The Most Important Thing Was Sandusky

Submitted by Brian on January 23rd, 2012 at 5:18 PM


You can't throw a rock today without hitting a piece on Joe Paterno, and I'll add my bit. I've read a half-dozen of them and feel myself drawn to the portions that focus on his ignoble demise at the hands of a long-overdue grand jury investigation into Jerry Sandusky. The ones that skip it entirely, as many PSU-based POVs do, or attempt to put it "in perspective" seem to be succumbing to the same disease that felled everyone when Nixon died and people scrambled for good things to say about him other than "he's dead."

Paterno is not Nixon, obviously. Nixon is the most obvious public funeral held in which ill things were not spoken of the dead due to social taboo, rather than reason. I dislike that natural impulse to whitewash. When Christopher Hitchens died I spent a lot of time reading his withering obituaries just to watch him stick the knife in and twist. If that makes me ruthless, okay.

I just can't get over how it all came crashing down. Not only did Paterno and the culture he created shelter Sandusky, Paterno did not seem to feel remorse for half a second. Maybe this is just an addled old man speaking but it is appalling that this came out of his mouth at the impromptu pep rally at his home in the immediate aftermath of the grand jury's testimony:

The kids that were victims or whatever they want to say, I think we all ought to say a prayer for them. Tough life, when people do certain things to you. Anyway, you’ve been great. Everything’s great, all right.

Virtually the entire media edited Paterno's statement into a less awful version because their sense of propriety could not grasp the words that had actually come out of his mouth. This was Joe Paterno. He couldn't have said that. He shouldn't have said anything. He should have been in his house crying to his wife, finally realizing the monstrous consequences of his inaction.

Instead he seemed to think of himself as a victim. A lot of people find ways to blame themselves for massive tragedies they are not responsible for. Paterno was oblivious to his role to the end. Maybe that's forgivable to some people who look at the donations and the football coaching and the Great Experiment. Not me. I have great respect for Chris Grovich of Black Shoe Diaries but I can't read this

Behind Joe Paterno's Beaver Stadium statue are the words, "Educator, Coach, Humanitarian." They really could have been arranged in any order.

…without inserting "child rape enabler" in any order. That phrase overwhelms the rest. If he did lead a program that strove to prove it was capable of operating at a higher plane that just makes it worse. He was held up—he held himself up—as a man who could achieve success on and off the field in a way that others could not.

Maybe any one of us would have done the same thing if confronted by the terrible truth about a long-time friend. Maybe 90% of people would not have had the courage to blow up a reputation so carefully crafted over such a long period. Maybe Joe Paterno was just being human.

That's not enough when you have a statue. Paterno wasn't supposed to be human, he was supposed to be Joe Paterno. He wasn't and now he never was. He had over a decade to do something about Sandusky and did not. That is no mistake, or misjudgment, or error. It is immensely sad, but in the end Paterno failed his charge more spectacularly than a man who dared less would have. You can call him Icarus if you want; I'm not inclined to give him that benefit of the doubt. The costs were not worth the attempt.

The statue is Joe Paterno now. The man is dead. Hopefully the idea behind the statue can help people be better than the man turned out to be.


[Editor's note: Orson and I both go for the statue conceit. We've seen people crying or overturning news vans in its vicinity it every 30 seconds over the past few months, so maybe not a huge surprise.]



January 23rd, 2012 at 8:18 PM ^

to think through the implications of the thing--to understand them--and he didn't get it right. Meantime, a lot of lives were destroyed. He protected his program. Not only that, but he repeatedly placed his program above the law and above the reach of simple university regs. I don't give a crap about venerating him--the masses need heroes, and find it hard to hear theirs have feet of clay. 

Not my hero, and anyone that stil thinks him a hero is misguided. Don't feel the rancor some do, but he f'd up, and not in a minor way. The quote, the pep rally--these made clear what a little man, intellectually, morally, he was. And many, many other people knew and did nothing. They all suck. 


January 23rd, 2012 at 8:18 PM ^

May JoePa's soul rest in peace, but the reality is that this megalomaniac should have retired 15 years ago when the glow was on every great thing that he accomplished.  However, he had to chase the goal of being the winningest NCAA coach ever when a horrific situation was taking place under his watch.  And give me a fucking break; does anyone really believe that the coaches did not know what was going on in the locker room?  There is no way that Sandusky's buggering young boys was not common knowledge in the local community, particularly after the lockerroom incident witnessed by the red head wimp.

How about a prayer vigil for the young boys who were violated and whose lives have been ruined.  JoePa stuck around too long because his ego demanded it. 

An 85-year old guy that has cancer probably doesn't stand much of a chance to fight for a lengthy life.  The concept of his dying of a broken heart makes me puke. Let's get real and recognize him for what he was, and that is not sainthood.

Six Zero

January 23rd, 2012 at 8:30 PM ^

But at the same time, I could never stand behind such a stance because it's so impersonal. I certainly never knew the guy myself, but I say impersonal because he's so revered to so many people I love and respect. To dishonor him, at least now, this week, just doesn't leave a very nice taste in my mouth.

Yeah, I wrote the strip today and published it, not to dismiss Sandusky, but to just allow those who are grieving this loss, either as personal friends and family or as part of the Nittany Lion fan base, to just grieve. Without asterisks or caveats or told-you-so's.  He's gone, and they're hurting.

The Sandusky case will unfold in the future, and undoubtedly will get far uglier. This week I'm all for simply allowing people to mourn.


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:15 PM ^

Isn't that what you should feel at this moment?  We all thought that he was as good as his statue, but it turns out we were all wrong.  And now he has passed shortly after this evil has surfaced and his implications in it brought to light and so we will never get the closure we wanted (not that it would have happened anyways).

Allowing people to mourn is fine but grief isn't an excuse to dismiss and belittle the evil that took place there which some people are doing.


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

I think you handled it tastefuly and respectfully.  You managed to pay your last respects to Paterno without dishonoring the victims or placing him any sort of a pedestal.

And i 100% echo your observations on this whole ugly (and surely soon to get uglier) mess.



January 23rd, 2012 at 8:59 PM ^

I have written several times on this blog about my experiences with abused children, both as a volunteer with an abused children's group and as a pediatric nurse, as well as having had family members who were abused. I don't know if people realize this, but the fact that Joe Paterno went to his superiors means that he did more than most people do when they are in his situation. I know that none of us wants to believe that, but it is unfortunately very true. Often times, people who are presented with the type of information that he received really don't tell anyone about it. When I would hear family members say that they were suspicious, but they didn't know for sure so they didn't say anything, and now they wish they had, it broke my heart. Other times, it is fear or denial that makes people not speak up. They can't believe that this person would do that, so they just chose not to believe it. Please, please do not mistake this for excusing what Joe Paterno did or didn't do. WE HAVE TO LEARN FROM THIS! All of us. Talk to your children. Empower them to be willing to tell if anyone ever treats them inappropriately, even if a person that they look up to tells them that they will get in trouble if they tell, or that it is somehow their fault. You have to speak to them first. It is an uncomfortable conversation to have, but isn't every important conversation? The same goes for you. Educate yourself on who to go to if you ever suspect something like this is happening. Most states have abuse hotlines. You can report anonomously if you wish. Joe Paterno was a good coach and teacher, and probably was a good man. But unfortunately for these children, he was just an ordinary man. It is not my place to judge him, but I hope that all of us learn from the events that took place and choose to do more.


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:03 PM ^

I'm glad there are people who can express my feelings without the rage that comes up in me every time I think about this....
<br>And I was impressed with ESPN for the first time in my life today when they ended his obit piece with: "there was a tragedy at Penn State, but it wasn't the fall of Joe Paterno".


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:06 PM ^

self awareness is often one of the first things to go.


No doubt Joe's stubborness was a big part in him staying on too long, but there was also a massive failure of leadership from the school in the way the last decade of his career was handled.


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:16 PM ^

Man, I don't know.  I just can't get over the fact that for 50 years he did it right in a world full of SEC scumbags who make amaturism a joke.  And you can make an argument that he felt that he did everything he needed to to keep Sandusky from hurting more children by firing him.  But then I remember he still gave that rapist access to the locker room and it starts to feel like he enabled more kids to get raped.  I guess I work with a lot of young people in Pennsylvania so obviously I'm surrounded by PSU alumni and fans, so maybe I've been a bit brainwashed.


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:21 PM ^

This captures my sentiments perfectly.  Among others I heard Shane Conlan on NY radio today in a fit of indignancy over Paterno's "treatment".  How terribly misguided, unfortunate, and just plain sad.


January 24th, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

I'd like to see Shane Conlan make that case with the young men that Sandusky abused standing in front of him.  All the Penn State players who are trying to deflect this as some kind of media witchhunt should have to do the same.  I think they would lose some of their passion and conviction under those circumstances.


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:25 PM ^

A once thought to be great man has passed away within months of the entire world finding out not only that he was not a great man, but also a facilitator of child abuse, including molestation and rape. 

His lack of action combined with the environment that his very legend had created enabled a MONSTER.

Sandusky, despite my religious beliefs, can never be forgiven. I'm just not capable of it. 

The question is how far does one separate the enablers/facilitators from the MONSTER they helped to create?

I don't think I can answer that question even for myself, much less anyone else.

I'm frustrated at my lack of ability to describe my feelings for the deplorable actions of those involved at a level worthy of such deeds. It's almost like unfathomable evil in real life that isn't supposed to exist, much yet exist in football, in the big ten, at Penn State, under Joe Paterno, so rampantly over such a period of time. 

A now known to be seriously flawed man is dead. I feel no real sadness, and wonder if that's bad. It all gets really confusing, but typing this has been therapeutic for me, if nothing else. The victims are the ones that will never be able to live life without having experienced such things. 

I really liked your write up and thoughts on the matter Brian. It was good to read.

As for Nixon, his worst action took place on August 15th of 1971. Watergate was just lies from a politician before everyone was so used to that being "the gold standard" (pun intended).


January 23rd, 2012 at 9:48 PM ^

He was generous, his teams hard, but tough, and he did it the "right way". There was lot to like about Joe Paterno, not the least being the fact that he wasa famous Italian American who surmounted the stereotypical goomba/mafiaoso image that pervades our culture. 

Being a history buff, I was not surprised at Joe's actions. One could pick a famous name out of a hat and could easily find an embarrassing deed or belief of said person. Joe is  far from being the only person of notoriety whose actions(or lack thereof) brought harm to innocent people. He won't be the last.

But that does not excuse his inaction. He deserves all the opprobrium that is directed at him. Yes, the guilt for the crimes themselves lay with Jerry Sandusky. But Joe was in a position to at least prevent Sandusky from causing further harm to children. Why he did not act we will most likely never know. That inaction in the face of great evil is what disappoints me so. A man who seemingly did things the right way in most other facets of life failed to react like a moral person ought to in the most important challenge of his life. For that, Joe's image deserves to be tarnished.

In having said that, I also believe that one cannot completely damn the man. He did too much good for too many people for me to treat him as I would a Bull Conner or Heinrich Himmler. But I also will not afford him the same respect that I have for a Lincoln, MLK, or Mother Teresa--that is not not to say that he ever did. warrant such regard. I won't even afford him the regard that I have for police officers, soldiers, and firefighters. He is not deserving of such esteem.

Joe Paterno will ultimately be remembered in history as a great football coach with an equally great stain on his reputation. If Joe Paterno had died in 2001 he would have died with all the reverence that a Bear Bryant receives. Alas, he lived long enough to destroy a lifetime of exemplary behavior.


January 23rd, 2012 at 10:05 PM ^

The statue thing is overblown. He has a statue because he was a good football coach. How many coaches with losing records have statues because they were "good" people? I would think not very many. We all need to stop holding coaches to higher standards than a normal human being. If the Tressel and Paterno situations (not saying they're comparable in degree) taught me anything it's that. Two well-respected guys that made some pretty big mistakes. Even though Hoke seems to be all-class, I keep telling myself not to put him on a pedestal

I try not to throw stones at Paterno because it's tough to tell how anyone would act in that situation unless they've already been in it. People saying that they wouldn't have done what Paterno did are just speculating, nothing more. I mean, many of the "Founding Fathers" of this country were involved in human trafficking, yet we consider them heroes and respected. I just find it a bit ironic. My worldview leads me to believe that everybody is a POS and can't do a single good deed without at least a hint of selfish ambition. My worldview is the reason why Cormac McCarthy is my favorite author. JoePa is no worse than any of you IMO. And no better.


January 24th, 2012 at 9:24 AM ^

Yeah, and as I stated, let's not pretend that the statue is really for his humanitarian works. It's because he won 400+ games as Penn St coach for however many years he was there. There are very few people in sports that are celebrated for doing "good works" while being "losers" or "ineffective." And where did I say that we should celebrate Paterno's life? I'm saying the statue is a sham to begin with (because it's all about football accomplishments, not good works).

STW P. Brabbs

January 24th, 2012 at 9:44 AM ^

Well, that just makes things really nice and easy, doesn't it?  Everyone's a piece of shit, so it doesn't really matter who does what.  Probably a really convenient way to rationalize whatever asshole things you do, too. 

That's just a really fucking lazy - both morally and intellectually - way to look at the world.  I'm not asking for black and white, but the term 'shades of grey' indicates that there's a range involved there. 


January 24th, 2012 at 12:06 PM ^

Sorry that I believe in the total depravity of man. Nowhere did I excuse JoePa's actions. We are responsible for what we do. And so is JoePa. I just try not to put myself or anybody else above another. World's a fucked up place. Everybody contributes to it in one way or another.


January 23rd, 2012 at 10:15 PM ^

We have some very sensational grand jury testimony, various comments not under oath and little more. The person who reported the incident to Paterno has changed what he says he told Paterno twice. Paterno went to his superiors and reported to them. He apparently was updated at least once perhaps two or three times.

Until this is all sorted out in court and the details of who knew what when is established, all of this is little more than a lynching. 

Perhaps Paterno knew exactly what happened and turned his back and is the evil guy that so many of you have tossed to the slag heap of history. 

Perhaps the actual incident was not conveyed to Paterno who reported it according to University policy and then either was updated or touched base to check, but stayed hands off because that was the legally mandated process by the University. 

Maybe he was the monster some of you accuse him of being. Maybe he did exactly what he was supposed to do attempting to ensure that if something was going on, the full legal consequences would fall on wrong doers. Maybe the truth is somewhere in between. 

At this point, unless you are inside the investigation, none of us know what happened and what Paterno knew. 

Three or four years from now we'll all know what happened, probably in far greater detail than we would like. At this point a whole lot of people have jumped to conclusions well in advance of actually knowing the truth. Either many of you have wrongly thrown a man on a stake or you got lucky and happened to be right. 

Paterno is dead. He's died under a cloud of accusations that won't be fully resolved for 3 or 4 years. I wonder what you will do should he be vindicated. Will you post retractions or will you simply ignore your errors? Will you consider the consequences of destroying a mans career and reputation at the very end of his life?

If Paterno actually enable child molestation then he is deserving of all that has been heaped upon him. If he did not, then a good man and a great asset to college althetics has been tossed on the trash heap of a media circus aided and abetted by so many who should have waited to know the truth. 

I do not know what happened. I'm withholding judgement about Paterno and the Penn State program until AFTER the several trials, that I am sure are to come, are finished. Perhap you might all consider the wisdom of taking a few deep breaths and waiting as well. 


January 24th, 2012 at 12:12 AM ^

The only way Paterno would be "vindicated" would be if everyone of these child rape cases turned out to be false.

The fact that kids were raped in his facilities, by a person he knew well, that was observed by people working for him is not in dispute.

Kids were raped. Under his watch.

How can he be vindicated? Legally? Sure.

Morally? No friggin' way.


January 23rd, 2012 at 10:16 PM ^

An appropriate, if stark, take on Paterno's demise.  I do agree that his enablement of Sandusky, of creating an environment in which such abuses could occur unpunished, must never be forgotten.  Part of me wants to continue to believe that he did not know the whole story, that the knowledge people ascribe to him is based on expectations and hearsay, I agree that to whitewash what happened with "he did a lot of good for PSU" is a disservice to the survivors of Jerry Sandusky as well as the culture of college athletics.  This feels a bit like what happened when Michael Jackson died - people suddently "forgot" or rationalized away all of the child abuse claims and sociopathic behavior because he made some good songs in the 70s and 80s.

RIP Joe Pa - neither a god nor a villain, ultimately just a man like everyone else.


January 23rd, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

This is an excellent post, and is catharctic to read, because I've been feeling guilty at my visceral reaction to most all of these Paterno obits:  they all taste like cotton candy and fried dough at the carnival --   phony, sugary, and bad for you.

I work off the premise that very few people are all bad; most are "layered."  Joe certainly had faults, we know now. But I have several major problems: 1) his actions didn't show just one fault. He didn't "fail to act" just once. He failed for at least ten years. And every day, every year, was one failure to act. Ten years of daily failures to act is alot of failure.; 2) the overwhleming evidence shows it was a deliberate decision by him to hide and coverup; 3) He is just plain Full of S___ when he told Sally Jenkins that "he didn't know about rape of a boy by a man."  It's just a lie, and a very amateurish one; so rinky dink that it stains every other part of his stack of excuses, which are all, in that light, just lame.

Why do I say he's FOS?:  Look at when the Boston Globe pedophile priest scandal blew up: Jan 2, Jan 7, Jan 31, all of February, and March of 2002. And those stories were ALL over the national press. Newsweek had Cardinal Law on its' cover on Marc 7, 2002, with a headline about 80 victims of pedophile priests.  AND, McQueary went to Joe with his bombshell eyewitness account of Sandusky in the shower with a ten year old on MARCH 2, 2002!!!  And the Globe published 900 articles on priest pedophiles over hte following 13 months. That news was EVERYWHERE. There is NO WAY that Joe couldn't have understood pedophilia. (C'mon, anyways, a kid from the streets of tough Brooklyn in the '40's?)

Many, many deliberate failures and then a big cheesy lie. But one other point needs to be made, and it's one which leads to Bo Schembechler. Both Tressel and Jo Pa lied through their teeth to cover up. And both used similar pathetic excuses: I didn't know what to do; II' didn't want to screw up procedures; I was scared.  All excuses, I will contend, of cowards, not leaders.

Sorry, I think if McQueary had been reporting to Bo on March 2, 2002, Bo would've blown a gasket, been out of his mind, and on the phone to the Univ President and the cops in SECONDS, with no b.s. from anyone. That's a leader who ought to have a 7-foot statue. Not Jo Pa..





January 23rd, 2012 at 11:27 PM ^

Make this whole Sandusky/Paterno thing amazing. Leaders are responsible for their employees, period! Sandusky abused kids for st least 15 years of working for JoePa. That is all!


January 23rd, 2012 at 11:39 PM ^

You don't seem to realize this is an old man we're talking about.  At 85 years old or even when he was in his 70's when this all began, he almost certainly had some degree of dementia.

That is why his statement is so.... demented.

Please keep this in mind when remembering Paterno.  None of this likely happened when he was fully mentally competent.  In addition, we do not know - and never will know - exactly what he was told.

That is my opinion coming from years of medically evaluating people in their 70's and 80's.

What happened in the last years and months of his life does not change his legacy, the decades of building an athletic program honestly and ethically.

It does show that he is human.

j.o.s.e maizenblue

January 23rd, 2012 at 11:45 PM ^

I was hoping I could go to sleep, putting this JoePa thing to rest, but all this talk about JoePa was being "human" and he was old so give him a break  just doesnt add up...y

First, they guy had the capability to talk with recruits, organize a game plan and find a way to still win games... then you have his comments which show the guy had the mental capability of understanding and follow basic rules and regulations....

“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” he said. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

Ok… I can relate to his comment and would figure that this would be his first thought... but then after his dismissal from the University, I’m left with comments such as…

“It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more…”

Come on… be "human" and use some logic. People generally care about their image, especially in threads like these were nobody knows or cares who you are!! Wouldn’t you think that a head coach for a major university, whose life is very public, would at least see that their entire life work isn’t damaged by one man? Anyone in that situation would've taken an aggressive approach from the start! Especially from a man that has such “high moral values”! JoePa is just as guilty and had every part in seeing Sandusky evade school administration and state officials for so long. Shame on JoePa and shame on all those that want to live in denial.

RIP JoePa and the entire Penn State community


January 23rd, 2012 at 11:56 PM ^

Here is Rick Reilly's take:…

He did good things, and he did bad things.

In all honesty, I'm shocked at how everyone feels the need to piss on his grave.  He at least deserves a day to be remembered as a human and for his whole body of work to show. The fact that most of these comments are "I AGREE BRIAN" and "HOW COULD ARGUE IN DEFENSE OF HIM" is absurd and beyond judgmental.  Who are you to say JoePa was a terrible man based one action? Shame on you.

Not one of your better pieces, Brian.  Too much being an angry dick and beating of dead horses.


January 24th, 2012 at 12:03 AM ^

The guy took the chance of pissing on his own legacy when he stood by as acts of pure evil were taking place not just perpetrated by a long time friend of his but in his own football facility.... and he did NOTHING.  I'm sorry but that trumps any sort of monetary gifts he was handing out through his life.


And it wasn't "one action" he made the decision both on the day he was first told about what was going on to the day before it came out to do something about it.... and he did nothing....  he made THOUSANDS of horrible decisions on this....


January 24th, 2012 at 9:45 AM ^

It wasn't one action - it was inaction for over 10 years as multiple young men were sexually abused, some rather violently, by a close friend who was also in his employment.  Listen, I agree that Joe Pa wasn't some monster and maybe we should not be as quick to paint him as such, but all of this revisionist history crap people are trotting out now just because he died doesn't ease the pain of those survivors or their families.  I see this much like the Michael Jackson situation - the guy assaults kids for years, yet when he dies everyone calls him the king of Pop and glosses over the past 15 years because it screws with the narrative. Not saying Paterno was to that level, but he doesn't deserve a free pass just because he died.


January 23rd, 2012 at 11:58 PM ^

I really dont get the Hitchens part, but great read nonetheness and absolutely spot on.  Its weak and irresponsible and immoral to brush over his role in this absolutely evil scandal.  Helping get a chapel built on campus doesn't some how give him a pass on him sticking his head in the sand for ATLEAST a decade about kids being taken advantage of in HIS OWN BUILDING and by a long time friend of his.


January 24th, 2012 at 12:48 AM ^

So many of the Paterno pieces have been terrible.  They are the result of  writers who are not deep thinkers trying to grapple with (what they think is) the profound issue of how, if at all, a man's vices can be outweighed by his virtues and how this relates to humanity.  Just look at the various stupid posts in this tread talking about how Joe Pa is "just a man like everyone else,"  "not a fallen angel."   


Whenever regular people start waxing existential, we should be suspicious.  This one of the few cases where the truth is much simpler than most people seem to believe.  The truth is this:  almost everyone does both good and bad stuff in his life and the good can somtimes outweigh the bad -- the time you punched your best friend doesn't outweigh your helping the poor in India or whatever.   However, for Joe Paterno the good does not outweigh the bad.  Whatever vague, general, goodness Joe did by "doing things the right way" and whatever doesn't outweigh his role in multiple instances of child rape.  In fact, there is nothing he could have done that would outweigh that.  Is this some tradegy of the human conditon?  No, it's simply that failing act as morality requires in even a single instance can sometimes (when the stakes in that instance are high enough) make you an irredeemibly bad person. 


January 24th, 2012 at 3:10 AM ^

 I'm going to say something I feel needs to be said here. We'll call it playing devils advocate or whatever you like. First off JoePa was charged with no crime , did nothing criminally wrong and at the time by turning information over to his superiors satisfied what he felt where his moral obligations. To thy own self be true.

 Jerry Sandusky has not been convicted of any crimes as of yet. He is waiting for his day in court like anyone else accused of a crime. If Sandusky is innocent until proven guilty, Should'nt Paterno be afforded the same gesture? Jerry Sandusky could very well be a child rapist , i'm trying hard to reserve judgement on the guy until all the facts are put on the table.

 The man is dead and can't defend himself, he commited no crimes and at worst displayed a temporary ( or not) lack of morals. The same could be said for those who have convicted Sandusky and Joe PA in their own minds without hearing fully what happend in any of the incidents. I'm not above this in any means , but with 4 pages of comments ripping the guy I felt like I had to say something.


January 24th, 2012 at 5:22 AM ^

It's best to reserve judgment until all the facts are on the table. I couldn't agree more, though things aren't looking good for anyone involved.

But I can't find much wrong with expressing condemnation for actions that aren't legally criminal. There are plenty of horrible things human beings can do that the law doesn't protect us against. Joe Pa was in a position to prevent his football program from enabling potential child molestation. He was in a position to bring scrutiny to someone against whom a very serious accusation was leveled. And all this was at the expense of some of the most defenseless victims out there.


January 24th, 2012 at 6:43 AM ^

  The allegation of child molestation alone is enough to destroy a persons life even if they are later proven false. Mike Mcquery witnessed what he called rape 2months ago but called horsing around when he reported it to JoePa ( paternos words). Mike did'nt call the police when he informed Joe of the incident.

  You really have to know what was said by Mcquery to Paterno and if Paterno knew there was an investigation at the time into Sandusky as far as child molestation charges go. If someone tells me hey I saw this kid getting raped in the showers , my first question is did you call the police. If someone says 2 people are goofing around  in the showers it's a totally different thought.  I'm trying to say it's very important how the incident was reported to Paterno and McQuery changes his story every time he tells it.  He said he did'nt feel comfortable describing what he saw to Paterno. We don't know if the words rape , child, molesting or sex even came up in their conversation. We don't really even know if he sat down and talked to Paterno for 20 minutes or just passed by his office and said something while passing by his door.

 I can think of  perfectly reasonable scenarios as to why you would'nt call the police after you talked to McQuery , but I can't think of a reason you would'nt confront Sandusky about it and try to talk to the kid.


January 24th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Actually, in Paterno's own words, McQuery told him something sexual in nature happened in the shower between Sandusky and the boy. And that was in 2002. And he testified to that to the grand jury in 2010. Then he let Sandusky use the facilities for the next year until Sandusky was arrested. JoePa is a pretty shitty person


January 24th, 2012 at 9:54 AM ^

I don't disagree with the sentiment that Paterno is not the monster that Sandusky turned out to be, and I guess it is possible that all of these allegations prove to be false (but man, that would be insane if it did), but at the same time people treat the McQueary (sp?) statement as the one time anyone witnessed this abuse or was the only sign, which seems ludicrous to me.  To be blunt, you can't hide that type of perversion from sight for a decade, and Sandusky certainly doesn't see bright enough to do that successfully.  So my guess is that there are people at PSU who either consciously or subconciously ignored the signs of abuse, who had inklings or heard second-hand reports and just them occur without intervention.  And for better or worse, when that happens the leaders receive the blame, and that includes Joe Paterno.

Again, I agree that he isn't some horrible monster and maybe people are being a little too harsh, but I also think it is a bit of a backlash for all of the glowing eulogies being written about Paterno that try to minimize his last year on earth.  Yes, he did good things for the university and seems like an upstanding citizen overall.  But just because it is icky doesn't mean writers don't have a responsibility to recognize that we learned quite a bit about the program under Paterno this past year, and that it rightly should frame out understanding of his tenure at PSU.


January 24th, 2012 at 5:08 AM ^

It was jarring like a little girl used as a scary character in a horror movie. In this context, something that should be innocuous was transformed into something terrible. Thinking of some scared kid in there--its overwhelming.



January 24th, 2012 at 7:16 AM ^

Judge, Jury, and Executioner too? One decision does not dictate a man's life nor his legacy. No one on this board was in State College, present for the conversations, or privy to the man's thoughts about the Sanusky accusations. Paterno is gone, he did great things for Penn State, and a modicum of respect for the man is warranted. He will be judged by someone far greater than yourself Brian. Hold the vitriol and let the man rest in peace.


January 24th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

It wasn't one decision. It was numerous, numerous decisions over a 10 year period. Right up until he got the most wins in college football. Imagine that. JoePa is a shitty man who deserves to have his reputation tarnished


January 24th, 2012 at 10:03 AM ^

He's dead.  Rest in peace.  His legacy is now incredibly and deservedly mixed. 

That said I appreciate the feelings about Nixon.  I felt the same way as he was eulogized.  Regardless of how one feels about his politics, he was certainly one of the biggest general scumbags to grace our great nation.  Dead or not, no one can erase that legacy.

Why the heat for Hitchens?...again, regardless of politics he was the smartest "while drunk" person I've ever seen.


January 24th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

....what hasn't been said? 

I'll just say Dantonio got it wrong.  If there was a tragic hero, it was Paterno, a guy who did a lot of good stuff with his life, but saw it crash and burn into a tragedy because of doing something really, really wrong. (Even lack of action is an action in itself).