Questions All Penn State, and College Football Fans, Need to Ask


paterno

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.

penn st logo

– 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?

The well deserved media circus surrounding the event, led to similar child rape allegations, and ignorance by officials at another University, The Citadel

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?

jerry 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.

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Comments

  1. Jo Mysliwiec says:

    Thank you! Well stated and fosters the absolute essence of what is the issue at hand. Thank you!

  2. Ok, let’s start your “objective” article off with a couple points:
    OSU “culture of rioting”: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2007-08-30-96037153_x.htm
    Pitt Riots post superbowl: http://www.nowpublic.com/sports/university-pittsburgh-post-suberbowl-riot-skybridge

    See, I can add links to things that make schools look bad too. Let’s start with I’m not a PSU student or alumni, however I am from PA, and follow Big Ten football. So let’s not try to canonize OSU and Pitt. A couple of your points are valid, but you kill credibility with you’re clearly biased view of Penn State and their fans/students. The problem with this whole situation is in the media witch hunt that has spun up around this awful incident. As every reporter, who hasn’t been asked their opinion, screams ever louder about the victims, the more disingenuous they sound. While it is horrible that these allegations have occurred, I fault the media for the frenzy they have created. People who have no business commenting on a university issue are voicing their opinions without reading the grand jury report or even letting those facts get in the way of their “outrage”. So yes, even Franco Harris, in absence of a conviction and all facts being brought to light is allowed to say what he thinks, just like you’re allowed to put your ridiculous statements out to the world. Everyone claims it’s not about football, yet that very statement can be used against their arguments to shut down PSU’s football season or even program. If it’s not about football, why do all versions of retribution put forth, punish the football team? As for McQueary’s actions, how do you know what you would do in that situation. It’s really easy to armchair quarterback from your desk, especially after you have a chance to read years worth of evidence in one sitting. Mentioning JoePa hiring an attorney is another non-point. Question, what do guilty people do when charged with a crime? What do innocent people do? Yup, same thing. So you can pretty much scrap that absurd statement. Have we learned nothing from the Duke Lax scandal? The headlines scream to chop off their heads, however, where are the bold headlines proclaiming their innocence? We have ceased to think for ourselves and the mob mentality has been enhanced by the anonymity of the internet. So if the prosecuting attorney didn’t see it fit to charge Joe Paterno, why was he fired without even having a chance to talk to the Board of Trustees. Here is where part of the outrage lies. A person who has DEMONSTRATED on numerous occasions doing the right thing, at least deserves a chance to share his side of the story. If guilty, then count me with those who think he should be subject to the criticism he is receiving. I do recall a certain OSU coach who once punched a player. Didn’t they name a street after him? What about Pitt’s hire of a coach charged with domestic abuse. Sure they canned him when it hit the media, but are you telling me they didn’t know he was like that? Just like you charge PSU’s administration with knowing what Sandusky was charged with doing. People like you make me sick and a little sad. I know someone who was raped at OSU. Does tha make all Buckeye students and alumni scum? Don’t mention PSU student charity work. Or the fact that students and alumni, who were not involved in any of this, have raised over $300k in a matter of days for RAINN. All you want is to see a big name fall, and once he has you will all forget about any of the children who were victimized and move on to toppling the next icon.

  3. Gayland Westbrook says:

    Please, would someone remember that in OUR country a person is supose to be presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law by a jury of his peers, unless they pleed guilty!

    Joe Paterno has been accused of not doing enough. After all he just reported the accusations up to his immediate supervisor. It’s my understanding he saw nothing himself and there may have been some question what he was told happened. You don’t call the authorities and report someone for doing something that bad when you didn’t see it and had no direct knowledge yourself.

    All we have right now is a lot of accusations. No one has been found guilty of anything. I think that the University, most of the news media, and many others have presumed guilt and acted on that presumption. They have improperly presumed wrong doing on the part of Joe Paterno and done tremendous damage to him. In time we may know the truth. Until then, presume innocence. That’s the way our legal system is suppose to work.

  4. Wow… “Mouths” statements help clarify yet again what can and did go wrong in Happy Valley.

    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln – did you enjoy the play?

  5. paulmbanks says:

    this is going to be fun. watching Ed respond to these commenters. I love this stuff

  6. paulmbanks says:

    Have you guys read the grand jury report? I finished all 23 pages, and WOW! Paterno owned that valley, and he’s the CEO of this program, so he has to be held accountable for what happens on his watch.

    I do feel sorry for much of the PSU Nation though, the innocent people who have nothing to do with this. They will forever be tarnished at least on some ancillary level with the label of Pedophile State University, and that is just wrong. Jerry Sandusky is the one single-handedly responsible for this, but when JoePa, McQueary, Spanier, Curley, Scultz et al failed to move they became just as responsible

  7. Mouth: Please note that I did state that the actions were of some of the fans and did not represent the majority of Penn State students. And ‘yes’, OSU fan are amongst the worst in all of college football, possibly the most obnoxious.

    But I lived in Central PA, and I wish I had a nickel for every PSU myopian who, in any occurrence in which an OSU player got in trouble, I heard the following: “Can’t you control your players? JOOOOE controls his program and players.”

    And every time an PSU player runs afoul of the law – see Rashard Casey beating the ever-living crap out of an off-duty police officer, I heard this: “Well, it was a misunderstanding”.

    You can’t (myopians) hold yourself out to be chaste, position yourselves as being the only white knights in a sea of black and play victim of a biased attack. You reap what you sow, my friend!

    As for what I would do were I in McQueary’s shoes…a whole lot more than calling his daddy, then waiting 12 hours to address it to Paterno.

    And if Joe did act properly, why then did the trustees decide to fire him? That sure seems like a pretty harsh action – that is, unless they had prima fascae evidence to terminate his contract. Otherwise, you don’t act as they did (without it).

    Again, I at least admitted that I struggled to find objectivity in writing this – you, however, don’t have the humility to admit your lack of objectivity.

  8. Jim: I enjoyed your last comment.

    – Mrs. Lincoln

  9. I wasn’t trying to be objective. I take exception to an entire group of people being generalized by the actions of a few. Using terms like Penn state nation sure sounds like a reference to everyone. There are many facts that still need to be released to the public, and I believe the trustees canned paterno to appease the media firestorm. I am not defending the actions of McQueary, Paterno and the others. Just as I can’t condemn them without more proof. That is the argument I am trying to make. The public has stopped caring about what is true. Judgement is passed and then everyone moves on, not waiting to see it through. When the sensational aspect of the story is gone, no one is left to share the ending. I think Joe should have retired years ago. I think a cover up by state college and/or campus police is not far fetched. I also agree that people held a holier than thou attitude about football there. I am not one of those people, just as not everyone who is associated with Penn state is represented by rioters or people starting the coaching job search. However using that to justify a backlash by professional media is wrong. Comments from people on a message board, like myself, do not carry the weight of those who are published. There is a higher expectation of responsibility in reporting from professionals, and that has been lost.
    On a separate note, my statement that people like you make me sick was a personal attack and inappropriate and unwarranted. I do not know you, therfore I should limit my comments to the content of the article, not towards you as a person. I am big enough to practice what I preach.

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