Let's face it. I am not going to be able to get to my Vegas trip without at least venting a little about the Penn State scandal. I can't ignore it. It can't be unseen. So, here's my thoughts, for what it's worth.
I'm appalled. Simply and utterly appalled. And, unfortunately, a lot of my post will be about the one person who stands out more than everyone involved, Joe Paterno. He shouldn't. The case is against Sandusky. Sandusky is the monster. Everyone else simply enabled him to do what he did. And lionizing Parterno or vilifying him does nothing to help ease the victims' pain and suffering. They are truly lost in all of this media circus.
I did not go to PSU. I was a Pitt grad. Now, before you flame me for making this a Pitt vs. PSU thing, understand this. I hold no loyalty to Pitt athletics. I hold no loyalty to college athletics at all. In fact, I am disgusted by the entire entity known as the NCAA. They are a corporation who makes money off of collegiate athletics. Pure and simple. Regardless of whether they uphold standards of morals or values about sportsmanship or whatever, above all, they are in business to make money. If not, they wouldn't be licensing all of their gear with the logos and player likenesses to EA sports or other profitable venues.
That being said, what happened last year at OSU... and chew on this, I will never refer to OSU as THE Ohio State University. Once again, it's not a Pitt thing, it's just simple pretentiousness. I don't care if it says "THE" in the logo, the charter, whatever document you want to march out. It's Ohio State University or OSU. End of THE story. Anyway, that whole debacle last year over player compensation, lying, whatever, just proves that the NCAA is just as corrupt as any other corporation that is greedy. They mete out punishments when it's clear that everyone knows there is something wrong but clearly they hold the business in a higher regard than the well being of the student athletes because if they didn't, these scandals wouldn't take place and there would be stiffer punishment and reform for the programs. Better regulation. Better watchdogs. They know it's there, but as long as it doesn't disrupt the business of making money or tarnish the brand, they turn a blind eye.
Back to PSU. I don't need to rehash the story. I don't want to. We all know what happened and if you don't, go read the presentment to the grand jury. You can find it here as well as everywhere else. Quite simply, this was an incident that was swept under the rug when it could have been exposed before any others were hurt.
Mike McQueary walked into a shower and saw an act. He then reported it to Joe Paterno. Sometime later, he was then called into the offices of Curley and Schultz and explained what he saw. Police were never involved. The incident was dropped and Sandusky was merely relieved of his locker room keys and the incident was reported to Second Mile, the charity or 'farm team' for Sandusky's prospects in his monstrous acts.
Now, whether McQueary is lying in what he told Curley and Paterno or whether Curley and Paterno were lying about what they were told is irrelevant. The fact that some kind of indecent and inappropriate acts were taking place between an educator/administrator/adult and a child on University property requires, at the bare minimum to be reported to REAL police, not campus cops. REAL POLICE. 911 POLICE.
Not to mention that as a witness to the events, McQueary should have been compelled to stop the act when he witnessed it. There was a recognition between the perpetrator, victim and witness. After all of this went away, there were times when McQueary and Sandusky were present at the same place and same time, and with children involved. How do you hold your tongue, let alone your lunch?
Now, onto Paterno. He is not guilty of breaking any laws? I posed that as a question because I do not know for sure. He broke 'God's' law, if you want to call it that. He took his stance on integrity and morality that he spewed so much in his 41 years as coach and threw it on the ground, stomped it, pissed all over it, then spat on it. He failed a child and so many more. To say that he reported it to his superiors is convenient when it suited him. Any other time, Paterno has been the perceived boss. When his boss, Curley, went to his house to tell him it was time to go, as head coach, Paterno showed him the door. Who would fire Joe Paterno? Apparently, when it comes to disciplining Joe, he has no boss. When it comes to reporting a heinous crime against a child, he has superiors.
And the culpability goes on up to Spanier and even the University because they levelled a ban on Sandusky from campus facilities that was considered, unenforceable. Well, why did you want to ban him? Because he didn't turn off the lights? Because he burped in public? No, because he did something wrong. He did something worthy of being banned from campus. Yet, you let him back on campus and around children. Why? Because you didn't involve the police. Why didn't you involve the police? It would tarnish the program. It would tarnish the reputation of the brand. It would tarnish your King, who was friends of 30 plus years with the predator. What other reason would you have to not involve police?
Athletics and University appearance should not be held above the safety of children. If so, then what kind of message are you sending your prospective, current, and alum students? We want you to grow and learn and feel safe in our environment but if anything happens, don't tarnish the school, regardless of how bad you get hurt.
And to not fire Paterno who has systematically proven that he holds too much power would have been another slap in the face of those victims. Joe should have resigned immediately and not said, "Oh, I'll retire after the season." Do the right thing. You are the face of the school and the program. No one other person holds as much influence. You are the King. You screwed up. Own the fire.
"But he did his job." Did he? If you see someone's house on fire you call the fire department, right? Do you ignore the sounds of someone in distress? The difference is that McQueary and company weren't in a fire situation that could have caused them physical harm and more work for the fire department. A little boy was being assaulted. A little boy saw your eyes look right at him and you turned and left. Everyone pushed it up the chain of command yet not one person thought to take care of the victim. They left it up to the system and this child is forever lost.
Paterno IS culpable. His fame, his legacy and his contributions over the years do not outweigh the obligation to protect the innocence of a child in his house. And if you think that he did all he could have done ask yourself one thing, what if McQueary told Joe that there was a kid in the showers with Sandusky and his last name was Paterno. Do you think Joe would have been fine with just telling his 'boss'? Do you think he would have personally gone down there? Do you think he'd be OK with McQueary just saying, "Joe, it was your son I saw, so I left and told my Dad and he said I should tell you."
Make that kid's last name any of the people involved:
McQueary. Would he have left them in the shower?
Curely. Would he have been fine with finding out a whole two days later and simply barring Sandusky from campus?
The last name of any student/alum who cheers for Joe, on his lawn, or thinks that Joe did enough and now is flipping cars and vandalizing news vans at State College in outrage over Paterno's firing.
Put any of those names on the victim and ask how they would have reacted. It would tell a different story. Any child that is being harmed or abused or assaulted or victimized becomes your child. In the world of education and development, you are a parent in the sense that you are obligated to do everything in the best interests of a child whether he/she is yours or not.
So, do not shed tears for your King, because he shed none for you when you needed him. He simply did the bare minimum. We Are Ashamed.