Ramzy is one of the most insightful and articulate writers in the college football blogosphere. It's a shame that he's a Buckeye.
spoiler alert: i linked this
Ramzy is one of the most insightful and articulate writers in the college football blogosphere. It's a shame that he's a Buckeye.
...or is he? (After the RDT thing, I don't know what to believe anymore.)
Seriously, great article. The list of people who failed here is long. There are going to have to be consequences for university administrators and coaches there at the time. I feel like some kind of Big Ten sanction is going to have to happen.
What did I miss?
WolverineInABag = JeepInBen, also...
/s, for now.
You may be on to something here.... But that really is (was... had to sell it to cover the dog's medical bills I referenced in another post) my jeep in the avatar.
That was one of the funniest things in a while (watching all the light bulbs go off!).
That was the first article I have ever read on Eleven Warriors. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. He is quite a talented writer and infinitely better than what I was expecting from a Buckeye.
If you enjoyed that one, I suggest you go back and read this one from May 2011. Ramzy reflects upon the Brady Hoke hire with way more optimism than almost anyone had back then and his predictions ring true less than a year later.
He posts about once a week and I make it a point to read pretty much every one of them. Other than the fair share of Michigan digs and a heavy dose of Buckeye arrogance they're almost always worth your time.
Thanks for that link, great read
Hitler references? Classy. Totally not overboard at all, bro.
As Mike Godwin nods knowingly...
In the last few months I have thought about the kids who were helped by the Second Mile--not the ones who Sandusky abused--but those who benefitted from the charity. It seems that these people are victims too. A stabilizing family atmosphere (obvious caveats aside) that served as a building block in their self esteem has kind of blown up. If it shakes us, the outsiders, how badly do those who were helped by the program feel? Its messy.
That's said I think Ramzy is moralizing a bit here and that's fine considering his audience I guess. I don't need the sermon on the mount from random internet guy, I was plenty righteous in this area before Sandusky, as I'm sure most of us were.
But I also think that his greater point still stands. I thought that Joe Pa would definitley stand up to a child molester and stop him. I was wrong. I thought that a University president would act when told of it, I was wrong. I think that's his big point. Just because someone else should do something, that doesn't mean they will. Each of us is responsible and has to act accordingly.
What he didn't say outright though, was you have to keep blowing the whistle (like the reporter did). I reported the proceduralized theft of a schedule II drug by a director in a company I was contracted to support. It took three or four phone calls before someone even wanted to listen to me - at the DEA. This is one of the less complicated times I've had to blow the whistle in my career. Its not easy, but you can't stop until someone with authority listens and takes action.
Failure to do what you mentioned is all over the PSU mess. McQuery told Joe Pa and thought it was done. Joe Pa told his boss, assumed it was done.
Criminal acts are OUTSIDE the chain of command bullshit. It is a force majeure. I don't see why this is so hard for some people to recognize, and why all the Joe Pa apologists drive me bat shit insane.
of the issue in this specific situation is the price for being wrong about accusing somebody of this kind of act. Once a person's name has been attached to something like this, it cannot be undone and it singularly defines the rest of their life regardless of if they are guilty or not. It is also not possible to sit down and discuss the matter with the suspected perpitrator to put your mind at ease or to have your fears addressed. You either acuse the person of being a child molester or you don't, and there can be no half way about it. It is no way condoning the inacttion or excusing, but if you think it is easy, think about if you were 51% sure that your father or brother was doing what Sandusky was doing but also 49% sure there was no way in hell he could ever do such a thing. Very often those are the percentages involved when an outsider is deciding whether to report something like this.
It actually has very little in common with the bystandard effect that is referenced in that article. That most often has a lot to do with fear of physical violence toward onself during intervention, not the case here. The Sandusky thing had more to do with the price of being wrong.
I understand what you are saying completely and that is why it's such a hard decision to make. That said, as adults we have to stand up for the potential victims in cases like this, especially when they are small children. You may not need to shout the accusations from the rooftops, but I would be sure to push it to the point where I could confront the accused violator in person with the information I had with my superiors present so it doesn't end up a he said, she said, let's explain this away scenario. IMHO, there is no worse crime than adults taking advantage of children, especially when the adult makes the child or adolescent feel like they brought this upon themselves or are somehow culpable in the situation. I hope Sandusky feels a hundred times the shame and guilt that his victims have been forced to live with for years.
McQueary wasn't saying that he was a victim. He was saying that he saw Sandusky assault someone else. PSU already trusted McQueary enough to make him their QB and then graduate assistant (and later recruting coordinator). What was there not to trust?
From what I understand (and I may be wrong), after McQueary told JoePa and Sandusky was "retired" he still brought kids around. I believe as recently as 2008 he had kids at practice.
People turned their hands instead of stepping in.
This is the part that amazes me the most. PSU had a pretty good idea of what he was doing, and their response was to prohibit him from bringing kids around campus.
As if to say "Jerry, you can't bring kids around here anymore. Go rape them somewhere else." It makes me cringe.
I appreciate the point of his article and largely agree.
Still, WTF with that Genovese story? The syndrome he describes is real; the Genovese story, however, has long been accepted as having been mis-reported. So why doesn't he bother to tell it right? And how does he know that it is studied at EVERY MBA program in America?
Sucks to see a good essay degraded by sloppiness and overreaching, but that's what he did, and it is the kind of thing that drives a pedantic nitpicker like me batshit crazy.
When I type "Kitty Genovese" into google, the second option is "Kitty Genovese Myth." Dude was too sloppy to even double check his story with a simple google search. Lame.
I remember learning about the Genovese murder case in one of the psychology classes I took at U-M. We were basically told the original story, which we now know to be inaccurate ("There were 38 witnesses that did nothing"). Later on, I happened to read more about the case and was surprised to discover that the facts were radically different than what I'd been taught. I'm not sure if the general public did not know the truth at the time I was in school (about a decade ago) or if professors just found the story too compelling of an anecdote to let go. (The whole phenomenon of people sticking with a story even when it's been disproven is itself worthy of research.)
I'm not sure why an MBA program would ever be teaching anything about this, though.
Wow... I also learned this as fact at UM and am just now hearing the myth side of things. MGoBlog, you've done it again.
.......even when it's been disproven"
Foundation of modern politics and negative campaigning, happens every day
story is largely myth, but the phenomenon is real. There are several more recent examples of the bystandard effect that he could have gone with, that's is if you think it is what took place in the Sandusky thing.
I was going to say the same thing. That "Effect" may have merit, but its namesake has been shown numerous times (including the article Ramzy cited to) as a myth, one that was clearly embellished by the NYT writer who covered the story and was obviously affected by the horrendous nature of the crime.
I think Ramzy makes some strong points here, but the narrative he weaves vacilates between chastising people for thinking they were above such oversights by the PSU community and wondering why nobody stood up and was heard. This was a horrible event, but as we've seen in numerous instances, people are predisposed to not believe that distressingly hideous crimes are occurring around them (e.g. the abuse cases with the Catholic Church, genocide in Africa, human rights violations across the globe, etc.) and will instinctively latch on to a more soothing narrative.
This is in no way designed to absolve Sandusky or those at PSU who failed in their duties as both administrators and adults to stop these abuses, but these types of articles paint with as broad a brush the strokes they are condemning in others.
That dude can write.
And he's got a point about the Genovese example. NBC's "What would you do" with John Quinones shows this over and over again, though with far less horrific examples. Horrible shit happens and people just stand their like an idiot or pretend it's not happening.
The entry also got me thinking about Mike McQueary all over again and his slamming of the lockers so as to signal to Sandusky "hey, knock it off guys!", as if it were two consenting adults in there. Goddammit!
Dan Wetzel wrote an article last week about McQueary having some sort of "vindication" when he testified against Sandusky in court. It was a load of crap. I often wondered how he reacted to crossing paths every day with Sandusky for another decade knowing what he saw and in his testimony, he said he left any time Sandusky entred the room but made sure to look angry any time he left, as if it took great character to leave a room and do no follow up to reporting a child rapist being on campus. What a hero.
And Paterno doing no follow up is even more disgusting. Of course, this is a man who claimed he had no idea that his own defensive coordinator had been investigated in 1998. That makes him a liar. There's no way he didn't know. It makes me wonder what other secrets JoePa might have had.
That's the first time I read about the young lady from the local newspaper who seem to break this thing wide open.
I didn't really stay in tune with the entire Sandusky ordeal. The headlines were all I cared to know about the disgusting matter. But man, were there a lot of people who knew shit yet didn't step forward. Repulsive. Shameful. Discpicable. I can't think of any more adjectives to describe the entire culture around the PSU football complex and administration building regarding this giant psycho turd.
"Nobody did anything, which in effect made all of the individuals feel less responsibility to take action - even those with absolute power. The president, the vice president, the athletic director. Joe Paterno." - from the article
For some reason, this made me think of what Douglas Adams once described as the "physical SEP field", with SEP being "Somebody Else's Problem", and he did this so well that SEP is actually a studied phenomenon now in social and organizational psychology.
This was the elephant in the room for years, the "Sandusky problem". On an individual basis, easily ignored, but to the whole, a glaring, hideous, potential (now quite real) mess. What amazes me is the extent to which there was a diffusion of responsibility in this situation, as well as the amount of groupthink that went on in the PSU program.
Actually, seeing the image of Paterno with a halo sort of said it all, in a sense - the markers of groupthink were there. High cohesiveness, thanks to JoePa, and very insular. When your football program's head coach is responsible for choosing his own superior, you can throw impartial leadership out the window. Obviously, there was no real procedure for reporting problems, much less ones of the magnitude Sandusky was creating, and being that most everyone in the office was filtered through and a product of Paterno's PSU, this was a fairly homogenous group. It is little wonder, in a sense, that so many people failed on so many levels, even if individually they may have been the first in line to report such outrages. The structure of PSU's program seems like it was deindividuating and sadly a perfect shell for a monster.
Ramzy was right - there were no winners, but there were also no heroes here.
I seems self-obvious now, but can you imagine being the person that calls out one of sainted JoePa's staff in public? It would take great strength to take on this career-ending move. It may be right thing to do, but not an easy thing to do.
Can you imagine being some low-level assistant and calling out one of Bear Bryant's staff back in the day, or calling out one of Vince Lombardi's staff? You would be raked over the coals by the local media for "trying to bring down the program". They would slap the typical "disgruntled employee" label on you. It would be your word against theirs . . . except that nobody ever named any buildings after you. You would not stand a chance.
Is this a case of people passing the responsible around on taking action against Sandusky or is this just a flat out cover-up? Because there is a big difference there.
Now why did Ramzy not write so eloquently about Tressel and moral issues at Ohio (looking at you payment denials, tatgate, Troy Smith, LOIC, Maurice Clarett) etc.? I understand the far greater severity of the Sandusky issues and potential for high level abuse at Penn State but its interesting how Ramzy's analysis was not so proficient a few years earlier looking at the home side history.
I followed his posts during that time as well and would agree.
In Ramzy's defense, the entire Tressel saga revolved around actions that are only improper because some organization says they're improper. In the real world, there's nothing wrong with selling your own stuff or attempting to profit from your labors in an enterprise that generates millions of dollars for other people. These are victimless "crimes". If the NCAA was ever overhauled such that getting free tattoos was no longer a violation, no one would bat an eye.
In contrast, raping and molesting children is improper and immoral no matter what world you live in. The people who perpetrate it are evil, and the people who let them get away with are at least guilty of serious moral lapses. There's really no comparison between the Penn State scandal and Tatgate.
While I don't disagree with the thrust of your argument, I will quibble with the point that what happened at OSU was simply because the NCAA is draconian. When athletes sign a scholarship agreement with a university, they are signing a legally-binding contract that, amongst its provisions, specifies what you can and cannot receive in exchange for playing a sport at your university. In that language, it states you are not allowed to sell or otherwise barter exchange goods or equipment you've received as part of your membership on a team. That's a rule every athlete knew/should have known at OSU when they signed on, and to feign ignorance after the fact is to ignore the legal violations perpetrated.
Yes, this is nowhere close to raping and abusing small children, but OSU broke the rules the same as the Fab 5 did, and few people (outside of Blue Zealots) would argue against the legallity of the NCAA's punishment against either school.
Getting free tattoos and selling your sports memorabilia is morally wrong only if you have previously promised not to do such things. And not reporting such things is morally wrong only if you've previously promised that you would report such things upon becoming aware of them. So in that sense, I agree; Tressel and his players are blameworthy because they broke their promises. But looking the other way while some sicko rapes children under your nose is always morally wrong no matter what you've promised to do. Even if Paterno had signed some kind of waiver indicating that he has no duty to report crimes or that he can never be held responsible for what happens in the football facilities, it doesn't diminish his moral culpability for not doing anything to stop Sandusky. THAT'S the difference I'm driving at.
I won't call myself eloquent, and I'm hardly impartial - but even with everything working against me (Ohio upbringing obviously trumps my other deficiencies) I'm partial to my Tatgate work.
You might have missed this one. Note the date, and the title (for those of you who see "Genovese Myth" in a Google search but fail to actually click the link and read the details)
Is that you RDT?
I read that work when it first came out; to be honest, it's the body of work where I thought you failed. This is not a personal criticism since we're writing on a board populated by home team fans. You are one and (aside from your apparent dislike for your AD's competence) most of your work (and that of your writing minions over at 11W) had apologism all over it.
FWIW, this is not at all comparable to the Sandusky issue. He will not do easy time, that one.
The Genovese Syndrome is widely considered a pop-theory/parable. I like your writing Ramzy, and no one is going to argue with the fact that someone should have done something, but this is the wrong tact in this crowd, especially the 'did you read it?' chiding. The "38 witnesses" you cite is not supported by the police report. The attacks took place in different areas, etc. Your link even goes on to say that much and also to say that as more people are together witnessing crimes, indifference goes away.
Here it’s worth noting that the New York Times coverage instrumental in enshrining Genovese’s murder in legend was less than completely accurate: There may have been just three eyewitnesses to the attack; most neighbors only heard portions of it; it’s possible none saw the final assault and murder. But the irony of Krueger’s analysis is that had there really been 38 people who watched Genovese get attacked, they would have been more likely to come to her aid, not less so.
So help me understand why you used the mythicized version of this story? If it is to demonstrate that individuals don't report crimes, fine, but why would you use the exagerated number and the sensationalized accounts if you indeed read the text of the article you reference?
There were two or three posts per day on these boards when the story was hot. Finally our mods, in their infinite wisdom, decided to consolidate them so every new aspect of the story wouldn't pollute the board. To me, the argument that it was about Penn State and Penn State football is the correct one. Occam's Razor. Follow the career arc of the people involved. Its all status quo (plus ever increasing salaries and golden parachutes for those at the top) and promotions for McQueary. To suggest that it was a syndrome that we are all subject to just isn't using intellectual honesty. If the witnesses in the Genovese case had a vested interest in keeping the identity of the murderer and the murder itself a secret, then we would have a parallel.
The question is: is Dana prosecuting her molester? If not, I have a problem with her response.
I don't know what "problem" you have with her response, but your comment comes off as really harsh. I'm hoping you don't mean it that way.
Per her post, she's a victim of sexual abuse, and that's something that is extremely difficult to go public on. Furthermore, none of us know the circumstances of the abuse. For all we know the perpetrator could be dead, serving a life sentence, etc.
And Dana can't prosecute her molester; only the prosecuting attorney can. The family may have tried to pressure the prosecutor to bring a case, and the prosecuter declined to proceed. The bottom line is we don't know the full circumstances of the abuse or the family's attempt to deal with it.
All we know is that, in an effort to help others, she went public with sensitive information. Instead of "having a problem" with her response, maybe you could give her some credit for trying to make an incremental difference.
Dana could have mentioned in her statement that the issue is now behind her. What is unclear is whether her molester is still possibly doing his thing having never been held accountable for the abuse. As you say, we don't know the details.
This board, when it's at its best, has people clearing the proverbial air (rather than reflexively neg-bombing a comment). Thanks for following up.
A lifetime ago I worked with victims of various crimes, and I learned it is more difficult for a victim to come forward than I realized before that experience. It puts the victim of a crime in a hard spot - what they want more than anything is to make the experience "go away" or forget. Pressing a complaint means subjecting yourself to cross-examination and sometimes implicit criticism in the press. Witness those cases where a high school football player is accused of a sex crime, and the local paper (I've seen the Free Press do this) makes the faux-deep observation that the football player is a victim too. The accused's friends often get wind of the situation, and can make life hell at school, etc., for the victim. (I get that not every accused abuser is guilty, BTW. But I think - perhaps outside of divorce/custody cases - false accusations of sexual abuse are much rarer than people generally believe.)
Plus, the "genital manipulation" cases (as Dana reports on her blog) are really hard to make stick. There's often no physical evidence of abuse, and it's too easy for a defendant to raise reasonable doubt in those cases (which often boil down to he said / she said affairs).
Anyway, thanks again for the measured response.
Why you old have a problem with her. Maybe the Statute of limitations is over. Maybe she wanted to keep it private. It's easy to pontificate from the sidelines.
maybe other kids are getting raped because nobody has said anything about this to the police.
obviously we don't know the details, but now that she's an adult she has a responsibility, whether that's fair or not, to ensure that the people responsible for protecting children are aware of her former babysitter's criminal history.
Dana was on Erin Burnett (CNN) last night, as commented as follows (her words):
1) This happened when she was 6 years old, and the offender was a teenage babysitter.
2) She was not able to deal with the issue herself until she was in her mid 20s.
3) The statute of limitations is 10 years, which we are well past.
She commented that she wished that her ability to prosecute hadn't expired given how difficult it is to deal with this, especially when it happens when you are 6 years old. I thought it took a lot of guts to do even that.