Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Open the Closets!

The Bastion of Secrecy

OK, OK...enough already. Seldom do I think there's a soap box issue that I feel compelled to address, but there is one today. It's the matter of "the house" as in "Let's keep that information 'in house.'" Or, as the owners of the Indianapolis Colts says, "In the family." There have been so many stories emerge over the past few months detailing how information that is kept "in house" turns out to be evidence of heinous activities that are covered up to protect the reputation of a third party, whether that be an institution, a team, or someone's professional career.
You know about the obvious ones, but there are a couple that have been somewhat hushed up...or at least not delved into as they might have been.
One involves a senior athletic department official of a school that regularly attends bowl football games as a member of the Big Ten Conference. It turns out that this year at a major bowl, said official held a party in his hotel room for university staffers and furnished alcohol to minors: well, that's a crime right there. But the story gets more sordid. Turns out, this person has been doing this for years with knowledge of university officials who once sent the staffer a letter of remonstrance indicating that he should not act in such a manner again...but this was years ago.
This time, on Dec. 31st at a similar party featuring minors and staffers, the official actually groped a male staffer and threatened to have him fired if he let word out about the incident. Really. Now, of course, the athletics director claims to have known nothing about it, the university says it has fired the individual, and all is well.
But wait a minute...if these parties have been held regularly (since this team always goes to a major bowl because it "travels well," you cannot get me to believe that this was an isolated incident and that NOBODY knew such goings on were, well, going on. That's simply too incredulous. Much like the Penn State deal of last fall, there had to be many people who knew about this behavior but kept it "in house," and now they are congratulating themselves on handling the matter so swiftly that they hope we'll forget about the implications.
Then, there's the story that broke this week about an Ivy League quarterback who was nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship and was being canonized nationwide for being the best of everything. Heck, he even refused to go to the scholarship interview because his school was playing its most hated rival that day. What dedication!
As the story unfolds, however, the scholarship committee had put his application on hold because he'd been under investigation for a sexual assault of a student on campus. The young lady reported the issue, but apparently, there is something called an "informal investigation" at this university that does not involve the police or a criminal record. The whole affair was dealt with in a dignified and under-reported manner...even the school newspaper knew of the scandal but chose not to publish it out of "respect for the girl involved." I'm sure the megamillion-dollar donors were glad not to have the name of their prestigious university dragged through the sordid mess at the same time the PSU scandal was unfolding. When interviewed, one of the player's teammates admitted knowing all about the incident but preferred to keep it "in house" (his quote, not mine).
These people are lying to themselves. In saying that they are trying to protect a reputation, what they mean is they are trying to protect "their" reputation because there is somehow money attached to doing so.
"Don't ask, don't tell" seems to be the phrase in vogue.
I'll step down from the soap box now; if I hear the expression "in house" or "in the family" used in a cover up context, though, I might just explode the next time.


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