In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The [ Todd] Hoffner saga went viral nationally in the wake of the sex scandal at Penn State involving a former assistant coach. Child pornography charges were filed against Hoffner, and then dismissed when a judge determined the pictures simply showed children at innocent play. But instead of reinstating him, school officials fired him, a decision reversed only when Hoffner won a sweeping arbitrator’s ruling last spring after he had accepted the coaching job at Minot State.
Hoffner found no such support among school officials, who just months before his problems had lavished him with praise — and a raise — after a 2011 season that ended with a bowl victory. Hoffner and his wife said they still cannot explain why key school officials were so quick to abandon them.
Hoffner was (and is now again) the head football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN.
At times of difficulty in our lives, we find out who our real friends are and, I believe, the realization is almost always painful.
Within a conformity-required university administration?
I’d imagine that Hoffner’s “friends” were friends only as long as the university president “liked” Hoffner. Who would be brave enough to go against the university president and his witch hunt of Hoffner? Who would dare be seen with Hoffner? Who would believe in him even as the injustices accumulated and became obvious?
Rare indeed would be such a courageous friend.
In Hoffner’s case, it was easier to remain silent in the face of injustice than to risk loss by speaking out. And in remaining silent, people lost a part of themselves.
One thought on “The Silence of Our Friends”
Excellent essays, Tom!