It’s an easy one, and “No. No, I’m not.” rolls off the tongue pretty easily. Sandusky’s long pause, looking for a way to express what I think is probably really, “yes, but that doesn’t seem as bad to me as it does to all of you”, is telling. Also, the statement from the 1988 allegation, where he allegedly told a complaining mother that he didn’t expect forgiveness from her and wished he was dead … if the jury hears that and believes he said it, as a practical matter the case is over. There is no way that comes out of the mouth of a person whose actions have been misinterpreted.

    The lawyer’s comments are chilling. Their defense will be that the boys say it didn’t happen. That raises the specter of a great deal of pressure being brought to bear on these boys to make the case fall apart so that it goes away, complete with the threat of their most difficult personal trauma becoming fodder for a ravenous media and local rumor mill. One might think that wouldn’t happen when the victims were children at the time, but then Samantha Geimer was a child at the time, too.

  60. Kathleen
    Kathleen November 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |

    That line from Sandusky — I don’t expect you to forgive me, I wish I was dead — is enraging; what bottomless self-pity. It’s something thwarted teenagers say to their parents after a fender bender or staying out after curfew. I agree with you that it is tantamount to an admission of guilt; but in the form of “boy, at the end of the day, POOR ME”.

  61. Michael
    Michael November 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |

    As a college student, and a causal viewer of a view sports including football, I am appalled that this could go on for so long at a respected university. However, I was not surprised; at the private high school I attended I can name at least three coaches(not football) arrested for sexual abuse of minors, and a fourth who was investigated. Instead of simply being sports coaches, men like Sandusky and Paterno become mentors to their athletes and heroes to the community, which makes even well-meaning people look away even in the face of hard evidence. I have had both positive and negative experiences with sports. I met some of my best friends through high school sports, and I have many peers who would sincerely say that their teammates and coaches shaped their goals and built their character. I have seen my peers, through discipline, focus, and talent, get sports scholarships to D1 schools while working hard in the classroom as well and maintaining a high GPA. However, I have also seen cases where plagiarism and cheating are ignored because the offender happens to be a valuable asset to the team. I have seen the high school locker room become a haven for sexist, racist, and homophobic language, as well as physical bullying.
    Although the macho culture of sports does contribute to the acceptability of rape jokes and other forms of sexism and homophobia, I do NOT think that sports or sports culture is responsible for the tragic situation at Penn State. Chris Hayes of Up on MSNBC makes a good point that corruption and cover-ups can happen in any organization where one’s status is dependent on keeping silent and not rocking the boat. A group of individuals without the backbone to intervene, combined with a hierarchy that encouraged them to pass the buck to somebody else, is what allowed Sandusky to abuse children for so long.
    Joe Paterno was one of those individuals- he fulfilled his minimum legal requirement of reporting to his superior and then simply hoped the issue would go away. At no point did he ever attempt to follow up on the investigation by contacting anyone involved (As far as I know from the grand jury report alone). As much as I despise Paterno’s actions, I think that the amount of media attention given to Paterno, the riots, and his dismissal distracts from the overall institutional failure that happened in this case. I can’t count how many stories I have heard about Paterno, but how many of them mentioned the 12+ others who also knew about the abuse and did not report it? What about the janitor who reported oral sex between Sandusky and a boy to his supervisor, who then did nothing? What about the graduate assistant who claims to have caught Sandusky in the act of raping a 10-year old boy and then admits that, at age 28, he called his father instead of the police? What about the father who then told him to tell his boss instead of the police? Did either of them ever follow up with Paterno to find out if their allegation was taken seriously? I believe that we need to hold all of the passive bystanders accountable, not just those at the top. Firing Paterno and Spanier may feel good right now to those screaming for justice, but it does not address the root of the problem. Paterno and Spanier deserve their share of the blame, but they are being scapegoated for the greater problem of institutional accountability. I do not believe the university should have fired these two, nor the media vilified them, unless they were also willing to do the same to the others who also knew of the abuse and did nothing. Two men have already been criminally indicted for perjury, but others have so far faced no repercussions for their roles in the cover up. Everyone who covered up the crime, not just the big names, should face punishment

  62. Michael
    Michael November 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    of a few sports*

  63. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    Kathleen, agreed. Total self-absorption.

  64. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: That raises the specter of a great deal of pressure being brought to bear on these boys to make the case fall apart so that it goes away, complete with the threat of their most difficult personal trauma becoming fodder for a ravenous media and local rumor mill. One might think that wouldn’t happen when the victims were children at the time, but then Samantha Geimer was a child at the time, too.

    Yep. It’s been done before–look at what the Catholic Church and its supporters like Joseph Maher did to the survivors of sexual abuse. Hell, look at the accidentally/on purpose leaked private medical records of teenage girls and adult women who press charges against their rapists.

  65. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm |

    TomFoolery: Dude, I was serious. Sports culture generates a HUGE amount of rape apology. I don’t think that every sports fan is a rape apologist, or that every single athlete is a rapist, but the sports culture does have a lot of problems, especially when it comes to the treatment of women or kids.
    Natalia: I don’t support big music, thanks. You know where my money goes? To the local leading ladies and gentlemen. To people who record out of their basements or living rooms. Have there been incidents? Yes, but when I find out about it, I stop supporting the artist, and make a note to be extra careful in that club.

  66. William
    William November 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm |

    That line from Sandusky — I don’t expect you to forgive me, I wish I was dead — is enraging; what bottomless self-pity.

    Maybe its that I’m in the field, but I thought that comment was one of the more humanizing things about him I’ve heard. Serial sexual abusers like him tend to start off as victims and I wonder if maybe in that line we’re hearing a little bit of empathy and admission of the damage he knows he has caused peeking through all the denial. I still wouldn’t cross the street to piss in his mouth if his lungs were on fire, but I suppose I’ll take what I can get from a case as ugly as this.

  67. EG
    EG November 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm |

    William: I still wouldn’t cross the street to piss in his mouth if his lungs were on fire

    William, you are awesome. Consider this variation on the traditional line stolen.

  68. rain
    rain November 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    Tom Foolery @ 52:
    Lemme guess. You’re the arbiter of what’s a legit criticism of rape culture.

  69. DonnaL
    DonnaL November 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    I suppose many of you are aware by now that Sandusky seems to have picked the perfect lawyer for himself: his attorney, Joseph Arendola, impregnated a 16-year old girl when he was 49 and acting as her mentor. He later married and divorced her. Lovely, isn’t it?

  70. Kathleen
    Kathleen November 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

    DonnaL — yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes.

  71. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery November 15, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

    Lemme guess. You’re the arbiter of what’s a legit criticism of rape culture.

    Of course not, but I certainly have opinions.

  72. Stacy
    Stacy November 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm |

    The comparison between male-sports fandom and music fandom isn’t that far off. A die-hard fan of either will have to confront words, actions and people who dehumanize women and commit or celebrate violence against us. Feminist critics who love, say, rap music, deal with this all the time. I don’t think it’s accurate to say the fan will have to participate in rape apology, but she or he will have to question, early and often, his/her loyalty to the thing s/he loves.

  73. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho November 16, 2011 at 12:03 am |

    William: I still wouldn’t cross the street to piss in his mouth if his lungs were on fire

    Oh, William…..::swoon::

  74. Henry
    Henry November 16, 2011 at 1:12 am |

    The firings and action by Penn State – belately – were the result of pressure from no less than the Governor of Pennsylvannia who went on TV to tell those idiots to do the right thing the day before they met and cann JoePa. It should not require the action of a sitting governor to get a Uni to clean house after a crime of this magnititude went under-reported or unreported for years. Sadly campus admin and police exist to cover up sex crimes and make sure the cash cow that is college football continues.

  75. Natalia
    Natalia November 16, 2011 at 1:18 am |

    Natalia: I don’t support big music, thanks. You know where my money goes? To the local leading ladies and gentlemen. To people who record out of their basements or living rooms. Have there been incidents? Yes, but when I find out about it, I stop supporting the artist, and make a note to be extra careful in that club.

    Rape culture, once again, exists on all levels of society. It thrives in people’s basements just as it thrives on tour buses. Reality check. Please.

  76. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 16, 2011 at 1:45 am |

    Natalia: Boy, did you miss my point. My point was that it’s a lot *easier* to keep an eye on the local scene than it is to be aware of everything that an international star does. Do some of the local artists misbehave? Yes. And, guess what, they lose fans and money because of that. At a local level, musicians and bands are fighting for every cent they get, so if a segment of their fans votes with their feet and pocketbooks that something is not okay, they have a huge incentive to change their behavior. Artists like *cough* OddFuture *cough* don’t have any incentive to behave and aren’t policed like an artist from the biggest local rap label here would be.
    Athletes, even at a local level get no policing at all.
    DonnaL: Scumbags of a feather, stick together.

  77. Lyn
    Lyn November 16, 2011 at 1:57 am |

    While I agree that rape culture is everywhere, I think it’s manifest differently in different places/communities and it’s worth looking at how they all work as a whole and individually. Basically, there are particular things at work in football culture (constructing (certain kinds of) male bodies as powerful and superior to women’s bodies, for example) that’s important to deal with even if rape culture is everywhere. I kinda think rape culture only works because of being multi-headed, and being justified in a wide variety of ways.

  78. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 16, 2011 at 9:40 am |

    Rape culture can happen anywhere, but I think the sports world sets up many of the conditions associated with groupthink, which leads to cover-ups.

  79. jillian
    jillian November 16, 2011 at 9:51 am |

    frank deford does sports stories (op-eds/articles?) on NPR’s morning edition. his story this morning was along the lines of this discussion. i could give two toots about most sports (other than hockey) but i always find his insights fascinating. the link name says it all.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/11/16/142355144/is-football-culture-the-core-of-the-problem?ps=cprs

  80. rain
    rain November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |

    Tom Foolery:

    Of course not, but I certainly have opinions.

    The only opinion you’ve had on this thread is to echo Andy @ 43. That this is the opinion you chose to air, well, William @ 57.

  81. S.H.
    S.H. November 16, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    Henry @74, that governor of PA was also the attorney general when the case unfolded and failed to charge Sandusky after a three year investigation. I really don’t buy his claims that it took three years to build this case. There was only one state trooper assigned to the case, the AG’s office didn’t directly supervise the probe and the Second Mile charity was never informed of the probe until after Corbett was replaced. Some have argued that the AG’s office was hampered by budget cuts and overwhelmed by a political corruption probe but I can’t help but also notice Corbett’s relationship with Penn State and the fact he spent alot time and energy in 2009 running for Governor. There is a boatload of people who screwed up in this case due to various conflicts of interest, and really I feel Corbett should be included on that list.

  82. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery November 16, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    rain:
    TomFoolery:
    The only opinion you’ve had on this thread is to echo Andy @ 43.

    10 more straw men and you could field a football team.

  83. William
    William November 16, 2011 at 11:49 am |

    frank deford does sports stories (op-eds/articles?) on NPR’s morning edition. his story this morning was along the lines of this discussion. i could give two toots about most sports (other than hockey) but i always find his insights fascinating. the link name says it all.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/11/16/142355144/is-football-culture-the-core-of-the-problem?ps=cprs

    I think Deford makes an interesting point, but I’m not sure how much traction it really gains in the long run. Football, as an expression of traditional American masculinity, is a violent and confrontational sport. The culture is one of aggressive machismo, of working class Men’s Men with their sleeves rolled up watching their guys beat up the other guys. In a way its even more socially aggressive and macho than boxing or UFC because there is a clear sense of clan and an us-vs-them mentality, a sense that our guys prove that we are better because they are stronger and more manly.

    One of the big criticisms in this case that I’ve been reading in the sports world, and one I’ll readily admit to feeling myself, is the question of why something wasn’t done. Obviously Paterno had a lot riding on staying quiet, the same can be said of the University, but within the macho echo-chamber of football fans there is the open question of why McQuery didn’t physically intervene. In a culture which openly lauds violent, physical, manly confrontation and competition there exists a sense that the manful thing to do would have been for McQuery to leave Sandusky in a heap on the floor of the shower, carry the kid out of there, and turn the police on the pedophile so he can get his due in prison. Problems with that narrative aside, I think this case is unique in that it is arranged in such a way that the values of masculinity actually end up opposing the broader rape culture. Amongst football fans who are disgusted by what happened at Penn State one of the more common themes is that people acted with cowardice, that they failed to live up to the violent manliness which football embodies. The shame for football is, in that world, less that football could have a Sandusky but that no one was man enough to have put him down.

    One of the more useful things that I think football culture could take away from this is a deflation of the just world fallacy and the arrival of all the questioning that comes with losing privilege blindness. Its unfortunate that sports are so infused with rape culture, but this could be a very good wedge for addressing some of the deeper problems within the culture. Its going to be a very hard sell (outside of Penn State) to argue that McQuery is lying or that the kids wanted it precisely because the details of this case make the normal tropes of rape culture bump up against the expectations of masculinity that are at the core of competitive contact sports. I wonder how we can start the conversation to generalize whats being learned from Penn State: that people in power hide rape, forgive it, excuse it, defend rapists, utilize their position in order to engage in rape, and generally fail to live up to the values and ideals we would like to believe (and which people in positions of relative privilege often haven’t had reason not to believe) they hold. The fact that in this case its little boys instead of women vulnerable to slut shaming and that the accuser is a member of the clan rather than an outsider seems like a moment ripe for education. Penn State is an almost perfect example of how rape culture works as a rule, and its one which traditional masculinity (for once) makes difficult to deny.

  84. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    As this case develops, there’s more and more evidence that the economic and social impact of the football team has created deep conflicts of interest and corruption. The latest bombshell is that The Second Mile ran fundraising events for the judge who gave Sandusky reduced bail and no tracking device.

  85. CB
    CB November 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    As a Penn State alum I can’t say I’m surprised by the reactions of the fans. The old joke saner students used to make about the fans was “We lost, let’s riot! We won, LET’S RIOT ANYWAY!” Matko is lucky he’s wasn’t torn to pieces like that one scene in Shaun of the Dead.

    By the way, a giant FUCK YOU to anyone who tries to pin this on liberals. There is a significant liberal presence in Penn State but it’s in opposition to frat boy/football culture, not supporting it. As mentioned above we were ragging on them, not defending them. if anything at the time I wondered if we were being too hard on them, asserting that football was the cancer that was killing PSU. Now it seems our condemnation and loathing didn’t go far enough.

    Mind you, I’ve met some friendly people with Nittany Lion merchandise in their homes. There just aren’t that many of them compared to the boisterous ocean of douchenozzles that make up the majority of spectators.

  86. Skateaway
    Skateaway November 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    One of the really disheartening things about the reaction to this case, to me, is that it’s the same story all over again. It’s Polanski. It’s Assange. It’s the Catholic Church. It’s “I admire this person or institution for [X reason], therefore I’ll do everything I can to excuse them for their part in the perpetuation of rape.”

    The. Same. Fucking. Thing. All. Over. Again.

  87. Skateaway
    Skateaway November 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm |

    As a matter of fact, I was sitting at lunch today, listening as the talking heads on TV went on about Joe Paterno, and for a few minutes I imagined sitting there at lunch with Paterno and Polanski, each commiserating with the other about the trials he’s had to face. Poor guys, you know? It’s rough.

    It made me depressed and sick that we live in the world where this narrative even exists.

  88. Natalia
    Natalia November 17, 2011 at 8:45 am |

    Natalia: Boy, did you miss my point. My point was that it’s a lot *easier* to keep an eye on the local scene than it is to be aware of everything that an international star does. Do some of the local artists misbehave? Yes. And, guess what, they lose fans and money because of that. At a local level, musicians and bands are fighting for every cent they get, so if a segment of their fans votes with their feet and pocketbooks that something is not okay, they have a huge incentive to change their behavior. Artists like *cough* OddFuture *cough* don’t have any incentive to behave and aren’t policed like an artist from the biggest local rap label here would be.
    Athletes, even at a local level get no policing at all.

    You don’t seem to get it. Here’s the thing about most rapes: they are never reported to begin with. You do not hear about them, period. Women (or little boys, for that matter) do not come forward. In order for anyone to be punished for “misbehaviour” – their actions actually have to come to light.

    It’s foolish to assume that you’re somehow “better” than some sports fan somewhere, because, well, you listen to indie music, dammit! Sports fans are rape apologists, and you’re a nice, upstanding person because you “keep an eye on the local scene”? Ha ha ha. Look, I grew up around indie bands in Charlotte – I hung out with decent people, they were my friends, I went to their concerts. But I can’t pretend as though sexual violence didn’t happen – or that we even heard about it. I later found out, for example, that the lead singer of one of the bands I listened to raped his then-girlfriend, a woman who was much younger than him, when she said she wasn’t ready to lose her virginity. That stuff never made it to the headlines, let alone to the police, and the victim was left to pick up the pieces.

    In this light, casting sports fans as “rape apologists” and yourself as one of the good, decent people who couldn’t possibly be supporting bad folk is self-righteous, short-sighted and damaging. You never know what’s going on in your neighbours’ house, or down the street, or elsewhere. Pride comes before the fall – as we’ve seen with Penn State. Etc.

  89. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 17, 2011 at 8:51 am |

    Skateaway: One of the really disheartening things about the reaction to this case, to me, is that it’s the same story all over again. It’s Polanski. It’s Assange. It’s the Catholic Church. It’s “I admire this person or institution for [X reason], therefore I’ll do everything I can to excuse them for their part in the perpetuation of rape.”

    The. Same. Fucking. Thing. All. Over. Again.

    This.

  90. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 17, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Natalia: I never claimed it was a perfect strategy. But the fact remains, in certain genres and certain subcultures, rape apology is more rampant than in other areas. A man who listens to rap exclusively would be more willing to excuse rape than someone who listens to other genres. Sports fans are predominantly male, so sports tends to have more rape apologists; same goes for certain genres of music that are dominated by male acts and male fans. It’s also somewhat influenced by geography. Southern and Western states have a bit of a problem regarding anyone who is not male and not white as human. Heck, North Carolina only outlawed marital rape 18 years ago, and it’s going to be a long long time before the cops figure out that marital rape is a crime there. (To be fair, though, cops have a hard time regarding rape as a crime anywhere, but some states are more thorough about the legal process then others. My state may prosecute rapists, but I’m sure the next state west wouldn’t.)

  91. Merely Academic
    Merely Academic November 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

    astute: Wow! Humanity at its finest. What about the football players? Their lives will go on…they can transfer…their not traumatized. Your comment is exactly what Paterno did. He thought about the football players and the program and forgot about the victims.

    Um. I think you were missing the ironic tone there, astute.

  92. EG
    EG November 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: But the fact remains, in certain genres and certain subcultures, rape apology is more rampant than in other areas. A man who listens to rap exclusively would be more willing to excuse rape than someone who listens to other genres.

    Do you have any actual evidence for this assertion?

  93. Joe
    Joe November 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm |

    Sandusky’s behavior goes back probably to his 20’s. I just looked up my old boyscout leader, who was molesting kids in our troop, on the sex offender’s registry and the old perv is finally still in jail, I think for good. He was molesting and raping boys before I joined the troop and after, and that was in 1970. His final arrest that got him sent away for good was in 1993, it seems. He was arrested many times in between, thoiugh. You might ask why he was let go so many times. It has to do with how he and the others operated. Alcohol, sometimes drugs, cigarettes, and, back then Playboy and Penthouse, now probably hard core porn cause the boys to blame themselves.

    You see boys are a lot more susceptible when they are drunk and high. I managed to avoid it; I drank his beer, ate the pizza and left him and the other boys behind when he went to the bathroom. I never went back to his house. I know what happened to them.

    Why didn’t I drop a dime on him? I’d have to tell the cops and my parents that at 12 I was drinking beer, smoking, passing a joint around, and looking at pictures of naked women. My dad would just yell at me and tell me how stupid I’d been. My mom, she was the hitter, but I don’t think she would have hit me for this. However, a few of the other boys had dads that were hitters, and they would have had the snot beat out of them for drinking, smoking, looking at pictures, and being dumb enough to be there. One was a close friend; it was best to leave it alone.

    You can still look him up in the Virginia Sex Offender Registry and his home is listed as the Fairfax Correctional Center, he’s 70 now: Charles Baumgardner. The name fits He still has that beard, which used to be jet black. The evil that makes a man like him spend most of his life in and out of prison so that they can enjoy his perversion can never be cured or treated. We need more minimum sentences.

    Now I have to look up my camp counselors, priests, christian brothers, and teachers at the Catholic school and find them.

  94. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm |

    Go and google Oddfuture. I’ve heard they’re pretty awful in terms of rapey terms and mindset. (I have better things to do than listen to them.) Also, I remember that when the Rihanna/Chris Brown incident hit, the standard line seemed to be ‘she had it coming’ which shows how disconnected the rap world is from women. And there have been a number of very nasty crimes, including the Dunbar Village incident. I can’t prove that the perps listened to rap, but it’s pretty likely that they did. So there’s a hell of a lot of correlation between misogyny and rap music, and misogynists tend to engage in a lot of rape apology, not to mention rapey behavior.
    Country’s also got problems like whoa. I’ve almost completely given it up, because it’s been colonized by conservatives, and a lot of modern country is either ‘America f*ck yeah* or Taylor Swift. (Fifteen year olds in love is not country, ‘kay?) And, yeah, I know the fanbase for country is racist as all get out.
    Metal tends to get a bad rep when it comes to women; some of it is deserved. The one big incident I mentioned, involved a local metal artist pulling a woman into his apartment (he lived above a music club), and then her ex-boyfriend showed up with a shotgun. I haven’t been to that club, and I wouldn’t go without company, and thank god, I don’t own any of that guy’s stuff. I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop- some big backlash- but so far, nothing’s happened. Most of the other local metal bands and singers seem to be okay, and do try to keep the scene welcoming.
    I don’t go to many metal shows, partly out of safety concerns. I will say that at most of the shows I’ve been to, the fans are fairly nice, and so far, the worst thing that happened to me was getting an elbow to the back of the head. I’m pretty sure that was an accident.

  95. EG
    EG November 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Go and google Oddfuture. I’ve heard they’re pretty awful in terms of rapey terms and mindset. (I have better things to do than listen to them.) Also, I remember that when the Rihanna/Chris Brown incident hit, the standard line seemed to be ‘she had it coming’ which shows how disconnected the rap world is from women. And there have been a number of very nasty crimes, including the Dunbar Village incident. I can’t prove that the perps listened to rap, but it’s pretty likely that they did. So there’s a hell of a lot of correlation between misogyny and rap music, and misogynists tend to engage in a lot of rape apology, not to mention rapey behavior.

    That’s…not really a correlation, unless you want to argue that enjoying hard-boiled detective novels also correlates with rape apology, because people who like Chinatown defend Roman Polanski, and Raymond Chandler’s novels are misogynist.

    Lots of rappers are misogynists, because lots of people in this culture are misogynists. Lots of rapists and misogynists listen to rap, because rap is very popular and lots of people listen to it. You’re basically arguing that people who use Windows software are more likely to be rapists/rape apologists than people who use Mac or Linux, because, hey, this famous Windows user beat up his girlfriend, and people were OK with it, and you don’t know for a fact, but you bet that a lot of other rapists/rape apologists use Windows too. Sure. Because a shit ton of people use Windows.

    That isn’t evidence. That’s a couple of anecdotes and guesses.

    I mean, hey, the Rolling Stones totally have racist lyrics (Brown Sugar), and the Hell’s Angels beat that poor black kid to death at Altamont, and I totally bet that lots of people who do/say racist things listen to the Rolling Stones. That obviously means that people who like ’60s and ’70s rock are more likely to be racist murderers and make excuses for racist murderers than people who like other kinds of music. Or maybe that would be people who like British rock. Or maybe people who like good rock. Anyway, it just stands to reason.

    As for Chris Brown and Rihanna, how is that different from the collective response to any violence committed against women? How is it different from the collective response to what happened between Phil and Ronnie Spector? Or Sonny Bono and Cher? Or Ike and Tina Turner? Or Sean Penn and Madonna?

    Men beat the shit out of women, and the collective response is usually “she had it coming.” That’s not rap culture. It’s rape culture. And you’re soaking in it, even when it comes to small bands and local music.

  96. Natalia
    Natalia November 18, 2011 at 1:54 am |

    Do you have any actual evidence for this assertion?

    But who *needs* evidence when everyone knows that the people who like the things we don’t like are evil bastards? Also, rapists. Or rapists’ cheerleader squads. And forget it if they have the gall to be from the South or something. Those people are all serial killers. Also, they have extremely poor taste and like Taylor Swift.

  97. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    I’m a bit baffled by the argument here. Sure, not all sports fans are apologists for child abuse. But we what we do have as the story develops is:

    1) a school administration willing to make exceptions for Sandusky
    2) local police and prosecution repeatedly dropping the ball on charges and pressuring parents of victims to not come forward
    3) a judge with a conflict of interest giving Sandusky reduced bail

    The scandal in my mind isn’t just that the football program protected Sandusky for a dozen years, but they had the money and clout to corrupt the local criminal justice system to do so. And that is why Sandusky’s sports connection matters here. His status as a celebrity and friend of one of the top college teams in the United States is giving him a level of privilege that we probably wouldn’t see on behalf of professors of the arts, humanities, or sciences, or even coaches other sports programs.

  98. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    EG: Well, what do you expect me to do? Listen to only all women bands? Cut rock music, movies and almost all novels out of my life? Campaign for men to be locked in at night, and never left alone with women who don’t sign a waiver?
    Natalia: Could you actually pay attention to what I said, or is that asking for too much? I supplied some examples of problems within certain genres, that’s all. Although, anyone who does enjoy Taylor Swift post-puberty does have very poor taste. (When I think of what I listened to as a teenager, my grown-up self cringes.)

  99. LotusBen
    LotusBen November 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm |

    Here’s one thing all this brings to mind for me. There seems to be a dichotomy of how our society feels about both rapists and pedophiles. If you are the “wrong” type of rapist or pedophile, you are the lowest of the low, hated by everyone, and completely dehumanized more than any other type of criminal. But if you are “right” type of rapist or pedophile, people don’t even blink an eye.

    Here’s an example from my life. I used to work at a sort of minimum security detention center for mentally disabled pedophiles who had never been officially convicted in the legal system. I was a caregiver. The pedophiles were all sorta in limbo, there to stay indefinitely, and had very few rights. The head of the company even told us in a staff meeting that “they have no rights.” Many of the other people who worked there also hated their guts. I personally found much of what the clients had done sickening, but also felt sympathy for these pedophiles because they themselves had been sexually abused as kids and were pretty much at the bottom of society’s pyramid. They were not just pedophiles but mentally disabled, with little money and spotty hygeine–no one was ever going to be on their side.

    Contrast this to when a rich, powerful, well-liked football coach helps a serial child rapist and pedophile elude justice–there’s riots in the streets in support of him. An entire college culture goes into a hypocritical sort of bizarro dance straight out of a dystopian sci-fi movie. And the duration and intensity of Sandusky’s specific crimes were worse than any of the inmates where I worked (not to say any of what they did was justified, just to provide some context). So anyway, all this to me really illustrates this dichotomy between “bad” and “good” sex offenders.

    And it also works for rapists more generally. It’s hard to get more reviled by society than the drug addicted rapist in the dark alley who violently assaults the good, white Christian woman. But if a drunken frat boy rapes a co-ed, it’s normally not even considered a crime.

    I’m sure I’m not the first person to observe this, but I’m curious if anyone else has thoughts as to the reasons behind this “bad” sex offender “good” sex offender dichotomy. I’m guessing it has something to do with patriarchy and other forms of institutional oppression but would like to learn more.

  100. AitchCS
    AitchCS November 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    What is a rape apologist?

  101. EG
    EG November 19, 2011 at 12:15 am |

    Politicalguineapig: EG: Well, what do you expect me to do? Listen to only all women bands? Cut rock music, movies and almost all novels out of my life? Campaign for men to be locked in at night, and never left alone with women who don’t sign a waiver?

    I don’t expect you to do anything. No, wait. I expect you not to off-load blame for rape culture onto people because they like rap.

    I’m not the one claiming some kind of cultural purity because I listen only to local indie music, thus ensuring that I am not participating in rape culture. I expect adults to deal with the complexities of the world, which include dealing with the facts that it is impossible to isolate a subculture unaffected by systemic injustice and misogyny and that it is impossible and foolish to scapegoat one particular subculture or popular aspect of culture or its fans without some actual evidence.

    I like the Rolling Stones. They wrote a racist, creepy-ass song that also happens to have one of the greatest tunes in rock and roll (I’m not even touching on the misogyny in some of their songs). Phil Spector made great music happen. He also is a woman-abusing asshole. Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby are excellent movies, and I think the latter is inadvertently feminist, the 1970s equivalent of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and Roman Polanski is a child-rapist who should burn in hell nonetheless. I’m not the one claiming that people who like a given genre or form of cultural production are more likely to be rape apologists, so it doesn’t matter to me whether or not your genre-preferences are ideologically pure. Hypocrisy, however, bugs the shit out of me.

    Politicalguineapig: I supplied some examples of problems within certain genres, that’s all.

    Right, but the problems you cited boiled down to “These guys over here were assholes, and the public reacted to this misogynist wife-beater exactly the same way that the public reacts to all the other misogynist wife-beaters, and I totally bet these other guys liked rap, too, so that means the whole genre is rotten.” That is not a logical argument. Some dogs have short fur. Not only does that not mean that all dogs have short fur, it also doesn’t mean that animals with short fur are more likely to be dogs. Or that dog-fanciers are more likely to prefer animals with short fur. Charles Dickens was a total douche to his wife. So was Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Does that logically mean that Victorian novelists are more likely to be douches to their wives than Victorian writers in any other genre? Or that people who read and appreciate Victorian novels are more likely to excuse douchey behavior to one’s wife? Let me answer that for you: NO. It does not.

    LotusBen: I’m guessing it has something to do with patriarchy and other forms of institutional oppression but would like to learn more.

    I’d say two things are at play in the examples you cite. One is that it is comforting to be able to place the blame for bad acts on an “other,” a person you can distance yourself from and demonize as not at all “like us,” so as to absolve oneself and the people in one’s community from any shadow of the bad acts. It’s easy to do that to people who are mentally/developmentally disabled, because they already demonstrate difference of a potentially disturbing nature–they’re adults, but they haven’t developed intellectually to normal adult capacity, and so they think, behave, and speak differently from a very large majority of adults, and that incongruity is upsetting and difficult to process. So, they make us uncomfortable already, they already seem “not us,” so we can easily believe they would be to blame for things we want to consider “not us.” But the drunken frat boy…well, he looks like us, he talks like us, he could be our son or brother or something. We wouldn’t want to think that someone like that could do something bad, because that would mean that we could do something bad, and/or that we could be wrong in our estimation of him, ergo, what he did must not be a bad thing. Or not that bad a thing, anyway.

    Now I can’t remember what the other thing was that I thought was in play. Um…oh, right. Well, as a society, we have contempt for the developmentally disabled and for drug addicts anyway, so it’s easy to get behind treating them like crap at the drop of a hat.

  102. LotusBen
    LotusBen November 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |

    Thanks for your response EG. All of what you said pretty much made sense to me. I guess having an “other” to scapegoat for social problems happens in all aspects of life, not just sexual assault issues, and it probably IS a way of shutting down critical thought and the possibility of radical (but scary) social transformation.

    I know there are rape jokes and people who talk about rape not being serious; but I find it interesting that, for the most part, the tactic for justiying rape isn’t saying “rape is OK” but “such-and-such is not actually rape.” Even the most ardent defender of rape culture wouldn’t call themselves a defender of “rape culture” and would say the rape is horrible and atrocious. They would just also say rape is extremly rare or only done by “those” people. That way there is still an other to blame, and a scary rapist “other” is a useful tool in keeping things in line. Especially when the other is so removed from most women’s personal experience that the danger can be spun any way the speaker chooses to.

  103. DonnaL
    DonnaL November 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm |

    LotusBen: I’m sure I’m not the first person to observe this, but I’m curious if anyone else has thoughts as to the reasons behind this “bad” sex offender “good” sex offender dichotomy. I’m guessing it has something to do with patriarchy and other forms of institutional oppression but would like to learn more.

    Lotus Ben, I’m not sure I buy your dichotomy; in any event, I don’t think the Penn State case is a good example of it. You’re comparing the extremely negative general view of the sex offenders you dealt with, to the repulsive behavior of people defending Paterno and Penn State football. A more valid comparison would be to the general view of Sandusky, the actual pedophile, himself, and based on all the thousands of comments I’ve seen (for example, I’m a member of one message board for parents of high school and college students on which there’s a Sandusky thread that has 2,884 comments at last count, all in the last 14 days, a number of them mine) I see no dichotomy at all. A few people (not many) have tried to defend Paterno, but Sandusky? Nobody. People’s opinions are generally *at least* as negative, hostile, and angry as those you cite with respect to the inmates with whom you work. It’s true that everybody commenting is a parent. Does that skew the reaction? Perhaps, but I’d be surprised if it does so significantly.

  104. LotusBen
    LotusBen November 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm |

    Donna, I think you raise some good points. I suppose the public as a whole seems to hate pretty much all pedophiles. I’m thinking back to what happened with the Catholic priests and pretty much everyone condemned the offending priests, even if they defended the Church. Still, I think there is some difference or another there. People may hate Sandusky now, but enough people have been willing to cut him slack over the years that it took this long for his actions to come to light. Paterno and others were willing to tacitly excuse his actions. Now a lot of this was probably just to protect the instuition itself, but I think it does say that people are willing to cut certain individuals slack for pedophilia, or at least be very lenient in giving them the benefit of the doubt if there are any conflicting accounts, while in other situations they would likely rush to judgment. I don’t think any of the pedophiles I worked with were ever the beneficiaries of similiar slack-cutting, for example.

    And the dichotomy is certainly manifest is society’s views on rape more generally, if not as much on pedophilia specifically. I think it just goes to society’s hierarchy and desire to maintain the status quo. Rape, just like stealing, or war, or any other injustice, if often evaluated as bad vs. OK not based off the specifics of what is being done, but on who is doing it and whom it’s being done to.

  105. zuzu
    zuzu November 20, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    EG: I don’t expect you to do anything. No, wait. I expect you not to off-load blame for rape culture onto people because they like rap.

    C’mon, EG, don’t you know rape culture was invented by the Sugar Hill Gang in 1978?

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