Monday, December 5, 2011

Disney and ESPN Protecting Child Molesters?

Up until today, I’ve kept away from topics regarding the news, politics, religion and other touchy subjects.  I hate fighting with others about personal opinions and mainly wanted to focus my efforts here on The Memory Eater anthology and writing-related tools to help authors polish their craft.

But alas, today I find myself conflicted over the hypocrisy I’m hearing regarding a topic I hold dear to my heart—children.  If where this is headed doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, by all means, stop reading now.

Molestation.  It’s the major theme in the novel I finished editing last week.  Having two young boys of my own (age 4 and 2 months), it’s something that angers and repulses and scares the living hell out of me.  It’s alarming to go search on Family Watchdog and see dozens of little dots pop up around your home—your kingdom—the place you hold sacred. 

If anyone has read my bio, yes, I’m a huge Penn State fan, and I love college football.  So the allegations of Jerry Sandusky molesting children over the years and using his power in an organization I hold dear along with using the Second Mile as a method to find and abuse children has me thirsting for justice.  I’m referring to the angry-parent kind of justice.

If you hurt children, or aid in hurting children, you’re the lowest of the low and should burn alive.

What am I getting at, and why am I writing this?  Well, ever since the Penn State scandal broke, and the way ESPN, among others, went after Joe Paterno’s jugular for “not doing enough,” it seems that ESPN didn’t do enough, either.

For the record, anyone who knows or knew about child molestation, whether it’s Joe Paterno or my neighbor, they all need to be held accountable.

To anyone who doesn’t know, within the last few weeks, a similar scandal has unfolded at Syracuse.  Longtime assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine is under investigation for the molestation of young boys.  No matter what way you look at it, it’s the same situation as Penn State’s. 

The short of it is: In 2002, one of the victims of the Syracuse scandal taped a phone conversation with Coach Bernie Fine's wife.  The wife admitted her husband’s guilt, so the boy took the tape to ESPN.  Mind you, this was 10 years ago.  ESPN, to this day, hasn’t done anything with this information.  

Why do I care so much?  Because ESPN with their affiliate bias and hypocritical opinions has ruined two things for me—college football and the trust that people with power will do something to stop evil.

In essence, what’s going on here is that ESPN used the Penn State scandal to boost their ratings.  But not only did they stop there.  The entire time they were vilifying Joe Paterno for not doing enough, they were doing the same thing by withholding evidence.  So is this entire molestation subject that’s taking the world of sports by surprise really about justice…or personal gain?

But…but!  What makes this even more sickening is that ESPN is owned by Disney.  The same Disney that invites you and your children to its magical kingdom.  Invites you to watch their fun-loving movies with your family.  Makes you believe there is still something untainted in this world.  Yet neither Disney nor ESPN has owned responsibility for their inactions.  If they believe, without having all of the facts, that Joe Paterno is more of a monster than Jerry Sandusky, and that Paterno “could” and “should” have done more, then why they aren’t they holding themselves to the same standards?

As an icon of family bonding, shouldn’t Disney at least comment on the situation?  Fire those who knew of this vile crime?  Unless, or course, we’re talking about a brand that is powerful enough to brush it under the table to save their products from any negative spotlights.  Like I said, I believe this is all about personal gain.  It always is, and I’m afraid it always will be.

Per a response I came across on a message board, Matt Norlander with CBSSports responded in an email why, he thinks, rivals aren’t pressing ESPN for answers:

"I think plenty have gone after ESPN over this, actually. And ESPN takes shots from everyone every day. When you're on top of the media mountain, that's what's going to happen. If you're asking why I or others at the blog haven't, to be frank: it's not a good look. ESPN is a direct competitor of ours, so we'd come of as petty and pious. We could one day make a mistake in news judgment too, so it's best for others -- fans, true media critics -- to judge ESPN. That said, again, I think plenty have gone after ESPN for its moral compass on the Syracuse case. I've even had a couple of tweets aimed that way, too. Just not the right move to pound our chest about it, you know?"

It’s not my problem if outlets can’t find their balls and put an end to this secrecy regarding child molestation—if you’re connected in any way to something this vile, you deserve nothing less than a public hanging.  Money or not, we’re talking children here.  CHILDREN!

For those who would like to help, or take a stance, I insist you head over to CNN, right here, and vote for a potential story regarding this Disney/ESPN story.  It’s my understanding that if the story gets enough votes, CNN will write up a story about it.  It’s the first of many steps that needs to be taken to hold everyone accountable.

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