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We all know right from wrong except when money is involved

By Dian Vujovich

Sooner or later it always comes down to money. And the way it looks to me, money is the real reason why way too many individuals— who knew for years about former coach Jerry Sandusky’s despicable sexual improprieties with young boys —never spoke up before they had to.

In its truest and purest sense, money is and always has been only a medium of exchange. It’s an exchange for goods and services rendered. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Throughout the ages, however, we humans have decided to attribute money with oh-so much more. We’ve added values to it that never ought to have been assigned. The amount of money one has or doesn’t have, for example, has become akin to one’s value and worth as an individual. That’s crazy. It is even insane. Nonetheless, money has become America’s ultimate yardstick for judging the worth of people and institutions. Have it and you’re often considered good, smart and a winner; don’t and you’re kind of a powerless loser.

It’s not unusual to find that the amount of power someone wields in life is in direct proportion to the amount of money they are making, bring into the organization they work for or their ranking within the community in which they live. It’s estimated that Joe Paterno, Penn State’s revered coach, brought hundreds of millions of fundraising dollars to that school’s athletic department over the decades. That’s certainly enough to garner him respect— but not a blind eye.

Hang out with kids and young people for a while and you’ll learn first-hand how, at a very early age, they know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong regarding sex and their bodies. Whether that’s learned instinctively or taught, kids have a sense of what’s creepy or considered bad behavior from the adults who try to occupy their sexual worlds. But while this sense may speak to them, they also know that grownups have more power than they do. And therein lies the conundrum for young people: Knowing right from wrong is one thing but knowing how to handle any wrongness done to them is quite another.

Sandusky knew the deviant acts he performed on young boys were wrong. Paterno did too—as did all the others at Penn State and in Happy Valley who were told about them. Money, however, can have such pervasive tentacles it’s been known to twist the minds, bloat the egos and erase the moral consciousness of even the seemingly honorable.

If it didn’t carry such powers, Sandusky’s actions would have been revealed long ago and Paterno’s conscious would have lead him to take moral actions years ago, too.

In the end, if one’s conscious knowing of the difference between right and wrong, acting on the side of rightness and a sense of honest morality were considered of greater worth and considered of higher value in America than money, we’d live in a healthier, happier and safer America. It would also be a place where football was just a game and a backfield in motion merely a play that didn’t involve sex with young boys.

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