When stories break, especially in this day of a 24 second news cycle, you often get reactions before all of the information is close to being known. The reality is, in many cases you won’t know for a month or so and by that time everyone has already established where they stand. As the horrific stories began coming out of State College, Pennsylvania this past weekend I tried to take as slow of an approach to it as possible. My primary motivation was really to avoid looking foolish by either blaming or ignoring a party unduly. It’s funny, I’m sure that many would scoff at someone with a blog that gets 100 hits a week (on a good week) wanting to make sure that they have some level of informational integrity, but the truth is that once you put something out here, there’s no taking it back, and I wanted to have a thoughtful response. I’ve read coverage from ESPN, SI.com, CNN, FoxNews, USAToday, and others. I’ve tried to have as educated of an opinion as I can about this, and today I think I have come to my conclusion.
First – The 5 major players that were employed at Pennsylvania State University as of this past weekend should have already lost their jobs, and for any who haven’t yet, they need to be relieved of duty immediately.
Second – There is no punishment that the United States judicial system currently hands out for a crime that I believe would be considered out of bounds or too harsh to be levied against Jerry Sandusky.
I do not believe that my second conclusion actually requires any backup or commentary. 40 counts (and that’s just the known and acknowledged cases) of criminal sexual abuse with children over the course of 15 years is all of the justification that is necessary. End of discussion.
Now, as for my first conclusion, I believe there are those that will question my reasoning, so I feel like I should give additional background for that. The first two are very simple. Tim Curley was the Athletic Director and was told by the head coach of the football team (and friend of the accused) of what a graduate assistant saw the former Defensive Coordinator do at the college. He did nothing more than revoke locker room keys and is facing criminal charges. Gary Schultz is also facing criminal charges for the same lack of notification to police while he was a Senior V.P. and the treasurer of the school. In 2011 he also had oversight of the campus police and the HR department. As a side note, the school should rip his name off of the university child care center that bears it.
For the others they each have their reasons that I believe they should be removed. Graham Spanier is the president of the University and has been since 1995. All of this happened under his watch. It is unknown how much he was ever made aware of, but he either was so unaware that one of his employees was accused of gross sexual misconduct on more than one occasion, which he should be fired for, or he knew and did not report it to authorities, something else he should be fired for. There is no excuse for his employment still being under question. The fact that he lists “family therapist” as one of his specialties only adds a greater level of negligence to the story in my opinion. Mike McQueary is the former PSU Quarterback and the graduate assistant that is mentioned in one of the incidents. He is currently the Wide Receivers coach and the highest ranking offensive coach on the sidelines during games. When the story first broke, all I had seen was that he was a G.A. that reported an incident and high ranking officials did nothing. But upon further review, he was a 28 year old man who witnessed an unspeakable act and did nothing to stop it. Many will argue that none of us know how we would react in that situation, but that is a cop-out. There was nothing that should have stopped him. However we learn that clearly the apple doesn’t fall from the tree, because after he witnessed it, he called his father seeking advice on what to do and his father said nothing about looking out for a young boy. He said to get out of there in a hurry. After much deliberation, the two determined that they should notify Joe Paterno the next day and did. This is where I am invoking my own personal edit on my writing to not say what I’m really thinking. What I will say is that this was cowardice and there is no way that any college student at that school should be able to look at him with any emotion other than disdain. He had a moral responsibility to step in for someone who could not protect himself and he did nothing. And finally we come to Coach Joe Paterno. All of the reports indicate that the day he found out about the alleged incident in 2002, he called his athletic director and reported it, which could be argued (though not by me) was the correct first step. Here’re the issues. One – this was the only step that he took. Two – there was an incident in 1998 that he had to have known about. (Curiously, following that incident the man retired in 1999 despite being pegged as the heir apparent to JoePa… I find that coincidental, but perhaps I’m a conspiracy theorist). So the second that 2002 comes up, with 1998 in the memory banks, it should have been an ENORMOUS red flag and, friend or not, Joe should have been in Sandusky’s face reading him the riot act, and then immediately reporting it to everyone necessary to get it dealt with. JoePa WAS Penn State. If he had done even a handful of what he should have, folks would have bent over backward to do what he demanded. But he demanded nothing. His job has been to coach football, but even more (and he would agree) to raise men to be men, and he fell so short of that it’s indescribable. There are many men in their 20’s now that have so much to deal with that they shouldn’t have to because nothing was done.
I was not surprised when I heard today that many PSU recruits were quickly posting on Twitter their plans to change their commitments, and I’m confident the NCAA will not come close to standing in their way. In fact, the NCAA is likely scrambling right now to get ready to figure out how to get current PSU students to be cleared to transfer if they desire. How could you blame them? As for the other men I’ve mentioned… well there’s a historic and shameful amount of blame to go around and any further defense of them is just adding to the list of travesties.