In light of the revelations intertwining the Penn State football program and the repeated sexual abuse of children, the response of the school’s administration the past week has been to do only what was required when at the point of the national news media’s bayonet.
Though Saturday’s game between Penn State and Nebraska at Beaver Stadium proved that valuing football over children will eventually always win out in State College.
So it should come as no surprise that humanity’s only ally inside the macabre Beaver Stadium scene came from the visitors sideline.
Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini can win 10 National Championships for the Cornhuskers but it will never top his emotional defense of children during his postgame remarks. Remarks that included Pelini saying - on three different occasions - that recent events rendered football meaningless and that Saturday’s game should’ve never been played.
Here are excerpts from Pelini’s comments to the media:
I will be honest with you going into the game, I didn’t think the game should have been played, for a lot of different reasons.
I look at my job as a football coach as to educate and to prepare the kids that come into the program for the rest of their life. That’s what we are; we are a university system.
I thought that this game gave us an opportunity to show that the situation going on is bigger than football. It is bigger than the football game that was just played. It is bigger than the young men that played in the game that would have missed it, had they called it off.
It’s about education and putting things into perspective what the situation is all about. Hopefully, the fact that both teams sat up and prayed together put that in perspective a little bit.
It’s about what doing what’s right in society. It’s about doing what’s right and wrong. Trust me, when I tell you, I don’t know the specifics of the situation and I am not judging anybody. But the fact is young kids were hurt and that’s a crime in itself.
It is a lot bigger than football, the NCAA, the Big Ten and anything else. I think that at least, that’s why I think going in the game shouldn’t have been played.
But with it being played, kneeling down and praying with both teams coming together was the right thing to do and hopefully that in of itself made a statement.
I just think it is about the young kids. I got a 12-year old boy. It’s about educating the young kids. I think there were a lot of young kids, all week, with all the things going on and watching ESPN that were really confused for a lot of different reasons.
There is a lot out there that people do not know and a lot of speculation. It’s not about the adults, football or anything else. It’s about education to the youth. I think that gets lost in whole situation. Whatever comes out of it, hopefully a lot of people learned from it and nothing like that ever happens again.
There were times when I felt like here I am telling my team to ignore what’s going on because we have a game to play. But, my main job is to educate and to talk to them about it and put focus on what we know, so these young adults learn from the situation. I think it is a pretty complicated situation for a lot of reasons.
I will be honest with you, earlier in the week, I thought there is no way that we are going to play in this football game.
How did we get to a place where Bo Pelini is desperately needed to remind us that our children are more important than a football game?
The answer lies in State College, Pennsylvania, where a Nebraska football coach’s words should be bronzed and never forgotten.