What To Make Of The Mess At Penn State?

Posted: November 9, 2011 in NCAA Football

Something that is not glorious but is in fact deeply troubling is what is happening at Penn State University. It broke out this past weekend, although as far away as 1998, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was allegedly – with underage boys, sexually abusing them on the campus of Penn State. Now Joe Paterno, big game this weekend, is having a press conference and there is great debate and lively discussion on what Joe Paterno wants to say. The university has said “only football questions” In this instance; it may be the right decision by Penn State, Paterno is 83 years old. No longer quick, witty and loose and even quite possibly not able to handle what is becoming – and is actually, a PR disaster and a real disaster, and the university knows it.

But let’s be frank here, Penn State should not have an 83 year old coach because even presidents have term limits! This program is in big trouble. It’s a 175 mile an hour train going downhill and you can’t stop it. Go ask Ohio State – and that was a much stronger program, with much more momentum  and a much more popular coach…and that was just over tattoo’s and the program has imploded. Penn State has been struggling for years to come to terms with a very harsh reality. It’s been a cute small town, wax museum fairwell for Joe Pa…but it’s time to move on! Hire a young, aggressive, relentless, energized, 42-52 year old head coach. You’re not doing Paterno any favours by allowing him to stay; it will only hasten the implosion of this program. This is child sexual abuse! The state will hammer you for this. Child service agencies, the governor, in prison’s this story doesn’t go away…even in prisons it’s looked down upon.

What happened at Penn State, beyond Jerry Sandusky, is either a cover up or horribly mismanaged, bordering on cruel. I”ll get the e-mails “Andrew, let’s wait…” noo, let’s not wait! We’ve been waiting since 1998 Penn State, that’s all you’ve been doing on this story….waiting! Now it’s time for the grownups to take over, you no longer control it…it’s our turn. Given the oppourtunity, you wouldn’t talk about it, you wouldn’t give information…you had your run. I don’t want to hear about waiting to find out information about conclusive information. How many times have you ever heard this sentence “ a credible witness saw a grown man sexually abusing a child in the showers and years later…it was a big misunderstanding” it’s not a big misunderstanding!! You knew the answers, you knew the truth…and you covered it up! You have lost the right to wait for all the information to come in. Take out Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky was witnessed by credible sources still at the university doing inappropriate things with underage children…take Joe out of it! It’s not a big misunderstanding story.

Many, including the New York Times, say this is worse than how Woody Hayes exited college football. By the way, many people are saying “Well, Joe did his part…” no Joe didn’t do his part! Nobody is saying Joe actively covered it up, but it was inactivity which is just as bad. For the record, all elite college basketball and college football coaches, they all play small games of cover up. 18 year olds and 19 year olds, 20 year olds playing thousands of miles from their parents. There is bad judgment on college campuses, even from the best students. I think we all know that college athletes are not necessarily the best students. So there has always been the move to shell a game with some of your college athletes, but you have to be acutely aware of what you absolutely cannot ever be inactive on…and this is one of those cases.

It is incredibly sad, it is ugly, it is disturbing – and like quicksand, the more you fight it, the faster you sink. You’ve got to give out all information to everybody: child services, state agencies, the media…you’ve got to open up everything, because if you don’t then the attacks will only get worse.

I then got email yesterday saying “Andrew, he hasn’t gone through due process yet, what if Sandusky is innocent?”  Sandusky has been investigated for 11 years and he admitted to police in 1998 that he was inappropriately touching young boys in the shower. If nothing else, he is guilty of egregious judgment. By the way, I would not only can Paterno, I’d run everybody out of that football office!! Athletic department? Completely clean house! The grad assistant who saw that in 1998 was a former player. He wasn’t some skinny, small kid…why did he not aggressively pursue this story. Here’s another email which reads “The very idea that I, as a CEO of a company (like Paterno), should hear that child molestation had occurred on company property and that my response was then limited to “just reporting it to HR” is laughable. I would be apoplectic, not because of any particular moral revulsion. But rather, understanding the absolute mayhem such an event would have on a program whose life blood is 18 year old men. To underplay this, is not simply irresponsible but it underscores the sickening imperiousness that belies all the warm and fuzz Penn State stuff and the cult of Paterno has come to represent.”

As I said earlier, these coaches who are sort of these rigid Frank Kush at Arizona State, Woody Hayes…Paterno always had a reputation as very rigid, could be kind of mean and sullen, dark, biting, “his way or the highway” …it never ends well. I’m not here to compare Woody Hayes to Kush – Jim Tressel was fine with the media. He went out of his way, he was a nice guy. But with Joe Pa, like there is another side with Joe Pa that people that covered him always knew about. There was a reporter on The Herd in their segment Spanning The Globe and he said yesterday that local papers have been trying to track this story for years and they’ve been stone walled at Penn State.

“Andrew, you said that Paterno was more powerful than the A.D. and the president. Therefore, the only opinion that matters is that of joe shomow fan and his buddies in the endzone. The fans and the boosters are the only ones who have power over Paterno by their own admission” Now, there is a reason why legislation, from literature to technology, is guided by the haves and not by guy in the endzone pounding Budweiser’s. I hate to break it to you but cooler and smarter heads prevail…Paterno has got to be out!

Cory Gaiger was interviewed yesterday morning on The Mike & Mike Show and said that Joe Paterno does not get the benefit of the doubt; he said “he’s been given the benefit of the doubt on every single situation throughout his legendary career; he’s not being given the benefit of the doubt on this one by many many people here. People are outraged, you talk to people and they are saying that it is time for him to go. Joe Paterno is safe, legally, I think Joe Paterno is probably safe legally, but morally, his actions in 2002 by basically just washing his hands of this situation and not seeing it through and not making sure the Jerry Sandusky had forwarded the investigation appropriately and not making sure that they protected that young boy, he was very negligent in his actions back in 2002…morally. Legally, maybe he’s perfectly fine. But that’s the sticking point here that this man has built his life on integrity and character and leading young men. But he batched this situation so badly that it’s not only infuriated people here but obviously people across the entire country.”

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Comments
  1. Mike Crack says:

    Things are getting more interesting. It seems like the cover-up may have extended to the Penn State admin and even the police. Apparently, the campus police knew about it and chose to do nothing. So I wonder if Paterno felt that his hands were tied after he did report it.

    I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

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