I’m Crushed.

Back in the 1970s, when I was between nine and 19, I had several romantic crushes.

Some were on real guys — boys I went to school or church with — and some, alas, were celebrities. My heart was broken by Jimmy, Agustin (the Mexican spelling), David, Miguel and a few other “real” boys who likely were unaware that I existed for any reason other than to help them proofread book reports. I knew I was unlikely to find lasting, 1970s love among the neighborhood kids, but somehow I thought I had a shot with Franco Harris, David Cassidy, and Bucky Dent, whose images plastered my bedroom walls.

One of the David Cassidy posters was especially, ummmm, meaningful. It was the one where he was bare-chested, wearing a vest, and had . . . hair. Below his belly button. My interest in studying that poster resulted in far more fervent pursuit of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (this was post-Vatican, “new” Catholicism, so we didn’t call it “confession”) than otherwise would have been required, I believe.

But my little heart was also much inclined toward athletes, especially Pittsburgh Steelers running back and former Penn State star Franco Harris and Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent. Remember that we were a VERY sports-oriented family. The death of Roberto Clemente was cause for mourning in our house, and arguments with my brother usually had to do with his insistence that Vida Blue was more valuable than, say, Jim “Catfish” Hunter. So it wasn’t surprised that I dreamed of life with Bucky or Franco. They were cute; I was smitten.

So I’m disgusted that Harris has vehemently supported Joe Paterno’s relative inaction regarding the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State. Harris insists that Paterno fulfilled his “legal” obligation, noting in one interview that the reporting of sexual abuse to the police is a “legal, not a moral” issue that his hero handled well.

Defending Paterno, McQueary — the former grad assistant and current coach who saw Sandusky anally raping a little boy and ran home and told his daddy — and any other Penn State official who knew of Sandusky’s evil and didn’t intervene is simply wrong. The defense of evil not only tastes of evil, but allows it to flourish among otherwise “good, decent” people. Harris got sacked by the casino he was a spokesman for, and he deserved it. Shame on him.

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