The Fall of Penn State

In the fallout of one of the swiftest and deepest falls from grace I've seen (even more dramatic, I think, then the rape conviction of Mike Tyson or the Tiger Woods adultery scandal), I think the board of trustees at Penn State did the right thing in getting rid of Joe Paterno immediately. Given the timeline of events and the graphic nature of the crimes allegedly committed on campus (be warned: if you read the grand jury report, it's very unsettling; I had a hard time with it), he had to go.

Paterno is an octogenarian. He's relinquished more and more control over the last decade, and in some circles has been viewed as nothing more than a mascot in terms of his actual coaching responsibilities. It's wholly possible that his advanced age played a part in just how cognizant he was that all of this was taking place, but that's no excuse. In 2002, he was told that Jerry Sandusky was seen sodomizing a young boy in a public shower. ESPN reported yesterday that Sandusky, who has been under investigation by the attorney general for three years, was in the locker room at PSU as recently as last week!

These alleged abuses should have been dealt with over a decade ago. Mike McQueary should have done what he could to stop the sexual assault he witnessed at that point in time. Barring that, he should have, at the least, immediately informed the local police of what he saw.

This story was passed up the chain of command, and nothing was done. In 1999, when Sandusky was asked to resign after allegations of abuse mounted, Penn State should not have given him an office on campus as part of his resignation deal. They should not have given him access to the locker rooms and weight rooms, where more abuses allegedly took place.

Penn State did the wrong thing in this matter, time and time again, and I can only deduce that it was because they wanted to maintain the program and the university's image. These allegations are horrific--it's the most disgusting story I've seen in sports--and Penn State has dealt with the situation in a truly callous fashion.

I'm sad that Paterno won't coach out the schedule, but not because he deserves the opportunity. I'm sad that he won't be exposed to the ridicule, scorn and anger of the American populace that sees how truly heinous these alleged crimes, and their subsequent public suppression, really are.

Shame on you, Joe Paterno. Shame on you, President Spanier. Shame on all of the students that have rioted in the streets without considering the depths of moral depravity in this story.

Rot in jail, Sandusky. I hope your life there is very difficult.

Nobody is bigger than the program, right Joe? Well, I guess that really depends on the kind of program you are running...


jessibeaucoup said...

I agree! I've been totally disgusted by seeing so many people on Facebook and other places expressing sympathy for him. Anyone who could sit by and allow a series of children to be harmed like that is truly a monster and as no place in any institution other than prison.

Daniel W. Powell said...

Evening, Jess. I hope all is well in Oregon!

The vast majority of the same kids that are protesting (mostly male) are now at the age of the alleged victims (19-24).

I'm stunned that these same people are supporting a coach whose alleged actions allowed people in their peer groups to be abused! The social dynamic of what is happening in Happy Valley is really odd. Everything about this story feels smarmy, and yet there are people on television literally screaming their support for an administration that quietly sanctioned pedophilia.

It's gross...

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