By now you’ve heard about all the fallout at Penn State stemming from sexual abuse charges involving one of the football teams assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky. The only way you wouldn’t is if you live under a rock.
Need an update? Don’t look to me, just perform a Google search on “Penn State scandal” and you’ll receive over 230 mililion results.
I know for a number of people including Penn State alumni, students and fans of the football team, sports is at the foundation of this story. For me, sports has been too much of the story. Sports has been the “spin.” Let’s not forget it’s about people; adults who have made bad choices by doing nothing that ultimately has affected the lives of several children and their families. Those adults became a part of the bystander effect.
The Bystander Effect is defined as a lack of response by people to someone in anguish, pain, trouble or danger, mostly with the thought someone else will intervene. There have been several infamous cases of the bystander effect such as the murder of Kitty Genovese and the gang rape of a girl at Richmond High School in 2009.
In my opinion, the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State is perfect example. Everyone involved acted as if someone else would intervene. Mike McQueary didn’t have the presence of mind, heart or intelligence to report the abuse to the police but rather to Joe Paterno who, in turn, reported it to the athletic director. Really? WTF?
How does this affect me?
It seems that these days, folks are more concerned with trying to understand how the situation would affect them before they decide to act. No one wants to apply and follow the same golden rule I learned: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
What kind of bystander are you?
I tend to look at most things in life as a learning experience. Here’s the question…What kind of bystander are you? An active one who uses keen judgement to determine your action? Or an inactive one who passes the buck, uses the excuse that it’s a bigger problem than you can solve and ends up putting your head in the sand? Just remember if you choose the latter, you are in the perfect position to get a kick in the ass.