Driscoll: Nebraska, Penn State and Ron Brown
It's been one week since the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno for failing to morally do the right thing and report child abuse. The man who was known for winning, and winning the right way did not do the right thing and it cost him his job, tarnished his reputation, and changed the way many of us will now look at athletics. I'm a Christian and it's hard for me to come to terms with this and wrap my mind around it. Fortunately, the child predator was caught. Unfortunately, he wasn't caught soon enough. Numerous questions will probably never be answered. Why did it take such a long time for any action to take place? Should Paterno have told authorities when he first heard of the allegations? Will we ever find out if there was an attempt to cover up the situation? Everything happened so fast and spiraled out of control last week, with the protests at Penn State and the firing of Paterno, it was quickly forgotten a game was to be played Saturday afternoon. The eyes of the nation were on State College, Pa. last Saturday. The match-up between No. 15 Penn State and No. 17 Nebraska was already a must-see game. Penn State’s only loss this season was to Alabama and Nebraska was fighting to position themselves for a Big Ten championship berth. But the recent events in central Pennsylvania turned this game into something else. Just like numerous people across the nation, I tuned into the game. I wanted to see how the Penn State crowd would react. Would the Penn State football team able to fight through emotions and distractions and actually play a game? It was also senior day for Penn State. This was their last home game as a member of the Penn State football team. Then both teams gathered at the 50-yard line and knelt down together and I felt a chill. As the players knelt together, Bo Pelini and Tom Bradley (named interim coach) knelt together as well and there was silence. The 100,000 people inside Beaver Stadium stood in stillness. Then the camera focused on Nebraska coach Ron Brown. He was delivering an emotional speech to the players, coaches and everyone in shouting distant. Even if you didn't hear him, it still struck an emotional tug on everyone’s heart who watched the event happen. Then we were treated to a great football game. Both teams gave it their all. As I watched the game it was clear football isn't the only thing that matters. It's just a game. A lot of people probably put too much stock in their football team, me included. I learned no athletic program or "tradition" is worth the suffering of the victims, regardless of the situation. I'm going to leave you with part of Ron Brown's speech from last Saturday..."God, there are a lot of little boys around the country today watching this game and they're trying to figure out what the definition of manhood is all about. Father, this is it right here. I pray that this game will be a training ground for what manhood looks like."