As a college football fan, you knew that at some point, you were going to have to accept watching a Penn State game without Joe Paterno coaching the Nittney Lions. As his teams rankings have waxed and waned over the last few years, it was looking more and more like Joe might finally be let go for decreasing ability...but then he got his team out to an 8-1 start and a top 20 ranking this year, claiming his 409th career victory, making him the all time leader in Division 1 Football.
45+ years as Head Coach at Penn State...5 undefeated seasons, the all time wins leader, and now, none of it is worth spit, according to the media.
In case you have been living under a rock, early this week the story broke that since 2009, former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been under investigation by a Grand Jury for various charges relating to child molestation. Monday, he was arrested and charged on 40 counts, several of them felony level.
Despite the fact that Sandusky officially retired in 1999, his 'contributions to the Penn State Program' were such that he was named a Coach Emeritus. We learned this week that his unexpected retirement in 1999 may have been tied to an unreported molestation investigation. But, he was still allowed to have an office, and have access to the Penn State Football teams facilities, including the locker rooms, which he used to impress kids going to his football camps.
The first nail was pounded into Paterno's coffin in 2002, when an Assistant Coach, then a graduate assistant, found Sandusky using the Penn State Football Teams showers to engage in 'anal intercourse' with a 10-year old boy. Unsure of how to handle finding a coaching legend(Sandusky's defenses helped Penn State win two National Championships) the young man called his dad, who said 'you've got to let your boss know'. Reporting to your boss that one of his best friends in a child molester CAN'T be easy. Doing the Right Thing seldom is...but he did it. Paterno then called his boss, Athletic Director Tim Curley. Two weeks later, the Athletic Director AND University President met with the young grad assistant. One can only guess what he was told...but there the trail goes cold. No phone calls were ever made to the State Police...and that is where Joe Pa is feeling the wrath of The People.
One can't hold anything against Mike Mcqueary, the grad assistant who initially reported what he saw. He screwed up all his courage to talk to his boss, and then was told by his bosses Boss and THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT to 'forget about it(at least one can assume that was how the conversation went'). I have very little anger in my heart at him for not going over the heads of the three people who could decide his future. Now...I do have some anger that he didn't stove Sandusky's head in when he first saw things happening.
You walk into a locker room, and see a 50-year old man ENGAGED in a sex act with a 10-year old boy....and you don't hit him over the head with a locker room bench!?!?!?!??! I think seeing something like that with my own eyes would cause me to come down with a bad case of The Boondock Saints...
Even back in 2002, Joe Pa didn't have the excuse that he was a wet behind the ears grad student. Anyone who thinks Joe Pa couldn't have told the University President AND the Board of Regents to go take a fly leap doesn't understand major college sports. He had a reliable eye-witness report of heinous wrong doing...most people, myself included, feel he should have done something more than call his boss. He did all he was legally required to do...but, no one ever succeeded in life doing the minimum. Why didn't he follow through and ask the Athletic Director what was going on a month later?
Because he didn't want to. I'm not sure if Joe Pa was in on the discussion about what to do with Sandusky(basically, they told him keep his nasty, perverted stuff off the main campus, but they did nothing to keep him from moving his football camps to the satellite campus in Erie, Pennsylvania.) 'We don't care who's lives you are ruining, as long as you don't ruin it here!'
Highly lame. Who knows how many more lives this pervert may have scared between 2002 and now because these folks were worried about protecting the Penn State Brand.
How's that brand looking now?