By now all of have heard about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his non- action in response to the Sandusky incident (an assistant coach caught in a sexual act with a young boy). I would describe Paterno as playing the role of a “bystander”. According to Merriam-Webster a bystander can be described as one present but not taking part in a situation or event ; a chance spectator.
I got to thinking about this bystander behavior as I read about the Mission Viejo Nadadores swim club officials who were purported to have been aware of a coach-athlete sexual relationship with a sixteen year old girl as far back as 2006, but who did nothing. At first glance one could argue that we should address the policy issue that no coach should be in a relationship with an athlete regardless of consent or age, which we should be the case, no question there. However , the deeper issue here is the question of knowledge of the situation and why neither club officials, coaches nor parents responded to it responsibly?