Jeff Pearlman

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Guest post from an angry Penn State student

Received this e-mail earlier today from one of my readers: “Can I post something to your blog with a pseudonym? I’m at Penn State, and need to get something out there.”

The answer was, of course you can. And she did. Don’t agree with everything she writes, but I admire the passion and intensity and integrity she put into it. I’m guessing you will, too …

Let’s get something straight here: this is a story about lies, abuse, and cover-ups. It is a story about three men and (thus far) nine boys. This is a story about Jerry Sandusky, Gary Schultz, and Tim Curley.

This is not a story about Joe Paterno.

I’m writing on behalf of many angry Penn State students. Contrary to numerous media reports, in which we’ve been portrayed as drunken immature children who can’t grasp the basics of the American legal system, the students of Penn State explicitly understand what’s gone on. It’s the media who seems to have lost the trail.

To review: Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State defensive coordinator, was indicted on 40 counts of abuse—some felonies. In 2002, grad student Mike McQueary witnessed such an event (the details of which are available in the Grand Jury Presentment) and alerted Joe Paterno, Penn State’s famed head coach.

For those of you screaming that Joe should have gone directly to the police, I agree, though I’d remind you he had a chain of command to follow. I’d also point you to the fact that he did not directly witness such abuse and, as such, would have been presenting hearsay to the police.

Paterno, instead, turned to Gary Schultz, responsible for the University Police. For those of you unaware, the Penn State University Police Service is a fully operational police force, capable of investigating and arresting. Nothing was ever done to follow up.

No one here is denying that Joe could have done more; he himself has admitted the same. The students of Penn State are angry that the coverage has barely mentioned Sandusky, Curley, Schultz, or, most appallingly, the victims. Students are angry that these lesser names have largely fallen through the cracks, despite being far more important players in this tale.  We’re angry that a man many of us still love and respect could not leave his house yesterday without being harassed by the media, and we’re angry that that same man, who has raised millions of dollars for the University was fired via a phone call. We’re angry that John Surma, Vice-President of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, at first refused to acknowledge Paterno’s contributions to the school, then admitted the Board had fired him without knowing the (in Surma’s words) “actual facts and circumstances.”

Tonight’s actions, including the tipping of a news van and the knocking down of light poles, were the manifestation of that anger boiling out. It was not dignified, mature, or well-thought out; tonight, we failed to act with integrity or with honor. Shouts of “F— the media” and the ensuing violence failed to contradict the reports depicting the University’s students as mindless Joe Paterno supporters, unable to see the facts of the case engulfing Penn State.

But look at it from our perspective. We’ve been depicted as drunks and morons, our words utterly stifled by a larger picture to paint. The riot tonight, during which we screamed for Joe Paterno and during which time a smaller group of students gathered in front of the Paterno house to show support, was reported as a celebration, as if this was what so many of us had wanted. Our two best public voices, The Daily Collegian and Onward State, have been swept aside, save for photos and videos unavailable from any other source. Sue Paterno, the same funny candid voice who stepped forward only a few weeks account to tell us all about guarding the Lion Shrine and who has been likened to the student body’s grandma, cried on her front lawn tonight while telling all gathered that she and Joe “loved them all”. And most importantly, in the haze of big names and scandal, the ruined lives of nine boys have been thrown by the wayside.

We feel as if we’ve been shoe-horned into an agenda, and we’re not happy about which agenda it was. We wanted a voice in this, a real voice. We didn’t want to be manipulated into making someone else’s point. We wanted a fair shot for all involved, and we wanted the true culprits dragged through the mud. We didn’t ask to be misrepresented, and we certainly didn’t ask to be shamed.

If you want someone to be angry at, be angry at Sandusky. Be angry at Schultz. Be angry at Curley. Be angry at Mike McQueary, who did have the authority to report to the police and who was the eye witness who could have stopped the abuse.

  • Fitz

    In order for PSU to continue having a football team (which is a main source of income for the college), they have to clear house with regard to the coaching staff. Paterno is just the most visible, the rest of the staff will probably go after the season. It had to be done, whether or not Paterno was complicit, or just a bystandard.

  • Fitz

    And yes, McQueary is by far the most at fault here. What kind of person just walks away from that scene?

  • Fitz

    *bystander, oops

  • tammy

    The reason everyone focused on Joe Paterno is because he is/was a person that was held in such high regard that everyone would have stopped and paid attention and these atrocities would have ceased! Instead he put the university first! Not the small boys who didn’t have voice, not even a family in a lot of instances.

    The reason the people are so dumbfounded at the way you students are acting is they don’t understand why you didn’t bother to riot when you found out your university was covering up the rape of small children.

    Let us get this clear…JOE PATERNO and the rest let this man continue to run a HOME FOR SMALL BOYS FOR YEARS AFTER THIS!!! Get a grip on reality and understand what is important here.

  • http://Timesyours.com Times Yours

    How about the fact that Sandusky went on coaching under Paterno and even won assistant coach of the year honors in 1999. Didn’t Paterno stop and think, hmmm, I wonder what ever happened to those allegations? Nope, he obviously just put his head in the sand. Unacceptable.

    • Brad

      Paterno didn’t learn about the allegations until 2002, so it would’ve been difficult for him to wonder about the allegations when he was three years away from hearing them.

      • http://sportsrip2.blogspot.com paul

        He didn’t learn about them until 2002? Are you serious? The campus police does a 30-page report about Sandusky and a child and Paterno, the biggest man on campus who knows about which kid didn’t go to underwater basketweaving class, but doesn’t know about that?!!!!

  • http://www.virginiatechfan.com hokieg

    I don’t think you understand ‘the public’s’ perspective. They are upset will all of those people you identify.

    But Joe Paterno is the de facto CEO of Penn State. With that comes ultimate responsiblity. Some of those people may be higher on the org chart than him, but the buck starts and stops with him.

    He had the ultimate responsiblity to ensure something so awful did not happen to Penn State University. Especially something manifested right in his very own department, the football team.

    With ultimate power, comes ultimate responsibility.

  • Josh

    The fact that Paterno would have been reporting hearsay to the police is irrelevant. Hearsay is only inadmissible in court. It would be perfectly legitimate and acceptable to report it to the police. And that’s exactly what he should have done, not follow some BS chain of command. He’s a football coach, not an Army sergeant.

  • guitarza

    Joe Paterno is Penn State football. That we all agree on. Penn State, the university and the football team, are responsible for the alleged rape of children. The entire program has to go.
    Paterno is an 84-year-old incoherent, senile invalid. He has been enabled for decades. His arrogant statement regarding the Board of Trustees sealed his fate. How big does your ego have to be that you don’t realized that your prime passed decades ago?
    Paterno is a coward and an embarrassment.

  • me

    A) why does presenting hearsay to the police matter?? You’re confusing the rules of evidence in a courtroom with evidence gathered by the police to investigate a crime. Police act on hearsay all the time.

    B) How do you explain Paterno standing by for over a decade as he watching Sandusky continue to roam campus, the football program, and the 2 mile outreach program??

    C) Chain of command is an argument suitable for some acts, such as recruiting violations, not the raping of a child in the PSU locker room. To suggest for a second that he is off the hook because he followed the chain of command is childish at best.

    I realize that PSU students, alumni, and fans may be torn over this. I really do. But it boils down to a few simple facts. 1) A child was raped in the PSU locker room. 2) Paterno had direct or indirect knowledge of that event. 3) Paterno watched Sandusky bear no consequences for that act. 4) Paterno, possibly the most powerful man in Happy Valley, couldn’t muster the courage to call up the police and even tip them off over the matter.

    You’re right. There are more to blame than Paterno, clearly. But the mere fact that others bear more responsibility does NOT absolve Paterno of his wrong doing. This is the type of act that has absolutely ZERO gray area. If a person has any knowledge of the event they simply must go to authorities, period.

    While I understand that you’re a passionate student, some day you will likely have a child. Now imagine that child being anally raped in a university locker room. Now imagine the head football coach knowing about that incident and not going to authorities? And this says nothing to the subsequent victims who would never have become victims if Paterno would have done what he is supposed to do. See the point yet?

    • StringerBell

      Terrific post. Agree with every word.

  • Danny

    Wait a minute, correct me if my facts are wrong, but if everything in the grand jury report is true, then paterno knew exactly what went on in the shower in 2002, then half assedly reported it up the chain, then allowed the guy to continue hosting his kids charity at penn state’s facilities after that? that in and of itself should nullify any accomplishment or good will up to that point. the guy knowingly let a guy like that run a camp for left behind, vulnerable foster kids all these years, very much increasing the likelihood of more kids being abused. obviously there are many many others in the wrong here but it’s ridiculous to suggest that joepa deserves a free pass. and of course he’ll get the most media attention out of all this, but that’s the price of fame, he knew that when he signed up for this gig.

    this is why everyone is making fun of you guys, whining about unfair treatment of a guy who was so clearly in the wrong.

    • Get The Facts Straight Both Sides

      You asked to be corrected if you are wrong so I will. Your statement, “if everything in the grand jury report is true, then Paterno knew exactly what went on in the shower in 2002.” That statement is wrong “according to” the Grand Jury report. First of all Paterno was not present in the Lasch Building showers on the night of the allegation. Therefore there is no way possible for him to literally know as you put it, “exactly” what went on. As the Grand Jury states the “graduate assistant” is the witness, who reported it to Paterno the next day. Sorry to to explain it so simply but your comment makes it seem as though you don’t know the difference between a witness and someone who is informed of something by an actual witness. Secondly, according to the Grand Jury report, and Paterno’s testimony to the Grand Jury, the detail that the “graduate assistant” gave Paterno to what HE WITNESSED and what the “graduate assistant” told others, HE WITNESSED, notably Curly and Schultz were not the same in detail. That is clear from the Grand Jury Report, which I have read several times and sincerely doubt you actually did because you would not make that statement if you have read it…if I am wrong and you in fact did “read” the report the you have a problem processing what you read. I am not going to argue what Paterno did or didnt do after being told, but according to the Grand Jury report, you statement is not correct. I could go on and on, and I’m not sure why I am picking on you since there are so many others who post things that are not based in fact but I will also mention to you my opinion on your comment, “but that’s the price of fame, he knew that when he signed up for this gig.” I seriously doubt that Joe Paterno ever invisioned how this world has changed since he “signed up for the gig” back in 1966. For the record, I am not a Penn State fan, student, alumni nor a defender of Joe Paterno. I am just someone who is sickened by people who sensationalize stories and use speculation instead of fact to make points on things they really know no facts about. “Danny” is just one of many guilty of this from both sides including those against Paterno as well as those defending him.

  • bbjamfan

    I’m sorry that the writer is too young, too immature and too trapped in group think to get this. Abuse must be reported to legal authorities. When it was not, Paterno should have asked questions. When allegations were raised about Sandusky in 1998, Paterno should have asked questions. When Sandusky repeatedly brought young boys not related to him on Penn State Bowl trips, Paterno should have wondered why they slept in the coach’s room. And the excuse that Paterno could not call the police because of “chain of command”–he’s Joe Frickin’ Paterno. He owned the damn town. The police would have listened and the University administrators would never have dared to cross him. If the writer truly has concern about the victims, she would see that this is not about football or the students’ (childish, sentimental and unrealistic) notions that Joe and Sue Paterno are their grandparents. I suspect Joe Paterno would have done much better by his own grandchildren.

  • Fritz

    I think a person can be angry at all of them: Sandusky, Paterno, McQueary, Schultz, Curley, and Spanier. Sandusky is villain #1 no doubt, but the fact is Paterno chose not to follow up, not with his superiors, not with Sandusky, not with the cops, nor did he apparently encourage McQueary to report his story to the police. Paterno did the bare minimum, something he never would have accepted out of his football players. So yeah, I’ll be angry at him, too and I’ll save my tears for the kids.

  • http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploadedFiles/Press/Sandusky-Grand-Jury-Presentment.pdf Bystander
  • jmw

    JoePa did not need to follow any chain of command, because he is at the top of the chain.
    No individual at PSU had more power and authority than Joe. Including the President.
    The reason the media focused on Joe should be clear, that the students can’t see it is mind numbing.
    The others were charged, now you let justice run it’s course.
    McQueary certainly should have grown a pair and stepped in. I can blame it on youth, but he should have also still been in pretty good shape. Enough to physically step in.
    Joe should have grown his pair many, many, years ago. As the elder statesman he should have had the wisdom make sure the accusations were followed upon.
    Joe had an obligation to make certain his department was clean. That means going back to the authorities and asking how the investigation was going.
    This happened in HIS house during HIS watch committed by HIS friend to a child.
    Nobody has forgotten the children – that comment is absurd.

    • Get The Facts Straight Both Sides

      I’ve never been to Penn State so I may be ignorant but what proof do you and others have to say “because he is at the top of the chain.
      No individual at PSU had more power and authority than Joe. Including the President” This idea is so ridiculous. How do you know what actual power Joe Paterno has at that school. Did you see that on ESPN or read about it in Sports Illustrated? The arguement can be made that Joe Paterno did not do enough as a human being but this idea that he runs the school and has more power then the President is NOT FACT. If it comes out that Joe is the mastermind behind the cover up then he will have to answer for that as well, but until that is known arguements about power at the University have no base. He may have failed as a human being but anything more then that is specualtion. Arguements like this do not help the case against Paterno but rather weaken the position of his failings.

      • jmw

        Get,
        While I have also never attended PSU I am aware of Joe’s power. Known about it way before this episode.
        It was Joe that chose Curley to be the Athletic Director.
        The University wanted Joe to retire in 2004, basically he told them to shove it.
        He called his own shots.
        If there is any question as to who has the most power consider that both the coach and the President were fired, has anybody even talked about President Spanier? How many even know his name?

  • christi smith

    Joe Paterno had the responsibility to report. As does all in academics and athletics to Authorities when suspected child abuse is taking place. I don’t mean their boss.

    Here is my analogy…..

    If McQuerry were to have walked in and saw a fire smoldering, would he have called his dad, slept on it and then just called his boss the next day?
    If Paterno KNEW of a potential fire in the facilities would he have just called the Ad?
    They both would have called 911, found a fire extinguisher, and attempted to personally put out the fire and remove any valuables (material items that is)

    So I say to you that are ANGRY over the firing of Joe Paterno, a football program and the history is more important than the lives of innocent children. If you believe that, then certainly our society is in deep trouble.

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    I don’t think that I understand the point of this article, except that it’s unfair for everyone to be picking on Penn State and Joe Paterno.

    If you’re the boss and something like this is brought to your attention and you do the bare minimum, then you should face the consequences. How much money you raised for the university or how many Rose Bowls you won should not factor into the equation when you harbored a known child molester.

    There are some things in this world that are bigger than cash and football victories.

    And honestly, firings are rarely ever fun, no matter if you get a signing telegram or a phone call. If Paterno wanted the respect of a face-to-face firing perhaps he should have dropped the hammer on Sandusky when he had the chance.

  • LJ Quigley

    Full disclosure: I am a journalist, and I was a grad student in journalism at Penn State in 1972-73 and then adviser to the Collegian from 1975-77 (and I crossed paths with Jeff Pearlman at the Tennessean in the ’90s.) I have sometimes defended the media, that industry being my life’s work. Today, sadly, there are few news outlets, few reporters and editors, who have not failed to abide by their professional ethics. Within a few hours after the story broke, there were sports columnists demanding that Joe Paterno resign even though it was another man who was led into the police station in handcuffs. Since then, in what is perhaps an effort at enterprise that is shockingly misguided, media have focused most attention on the coach who has worked at the university for 61 years without a hint of moral or ethical failing. JoePa made a mistake. He should’ve done more. But what about the eyewitness who has worked in the football program for nine years since the incident he reported. Was there not an opportunity to go to authorities, even a year later, two years later, when he saw Jerry Sandusky continuing to bring young boys to the football complex? What about the university administrators who recognized that something was going on – wasn’t that why they told him he couldn’t bring those little boys to campus anymore? Granted wives have a bye on helping to convict husbands, but what about that bedroom in the basement where he brought young boys over to spend the night? What about the detectives who took a mother’s report of abuse of her son seriously enough to listen in on a conversation where Sandusky admitted he’d done something wrong with her son. The police followed up, sort of: “Detective Schreffler advised Sandusky not to shower with any child again and Sandusky said that he would not.” How, how in the name of God can anyone tell a 50-something man who has just admitted showering naked with a 10-year-old boy be allowed to say, “Gosh, I won’t do that anymore.” And I could go on, but as a journalist, I’m supposed to be concise. Yes, there is moral failing here, but where is the morality in demanding that one man take the fall over the many who failed to act before and after him?

    • dave

      Detective Schreffler was told by the District attorney that charges would not be brought against Sandusky at this time for this incident so what would you have them do?

    • TAMMY

      Wow you still don’t get it! The public has outrage at everyone who dropped the ball not just your beloved JoePa. He was just the most visible and he was in a position to do something. He was probably the most powerful man in that state and one statement from him would have stopped it all. I want them all punished but it starts at the top!! Get your head out of your Penn State A** and wake up!

    • Get The Facts Straight Both Sides

      LJ, this is one of the best comments I have read about this incident. It recognizes Paterno’s moral failings but raises many other important questions that are not getting enough traction with the media as well as with the public. Unfortunately the public is responding to what the media is “reporting” I for one, hope that you as a journalist do go on and keep raising these questions so that this whole story can be revealed. Thank you for your point of view.

  • R

    Odd that I write this response …..to a “stumbled upon” internet post.

    A middle aged football fan (and former player) who has worked with sexually abused children in the criminal Justice system. A Nebraska fan –who wishes the game Saturday to be cancelled. A Nebraska fan who recalls a national tragedy in 1963 and a similar analysis–should we even play the damn game ?

    Afterall, It is sooo, damn insignificant.

    The rambling, naive nature of this misguided PSU post stirs my response. It, by necessity, is perhaps harsh, as the subject matter is intense and dark.

    The specific problem is perspective.
    PSU and it’s students stubbornly lack any semblance of detached, cool-headed perspective, and awareness of the Sexual abuse of Minors. I’m sure this could be said about many Universities–including Nebraska, Mizzou, Arizona,Cal,etc.

    The media is allowing you to show your obvious deficits. To the world. The Milbrae/Stanford Prison experiments in the early 70′s shocked the World, too.
    BBC News – Stanford prison experiment continues to shock
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14564182

    The twisted “Hearsay” (ie. I have no personal knowledge) defense is/was being applied by Curley, Schulz, ..and now Paterno.
    Now, it’s bantered by PSU students–by Proxy ?. (In choosing to NOT report this to the police / not to admit that it existed …and exists).

    Child Sexual abuse is a “Silent crime”. There are almost ALWAYS NO Personal knowledge witnesses! The Perp is relying on that VERY FACT OF silence as an inducement to commit the crime. That is the peculiar M.O. of this crime. (For background, see, ie. Catholic Priest scandals; Ireland’s School Molestations and beatings; Closer to PSU–Specifically, Boston and Philadelphia Dioceses and their near Bankrupt status; Teachers (predominately female) having sex with young men, etc.)

    As we have repeatedly seen, Prayer is merely a distracting plea, …to the duty of reporting of a crime of unspeakable personal violence. Especially when it is “Institutionally sponsored”.

    To be sure, PSU and it’s students insular world has been rocked. It’s “Innocence” has been shredded. Your “angst” has been televised around the world. We “Understand”. Mainly because it has been shown to us widely on TV….unlike the travails of victims of unspeakable crimes.

    As bad as you each must feel, imagine carrying that wound of “soul murder” un-televised , around for the rest of your life. No one to tell it to. No one to believe you. No person of “Authority” to be your protector. No one to step forward. No one to understand your fluctuating “Mood swings’ of despair and vengeance. No one to share the experience with.

    This is what the abuse victims feel–on a good day. On a bad day,…..I shudder to imagine the “Dante’s inferno” they must tread.

    By attempting fallaciously to defend Joe’s refusal to act–or allocating or parsing liability to the others involved in this whole sordid mess, you simply serve to further abuse the victims….or further allow others to do the deed, next week.

    Shame on your ignorance PSU. Shame on your self-pity PSU.Shame on your self-righteousness, PSU. Awake from your loss of “Innocence” and go forth from this day, as a protector of the young victims, everywhere.

    Call the Authorities and let trained individuals investigate.
    Never again deny and refuse to report on the basis of –”I have no personal knowledge”. This is the sin that plagues your campus, yesterday, today, and forever–for all who espouse the Hogans Heroes “Sergeant Schulz defense –”I see nothing,…”".

    PSU and attitudes expressed like this, actively allowed and encouraged the brazen Sandusky, to act on his mentally ill rationalizations, for years.

    The “Scorpion and the Frog” may be an easier parable for some to understand. “…because it’s what I do…”.

    Shame on all who seek to defend the indefensible.

    By doing so, You condemn another generation of victims, by your stubborn refusal to see reality.

    Take your shame, PSU. Take your responsibility, PSU. Own what you created, foregave, allowed, and fostered, PSU. You cannot protect your school, PSU.

    This is part II of the twisted world of Pedophilia–the desire to protect the very Institutions that comprise “Us”. To think otherwise, is to somehow admit WE ARE BAD PEOPLE, TOO. (It’s called Shame, PSU)

    While you are feeling your pain, PSU— vow to yourselves –never to repeat it. Never again.

    While the game on Saturday may be played–I will not watch. I will not take part in the great lie, the great diversion.

    I will grieve instead. I have already met many victims,…. just like PSU’s. I will share their pain for 3 hours, instead. Yes, …I know already, it will hurt.

    I have empathy for the victims.

    I do not have empathy from the wilfully ignorant–who unwittingly serve to further imprison the victims.

    Yes, PSU…you can learn much from this.

    But, it takes courage…..especially when you start.

  • Barry

    She needs to grow up. Chain of command my ass. Joe Paterno is the most powerful person at PSU. Was Paterno scared if he did the right thing and called the police he would have gotten in trouble?

  • Philip

    ahhhh, youth,

    Young lady, when you have children of your own, you will probably see this in another light.

    Or is the love for Joe PA, blinding you of the fact that the moral compass of college football has been witness to something much larger that paying for tattoos with merchandise or accepting a few bucks from alumni, because you have no money at home.

    He knew something horrific went on under his watch, did the minimum and then yelled at his wife to bring another tv dinner into the living room.

    The real horror of all this, isn’t that your beloved football coach can’t be carried off the field this weekend.. it was the past few nights, when countless victims were watching sportscenter or cnn or fox or whatever… and the flood of bad memories came back. The times that they were helpless and the unspeakable occured.

    Football, ptf; lives have been ruined. Joe retires with more money than he can count. How do we get back the dignity and childhoods for the people who were hurt by this?

  • sanford sklansky

    While she is right that Sandusky is the criminal here, Every one else is culpable in this case. Using the chain of command excuse is deplorable. This isn’t the military, the police or the fire department. Undoubtedly Paterno should have gone to the police. It is pretty obvious that McCreary saw Sandusky raping this boy. For Paterno to soft soap it that he wasn’t he wasn’t a witness is a pretty poor excuse. He should have taken McCreary to the police immediately after being told of the situation.

  • Ak

    If it was even remotely true that Sandusky, Schultz, Curley and McQueary haven’t been mentioned in the slightest amidst the country’s blood lust to sully Paterno’s name, this argument would have a leg to stand on. The reality is, everyone acknowledges that Paterno is but one bad actor in this game of immoral finger-pointing, and there isn’t anyone of any significance who has lost sight of who the true monster is (Sandusky) who committed crimes (Sandusky, Schultz, Curley) and who the victims are (the kids). The difference between the world at large and the Penn State students isn’t that they’ve kept perspective on who besides Paterno committed wrongs while we haven’t, but that we have acknowledged that the person that they know and love committed an unforgivable failing of his own moral code, and as such loses his chance to exit the program he built on his own terms.

    He’s not the criminal, and no one has suggested he was. But he doesn’t “deserve” to leave on his own terms after his sin of omission allowed these events to continue beyond the moment they came to his attention.

    That the Penn State student body is unable to see this is an example of the inherent dangers of idolatry. You’ve placed a football coach on a moral pedestal too high to ever be knocked off. Your perspective seems irreparably broken. He’s just a man, and he made a mistake that too many of us would probably have made as well. His accomplishments aren’t erased. But like us all, he needs to answer to his failures. His own moral code says as much.

  • Ak

    There’s an odd cognitive dissonance between two of the primary defenses of Paterno I hear most often. One is an appeal to the person. That is, people defend him by stating the great things he’s done over his life. He’s built the school’s library, he’s been a role model for dozens of people who improved their lives because of his example, he served as a father figure to an entire campus and broader community. And I have no doubt that all those things are true, and that no matter where you stand on his firing, those things should be remembered about Paterno for as long as he lives.

    The other thing I hear is that he was one of a handful of people who learned of Sandusky’s alleged crimes and failed to take the necessary steps to be sure they were stopped. That is: he wasn’t alone in failing to act on his moral compass.

    Does anyone else sense the contradiction here? It is because of who Joe Paterno is, and the status that he held in that community, that he deserves to be held to a higher standard than two custodians.

    And it can’t be said often enough: we aren’t necessarily expecting him to meet a particularly high standard. Taking steps to report child rape isn’t an act of heroism, but one of decency. It wasn’t beyond him, or anyone else.

    Whether he was acting in his own direct interests, attempting to preserve the legacy of himself and his program, whether he was looking out for a friend and longtime co-worker, or whether he simply didn’t know what to do, was merely stung by paralysis when a situation of incomparable horror was presented to him, is all irrelevant.

    And it’s true that far too many of us would have acted as he did, and as those two janitors did, and as McQueary did. But would we be more or less likely to take action in the future if Paterno isn’t held accountable for inaction?

  • Dr. K.

    Regarding the last paragraph: wrong. You should also be angry at Joe Paterno. He too had the authority to report this incident to the police. He also had the responsibility to follow up with his ‘superiors’ if nothing was done. He himself admitted he should have done more. Be angry at Joe Paterno.

    • Dr. K.

      Also, the best tweet I read, courtesy of Ken Tremendous: “You know why these PSU students are protesting Paterno’s firing? None of them have kids. If they had kids, they’d have run him out of town.”

      • bbjamfan

        I resent that. I do not have children of my own. And I said from the first moment that I heard this story that Spanier, Paterno, and McQueary needed to immediately be removed from their jobs. Being a parent is not the only way that one gains a conscience, compassion, empathy or a moral compass.

        • Dr. K

          bbjamfan,

          I don’t have kids either. But it offers an explanation to the lack of perspective that the Penn State student body showed the other night. Certainly not all of the students, but there sure were a lot of them out there.

  • Kevin

    Paterno was the most powerful man on that campus until this week. If he wanted Sandusky gone, he could have been gone.

    Instead, he allowed him to retire at the young age of 55, allowed him to stay at Happy Valley, and never follow up with any authority.

    I also find it hard to believe that you all are mad because “the coverage barely mentioned Sandusky”. The FACT that he continued to be allowed to remain there and continue to abuse others calls for the focus to be looked at Paterno and others. Sandusky being indicted is a given and whining that he didn’t get the attention is like being upset Nixon got all the attention at Watergate.

    The story is about all the people you mention, and it DEFINITELY includes Joe Paterno.

    If you want to truly be upset, be upset that there may be more to uncover regarding all of them, and more victims will be identified.

  • Kevin Clark

    Sorry, but the “story” here is not an assistant football coach sexually abusing young boys. Been there, done that.

    The story is that it happened at Penn State. Over 10 years ago. Under Joe Paterno.

    Cry foul all you want, but you can’t meticulously build your reputation on honor and integrity, then hope for some leeway when something like this comes down. The NCAA has cracked down on untold numbers of universities in the years Paterno has been head coach at PSU, while JoePa remained above the fray.

    Turns out, he was worse than all of them. Combined.

    Sorry, but that’s a big freakin’ deal. He deserves everything he gets from the media and the public, and then some.

    • Kevin Clark

      If anything, I think the prosecutors in this case are being ridiculously lenient to Mr. Paterno. In my opinion, he should be defending himself against charges right now.

  • RJ

    The story is NOT about Joepa. Joepa is the MEDIA driven headline. The true story or should I say tragedy is about defenseless kids victimized, a university internal cover-up to protect their business and one sick, evil, twisted individual who did the crime. Let’s not take our eye off the ball. Joepa is only one of many individuals that need to be held accountable for their legal and morale obligations to society. The human focus needs to be … what is PSU doing to provide assistance and restitution for the victims and their families understanding that nothing can erase the damage that has already been done… not whether or not Joepa should have been fired. The pressure on the university executives should be immense until this has been address.

  • http://www.michaelpowelson.wordpress.com Michael Powelson

    Aside from the obvious fact that this coach IS the university, the story is Paterno because his testimony/authority/age/reputation all make for a lot of questions. Joe Pa is the one least likely, which makes his “mistake” all the more provocative. Sorry, but In this case the media arent guilty of a particular bias, just a good sense for where the mystery remains. Anyone who reads the grand jury report can tell you the story lies in the fog that separates McQueary’s testimony from Paterno’s. Until someone explains the incongruencies, that’s where the interest is going to be. A few broader thoughts on the matter: http://wp.me/p1qazv-1N

  • Jason K.

    i hate anonymous writings. anonymous sources, one thing. anonymous posts, totally different. anyways, your author suffers from group mentality think. if the whole world thinks youre crazy but everyone in your group fails to see it, its not the world that is mistaken, most of the times. that is why everyone that didnt go to penn st can see why joepa bears so much responsibility in this, and why every penn st student is in tears. lets face it, most of these penn st students go to that school bc of joepa and the sense of identity they get from rooting for their foortball team.

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