Folks, for what should be obvious reasons, our hearts aren't really into yakking about the upcoming games today. For Penn Staters, college football fans and probably most of America that has a passing knowledge of what's transpired this past week, it has been a sickening kick in the gut. Jonesy, who did his grad work at Penn State and who has been doing a great job with his Saturday college football posts, relates the following:
Greetings & Salutations,
I’m sitting in the South Point Hotel & Casino’s sports book last weekend watching the multiple games on TV. Suddenly, ESPN breaks into the game with the news that Tim Curley[i] was to be arrested on Monday on several charges related to lying and covering up information in the Jerry Sandusky grand jury investigation[ii]. Within minutes my phone blew up from fellow alums regarding this development. One alumni I spoke with reiterated that he was always afraid the Paterno’s career would end badly. But no one thought it would be this type of disaster.
Let me make something very clear. Like every one, I believe the victims in this case were the innocent children that the dirt bag Sandusky abused. Further, the fact that he was allowed to continue abusing kids after 2002 (when a witness saw him rape a child) only adds to the outrage I feel. And I hope those involved in the cover-up get their just due.
It’s almost a week later and I’m still in shock over what happened. I’ve been bouncing between shock, anger, sadness, embarrassment ever since. Every day new headlines and developments come flying at us that hit all of us that love PSU right in the gut. Frankly, I still can’t get my head around situation and certainly won’t write some smart ass posting about this weeks college football games. But here are three thoughts/questions that keep coming up.
I do believe in my heart that Paterno had to go. Further, it was disappointing that he tried to dictate the terms and try and finish out the season. As for “What did he know and when did he know it”, that matters little in that the right decision was made to fire him. This tragedy happened on his watch and he should have stepped up and done the right thing right away.
I don’t know how McQuery[iii] has lived with himself this past decade. How can you witness a rape and (1) not do anything to stop it (2) not call the police (3) keep it a secret and (4) work alongside[iv] the rapist for years.
I am enraged that the leadership at PSU would cover this up for a decade. What the hell were they thinking? Sandusky was a predator that needed to be stopped and these men had the ability to do so. They failed miserably.
There are dozens of other questions and comments that are spinning in my head, but the three listed above are the ones that I think of the most. And I hope during the weeks and months ahead some questions will get answered.
That’s all I’ve got.
[i] PSU Athletic Director and former player.
[ii] Most PSU followers were aware of the Sandusky child molestation investigation when the information leaked out last April. His arrest surprised no one.
[iii] The then 28 year old graduate assistant that stands 6’4” and weights 240 lbs.
[iv] While he didn’t technically work alongside Sandusky since the man had retired, Sandusky was a regular visitor to the PSU football complex and even held camps on sight.
Early on Wednesday morning, after hearing that Joe Paterno would step down at the end of the season, a decision he apparently made on his own, we took some time out to read the Grand Jury report on the sex abuse scandal at Penn State which can be found here.
Before reading it, we thought Paterno's decision/announcement to be somewhat arrogant. After reading it, we thought him to be completely oblivious if not delusional as well. After reading that report, we felt there was no other decision for the Penn State Board of Trustees to make other than dismissing Paterno immediately of his duties as head coach.
In our minds, what the Penn State sex abuse scandal reveals above anything else is the dangers of the cult of personality.
There were credible allegations going back to 1998 regarding Sandusky and when he "retired" in 1999 there was a deal cut that in return for him stepping down, the Penn State establishment would keep mum about those allegations. This does not happen without the knowledge and consent of Joe Paterno.
Armed with that cover, Sandusky went about his business in the community and on the Penn State campus with impunity. If the Penn State power structure, again, beginning and ending with Paterno, let him off for the allegations surfacing back in 1998, how could they pull the trigger in doing anything about the alleged sodomy incident in 2002? After all, Sandusky now had the goods on Penn State essentially forcing him out of his coaching job in return for providing him cover.
We went back to a Penn State game 3 years ago. We saw it first hand. No sports entity in this country, pro or amateur, had been more closely identified with a singular figure than Penn State had with Joe Paterno. But what was once viewed as a positive dynamic between that singular person and the University had been laid bare revealing a sick decandence and an indifference to human suffering all in order to maintain, ironically enough, a facade of decency and morally upstanding behavior.