Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Penn St alum writes on the scandal

 The amount of negligence is hard to believe to begin with, and almost impossible to believe from an institution held in such high regard by so many.
If the allegations are true, every Penn State alum who has walked the campus over the past 15 years will have to come to terms with the fact that they were lied to every single day of their enrollment. Their tuition dollars helped bankroll the lie. The university, seeking to avoid scandal, addressed the matter only in whispers audible only to them. By not acting, school officials were complicit in Jerry Sandusky’s alleged crimes. Their silence allowed a pattern of abuse to develop and flourish. They chose the reputation of a school legend over the children whose lives he was ruining.
In putting the football program over right and wrong, the university was badly missing the point. But so too is the current student body, many of who have taken to the streets of State College to riot (or rally or whatever you want to call it, it’s the same stupid mob they form every time they’re emotional about anything) even as I type. They are protesting what looks to be the imminent departure of Joe Paterno, not wanting the school’s greatest icon to meet disgrace. In the process they are destroying the last vestiges of Penn State’s integrity, valuing the reputation of a school legend over any and all else. It doesn’t matter to them that Paterno’s judgment, informing school officials and letting it go at that, put more children in harm’s way.

It's got to be rough for someone who was so clearly proud of the school they attended. Nice that he has the perspective to realize that the school's reputation and its football program got in the way of protecting kids and that can't be allowed to happen.
Anyone worrying about the effect of this child molestation scandal* on the Penn St football program is like someone watching a neighbor's house burn down with the entire family inside then complaining that an ambulance parked on his lawn. How this affects the team or the rest of this season is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter in the slightest. It should not be taken into account at all.

Just saw that Joe Paterno has announced he'll retire at the end of the year and has essentially ordered the Board of Trustees not to waste any time discussing his status. That's not his call to make, nor should he be allowed to finish out the season or retire on his own terms. Paterno should be fired, his statue should be pulled down, and he should be considered an utter disgrace forever.

*Some idiot anchor on SportsCenter referred to this as a "sex scandal". It needs to get called what it actually was, a "child molestation" scandal or even a "child rape" scandal. What happened doesn't have any connection to what normal people think of as "sex". Please call it what it was.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Well, Michael Jackson's Dr just got convicted. That's a relief. I wouldn't want us to forget that the lives of famous people are far more important than the lives of non-famous people.

 I have paid absolutely no attention to the trial, so have no opinion to his guilt. I do, however, seriously doubt that he'd have been charged with anything if the corpse in question was that of a nobody.  I also doubt he could get a fair trial in the zoo-like atmosphere at the courthouse. My favorite was the giant "We Miss Michael" sign, which had nothing to do with the Dr's guilt but everything to do with why he was on trial.

Same Old Same Old

The more I think about the Paterno/Penn St thing, the more it reminds me of Cardinal Law, Archbishop of the Boston diocese. in both cases we have men who utterly dominated the institutions they were part of, who were more concerned with protecting their reputations than protecting kids. Neither is in any danger of spending one day in jail, nor will either ever be charged with a crime.

Both Law and Paterno, however, are morally culpable for what they allowed to happen, what they covered up, and the fact that they could have protected children and chose not to.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Joe Paterno should go to jail. A graduate assistant walked in on former Paterno assistant coach Jerry Sandusky anally penetrating a 10 year old. The graduate assistant went to his Dad and they together went to Paterno. He told the athletic director who apparently did nothing. Every single adult who knew about this sexual abuse had a duty to go to the police. Reporting it to your boss is not what is required. Calling the police is. But Paterno was worried about his reputation and that of Penn State football. He was certainly more worried about them than he was about the kids getting molested. So he didn't go to the police, and Sandusky was free to keep molesting kids (using as cover a charity he'd founded and to which his association with Penn St football had given prestige).

Paterno, the graduate assistant, his dad, the athletic director, and anyone else who knew about this and did nothing should go to jail. They won't, because famous people like Paterno aren't held to the same laws as everyone else. They won't, because some cowards in the DA's office are afraid that charging JoePa would trainwreck their careers. They won't, because we excuse not making waves and passing the buck if it keeps us winning (regardless of the cost). But make no excuses, Joe Paterno should go to jail.