Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is There a More Hated Man in America?

At this point I don't need to link any of the various reports about Joe Paterno retiring or Penn State President Graham Spanier being forced out - the American news media has got that covered and then some. The fallout of the Penn State Scandal has now permeated our culture to a level usually reserved for the likes of the Major League Baseball steriods scandal and the O.J. Simpson trial (and unbelievable car chase).

There are definitely others at fault here besides Jerry Sandusky, namely AD Tim Curley and VP Gary Schultz, for allowing the horrible and inhumane conduct of Sandusky to continue on after they were alerted to the atrocities. Sandusky has now even tarnished the legacy of the most legendary coach in college football history. Paterno should have alerted authorities when Curley and Schultz took a giant dump all over their responsibilities, and I feel that he should rightly step down (as should the rest of the Penn State football program). It's crazy that if you rewind time to just a week ago, Paterno was hands down the most respected coach in college history.

Sandusky is the real monster
Sandusky is essentially unravelling one of the more prestigious college football programs in history. Without condoning the actions of Paterno and his superiors (which, I cannot say more clearly, I am not), nothing would have occurred without the monstrous actions of one man. When Paterno and Curley and the rest of them found about it, they shouldn't have even held internal meetings, or discussed it with President Spanier (who is a grade A douche, for what it matters). They should have immediately involved the police. But in our constant, 24 hour sports news cycle, the focus has been too much on the Paternos and Spaniers and less on Sandusky. Can we focus for a second on what Sandusky did? This entire morning, ESPN refused to deviate from any conversation about Paterno. What about Sandusky too? He is the real monster here, and it's terrible that he is ruining the reputations of Joe Paterno and Penn State football, not to mention the lives and livelihoods of so many boys and their families.

Paterno could have solved this problem himself, of course, so I understand why some find it hard to feel bad for him. But that's not what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to understand how a man who had helped thousands of kids become solid young men, teaching them the ways of football, academics, and life, could have failed so miserably in this one instance. Which also begs the question of how Paterno, a man of such integrity, allowed this to happen? I want to believe it was a moment of incredible naivety or ignorance, refusing to believe that the horrid allegations could possibly be true. That still doesn't absolve him of his obligation as a human being to those young boys that Sandusky molested after 2002.

At this moment, the public wants and deserves answers. The next step, after Paterno has rightly stepped down, is for him to hold a press conference and answer questions that we all want to hear. What was he exactly told? If he heard the horrifying story from graduate assistant Mike McQueary that has recently come to light, how could he stop at informing Tim Curley and Graham Spanier? Why weren't the police involved?

The people deserve these answers. The entire purpose of a criminal justice system is to punish people for act's committed against society. We have a right to thus demand the ouster of those public officials who failed to live up to that standard and the right to prosecute those individuals who reached a criminal level within that standard. But more than that, in today's instant gratification/social media/24 hour news world, we want answers. And Joe, for the sake of your nearly six decade long legacy, give us the answers before it's too late. Your entire reputation depends upon it.


Anonymous said...

Why has no one pointed a finger at Mike McQueary? He's just as much to blame as Peterno. McQuearly told his boss and then let it go, Paterno told HIS boss and then let it go.

Dave Johnsen said...

Agreed, he needs to be considered too. Maybe he was worried about his job. But that doesn't matter. If you see something that horrific and see your superiors stick their heads in the sand, shouldn't you tell the police?!