To the editor:
While I came from a small town outside of Steubenville, I always used the city as a general location describing where I came from when discussing origins with folks here in Florida. Coincidentally, I always tossed in that it was also Dean Martin's hometown. It was something of a pride thing. And, while I was never what you would call a fanatical Big Red fan, I did secretly root for them in their playoff stretches, another general local pride thing.
Now, as anyone from the area knows, whether they admit it or not, there were always unwritten rules that both Steubenville politics and, especially, the Big Red football team followed with the expectation that regardless of what they do, their actions will be condoned, protected and hidden from prying eyes. Of course, this all was eventually destined to come crashing down.
Unfortunately (and my sincerest condolences go out to the victim), it took a rape case to bring all this to light, and Steubenville will never be the same again. Because of stupidity and this long-standing traditional mindset, the Steubenville Big Red football team and all associates have fast become the high school equivalent of Penn State, changing many people's perception of the town. It is the innocents who will now unfairly suffer the brunt.
Regardless, this one time pride I had has quickly fleeted. Because of a choice few, I now cannot help myself from hesitating and avoiding the name of Steubenville during those origin locale description discussions, as if it is a plague.
Ormond Beach, Fla.