Copyright Paul Laud

Copyright Paul Laud

In the wake of the Steubenville rape case, all I can say is that the whole episode makes me angry, and sad.

I often marvel at how the United States idolises its athletes -at all levels: professional, semi-professional, university, high school, junior high….

I am amazed that High School football or basketball or baseball, à la Friday Night Lights, can draw crowds of tens of thousands of screaming fans who will push and glamorize high school jocks. These teams, and their players, will directly affect the pride and honour felt by their home town. Their success becomes a local status symbol – perhaps compensating for the sad little Rust Belt existence.

The athletes are big fish in small ponds, enjoying majestic privilege; they seem to operate above the law.

Big fish that seem to forget the basic tenets of human decency.

I am outraged that these young MEN did not realise that what they did was wrong. I am even more outraged that no one who participated, witnessed, discovered or heard about the event did anything to deal with it. I am absolutely disgusted that those in power might have even covered it up. That they threw up weak smoke screens to blame the victim, to mitigate the actions, or to excuse the guilty.

When did jocks and those who coach and manage them so completely, rule everything so completely?

And how, in the name of all things decent, did they ever believe that a fellow human being could be violated and degraded so completely? It isThe Accused all over again. It is Sandusky and Penn State all over again.

How could such a mentality take seed, and grow? Excuse my language, but, how could anyone – the two people, their team mates, the football team, their parents, their mentors, their coaches, their school, their friends, their supporters – fuck this up so badly? It is cowardly and misaligned.

Thousands of fans cheering for small town athletes – jocks who will likely spend the rest of their lives trying to recapture their four years of glory – are to blame. The cheering throngs only elevate these young men to mythical proportions.

And it is wrong. They are not gods; they are poorly formed shells of men.

And those who are responsible for the education and formation of these young men must remind them always that they are humans. And as humans, they must be taught that nothing is more important than human decency. Not even football.

Steubenville seems to have forgotten that.

For more on the topic and human decency, have a look at the following blog from The Belle Jar:

I Am Not Your Wife, Sister or Daughter. I Am A Person. | The Belle Jar.