Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Penn State Fiasco: My View

Let me preface this by saying that I don't know all of the facts.  I wasn't there.  I am relying on news reports and reports on legal proceedings from hearings in 2002.  I do not know Mike McQueary, Jerry Sandusky, nor do I know Joe Paterno.  Regardless, I will voice my opinion as a father of boys and as a citizen of humankind.

The main story here is that Mike McQueary walked into a locker room shower, heard slapping noises, and stated that he saw Jerry Sandusky forcibly sexually violating a 10-year old boy.  According to 2002 testimony, Mike was distraught and called his father.  His father told him to come and see him.  The next day, he went to Joe Paterno who told him to let him deal with it.  Then Joe Paterno went to his superiors and it pretty much died there.

Why did Mike not call the police right away?  Sure, that question has been asked and Mike has tried to do some damage control after receiving multiple death threats.  He now says that he jumped in to stop the rape and then contacted police.  What he fails to give us is a timeline of when he allegedly contacted the police.  There isn't a record of him doing so immediately after the incident - the right time to do so.

But, all that aside, Mike worked on the sidelines right alongside Jerry Sandusky, following this incident FOR YEARS!  According to all the reports, Jerry Sandusky went right on raping boys in the showers and there never is any mention of tension between the two coaches.  Not to mention, Jerry Sandusky was widely considered to be the most obvious choice to succeed Paterno, meaning, the football program showed complete disregard for any wrongdoing.

How is this even possible?  If you, as a young man of 28 years (Mike, in 2002), witness something as vile and disgusting as Mike did, and as he stated, necessitated quick and tough decisions during the 30 - 45 seconds of realization of what was happening, how can you go years, closely working with this person as a colleague, knowing that the said colleague still had complete and unfettered access to the same facilities with the same boys?  How is that possible?

What would drive a man to do this?  Was his job worth more to him than doing what was right?  Did he want the coaching job for Penn State?  For another school?  Was Mike so worried about upsetting the vegetable cart that even a raping of a young man was acceptable in order to climb the ladder the right way?

As a father of young boys, no amount of explanation would give me reason to empathize with Mike if the violated boy was my son.  I wouldn't be able to.  I would expect that my son, being assisted by a charity, run by people that I implicitly trust, would be helped by those same individuals, blowing the whistle if he were being abused.  Everyone that could have done something good here failed.  It all started with Mike.

Then there is Mike's dad.  What did he say to Mike?  Why didn't he call police?  Why didn't he tell Mike to call police?  Did he counsel Mike to go to Joe Paterno instead of the proper authorities?  Was this father so invested in his son's coaching career that he counseled his son to do what he could to deflect the report?  Worse yet, did his father counsel Mike that the 10-year old boy probably brought the sexual violating on himself?  Was the victim blamed rather than the victimizer?  Where is the protection for the vulnerable here?  Why is a coach of a revered and worshiped football team more worthy of respect than those he has been given authority over?  After Mike, the responsibility to save this boy's life was Mike's dad.  He failed.

Then there is Joe Paterno.  Why didn't he contact the police right away?  How could he keep giving unfettered access to the facilities to Jerry Sandusky with the same sort of boys that he had violated in 2002?  Jerry says that Joe never talked to him about the subject - ever.  Of course, we can't really trust Jerry, or anyone involved here, now that they have all lawyered up.  But Jerry says it and that premise has not been debunked because there is no official record of it ever happening.  Why is that?  How could Jerry continue being one of Paterno's right hand men on the field for years?  Joe Paterno failed.

The rest of the crew did worse, lying to authorities and downplaying the facts or even failing to report the incident altogether.

God help my sons if this is the status quo when football worship is involved.  Do people really care more about their future careers where I cannot trust anyone around my children, ever?  I sure hope not.  I want to believe that this series of incidents was simply an anomaly.

God help us all if it was not.


  1. I was thinking the same thing in regards to my son as well.

  2. See the problem is in this country that people DO overlook a lot of this stuff because they worship football. It's terrible.