Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sad Penn State - Perspective from an alum

As a Penn State alumni, I am obiously disgusted and disturbed by what is going on.  Reading the indictment made me feel even worse.  I literally feel like I was punched in the gut while reading everything that is coming out, and I believe it is only going to get worse.

There was a video that came out tonight showing loyal supporters out on Paterno's lawn, committed to him staying with the program.  After watching this, I struggle to find how anyone could support him staying at the program.  Has everyone forgot what has happened these past few days?

Joe Paterno was alerted to allegations of sexual misconduct by Jerry Sandusky back in 2002 by Mike McQueary.  Paterno states that what McQueary reported was not immediately clear, but I can only assume that he -at the very least- was told that Sandusky was in the shower with a boy.  That should have been enough for Paterno to alert authorities.  However, he failed to do so.  Not even the most die-hard Penn State fan can give a satisfactory excuse for this lack of response.

Following this event is where things get worse, and I have a feeling these events will be exposed soon. 

Paterno had to have met with Spanier, Curley, Schultz and other top brass following this event.  At this meeting, they must have determined to keep this in house, reporting only what they needed to.  To me, this is a cover up of the most horrific degree and signals a lack of institutional control. 

Let's not forget about McQueary, who has risen the coaching ranks following this incident.  McQueary is the head scout, who goes into homes and assures parents that their children will be in good hands at Penn State.  Furthermore, he does this with the full backing of Paterno and Spanier.  This disgusts me so bad, I cannot describe it in words.

Finally, let's not forget that Spanier stated he has unconditional support for Curley and Schultz.  This statement is incomprehensible in nature, and is unforgivable. 

I feel like I was lied to and completely let down by an institution I enjoyed attending so much.  I have absolutely no trust or support for any of the characters involved in this, and will not be satisfied until the proverbial 'house is cleaned.'  Curley and Schultz have already resigned, and Paterno, Spanier and McQueary have to be next.  The longer they stay at the university shows that they care more about themselves than the university, and it is disrespectful to the students, parents of former and current students, and the alumni.

And what can we do this Saturday?  I have thought long and hard about this, and it contradicts me greatly.  My conclusion is this: I will cheer for the student-athletes on the field, because they cannot be blamed for the ignorant and reprehensible actions of their coaches and administration.  However, I will never cheer for any of the coaches involved anymore, and will be absolutely embarrassed if any of them ever sets foot on Penn State's field again.

They do not represent what Penn State told me it stands for, and if Penn State has any moral character what-so-ever, they will get rid of these individuals before they cause any more harm to the University.


  1. The university has to "clean house". Time for Joe and everyone else involved to go.

  2. I agree that the house must be cleaned and the only one I feel bad for is JoePa. You can tell he desperately wants to just stand on a street corner and let the truth roll out, but he's being stifled by the University because they are in CYOA mode. What boggles me is how people aren't calling for Spanier's head as severely as JoePa's. The University definitely has to get rid of everyone involved, but right or wrong a part of me feels like it also should make sure Spanier is canned before JoePa.

  3. I am also disappointed by the lack of reaction towards Spanier. He disgusts me, and he needs to leave now.

    He should have been the first to go. The fact that he is hanging around is so despicable I can't describe.

  4. Coso, you have undoubtedly done endless research and have uncovered more facts than the grand jury in order to arrive at the judgement you pass on Paterno. The irony in statements made by the average run-of-the-mill JoePa detractor such as yourself is that even despite Paterno's lack of action to a higher moral standard in this particular instance, he has exhibited an uncompromised level of honor and integrity than you or any of his detractors could wishfully hope to achieve in your lifetimes. He has consistently exhibited this level of integrity over a half century of navigating what has become the cesspool of college football, all while guiding the Penn State football program to become one of the winningest programs in the history of college football, holding elite status as one of only 8 major college programs to achieve over 800 victories. While I agree that the time has come for Paterno to turn the program over to his successor (in part due to age and in part due to his lack of action on behalf of abused children), he should not be forced out mid-season due to pressure from public opinion shaped by a populus with lesser character than the man they pass judgement on. It's no coincidence that Penn State is one of only a handful of major college athletic departments without a single major NCAA rules violation. . . ever (Stanford and possibly Northwestern as the others); it's because of the culture that Paterno has created at Penn State which is a reflection of the character he possesses. The sum total of the good that Paterno has achieved in 60 years as coach, educator, and leader at Penn State has earned him the right to retire with honor. There are only two types of Paterno detractors: ones that are just plain ignorant or ones whose own beloved football program has at some point made a compromise between on-field success and off-field integrity. Which type of detractor are you?

    "Success with Honor"

  5. R Korn said....

    This story has been on the tv and radio 24/7 in Pittsburgh and all over the national media so I have heard more than enough info, with that said....

    Paterno: As Ron Cook stated, he is Penn St football and is the authority figure who had total control of the program. When Spanier and Curley asked him to resign years ago he basically slammed the door in their face. So to say that he did his job by letting the AD know is not acceptable. And when Sandusky was still allowed around the program he should have at least followed up and said, hey something’s wrong here. Sandusky as of a week ago was seen on campus. It was convenient to pass the buck here. While not legally responsible he had a moral obligation.

    As for McQueary, he is just pathetic. He was 28 at the time, not 18. He could have stopped it or called police immediately, not go home and tell dad. I don't know how he could sleep well at night knowing nothing was done.

    Spanier/Curley/Shultz: I suppose they wanted to just try to preserve the image of their precious football program and try to sweep it under the carpet. This was a massive cover-up and all involved should be let go, I'm sure many other knew about this too since this was something that was going on for years. It makes you wonder what else was covered up over time.

    Students: I was listening to Chris Mueller's (PSU grad) show on 93.7 the Fan last night while I was going to bed and he was literally yelling into the microphone at how awful it was for students to be on Paterno's lawn chanting his name. He was absolutely disgusted. I had to turn it off b/c the yelling kept me up. I originally thought some would be protesting against him last night, but that was not the case.

  6. Oechsleins, nothing about Paterno's legacy factors into this equation. When faced with one of the worst things that any organization could ever be faced with, everyone, from top to bottom, failed to do what was necessary. None of that has anything to do with football. No matter what their individual levels of complicitness are, they all deserve accountability. That they, or anyone else are even factoring in football legacy into the equation just shows how out of whack the organizational values have become and is a huge disservice to the actual victims of the crimes committed, especially those who were victimized after it could have been stopped.

    That said, everyone who loves Penn State is a victim in this as well. In a much different way than the victims of the crime are, obviously, but victims nonetheless. I would hope that as Penn State gets past this, the whole Penn State community would become united in helping the school and the football program recover as strong as ever.

  7. Also, some quick hits on some individual issues:

    Paterno: I agree that he didn't become a monster overnight and you can't take away his accomplishments. But that is confusing the person with the legend. The person was still part of an epically bad individual and organizational moral failing.

    PSU leadership in general: Different individuals have different levels of complicitness, but, taken as a whole, the system failed and only a complete sweep can remove that stench. Sandusky openly walked the halls of PSU for years and no one did anything to stop that, it's unfathomable!

    McQuery: I won't pretend to know what I'd do immediately if I saw what he did. But as the only first hand witness, at some point it was on him morally to confront his superiors or go to the police.

    "Success with honor": This is a values statement at best and I would argue is actually just a marketing slogan. Regardless, the statement itself isn't evidence that the people who are supposed to live by it will stand up to it when tested.

    On PSU's NCAA history: Having zero NCAA infractions is impressive and a credit to the program, but it is just compliance, not ethics.

  8. The weirdest theory going is that JoePa has sustained a clean image for 47 years but decided to bend the rules on sexual abuse of a child

  9. Pills said...

    I think everything has been said by now, so I will just do a quick follow up.

    The point that makes the most sense is that "1 action can't tarnish someone". Ummmm...actually it can, if I only kill one person, only molest one child, only rape one kid, only am complicit to cover up a sex scandal I am still wrong. No rational person would say in any of those cases that "overall he was a good person so therefore he gets a free pass to do something horrible." In the case of Big Ben at least his "actions" were separate from his job, in this case it was one in the same. FOotball was more important than kids lives and no one even found out who the victims were...that is the worst part.

  10. Pills said...

    Also, if JoePa bent the rules ans PSU swept this under the rug what else did they sweep under the rug? I think this compromises the supposed clean record. If you can sweep up child rape then I am sure an NCAA rules violation surely can be taken care of without question or thought as well.

    Also, the people condemning JoePA apparently do have more character because I do not know anyone who aided in a sex scandal cover up. What culture is at PSU that football success is more important than doing the right thing? Steve, your post is full of so much hypocrisy.

    Also, if JoePa has so much character, honor, and integrity he would not allow the universtiy to stop him from speaking...he would just speak out. That is what a real person with character, honor, and integrity would do. He simple did not want to rock the boat.

  11. R Korn said.....

    This post has generated a lot of views today...good work.

    By the way the Westboro Baptist Church will be at the game Saturday, its going to be quite a circus there

  12. Pills,
    In general some valid points worth considering in this thread, however there are some that are off base:

    "If you can sweep up child rape then I am sure an NCAA rules violation surely can be taken care of without question or thought as well."
    Completely unfounded generalization. There is no evidence, proof, or indication even remotely pointing in that direction. No one can make random "if, then" statements based off of one instance of wrong doing.

    "if JoePa has so much character, honor, and integrity he would not allow the universtiy to stop him from speaking...he would just speak out."
    Absolutely not true - as a paid employee of an organization involved in an ongoing investigation, that organization and its lawyers certainly can prevent him from speaking on details of the investigation to the public. The real barometer for his willingness to talk will be seen over the next few days now that he is no longer a PSU employee.

    On another note, I can't believe the hypocrisy the Trustees show by firing JoePa, but allowing McQueary to remain with the team. That coward actually saw the alleged incident with his own eyes.

  13. It's also BS that the media keeps using JoePa as the face of the sex-abuse case just because he's the most famous person who will get the most viewer traffic. How about ESPN changes the "PSU Scandal" graphic from JoePa's face to Sandusky's face since he's the actual perpetrator of the alleged crimes?!?!

  14. Dave, I understand that sentiment and why people would want to protect him, but I think it is naive to expect anything different. He's an honest to goodness living legend, and there aren't many people who qualify for that distinction.