Pedobear’s Appearance at Penn State Game Leaves Bad Taste in Our Mouth
In the past few months I have observed a curious phenomenon in the college and professional sports circles. It seems that any kind of hurtful, damaging, homophobic, racist language or behavior gets swept under the rug or written off. Well, I am here to call bullshit. I’m done with it. As an athlete and fan of professional and college sports, I am putting my foot down.
Yesterday Kevin wrote a story about an Alabama fan trying to sell t-shirts which had language that is damaging to the LGBT community. Notice how I said that the language is damaging, not ‘can be interpreted as damaging’. “Hey homos” is a reference to calling people homosexuals. Isolating a group of people and singling them out is discrimination. This isn’t okay. Not ever. Sorry sports fans, your bubble of immunity has been popped.
Something about bowl season is really bringing out the ugly in people. Last Monday Penn State played The University of Houston in the TicketCity Bowl. As many of you probably know, Penn State dismissed their coach earlier this year after questions around his response to preventing a string of child molestations was questioned. Penn State has one of the most celebrated football programs in the country and the loss of their coach was a huge blow. Media coverage of the scandal has been interesting to say the least.
So imagine my surprise when I saw the image below. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the PedoBear character, he is a made up meme who is intended to make light of pedophiliac behavior. A fan came to the game dressed as PedoBear and held up a sign that said ‘Keep Quiet and Don’t Tell Anyone.’ Really? Is this the world we live in today? How in the hell did this end up on the jumbotron for a packed stadium to see? What kind of message does this send? Pedophilia is funny?
Last time I checked it was 2012. What in the hell is going on? I am just as disappointed to see this image as I am in reading some of the responses to our story yesterday accusing UB of overreacting or not being able to take a joke. I have been disappointed in the response to Kobe Bryant’s half hearted apology for screaming the ‘F word’ at a referee after a disputed call.
I’d love to hear what you guys think. Do athletes and people in professional sports live in a bubble where they are immune from retribution for homophobic, racist and all around insensitive behavior?