Finding Good in College Sports Sex Scandals

Finding Good in College Sports Sex Scandals November 30, 2011

First Penn State coaches are embroiled in sexual abuse scandal, and now Syracuse. I’ll spare everyone the details, since if you don’t already know them by now, you’ve probably avoided through an act of personal will.

Suffice it to say it’s ugly. Horrific. The effects of such abuses will affect the lives of victims forever.

So is there any good whatsoever to be found amid the darkness of such sexually morbid exploitation? Maybe I’m being naively optimistic, but I’d like to think so.

It’s not as if one sex abuse scandal triggered a chain of other crimes. On the contrary, I’d like to think that the very act of dragging the Penn state scandal out into the light led to others being emboldened to speak about similar wrongdoing elsewhere. And I’d suggest the same dynamic has taken hold in recent years in the Catholic Church.

Of course it’s easy to vilify the Church for its obfuscation and willing blindness in the face of heinous violations of its own faithful; it certainly seems as if such problems are suddenly everywhere. But it’s important to keep in mind that many of the cases being brought forward now are years – even decades – old. It’s only once others were brave enough to speak the truth about their situation that fellow victims felt able to do the same. They realized they were not alone, and they saw that when the victims spoke, people really listened.

Although it’s unpleasant to have such ugly patterns emerge in such short order, such a reality check is necessary on two levels. First, it’s the only way many of the perpetrators would ever be stopped, and the only way to dissuade potential predators from lapsing into similar behavior. Second, having their pain acknowledged is the only way many feel they can find a path to healing, and perhaps even reconciliation.

So are there even more sordid stories of sexual abuse or the like in the world of collegiate sports? It wouldn’t be surprising. Consider the similarities between them and the church:

There’s a mystique around both that is attractive to many.
Both coaches and priests hold tremendous power, both in the public eye and with respect to individuals.
They are gatekeepers of sorts.
It’s generally assumed that their intentions are good, so often their power goes unchecked.

If there’s any redemption in the ongoing saga that continues to unfold daily around collegiate sports and the gross liberties some coaches are taking with their position to exploit the innocent, it’s that the wrong has finally been named. It’s been brought into the light.

And though the process is painful, we should all pray that the power of such honesty gives strength to others still hiding, humiliated and broken, in the shadows.

Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. Christian is the creator and editor of “Banned Questions About The Bible” and “Banned Questions About Jesus.” He has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called “PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.” For more information about Christian, visit, or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I think one other good thing in these awful scandals is the fact that our society no longer blames the victim for his or her own abuse. 

  • Let’s add some clarification.

    Penn State had one accused pedophile.  Syracuse had one.  The Catholic church had 4,392 according to
    their own John Jay report of 2004. 
    That’s right – over four thousand.


    Penn State fired 5 people within 5 days, all of whom are
    in power positions.  The Catholic church
    has never fired anyone in a power position, and sent Cardinal Law of Boston to
    one of the best jobs in Rome after he mobilized 169 priests who raped 826 children.


    The Catholic church moved known pedophile priests to
    other parishes where they had sex with other children. Then they moved them again.


    Then bishops in the Catholic church lied about it,
    knowing their congregation would be afraid to question their honesty, and
    Catholic prosecutors would be afraid to prosecute them


    Then they fought and disparaged the victims of their own
    child rape.  


    We know about 4,392 Jerry Sanduskys in the Catholic
    church.  Fire 5 high ranking officials
    for each one, and you’d fire 20,000 high ranking officials. 


    The Catholic church fired zero.  People are leaving the Catholic church in
    droves, as they should, because it isn’t God’s church.  The FBI should infiltrate the Catholic church using the same RICO statutes they use to infiltrate the mob.