Normally, this blog would try to avoid issues such as the one currently consuming all aspects of sports and mainstream news — the Penn State sex abuse scandal. But unfortunately, that coverage is the reason why I, personally, felt a need to say something. While I understand that it’s ESPN’s job to report happenings related to sports, some at the Worldwide Leader have made it COMPLETELY about the game, rather than the real victims here — the children abused by former Nittany Lions assistant Jerry Sandusky. Of course, they’d just be mirroring now-former coach Joe Paterno’s actions. But I digress…
Leading the parade was one of the usual suspects, Ivan Maisel. Instead of talking about Paterno’s alleged crimes of omission and looking at the facts at hand, Maisel (as always) would rather wax poetic about JoePa’s Italian upbringing in Brooklyn, and apparent commitment to doing the right thing. He speaks in intangibles and immeasurable traits, something ESPN makes a habit of more and more. Worst of all, Maisel includes this Paterno quote, which could hint at how all of this happened in the first place:
“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case,” Paterno said. “I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.”
If it’s true that Paterno knew about this a decade ago (evidence points to that being the case), then how will grieving now do anything of consequence? Sandusky behaved in a manner considered vile, wrong and evil to the overwhelming majority of this country. And Paterno’s just “devastated by developments” — ones that he could’ve prevented from escalating (allegedly).
As you’ll find in nearly all statements made by Joe Paterno, very little is said of the victims, and it’s really all about him, the fans, the team and the university. He was fired for allowing the molestation of young boys to happen virtually under his watch. But the narrative paints a different story.
“Let’s see what’s going to happen, OK? Right now I’m not the coach. And I’ve got to get used to that. After 61 years, I’ve got to get used to it.”
Paterno said this to a group of students showing their support for him as coach of the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, I have some news for those who still want Paterno at Penn State: If you support Paterno, the administration, or anyone else who could’ve prevented the tragedies of what happened there in spite of their inaction, then by association, you’re supporting and condoning everything Sandusky did. By all means, stand by your school. But Paterno? Wake up. He put his name, the football team and the “aura” of Penn State ahead of the well-being of children. So much so, he even thought he could set the terms of when and how he’d leave the school. Is that someone you’d like to be associated with? Didn’t think so.
UPDATE: Students were rioting on campus tonight, and flipped over a news van (“HOW DARE YOU COVER OUR COACH GETTING FIRED FOR ALLOWING CHILDREN TO BE MOLESTED!!!”) Proof that there is at-least a significant faction of Penn State fans/students/alums standing by Paterno amidst this nonsense. If you’ve read this far, you’re aware of what I think about these folks.