Joe Paterno Should Stay at Penn State? More Like the State Penn


I have spent a lot of time debating if I should write anything on this horrible Penn State scandal.  We are a blog that focuses on football and all of the information that has come out this week has very little to do with wins or loses on the gridiron.  However, this story has really hit a nerve for me and I could not resist venting on how I feel about what we have heard so far.  I know it is never good to jump to conclusions or convict individuals before they are given a fair trial, but when children are involved, emotions take over and all of the “necessary steps” get tossed aside.  I could tell you that Jerry Sandusky is a monster and a disgrace as a human being, but unless you are morally inept you have already come to that inclusion on your own. Unfortunately the information we have been granted so far shows that the most powerful people at Penn State are in fact morally inept.  How the higher ups at Penn State, especially head coach Joe Paterno, failed to connect the dots over the past two decades about what was happening in their own back yard is hard to fathom. There are so many questions that need answered.

There are just too many red flags that lead me to believe that some really important people at one of the country’s largest academic institutions turned a blind eye to a horrific crime in order to save their football program and avoid bringing bad press to the school.  Is this an assumption? Absolutely.  But there is just so much evidence that suggests actions could have been taken to help prevent this tragedy from reaching the level it did.  Here are some of my main issues with what we know so far.

In 1998 allegations surfaced that Sandusky, who was still a coach at Penn State, had improper conduct with an underage boy. For whatever reason the DA never laid charges in the incident and it was labeled as horse play.  Even though Sandusky was never charged, the fact that he was investigated while an employee at Penn State and someone who was operating a charity through the school that provided him access to young boys should have given the school reason to keep a very close eye on Sandusky.  The other issue is that Joe Paterno has stated that he was unaware that Sandusky was even investigated for wrongful doing in 1998.  I find it very hard to believe that someone who was so close to Paterno and worked with him every day was unaware that his freind and co-worker was being investigated for such a horrendous act.  Nothing goes on at Penn State without Paterno’s knowledge, especially when it directly involves the football team.  A year later Sandusky retired at 55 years old- a young age by football coaching standards.  He was suppose to be the heir apparent to Paterno and his retirement came at a very strange time.  However, I can’t help but think it wasn’t a coincidence based on the allegations from the previous year.

In 2002 Mike McQueary who was a GA at the time walked into the Penn State locker room and witnessed Sandusky raping a ten year old boy in the shower.  This is where I have issues with the decisions from Penn States officials.  McQueary left the locker  room and phoned his father to see what he should do.  They decided to go to Paterno’s house where Paterno agreed to call Penn State’s athletic director Tim Curley the next day.  To me this time line is absolutely insane.  McQueary did not witness one of his players taking steroids or someone stealing something from a change room, he witnessed a grown man abusing a ten year old boy in the shower.  McQueary was only in his early twenties at the time, but he was still an adult.  First, I cannot believe he did not intervene to help the boy.  Second, he should have called the police immediately.  Why he would think he needed to call his father to ask what he should do is ludicrous.  Paterno is also at fault, as is Curley.  Not one of these grown man thought that they should phone the police about such a heinous crime? Especially considering the allegations that were made four years earlier?

In the end the police were never notified and life at Penn State continued to go on as normal.  Including life for Jerry Sandusky.  In fact Penn State continued to provide him with an office and complete access to the campus so he could run his charity for underprivileged boys for the next nine years.  Mike McQueary would stay on as a coach at Penn State this entire time so he would have seen Sandusky on campus on almost a weekly basis.  How on earth does he stay quiet after witnessing that man commit such a disgusting crime and then watch him work with young boys for the next nine years?

Paterno, McQueary, Curley and anyone else who ignored what happened have serious moral issues.  They not only allowed Sandusky to get away with his crime, but they provided him a bubble to exist within, free to do whatever he pleased.  They enabled this monster to continue preying on innocent children.  They might not have had direct involvement with the crimes, but all of these men played a significant role in what happened.

So why did no one call the police? It sure seems like the school and the football program was worried about it’s image and turned a blind eye to Sandusky.  There are so many questions that need answered and until they are given it is hard for me not to believe that a large group of people ignored a crime to protect their own well being.

Joe Paterno probably did not want to know the truth about his friend Jerry Sandusky.  However, because he shielded himself and his football program from reality, more innocent lives were shattered.  I have absolutely no remorse for Paterno.  He has been an amazing football coach who was able to win games on the gridiron, but as far as being a man and his performance in life, well I think it safe to say we can chalk that up as a loss.  He might not have committed a crime in the eye’s of the law, but his inability to take proper action proves he failed as a man.