I begin by stating that I struggle in writing this article – having grown up a Pitt and an Ohio State University (OSU) fan, I have had my share of the arrogance of “Penn State Nation” as well as the behavior of some of their hooligan fans, as evidenced by the rioting at the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno , the disgusting events of vulgar behavior exhibited towards the OSU band and the legacy of their fans horrid reputation, which came as a surprise to only those observers who had not directly experienced their wrath.
So while I inherently struggle to maintain objectivity, what I can offer are my observations of the lack of clarity and reality by those same elements (note: those who don’t represent the entirety) of “Penn State Nation” over these atrocious (still legally alleged) acts by former Assistant Coach, Jerry Sandusky and the inaction of Paterno, Penn State University’s president Graham Spanier and current assistant coach Mike McQueary, currently on administrative leave.
I understand why Penn State is “radioactive” right now to bowl selection committees.
- Why was Sandusky released on $100,000 bond? Why, after being a suspected pedophile for a period of years from 1994 through 2002 (and possibly farther) is Sandusky allowed to reside next to an elementary school?
And while Sandusky’s house was rocked by frustrated fans, why are there death threats against McQueary, who while void of any courage to protect one of the victims of Sandusky’s disgusting acts in 2002 did not commit the acts, and not against Sandusky, he who is the sole reason this football program is in danger of, amongst other liability, being shut down? Why was Sandusky so revered in State College long after he stepped down?
Why is Sandusky allowed to continue to roam the streets around the Penn State campus and continue to use its workout facilities (as recently as last week)? Why does the State of Pennsylvania have such lax laws regarding the failing to report child abuse as a summary – $250 – offense, as in the case of Sandusky?
- Why did Paterno feel he was worthy to coach the remainder of the season in spite of the mounting allegations which he was directly tied into? Why did he feel his departure was on his terms when the University’s President, Athletic Director Tim Curley and University’s Senior Vice President for Business and Finance were already fired or about to be fired?
Did he feel he was bigger than the university?
Why did he mention, “I’m not the victim, here” – why mention that, drawing attention to himself rather than directly mentioning who the real victims are?
Why was he so insensitive to the victims by referring to them as “those victims”? Was the reason Paterno hired noted D.C. defense attorney Wick Sollers in defense of the potential criminal and civil lawsuits that may be levied against Paterno for the child abuse crimes, or has Paterno hired Sollers to possibly levy a lawsuit against Penn State for wrongful termination?
Why is he that myopic to believe that something is happening to him rather than because of him? Was Paterno that mentally feeble and disoriented to realize the gravity of what had happened for over nine years or was he only concerned that such a series of events would sully his reputation, thus covering the events up?
- Why is Franco Harris blindly supporting these events as random, groundless allegations without reading the grand jury report? Why is Harris trying to find the contract that allowed Sandusky access to the building when he merely needs to read Sandusky’s retirement agreement which allows Sandusky access to those facilities?
Why is Harris opining on the blurring of Paterno’s moral versus legal obligations in response to the Pennsylvania police commissioner’s comments of Paterno not filling his moral obligation to report the matter directly to the police?
Why is Harris defending his former coach when Paterno failed to report an incident of child abuse required under Pennsylvania state law? Why is Harris, who was widely known to have been in Paterno’s doghouse during his senior year at Penn State, commenting at all?
- Why didn’t McQueary either punch, tackle or strike Sandusky in the head to stop him from sexually abusing the victim in the locker room shower in 2002? Why did he first call his father for advice on how to act? Why did he wait 12 hours to bring it to Paterno’s attention? Why didn’t McQueary directly report the abuse to the police? Was McQueary so concerned with attaining a full-time position as a coach? Was he threatened to not attain any coaching job had he not reported it directly to Paterno? Why was McQueary given administrative leave rather than be fired?
Could it be due to his rights as a whistle-blower? If McQueary is let go as an assistant coach, does he then “blow the lid” off of the scandal, thus providing sordid details of what occurred as well as a cover up by Paterno?
- Why are Penn State fans now focusing on who will be replacing their legendary coach? Shouldn’t they, after all which may come forth in testimony, witnessed accounts and potentially mounting civil and criminal lawsuits worry more about whether they may still have a football program? Fiscal speculators have already made preliminary forecasts of serious financial issues that will soon rock the University
So, what is the commonality of all of my questions?
It is a total lack of reality and clarity by Paterno, Spanier, Curley, McQueary and “Penn State Nation”. They are so concerned with protecting themselves that they forgot to protect who mattered, and those were the children who were abused, which currently stands at nine but may end up as many as 30 victims and those are only those that are currently known about.
What should have been done by all involved in the Penn State scandal can be summarized by the comments of Lance Corporal Dawson in the movie “A Few Good Men.”
In the closing scene, when Dawson and Private Downey are dishonorably discharged and Downey questions why they were both given that sentence when in fact Lt. Kendrick, their superior officer, had ordered the ‘Code Red’, thus killing their friend, Willie Santiago:
Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.
Dawson: Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.
Penn State Nation: Fight for the victims, not to defend your football coach.