The Worship of Joe Paterno

I posted this on Facebook on Sunday (22 January). The response was amazing:

I’m having trouble with all the Joe Paterno worship I’m seeing today. Yeah, he was a “winning football coach” and all, but when he found out one of his assistant coaches was raping little boys in his spare time (even on campus!), he did the very minimum required by law (reported it to his supervisor). He did NOT make sure it stopped, he did NOT make sure that the police had been notified, he did NOT fire the assistant coach, he did NOT apparently follow up at all. Seems to me that failure to act as a human being WAY outweighs being good at a freaking GAME. Who seriously disagrees with that? Really: if you still respect the man, tell me WHY.

Defending the Indefensible

In less than 24 hours, more than 150 people clicked “Like” to that statement and question, and there are nearly that many comments, too.

A lot of those comments are copied below, so that those who missed the debate on Facebook — and those who aren’t on Facebook — can see the alarming direction it took.

Yes, a majority agree that the worship of a sports figure over actual harm being done to children is simply wrong. But there was also a tiny few who can’t stand to have anything ugly come between themselves and the fallible humans (dare I say false idols?!) they worship.

I’ve put their names in red so they stand out better, since in many ways theirs are the more interesting.

I’m posting this to promote more dialogue in the face of losing subscribers over this. It’s true: incredibly, several people have already unsubscribed from True over my daring to ask “WHY”!

Yet I refuse to be silent, and maybe you’ll see why if you take the time to read it all — it’s long, but it’s a fascinating glimpse into what I think are some really warped thought processes: they demand to let their bias kill the messenger and (literally!) screw the children: “My idol worship must prevail!”

Note: Despite the length of this, I’ve not copied all the comments, just enough to get a full flavor. I’ve “nested” the comments as much as I can so that you can follow the flow of conversation more easily; it’s roughly in time order (some comments combined and nested to make reading easier).

Last, remember that on Facebook, there are no italics, bold, etc., so for emphasis ALL CAPS is common.

Ellen, a teacher in Maine: I’ve been thinking the same thing, Randy. Unbelievable. Disgusting.

Rene in Ohio: Thank you.

Deanna, a minister in Ohio: I agree with you Randy. Nothing ever makes abuse “ok” not even being a winning football coach.

Will in California: Randy, I disagree with you on this. There is absolutely no proof, no evidence, just words said by some men who claim these things happened and the tale told by a sleazy guy who is unbelievably weird. I support Paterno and Sandusky and I would like to see concrete proof of these allegations.

I will forever believe that his death was hastened by Penn State’s lack of willingness to get the details and discover the truth of the matter before bowing to public pressure and media lies. Show me the evidence! Bleep the media and the public, the board’s job is to protect and serve the school, not the public whim. Long live JoePa!

Dee in Washington DC: Will, I’m not sure which sleazy guy you are referring to, but the fact that JoePa *admitted* that he had reported Sandusky and did not follow-up on it makes me think there might have been some truth to the allegations.

Michelle in California: Will – it seems the public and the media were THE ONLY ONES TALKING ABOUT THIS because Paterno and the school tried to cover it up.

Whether or not Sandusky is guilty or innocent, he needs to be investigated. The fact that this has been swept under the rug for DECADES is what makes this whole thing disgusting and why “JoPa” as you call him is just as disgusting.

Sue in Colorado: Turns my stomach to see such worship for a pedophile protector, but it is more common than we think. Those boys are affected 100% of the rest of their lives. Winning football games does not make a great man.

Aaron in Washington DC: Will, not to piss all over the parade or anything, but have you read this?

Grand Jury report [PDF, 973K — WARNING: contains some graphic descriptions of sexual abuse of children aged 11-12 (victim 1), about 10 (victim 2), “between 7th and 8th grade” (victim 3), 12 or 13 (victim 4), 7 or 8 (victims 5 and 6), about 12 (victim 7), 11-13 (victim 8).]

It reads like a NAMBLA library book. Do you seriously think that none of this happened? I think it’s about time we stop this nonsensical bullshit about sports and start focusing on something more important that the fantasy league. Screw sports, the money wasted on it and everything they stand for.

Will responds: All of you are missing my point, where is the proof that these “boys” were even being molested or anything else? We are too quick to assume that charges equal guilt. Sandusky is innocent until evidence proves otherwise. Isn’t that what our justice system is all about?I grant you that Sandusky is weird, even perverted, but that is not a criminal offense as far as I know. If it were, more than 75% of this nation would be locked away!

Is no one willing to answer my posts? Whatever happened to innocence before guilt?

My Response

I’ll answer you, Will: it DOES NOT MATTER if the allegations are true — even though they likely are. The POINT is that it needed to be investigated. He had information, and chose to keep quiet. THAT is unconscionable. THAT is what I’m talking about. The delay instituted by himself (AND the “supervisors” above him) made it HARDER to get at the truth and, if true, made it HARDER on the boys involved. That is ALSO unconscionable.

Will, I do commend you for having the guts to say what you think. But you keep putting “boys” in quotation marks, and excuse it because they are now apparently men. That’s half the point: they were CHILDREN. Not “college boys” but school-aged KIDS. This deserved investigation LONG before it came to light, but it didn’t get that investigation because of Joe. I can’t dismiss this as “Oh, it’s probably just stories” …being told by MANY people. A conspiracy? Riiiight. Sorry, but I can’t dismiss it that easily.

Cheryl in New York: What people will (not) do in the name of winning games is disgusting and shows where priorities are, and they are NOT in the right place. That anyone would make excuses for someone who does nothing to make sure children are not being assaulted/abused is inexcusable, and that kind of refusal to act should be punishable by, at the very least, a long suspension without pay. To refuse to act is to allow evil to flourish.

Amazing how people justify inaction and explain it away.

John in Virginia: I have no children of my own; but I can NOT understand how anyone who does could possibly overlook this. If the JANITOR mopping the floors in the locker room saw what happened EVERYONE would expect more to have been done. He did nothing to cause the problem, but his INACTIONS allowed it to continue; how many more boys were assaulted because “Joe” did NOTHING?

Robb in New Hampshire: By all accounts, Joe knew well before anyone else relevant knew and before literally anything was done. I’m not ready to have a jury convict him on my belief of such news reports, but if that’s the case, he’s *almost* as much as a scumbag as sandusky for, essentially, looking the other way. To put his football achievements ahead of disregarding such a disgusting act just comes down to how serious your priorites are. Good luck with what you see in the mirror.

How does it go? For evil to prevail all it takes is for good men to do nothing? Thanks Joe, thanks for nothing.

Will replies: I DO NOT protect or defend pedos, but I do defend and support all when justice must be done. These “boys” now men, I assume, are likely creating a false story. These accusers should step forward and publicly announce their intentions, otherwise this case has no merits for even existing. That is all I have to say on this. Thank you.

Miriam, a teacher in California: Will, I believe you are speaking with the best intentions but you have absolutely NO idea how this level of child abuse works. You need to do a minimum of reading or speaking with experts before you throw such strong assumptions into the ring. You have every right to your opinion, but you are *****massively***** uninformed.

People who have been anally raped very often take years to even recall the event — or they become rapists themselves. (Often, child rapists can’t recall their actions, either. Once they realize what they’ve done, they are often suicidal.) That is why it is so easy for perpetrators to stay safely in the shadows. We all want to look in the other direction. No one wants to face what horrors are done to children. And that includes many of the people who are horrified at this event…but believe that it is a rare occurrence. Seeing the truth of it makes the world seem too evil.

You are right that, according to the law, an indicted person is innocent until proven guilty. But some indictments come with more solid supporting evidence than others. But absolutely, the legal court is different than the court of public opinion, and we should be careful how far we go with our community judgments.

Good news is that we are beginning to see the light. I do believe that someday, children will be safer than they are today.

David in Arkansas: Some of the comments here confirm what I’ve long suspected: too many people are willing to give athletes (and their coaches) a free pass. I guess winning the next game is more important than an individual’s safety or well being.

Kevin in Colorado: I can shed a tear for the passing of a great man who did more good for this world before breakfast than 99% of the rest of the population. Sandusky is a scumbag, no doubt about it, but to target Paterno for everything that has happened… bullshit in my book.

Michelle in California: Kevin – no one is saying to target him for everything. However, he is still responsible for not doing more to protect those boys. He did the absolute minimum he had to do, which says that he cared more about protecting Sandusky (or maybe just protecting his football team/staff) than protecting CHILDREN.

Brandon in Missouri: Anyone that would hurt children or allow them to be hurt is deserving of disdain, not hero worship. If he had simply been a decent human being, it would have stopped. Instead, he was selfish and cowardly. For that he deserves to be remembered… it overrides whatever accomplishments he had as a coach.

As a human he’s disgusting. As an educator he’s reprehensible.

Jack in Colorado: I really don’t condone “trial by media” and the circus of criticism it spawns. Certainly we should all know by now that what we read in the news or is portrayed on TV news magazines should be taken with a million grains of salt. The quality of journalism today is certainly suspect. So, why should we swallow what has been fed us in this case? Joe Paterno should ultimately be remembered for his efforts to raise the academic standards for his athletic program at Penn State and for the athletes he coached. A modest and generous man.

Aaron in Washington DC: I’m not swallowing nothing, I read the fricken testimony from the court.

Shane in Texas: Looks to me as if fingers are not being pointed in all directions that they need to be!! If all of this happened in 2002, then more than Joe and Sandusky should be in their way to hell!!! 9 years is totally unacceptable for nothing to be “investigated”. Not saying anyone is guilty of committing the act, but not making sure the allegations are investigated in a timely matter is just as disturbing as the act!!!

Neil in Canada: Right, there’s the other cliché argument, as I predicted. Blame the victims, and if that fails, shoot the messenger. The media must be circumspect, always. After all, they tell us stuff, sometimes inaccurately. better to rely on bloggers who have no motives, right?

All except, yeah, that court testimony. But, the victims must be out for something, like the fame and glory that comes from an old man sticking his penis up your anus. Right? Sheesh.

Anna in Nevada: When sports are more important than people’s lives, something is very wrong with American priorities.

Eric in Pennsylvania: All of you seem to think you know the whole story, but none of you know anything except what the media wants you to know. I for one am going to leave the judging of Joe Paterno to God.

Randy, who was Joe supposed to fire? By the time anything was reported to Joe, Sandusky had been retired for 3 years.

My Response

Make up your mind: the media knows nothing and lies, except when they print evidence that backs up your side?

To answer your question, yes: according to the timeline compiled by CNN, Sandusky retired in 1999, and Paterno was told what was going on in 2002. However, after his retirement, Sandusky stayed on at the university as a “volunteer” coach, and brought children as young as “7 or 8” to the university where, according to witnesses cited by the Grand Jury, Sandusky anally and orally raped those children on campus in the locker room showers and elsewhere. It was only then that Sandusky’s locker room keys were “confiscated” and he was told to stop bringing the children from his organization to campus anymore.

Three or four years later, CNN summarizes, Sandusky was grooming yet another child, and a year or so after that, “A wrestling coach at the high school where Sandusky is volunteering allegedly surprises Sandusky and a boy ‘lying on their sides, in physical contact, face to face on a mat’ in a cramped weight room. Sandusky jumps to his feet and tells the coach the two were just working on wrestling moves, the coach later recalls in grand jury testimony.

As time goes on, Sandusky allegedly begins to spend more time with the boy, taking him to sporting events and giving him gifts, including golf clubs, a computer, cash and clothes. During this period, according to the grand jury report, Sandusky allegedly performs oral sex on the boy more than 20 times, and the boy performs oral sex on him once.”

Yet Paterno still allowed Sandusky to “work” on campus as a “volunteer” coach. That is what I am talking about when I say Paterno chose not to “fire” him — to get him away from the youths that Paterno is responsible for.

Maxim in New Jersey: This is a highly inappropriate discussion in a social forum that appears on many ‘Walls’ in Facebook. The range of comments resemble the sort of postings that appear in a blog or following an opinion piece in the media; and the use of graphic words intended for ‘shock’ value borders on obscene. Randy, I’ve been a follower of you for many years, but this crossed a line.

My Reply: Maxim, hide the post if it disturbs you. If people can openly worship a man like that, I can object to it. If you don’t like it, STOP READING. One other thing: words aren’t “obscene” — actions are. That you would object to the words without objecting to the actions is, IMO, obscene in itself.

David in California: “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.” -Joe Paterno (Source)
Joe Paterno wasn’t just the coach of the Penn St. Nittany Lions football team. He was considered to be more powerful than the university president. Beyond that, he was a leader of the community. Look at how he is still revered by people like Will. As he admitted, he should have done more.

If you don’t think he should have done more, answer this one question: If it had been your son Sandusky was raping in the Penn St. locker room showers, would you have wanted Coach Paterno to have done more?

He could have called the police. He could have sat down with the guy who worked for him for 20 years and made sure he got into serious rehab if he weren’t going to jail. He could have tipped off a reporter. There are countless ways that he as a leader of his community and one who was so revered could have done SOMETHING.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…” or in this case, to do the minimum required by law.

Colleen in New Jersey: As head coach, JP was in a position to back up the men who DID see as they made eyewitness reports, without fear of losing their jobs or being blackballed in the NCAA. Maxim: It IS an ugly issue. That’s why we need to talk about it. If not now, when? If not us, who? Abuse happens when people like us turn our backs and ignore it.

Maxim: Anyone under age 13 on [Facebook] has irresponsible parents, which is another whole set of problems. Anyone 13 or over needs to know about this topic (if they don’t already) and has heard worse language in school. Get with the program here!

DiAnn in Texas: All I could say say go ahead and blackball me because I would be calling the TV station myself if that is what it took to get that pedophile fired. You know the main reason WHY there are so many pedophiles now days? Because people tolerate it! As long as they are getting something they want they look the other way.

Aaron in Washington, DC: He got away with it because people dont want to hear things like some creepy old fricken guy touched some kids. So they cover their eyes, ears, nose, and yell “LALALALALALALALA I can’t hear you!!! I Don’t believe you!!!!!!! LALALALALALALALALA,” idiots. Grow up and realize that your support of these slimy people is why this happens. You’re at fault, yes you, I hold you accountable.

Cheryl in New York: Eric, if you’re upset because people have read factual documents such as the grand jury testimony and made up their minds based on that, you’re the one with the problem, because we made informed decisions. Can you say the same?

Maxim, you are absolutely out of line telling Randy to close and delete this thread. If you don’t like it, then don’t read it. There is nothing here that’s any more vulgar or explicit than what’s said by middle and high school students. We’re far less vulgar and explicit, and there’s nothing here that’s immature or undisciplined. We’re being far more civil, polite, and courteous than many blogs and message boards I’ve visited. I’d love to what what damage you’re referring to when you say the damage has already been done. What are we saying here that wasn’t said by the media well before now? If you’re worried about impressionable young minds being corrupted, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Maxim, again: Randy, and others, foul language and references to sexual organs is extraneous to this discussion. Facebook is a social medium that is frequented by young people; it is a not a private blog, and it is not a closed group. Permit to suggest that I am not some uptight religious person; my views are very liberal, but I have had to deal with parents and organizations that are concerned about the consequences of immature and undisciplined behavior in social mediums. Don’t try to dismiss my comments by telling me to hide it; I already have done just that, but the damage is already done. Take this sort of discussion elsewhere, and do it forthrightly; don’t play word games of offended virtue or free speech. Once again, close and delete this thread.

My Reply

No, Maxim: I will NOT be censored. I will NOT allow the worshipers to be the only voice here. I will NOT stand idly by and say nothing, and for you to suggest I do so is, as I said, obscene. That you repeat it is reprehensible.

Aaron in Washington DC: Why try to censure it? Does the truth scare you? He could have gone to the cops, and then people today would have been like “yeah, that guy was awesome, he set fire to Sandusky, remember that?” but he didn’t.

Neil in Canada: Maxim: References to sexual organs offends you or someone else? We all got ’em. Your puritanical stance is an attempt at censorship. The very crux of this matter is that a man used his sexual organs to violate a young boy. If there was ever a time to write the word penis, this would be it.

Dee in Washington DC: Maxim, Facebook is an open forum, but Randy’s page is Randy’s page. You can control what your friends see on YOUR page, but you cannot dictate what he wants to post on HIS page or what discussions I want to see. As Randy said, if you are offended by the discussion, hide it so that it does not show up on your own FB page. You can also “unfollow” the discussion so you don’t have to see any additional updates.

Mark, a college professor in Minnesota: Randy, thanks for calling it for what it is. Paterno may have been a “nice guy”, but he was the beneficiary of a cult of personality constructed by various Athletic Directors to enrich the PSU coffers. If he had any inkling to do the right thing, they were trumped by the need to keep the myth alive. And Maxim, sexual assault is a violent crime committed with and against genitalia. Call it what it is and quit trying to sanitize the act with manufactured outrage.

Bill in Pennsylvania: I was wondering who was going to step up and ask the tough questions. I should have guessed it would be you Randy. The fact that he did the minimum where the safety of young people were diminishes the legend and the man.

Tig in California: And to add to the actual discussion – I went and read the report that was linked to from here. It seems various people believed there to be some truth to the accusations – he was banned from various sorts of access to the kids over time – but because there were not enough reports to authorities, the situation continued – putting more young boys in danger. ‘Not at this school’ isn’t enough.

Robert, location unknown: Randy, I’m sorry to see you badmouthing a man who just died. Especially since you and many of your commenters have a somewhat skewed viewpoint here. One of the 2 people JoePa reported the info he had to was the man in charge of the Penn State Police Department. The other was the University President. Can you think of anyone more appropriate? And once that info was passed on, the proper authorities were responsible for follow-up. Joe was the FOOTBALL coach, not the POLICE coach. He had no authority or responsibility to hold their hand while they did their job. Further, McQueery’s story seems to be twisting in so many directions, nobody really knows what he actually saw – including him. What has remained constant is JoePa’s story of the limited and sketchy info he was given by McQueery who told Joe he MIGHT have seen something that MIGHT have been inappropriate. But did you notice who was still on the sidelines coaching until his life was threatened? And even thgen, he was put on an administrative leave WITH PAY! Penn State Administrators and Trustees flubbed this big time and JoePa’s reputation should not be sullied by their screw-ups. For now, I am considering cancelling all contact with you and your pages and sites. I find it difficult to support someone with a public forum who uses it to defile others without sorting through ALL of the FACTS leaviong emotion aside.

My Reply: It’s astonishing to me that asking WHY is considered “badmouthing.”

Miriam in California: Robert, I find that people who say we should put emotion aside are rarely doing so at the time.

I do actually wonder if Joe Paterno may have simply been more clueless and less culpable than some…but I don’t see how anyone could allow their colleague and friend to continue to work with children after knowing that something occurred that was clearly very concerning. I can’t imagine any responsible person not following through with the persons to whom he reported. No moral excuse for that is in my sights. What am I missing? Seriously, I would like to know if you would just report and then get back to business as usual.

Colleen in New Jersey: Robert: Our point is that there was inadequate follow through. JoPa, the trustees, the Penn State Campus Police, all of the adults who knew SOMETHING did precious little with that knowledge, and children suffered as a result. Football, and adult careers, were more important, apparently. We teach children to say no, and run to tell a trusted adult immediately. (Reportedly, one kid did, and his mother challenged Sandusky, to no avail…) It is then up to the ADULTS to follow through, and keep on with the follow-through, until appropriate results occur.

Pete in Virginia:Robert: it’s the fact that he did not follow through. He should have fired the assistant coach right then and there end of story. But you ask who would have been more appropriate to complain to – how about the local police department? IF he had done what was necessary then… but he didn’t. He put the university’s name and football program ahead of the well being of children.

Robert, you want facts? Fine. JoPa was told about Sandusky “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy” by McQuery. JoPa tells Tim Curley the Athletic Director who later denies being told. The next day McQuery is in a meeting with Curley and Sr VP, director of Finance Gary Shultz who had “oversight” of the campus Police. And yet somehow Sandusky was STILL there. AND when all of this comes to head, Curley and Shultz abandon ship.

David in Arkansas: I guess Robert only listens to sources that agree with his biased & predetermined opinions. Heaven forfend he get confused by the facts.

Robert’s Reply: Pete, wipe the emotion out of your eyes and read what I said and what you said. Sandusky was no longer an assistant coach at the time so he couldn’t be fired. Joe also was not told what exactly happened so firing anyone would open him to major lawsuits. And can you get more local of a police department than the Penn State Police who police the campus where this allegedly occurred???

I’ve read all the facts, David. Maybe you should read them or change your profile pic to a more appropriate Obama logo. See ya Randy, I really don’t nbeed you or your liberal, judgemental idiots.

My Reply: Oh, here we go again! If you can’t argue the merits, sputter out the biggest epithet you can think of (“liberal!”), and then take your ball and run home, crying all the way.

Poor, poor Robert unsubscribed from True, repeating his complaint:

Robert: “You and your followers here and on FaceBook have gone way too liberal and feel it is fair to bash even the recently departed. Your rant about Joe Paterno was undeserved, unnecessary and unsupported by the facts. I thought you had more charachter than this but when I tried to address it to you on FB, I was attacked by your blithering idiot followers there. They can buy as many of your GOOH Free cards as they want, it won’t help them. And your comments in This is True are marginally funny at best anymore. Most are just plain insulting or cruel. A grand slide from where you were a few years ago when I first began following you. I guess the election of Obama not only financially bankrupted this Nation, but comedically bankrupted you. See ‘ya!”

Dee in Washington DC: Randy, thanks for hosting this very interesting discussion. It’s really made me think – and I know how you love doing that! 🙂 I saw a bit on TV where someone said, “Don’t pray for [JoePa], pray TO him – he’s a saint!” I think that kind of statement is what we are talking about.

Joe Paterno was a great football coach who was known as someone who took seriously his role of developing young men into responsible adults. He was not a saint however, he was human, and he made human mistakes. He got blinded by almighty football and didn’t act when he should have to protect children. Maybe he just couldn’t believe anything like that could have happened and just mentally pushed it under the rug (you know, the “LALALALALA I know nothing” syndrome). Whatever. He obviously had a positive effect on many many people, but he made a serious misstep that encouraged horrible behaviorand destroyed many other lives.

I don’t celebrate his death and I do understand people mourning his passing. I feel very sorry for him and his family, but I feel sorrier for the children who suffered because he (and the rest of Penn State) did not stop Sandusky.

Will stated “These accusers should step forward and publicly announce their intentions, otherwise this case has no merits for even existing.”

I believe it takes great courage for any rape victim to even give evidence in court, much less speak up publicly. And it’s especially difficult in a case where the victim is a child and the rapist is someone is supposedly “helping” them. I think Randy stated it quite clearly: the issue here is not really whether the crimes were actually committed, but that the accusations were not only not investigated, but were swept under a rug. One wonders if McQueary had seen a complete stranger abusing a 10-year-old in his local gym, would it have been investigated?

The Attempt at Censorship: Shoot the Messenger!

And that’s enough — except for Maxim, who sent me a private message to say that he had reported the discussion thread to Facebook — since I won’t censor it upon his demand, he thought he should report it to a higher authority (Facebook) in an attempt to get them to enforce the censorship he demands:

Maxim: I’ve already blocked your thread. Take it up with Facebook; they have the message, and that second notice was just a professional courtesy. One last point, we’ve both been around the block; we are both professional writers, but you are a young man compared to me. You will have to deal with the issues that I mentioned without support from wise and mature people; that leaves you with people who see it as fun to indulge in foul language. Good luck with that.

Perhaps Maxim is a writer (just color me skeptical), but he’s not what I would ever consider a professional: someone talks about what this whole thing is really about — anal rape — and he’s so squeemish about the use of the proper word for the weapon used (gasp! a penis!) that he demands censorship?

No professional writer I could respect would ever do that. We don’t need a “freedom of speech” right for speech we like — it’s only for speech that we dislike, makes us uncomfortable, delves into topics we don’t want to hear about, but that needs to be brought into the open.

And that’s why this whole thing is here: Maxim’s threat. In the unlikely event that Facebook does censor it based on one squeamish idiot’s complaint, I want it on my site so that I can ensure this discussion is available.

Stand Up and Be Counted!

Again, more than one has unsubscribed from my mailing list because of it. Will you replace those idol worshipers? If you’re not already a subscriber to This is True (“Thought-provoking entertainment”), please scroll to the form on this page and proudly enter your address for my newsletter. Already a subscriber? Consider upgrading to a paid subscription to really show support for this kind of discussion, and to get more of my work each week.

Yep, some 13+ kids read my original comment, and perhaps read all or some of the comments thread too. Good! As others have said, they’ve heard the words before, and if they’re not aware of the fact that some of the “responsible” adults around them commit sexual atrocities upon the very children they’re supposed to protect, then it’s time they became aware.

Anal and oral rape is an ugly subject? You bet it is, and I want youngsters to know that it’s OK to say no, and if it happens anyway, they need to know that the police and other authorities do want to help them and put the bad people into jail. (“People” because it’s not just men: women sexually abuse children too, even if not as much.)

Looking the Other Way Enables Pedophiles

The sexual abuse of children is simply not right, and to cover it up, to demand that this ugly subject be hidden from view like it’s not happening, is part of what makes it possible for pedophiles to continue their abuse.

Last word, for now, goes to this comment on Facebook:

James in Colorado: Correct me if I am wrong. It is the PLAYERS that win the game. It is the PLAYERS, not the coach. While I admit that the coach “makes the decisions” on what plays to make, but again its the PLAYERS that make it happen. I don’t think any coach deserves to be called a WINNER. Just my opinion. Feel free to correct me if my perceptions are wrong about who wins the game.

Well sure. But who takes — and gets! — credit for the wins, especially over time? That’s what we’re all talking about: the utter worship of the wrong people. Good call, James.

The Worship of Joe Paterno

July 2012 Update

Again, my January posting simply asked the question of why there was such reverence for a man who allowed child rape to continue under his nose. There was a lot of anger over such a question: Paterno “did so much” for football, Penn State, and the students in his program!

As if sacrificing young children to a predator somehow was OK because he did good things for young men.

Not in my world it doesn’t. Not even if it was “just” one.

Sandusky was charged on 5 November 2011 with seven counts of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault, and other offenses. Only then was he banned from the Penn State campus. He was found guilty on 22 June 2012 of 45 of the 48 counts against him. He has not yet been sentenced, but faces a minimum of 60 years, and as much as 442 years, in prison.

But let’s look at the results of exhaustive investigation into Paterno’s acts — mostly of omission.

In a story headlined Louis Freeh report on PSU attacks Joe Paterno’s judgment and integrity, the Philadelphia Inquirer says “the scathing Pennsylvania State University report” faults Paterno personally for his role in allowing the sexual abuse of children to continue. Just some of the tidbits:

  • The idea that Paterno was not really aware of the ’98 incident “is completely contradicted by the evidence,” says the author of the Penn State report, former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Rather, he says, Paterno “followed the case closely.”
  • Paterno “was the key to a decision by top university officials to back away from alerting state authorities to a 2001 shower incident involving a boy.” The university didn’t report that case because athletic department director Timothy Curley convinced them not to “after talking it over with Joe.” Apparently, Paterno pointed out that reporting it would trigger “an official, outside investigation” which would have brought bad publicity to the school.
  • “The facts are the facts,” Freeh said. Paterno “was an integral part of an active effort to conceal” Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children as young as 7 years old.
  • Nike chairman Phil Knight “had been one of the coach’s staunchest supporters,” but with the report making it clear that Paterno was personally involved in shielding Sandusky, which enabled him to continue raping children, Knight “decided to change the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center at its Oregon headquarters.”
  • Once police did get the allegations, they concluded that Paterno was “an active participant in an administrative effort to ‘conceal critical facts’ and preserve the reputation of the university’s signature athletic program.”
  • In fact, Freeh says, “There was no indication Coach Paterno called in his assistants and said, ‘Let’s make sure Sandusky doesn’t bring any more kids into the showers.'” Instead, “Joe did give [Sandusky] the option to continue to coach as long as he [Paterno] was the coach,” Curley wrote in a 1999 email. When Sandusky retired in 1999 (but continued on as a “volunteer” and allowed to keep his key to get into the gym and lockerroom anytime he wished), Paterno praised him as a “person of great character and integrity” even though he was well aware of multiple reports of Sandusky raping children on campus. Sandusky was allowed to retire “not as a suspected child predator but as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy,” Freeh’s report says.

How “exhaustive” was Freeh’s report? Extremely: it was built on interviews with 430 witnesses and the review of 3.5 million documents (such as emails), but not including any reports that Paterno and Curley made to law enforcement officials as required by law — because they never made any such report about what they knew.

Paterno died before he could be brought to answer for his crimes — yes, crimes of not protecting the children he knew were being abused by Sandusky. Curley, meanwhile, is awaiting trial on charges of committing perjury in front of a grand jury, and failure to report suspected child abuse.

The newspaper reports that even Penn State alumni are starting to call for the university to remove Paterno’s statue from outside Beaver Stadium because of his criminal failure to report what he knew Sandusky was doing on campus. Plans for renaming the stadium for Paterno have been scrapped.

The reporter who interviewed Paterno shortly before he died, where he repeatedly said on the record he knew nothing about what Sandusky was doing, now says Paterno is “a liar” and “a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.” Yep. That story, titled “Joe Paterno, at the End, Showed More Interest In His Legacy Than Jerry Sandusky’s Victims” is here.

The bottom line: it was rather obvious that Paterno knew what was going on, and it has been clearly proven that he did nothing to stop it. Those who covered their ears and screamed “Not true!” and/or stomped away from my telling the truth were and are wrong, and their actions are what child molesters count on so they can continue to defile our children. Yes, those of you who refused — and especially those who still refuse — to hold Paterno accountable help perpetuate child rape. Truly, how can you sleep at night?

The Worship of Joe Paterno

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166 Comments on “The Worship of Joe Paterno

  1. I won’t let a single event color my respect for the life and career of an 80-year-old man. He did what he was supposed to do, and expected those above him to do what they were supposed to do.

    Where’s the outcry against Victim One’s HS principal and coach, who tried to get his mother to drop the issue in 2002, and let Sandusky keep taking the boy places?

    Where’s the outcry against everyone else who failed these kids? I feel like Paterno is the easy target.

    Bob, did you even read the page? This isn’t about a listing of everyone who’s culpable, it’s my asking why there is idol worship of one man who is culpable. That’s the question. What’s your answer? But: please do actually read the page first: we’re not talking about a “single event” but rather ignoring a pattern for years after he was informed of it. -rc

  2. Now if it were Cardinal Law who had died, the first thing mentioned would be his cover up of clergy abuse, not the good he did for his diocese.

    BUT nowhere in the death notices of Paterno did I see his coverup of sexual abuse in the first 10 paragraphs. That is where the sports worship is greatly evident.

    There needs to be a quid pro quo, abuse of children in any form, at any time, in any place, needs to be front and center and it overshadows everything till one is acquitted. The damage done to the children is FOREVER, and so should be treated as a dire deed.

  3. Yes, he should have followed up and certainly not allowed Sandusky to be anywhere near the locker rooms. As for the “idol worship,” I think it’s not accurate to just label Paterno a “football coach” as though he were the same as any coach out there today. In a world where coaches leave for the NFL or move to better opportunities every few years, Paterno was there for decades. He made sure his players got their education — Penn State and Stanford have the highest overall (and minority) graduation rate in college football. Paterno lived in a modest house and signed over checks to the school ($100K each year to the library fund, for starters). Whether or not he deserves the “idol worship,” he was not on the same level as your typical college football coach. And, to the poster who says it’s the players who win the games, it’s the coach who recruits and trains those players, who decides who plays and what strategy they will utilize, what plays to run, etc. The coach is most definitely part of the “win.”

    Thanks, Mike: after more than 150 comments on Facebook, you’re the first, I think, to actually answer my question (and in a reasonable way). I appreciate your giving me a better understanding your point of view! -rc

  4. I’m sorry this had to be moved because of one “older writer’s” squeamishness — going through the comments prior to Maxim’s first post on the matter I did not see any profanity for profanities sake. Maxim if a frank discussion bothers you then by all means exercise your right to not take part in it but do not interfere with my right to take part in it. Obviously it bothered Robert enough to call me and others “liberal” and to have made the comment of “showing my true colors” by posting a timeline of events from both NPR and CNN.

    Honestly I’m sorry that Paterno is dead — but there should be NO separation of his football career and this scandal. Fact of the matter is Paterno did not do enough to stop Sandusky nor was Paterno the only one who failed to do so.

    At any rate it is a really interesting discussion, Randy.

    More people will see it here, anyway, so I was glad to be “forced” to move it here. -rc

  5. I actually think you’re barking up the wrong tree of a sorts, Randy. Even if the sexual abuse scandal never happened at all (and believe me, I wish it didn’t, chiefly for the sake of the victims) why is there hero worship of this man? It seems to be based primarily on the fact that he was a very effective football coach. So? Why does that warrant him being idolized?

    I have friends that have made a difference in people’s lives — volunteering at homeless shelters, coordinating microloans for third world businesses, and setting up organizations to encourage righting of injustices (working with victims of the child trafficking industry, the poor, and those who have destitute lives). *Those* people are deserving of hero worship, but I’ll bet each and every one of their deaths will be more obscure than Paterno’s — even without his scandal.

    I’m not sure that agreement with my point means I’m “barking up the wrong tree”. I do agree with your more precise point, though. It’s exactly why I started the “Honorary Unsubscribe” feature in TRUE in the late 90s: I felt we were giving “celebrity” to the wrong people, such as athletes. -rc

  6. I worry about people who elevate Football, or any other sport, to religious levels. I love to watch sports as much as anyone, but both collegiate and professional sports have become such a passion/obsession for so many, that it clouds there perception of reality.

    The fact that JoePa spent so many years in one job is remarkable. However, he is a coach of a extra-curricular sports team, not a deity. Since he died, I have heard many extol that JoePa would have “done anything for the college he loved.” This apparently was true. He made sure that nothing would sully his precious football team or Penn State. I’m sorry, but putting school/team pride ahead of human life is wrong. Nothing can alter the egregiousness of Paterno’s inaction. He may have been fatherly and a great guy, but his morals were not evident when he did so precious little when faced with allowing a predator of young children to continue to run amok in society. If after reporting it to the proper officials, JoePa had seen Sandusky again on campus (or anywhere else), it should have been his #1 priority to make sure Sandusky remained as far away from children as allowable by law.

    JoePa was a human being, not a deity. Football is only a game, not a life.

  7. I have to agree with you Randy. Paterno stated that he probably could have done more and I agree with him. The law defines ‘minors’ as those that must be cared for, looked after and protected by the majority. It is our responsibility and duty to protect ALL children. When a complaint is brought forward, it is our responsibility and duty to prevent any further instances of possible harm to the child. This is not a liberal point of view. I believe that if Paterno had been told that Sandusky was beating boys instead of raping them, he would have reacted much more strongly. It was the sexual connotation that prevented him from reacting properly. Unfortunately, he didn’t view abuse as abuse, whether physical or mental. I can’t respect him for allowing abuse to happen without investigating — it was his responsibility and duty.

  8. I agree with David from Billerica “Nothing can alter the egregiousness of Paterno’s inaction” and with Randy.

    While I’m sure his family is sorry he’s dead, I couldn’t muster up any particular emotion. He didn’t stop Sandusky from further opportunities to molest kids. He could have stopped him.

    I do feel sorry for his family; always hard when you lose someone. But Paterno isn’t a hero. Not in my book.

  9. Randy, I would never ever unsubscribe just because you say somthing I do not agree with, not that that has happened so far.

    I find your opinions always sound and common sense, sometimes I have to ask myself, how can an intelligent person think otherwise….

    The key is “intelligent”. You aren’t so invested in preconceived notions that you can’t stand being asked “Why?” You have the ability to answer rationally, and/or to change your mind. What’s sad isn’t that there are people who thought Paterno was great (and he was great at his profession), it’s that any dissonance to their thought pattern causes brain freeze, and the only thing they can do is scream “Liberal!” (or whatever) to put “opponents” in a different box — the “enemy” box because they insist that others must be “with me or against me” — and act accordingly. What a sad, tiny world they live in.

    And to be sure, I’m not categorizing “anyone who disagrees with me” that way. Mike in Weirton, WV, disagrees with me in a comment above, but he didn’t go into brain-lock over it: he calmly stated his reasons “Why” — and I honestly appreciated learning more about his point of view. See how easy it is? Well, easy if you have (and can use) a brain, at least. -rc

  10. I appreciate the discussion. I live in State College, I work on campus (not for PSU), but my wife is faculty and our oldest is a student. I am not a PSU grad, but my wife and son soon will be. As such, I am very close to this. Furthermore, our middle son participated in some 2nd Mile events. We definitely feel like we dodged a bullet there and our hearts break for those who were victims of this atrocity.

    I do take issue with assumptions I have read here. Paterno blew it. He needed to be fired. But that is not the same as covering it up. He did not grasp the magnitude of what he was told…and apparently he was not told everything. But is the myopia of an old man equivalent to an intentional cover-up? He could and should have done more. He did not use the influence and moral authority he had earned over the years to prevent the continuation of abuse. For that he should be held accountable.

    Although his influence stemmed largely from the money flowing to and through the football program, his moral authority came from his character and his commitment to PSU, to his players, and to the students. He loved them. He gave to them. He invested in them. He lived in a modest home within walking distance of the campus, despite his wealth. He raised millions for PSU, but he gave millions as well. He truly was a father (or grandfather) figure to everyone. He shopped locally. He was part of the community. He was one of us.

    I am not excusing his inaction in the Sandusky matter. He could be oblivious to things…players in trouble with the law being an example. But when he was confronted with realities that he had not accepted before, he acted. Lawbreakers were dismissed. Starters were suspended or expelled. The entire team was made to clean Beaver Stadium after several transgressed to make the point that they all shared responsibility, and he was there cleaning up with them.

    Living here, I think the reactions for and against the coach have devolved into histrionic excess. Defend the man and you are condoning child rape. Hold him accountable and you are dismissing an entire lifetime of achievement and investment in the lives of others. Both are ridiculous. He was a man. Flawed and great. Wise and foolish. Prone to excess in both selfishness and selflessness. To one degree or another the same could be said for all of us.

    Some months ago you had an Honorary Unsubscribe for that poor Chinese baby killed on the street while people watched. Were those people worse than everyone else? Or were they emblematic of a more deeply seated failure of the human condition? The neighbors who heard Kitty Genovese scream for her life, were they so different? The soldiers at Abu Graib, or My Lai? It is easy for any of us to say what should have been done. And we are right to hold those accountable who had the opportunity to stop an atrocity and failed to do so.

    But we need to be careful when riding an ethical high horse, because history and experience tells us that many — maybe most — fail that same test. Paterno had an opportunity to act more decisively and failed. That sin of omission haunted him to his grave. We should all learn from that. But he is not the first, he is not the worst, and sadly he will not be the last. He was a great man, but he was just a man. And for good AND bad, we all share that DNA.

    I did not use the term “cover-up”, but others did see it that way, and I allowed them to post their thoughts and conclusions, just as I’m letting you post yours. I do not agree, however, that “maybe most” of us would fail similar tests of ethics. I have reported lawbreakers, I have testified against them in court, I have put myself on the line — and I do not think I’m unusual in being willing to do so. I also reject that to expect such out of our community leaders — or any human — is being on an “ethical high horse”. That notion is what gives cowards cover. We all must demand not just high ethics, but action from our fellow citizens, let alone community leaders and, of course, those in education who have a positive “duty to report” such lawbreaking. Or indeed, we should be “haunted to our graves.” -rc

  11. Great post! I’ve been thinking the same thing. I don’t know if Sandusky is guilty, but the issue can’t just be ignored amidst all the hero worship.

    I am concerned about a comment another reader made. Miriam in California wrote, “People who have been anally raped very often take years to even recall the event — or they become rapists themselves. (Often, child rapists can’t recall their actions, either. Once they realize what they’ve done, they are often suicidal.)”. If we accept this, how is anyone accused of rape to defend himself? And isn’t believing this kind of thing exactly what led to the “recovered memory” and “Satanic abuse” scandals in the early 1990s? I’m no psychologist, but as I understand, abuse victims don’t forget the abuse — if anything, they remember too much. The idea of recovering repressed memories left people vulnerable to therapists who, intentionally or unintentionally, created false memories in their clients.

  12. Regarding it being “liberal” to be against child rape:

    I’ve seen that before!

    I think the basic idea is:

    Feminists and stuff like that are liberal. Feminists are always making a HUUUUGE production out of a little gang rape here and there, even though it’s no big deal, just boys being boys (and then systematically eradicating the evidence of them being boys). So that’s some kind of liberal crap. More generally, making a big deal out of a little rape here and there is just bleeding-heart liberals making a big deal out of everything.


    Huh. Not being liberal, I had no idea. Thanks for the explanation! -rc

  13. As I’ve told many people over the years, I believe that the number of perfect human beings who have ever lived is either zero or one, depending on your religious viewpoint. If the number is one, his name was not Joe Paterno.

    Paterno was a great football coach and a tremendous ambassador for The Pennsylvania State University. Where fans at PSU sporting events yell “We are Penn State!”, Paterno, in many ways, was Penn State. But he was also human, very human. I’m not sure he deserves the complete vilification that some wish upon him, but neither does he deserve to be glorified with the saints. His legacy, like each of ours, is complex. We need to study it all and draw all of the necessary lessons (and there are many) from it.

  14. As someone who has been molested as a teen, I can say that it is extremely difficult to come forward and tell someone. I didn’t tell anyone for years, because I was made to believe that I deserved it (which is a common thought for abusers to put into their victim’s minds). I couldn’t even handle going to the police to file charges. The thought of standing up in court and telling everyone what happened was just too much for me.

    So it is not surprising to me that it took a while for the victims to come forward. They had to come to terms that what happened was not their fault and get past the shame they carried to talk about it. With the abuser being well known, it would be MUCH harder than my situation because what is happening with some people making excuses and looking the other way just because the abuser is well known and respected.

    Every single person who knew this even might have happened and did not make sure that it was investigated is responsible, Joe Paterno included.

  15. Randy, we had a difference over a comment a few months back, but for this I promise to renew my premium subscription! This whole story has been a source of personal pain for me; you see, I was molested as a child. For a two year period starting when I was about 7 up until I was about 9 a so-called family friend committed multiple sex acts on me and forced me to do some of them to him.

    At the time I don’t even think the subject of child molestation was even brought up in “polite society”. I do know I was lost, hurt and confused, with nowhere to turn and no one to talk to. It was probably about 15 years later (in the 70s) when the memories started coming to the surface. I had (and still do) horrible nightmares. This case has triggered their return. I’m telling this because I bring to the discussion the point of view very seldom heard, the voice of the victim.

    To all the supporters of Paterno, let me say this: Based on the court documents and testimony, Paterno and the entire PSU hierarchy failed those kids in such an abysmal way they should all be fired and have to surrender the pay they received. My life has been completely screwed up from my victimization, frankly burying me in money would not make my life any better. With complete certainty I can say that the victims in this case suffered far more than you can imagine.

    Paterno did what he was required to do, they say. Maybe by law, but certainly not from a moral or ethical viewpoint. He failed at being a compassionate human being. And that failure far outweighs any success on the football field. I cannot honor a morally bankrupt person, and I don’t think anybody should.

    The human mind, frankly, really sucks sometimes — that you have nightmares decades later. You addressed this in a way I could not. Thanks for your expert testimony. -rc

  16. I wonder if part of what has set some people off is the question you asked, Randy. If Joe Paterno is to be judged exclusively on “failure to act as a human being” versus “being good at a freaking GAME”, there is no rational argument in favor of the latter. I suspect even Paterno himself would agree with that. The problem is that, unlike most of his fellow coaches, Paterno’s legacy goes far beyond being good at a game. (full disclosure: I am a graduate of Penn State)

    Expanding on what Mike in WV wrote about ensuring that his players got their education and his donations to the university, Paterno had a prominent role in countless fundraising campaigns to improve the academics at Penn State (faculty and facilities alike). Two examples: 1. Paterno addressed the board of trustees in 1983 (yes, timing is everything – he was capitalizing on the goodwill from his first national championship) to present a vision of Penn State rising to become one of this country’s leading public universities; 30 years later, through the efforts of many people associated with Penn State, that vision is reality. 2. In the 1990s, Paterno and his wife led the fundraising efforts to construct a major addition to the campus library, a building which was named in his honor.

    The fairer question: Does the good of the many (Paterno’s impact on the growth and improvement of the university) outweigh his failed judgment (not doing more when told of Sandusky’s alleged crimes)? Maybe the answer is still “no,” but at least then we are considering all facets of his legacy.

    I definitely agree that my passion narrowed my vision. Your expansion of the view is helpful, even if, as you suggest, the answer is still “no”. -rc

  17. I have forever been amazed that so many people in the world consider professional sports so incredibly important. Important enough to lie, cheat, steal, and all the rest up to and including murder. Civilized behavior in the real world is what IS important, not some silly game.

  18. Almost anyone worth revering as a hero has at least one startling vice or act of wrongdoing to their name if you poke around hard enough. I’ve never been one for sports, but I’m reminded of my musical heroes: Beethoven was a misanthrope. Bernstein was a philanderer. Wagner was horrifically racist. All brilliant, brilliant men who brought a lot of beauty and joy to millions, if not billions, of people. Covering up sexual abuse of children by a coach is wrong, wrong, wrong. There really are no two reasonable sides to this. I guess the moral here is that it’s all right to admire somebody for their great accomplishments, but in the end, our heroes are human, sometimes miserably so. It’s when we forget that that we find ourselves trying to justify things for which we wouldn’t forgive anybody else.

    Profound! -rc

  19. My older brother attended Penn State from 1972 to 1976. Joe Paterno was a hero in our house. Over the years, I have casually followed his career.

    So, as you might expect, I wanted very badly for him to be innocent.

    But he was not innocent. His own statements demonstrate that.

    I think that this article presents as sympathetic a view of Mr. Paterno as we’re going to get:

    “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was, 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.”


    “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

    Sure, he did his duty. He reported what had been communicated to him to the proper authorities. But I submit that he deliberately dropped the issue right there, and distanced himself from a disturbing situation.

    Having not been there, what can I possibly base such a serious allegation on?

    Consider this situation. Suppose someone had come to his office and reported that his star quarterback, an important player who might make the difference between success or failure in the next day’s Big Game had been seen smoking a marijuana joint in the locker room. What would happen? I submit that Mr. Paterno would leap out of his chair, find that kid or have him brought to him, and find a way to determine if the charge was true or not. (Do drug tests work that fast?) If he thought that the kid was smoking dope do you think that kid would be playing the next day or sitting on the bench? No matter how big that game was, I submit that his QB wouldn’t even need to bother suiting up. Heck, he’d probably need a ticket to see the game.

    Now Joe Paterno is dead. There will be no more statements from him. The words above (and any other testimony he gave) are all we have to go on.

    I still think that he was a great coach. He made those kids get a real education, to the best of his ability, and he made the lives of hundreds of kids better. Whether it should be so or not, he brought boatloads of money into a fine school by making it a football powerhouse. I think that Joe Paterno was a great man.

    But I also think that he did a very bad thing.

    It is a false dichotomy to insist that both facts cannot be true at the same time. I agree with the strong wording that you used. It is something that you rarely do; it is clear (to me, at least) that you did it for a reason. I think you did it to make people wake up and realize what, by an act of omission, Joe Paterno enabled.

    I wish that people would not continue to either write off his whole career, or to insist that his many accomplishments, and all of the boys he did mentor, and all the lives he made better, invalidated his inaction.

    I believe both facts can exist together. He was a great man. And he did a very bad thing. On the whole, I believe that he saved many more lives than the few that his inaction contributed to the destruction of.

    But even one person, male or female, adult or child, even one person being raped is too many. To allow it to happen to still-developing children, children whose word and testimony can hardly stand up (even in the child’s own mind) to a powerful pair of adults such as Sandusky and Paterno is a sickening act of cowardice and failure.

    Even though he was one heck of a great coach, and maybe even a great man.

    An eloquent statement of the dilemma indeed. -rc

  20. I agree with Robert (although not enough to go into brainlock over it) and I agree with Mike Weirton. …and I agree with them *because* of what David of State College had to say.

    I am not exonerating Joe Paterno for failing to protect children being abused. He’s right: he could have done more. But he made a lifetime of setting a high personal standard, and expecting the best of everyone around him. David said he could have a blind spot for lawbreakers until the facts were made plain, and then he would take decisive action.

    The information that Paterno had in 2002 did not include the facts made plain, as we now lather about from the news. He had the uncomfortable, unclear allegations from McQueery about something inappropriate. He did not have enough information to fire or exclude Sandusky from the program. He had enough information to expect an investigation. That investigation could potentially clear Sandusky of suspicion.

    McQueery stayed on with the program where Sandusky volunteered; one could suppose the eyewitness to the abuse would have been more squeamish had the rape been so clearly established. Perhaps Paterno hoped for the best for Sandusky: that it was a misunderstanding, or that Sandusky would himself know the truth and seek help and personal wholeness privately.

    Joe Paterno turned the matter over to those who were responsible for the necessary investigation, and counted on them to do their parts, as he had done his. Instead, they failed to protect the children, and their community. They covered up the allegations. They got legal help paid for by the college who fired Paterno for having a conscience too late to protect the school reputation.

    He believed in people. Yes, he believed in Sandusky. I believe that if charges had been filed, he would have expected Sandusky to take the consequences, and it’s a tragedy for those kids, now adults, that charges were never filed. But I think Paterno wanted to expect the best from all involved; that’s what he’s always done. And that’s why so many people around him have risen to meet his high expectations.

    He didn’t expect the school to cover up a damaging story, at the expense of young boys. If they hadn’t buried the story, but Sandusky still remained at the program where McQueery still worked, then (without having known of the horrifying details), couldn’t he have concluded the investigation had cleared Sandusky of harmful behavior?

    I don’t agree that the tragedy was that “charges were never filed.” The tragedy is, the abuse was allowed to continue, that there were more victims after the abuse was discovered. It could have been stopped, but it wasn’t stopped, and even expanded. -rc

    Kelly replies: “Ah, but I think filing the charges would have brought the issue to light and therefore stopped the abuse and protected subsequent victims.”

    Fair enough. -rc

  21. I was not the least bit heartbroken to hear that Paterno had died. I have a friend that was molested as a child and is in the process of finally having her abuser put on trial. Sad thing is, she has a grown son by this person who is her father. The son refuses to get a DNA test to prove the rape, and sides with his father. People in her family KNEW what was going on, but no one stopped the abuse, and now more and more victims are coming forward. She is in therapy now, but she tells me how hard it is.

    I am also the victim of abuse. My mother’s boyfriend abused me when I was 13. I was too scared to tell her because she was emotionally abusive to me and would have turned it around and made it my fault. To this day I haven’t told her. We no longer have a relationship.

    For people who are willing to “overlook” someone else’s illegal transgressions just because they are a “celebrity” grinds my gears to no end, whether it be child molesting, armed robbery, road rage, DWI, shoplifting, or parking in a handicapped spot without a permit. You don’t get special rights just because you think you are “famous” or somebody else thinks you are.

  22. I would never unsubscribe from This Is True due to reading a differing opinion from you, BUT if I did, this could have been the one.

    As a 50 year-old man from Pennsylvania, all I have ever known as the coach of Penn State’s football team is Joe Paterno. I am not a college football fan, I am not a Penn State fan, but being from PA you know about Penn State.
    I’ll try hard not to echo too much of some of the other commenters, but here is a man who dedicated his life to the football program AND to the students that participated in it. To even suggest that Paterno chose the football program OVER the safety of children just does not ring true to his character.

    Many have quoted Paterno’s statement that he wishes he had done more, however all have ignored the context, which was WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT, he wishes he had done more. Paterno did what he thought AT THE TIME was the right thing to do. He did not delay reporting the incident to his superiors, who he thought would do their jobs.

    The Penn State trustees were quite successful in their strategy to shift the blame from themselves and officers of the university to Joe Paterno by firing him quite publicly. I am mystified how so many people were taken in by this ploy. They publicly shifted the burden to the one man that actually did SOMETHING and didn’t try to cover it up or do nothing.

    I do find myself confused that so many, and I believe you yourself, felt that Paterno should have fired Sandusky (did he even have that authority?) after hearing a single accusation of child abuse. That sounds like a zero tolerance policy, something that I thought you advocated against. Certainly he (Sandusky) was entitled to being proven guilty before being terminated, or at least being subjected to some sort of investigation and not just fired on the sole basis of an accusation? Administrative leave – absolutely. No contact with children — yes. Fired — not without due process.

    There are many people that either failed to do their jobs in this matter or even worse, chose not to do their jobs in this matter. But Paterno did do something, and did what he thought AT THE TIME was the right thing. I’ve heard folks opine that Paterno should have followed up on the matter. Do we really know that he didn’t? Could he have tried to follow up, only to be told “this is a personnel matter and we are not at liberty to discuss it” or “this is an active police investigation and we cannot discuss it”? I guess now we will never truly know.

    I honestly believe that to Joe Paterno the act of child abuse was so foreign to him that he, at his advanced age, was somewhat confused by the allegations, but that he did do what he thought at the time was the right thing. I don’t know how anyone could call that disgusting. What Sandusky has been accused of doing IS disgusting. Anyone who purposely tried to cover up the allegations to protect the program IS disgusting.

    I can’t take this one incident, one where Paterno actually thought he was doing right, and use that to erase the decades that he dedicated to the university, and more importantly to the future of the students in the football program. Joe Paterno cared about these students.

    Sorry for the rambling. Thanks for allowing me to comment.

    Had it only been “one instance”, you’d have a great point. But the incidents kept happening over a span of years (not days or weeks). Had Paterno simply told his entire staff “I want to hear about it if you see anything else,” that would have been a huge step. Yet he didn’t even do that much. If his age kept him from diligently doing his job, he should have stepped down long ago, and I cannot fault the university for firing him just for that reason alone. -rc

  23. I realize that this thread is about Paterno, but the thing that bothers me the most is the failure of the campus police chief and university president to act. Paterno was famous, so his actions or lack thereof are at the forefront of the discussion, but allowing the people he properly reported events to to get a free ride is, I feel, very wrong.

    Paterno may (or may not) have felt his program was important enough to justify dropping the ball, but a university president has no excuse whatsoever, and neither does a cop, at least in my not so humble opinion.

    Disclosure: I’m in no way a football fan.

    Yes, the page is about Paterno, but I definitely agree that there’s a lot more culpability in this case than his. -rc

  24. I think Kelly hit he nail on the head with the point that Paterno believed the best about people. He would not have wanted to believe that Sandusky had been doing anything seriously wrong, he would have believed that he issue would be investigated after reporting it, and he would have believed that since nothing happened from the investigation that was done that it showed Sandusky had not done anything seriously wrong. I say seriously because there was no question that showering with a young boy was wrong and Sandusky lost campus privileges because of it.

    No one has said that Paterno really knew what had happened prior to the grand jury investigation. It was at this point that he said he wished he had done more.

    No matter how much power Paterno had on campus, if he truly did not understand what had happened and how the report should be handled, then he acted appropriately in turning the matter over to people who were supposed to know what to do. His de facto position on campus actually required him to back off if he had no clue what was supposed to happen. He easily could have screwed up an investigation by violating procedures and he knew it. This is he point were the example of a QB breaks down. In that case Paterno would not care about the legal process, he would have been judge and jury over the QB. In this case, he had to care about he legal process and university policy and back off because of his ignorance.

    I believe that you have to look at everything he did over his career (and I am not counting anything on he football field). From that, I have no doubt that if he had really understood what had happened in the locker room, He would have made sure it would not happen to another child.

    The tragedy in this was the failure to investigate properly and possible cover up by university administration. The fact that Paterno had an incomplete understanding certainly contributed to the tragedy experienced by the victims. I do not think there is evidence that he knowingly did anything that permitted someone he believed to be abusing children to continue. If I am wrong on that point, then it doesn’t matter what else he did during his career. If I am right, I believe it is wrong to blame someone for taking what he believed to be the best actions in the circumstances even if in hindsight they were far from the best thing he could have done.

  25. Thank you for taking an unpopular stand. When I win the lottery, everybody in my address book is going to get a Premium Membership to This Is True.

  26. My outrage is directed at Will and his apparent “blame the victim” mindset, as he says “These ‘boys’ now men, I assume, are likely creating a false story. These accusers should step forward and publicly announce their intentions”.

    Miriam, the California teacher gave a great answer but I’d like to add this from personal experience. Pedophiles are expert and getting their young victims to feel somehow responsible and manipulating them into keeping their horrific secret. A 30 year old young man I’m close to was molested at age 10 and told no one until he was about 25. This kid was an active, extroverted, even defiant and no one dreamed he would keep that kind of secret. The only reason he told then was because the offender started dating his mother again. He was not willing to report it to the police because of the shame and humiliation which plagues him still.

    All that to say this: THANK YOU Randy for standing up for the victims. I appreciate your courage and integrity.

  27. I’ve been a premium subscriber for several years and as I read through this I had to resist the urge several times to ask for a refund of my renewal from last month Randy.

    The disappointment for me is the presentation of assumptions as facts throughout your initial post and many of the comments. Can you honestly re-read your intitial post and not see the way you baited the responses that now amaze you?

    Let me be clear; In my opinion, Sandusky is scum who will be found guilty of most or all of the charges. In my opinion, Curley and Schultz either covered things up in 2002 to protect Penn State from scandal or tried to cover things up in their 2011 Grand Jury testimony to hide their incompetence in 2002. In my opinion, if Joe Paterno knew and had a full grasp of exactly what went on in 2002 he would have done everything in his power to make sure the abuse stopped and Sandusky was held accountable. If it turns out he participated in a cover up with Curley and Schultz then he deserves to be villified but right now it is just character assassination.

    I’ve read the documents linked from this page and I don’t yet see evidence showing what Paterno knew and when he knew it. The Grand Jury report shows McQueary was much less graphic with Paterno than with Curley and Schultz. The CNN timeline shows where McQueary lied about stopping the incident and reporting it to the police. If Curley and Schultz did cover it up who is to say they didn’t assure Paterno that it was all just a misunderstanding? I’m not making excuses for anybody here. I’m answering your question of “Why!” It’s because there are enough questions to not find Joe Paterno guilty now and call for his head but to instead wait for all the facts to come out. If the facts show Joe Paterno acted reprehensibly then I’ll join the mob that, in my opinion, hastened his death. If the facts show Joe Paterno was unlucky enough to be in the wrong situation at the wrong time then I hope the mob can live with themselves for what they did to him.

    As to the hero worship, I suspect a lot of people who feel Joe Paterno was railroaded tried to fight back against the mob who wanted the rest of his life erased. The two sides in this are so utterly black and white that I think they are both over-reacting. I prefer to start in the grey area and see where the facts lead.

    Of course I was baiting: that’s how to get responses. -rc

  28. I was reading the Premium edition quickly before starting work this morning and thought with horror that you had given Paterno the honorary unsubscribe!! I am so glad I was so wrong.

    We had our share of sexual abuse by Catholic Priests and Christian Brothers and were probably the first place in North America to make it public and actually hold a judiciary inquiry that found blame through the fabric of our society. The biggest mistake made was the people who saw something, even those who just suspected something passing the information to their superiors and feeling like they had addressed the problem. The higher up the food chain the more political the decisions, so the higher ups “filed the info” or “had a word with the abuser”. The result was typically the pedophile being transferred out of the “problem” area without anything on his record to warn the people who got him next. So he could start again in new territory.

    You can’t give every adult a whistle because the background noise would be indecipherable, but every level of leader should have one and know how to use it.

  29. Good thread.

    His achievements should be recognized as well as his catasrophic failures. This just applies to everyone and not just some sports personality.

    I do have a comment for Maxim:

    Penis, anus, vagina and breast(s)!

    Dude seriously get a grip on your life. Those are the names of body parts. Nothing obscene about them at all.

  30. I agree with Randy 100%. A local paper (The Akron Beacon Journal) had a headline that Paterno was all about family. How can you be all about family and allow your employee with your full knowledge to rape boys!!! All this because he was a good football coach??? Football is a game and rape is real. As far as I am concerned Joe Paterno flushed an entire life achievement down the toilet because of his inability to deal with a very real problem. I feel that had he lived he should have been charged with complicity.

    All this hoopla about how good Paterno was even though he permitted rape of a child and at the same time the same group of people condemned Pete Rose for gambling. I am not defending Rose — I just can’t see how gambling is worse than rape.

  31. Thanks for writing this, I have been arguing the same point in other places on the internet.

    My biggest complaint is that when it was for glory or recognition, he was a moral upstanding person, but when it came to matters that could potentially cause harm to him, his school or his football team, he failed, and he failed miserably. He showed himself to be lacking the very integrity that he preached.

    Someone else brought up “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…”, and in this case it was true. If Paterno had integrity he would have made it his business to find out if his former assistant was raping small boys, but he didn’t. This is why he is condemned.

  32. It’s exactly this kind of dialogue that convinced me to subscribe to This Is True.

    Your comments are thought provoking and right on. And shame on Maxim for being so squeamish about proper words for anatomy and the crime committed. It’s exactly this kind of puritanism that keeps sexual assault and abuse victims locked in silence and in pain.

  33. I am not a huge football fan, specifically don’t watch college ball, so I really had no idea who Joe Paterno was until everything broke with the media with Sandusky. As a minor blogger myself, and an admirer of This is True for several years, I read this with great interest yesterday.

    To answer your question of Why? This is my guess: people fear thinking ill of those that have passed. They only want to remember the good that they did. Paterno’s teams had a great track record for winning, that’s what everyone wants to remember. They don’t want to remember that he didn’t follow through on an atrocity that negatively impacted multiple lives of young boys. For a news agency to remember one for the wrong they’ve done would not make the sales of the newspapers that they want. (I acknowledge that it is less about physical paper sales now than it was 20 years ago, but there is still the ad time on the net.) Much, not all, of our mainstream media is bound and determine to print what THEY believe is what everyone wants, and by raising Paterno up as a hero, based on the sadness of those that had faith in him, is how they did it. Personally, I’m saddened by it because no one man should ever be raised up as such.

    I am also saddened that you simply asking “Why?” has people so upset about that one little word and even has people reporting you on Facebook. Our society has quickly degraded itself to the lowest common denominator to try to not upset, insult, disappoint, shock anyone. There is being polite, and then there is acting as a fairy tale and unrealistic. Nothing that you said was in the realm of inappropriate. I have nephews that on their Facebook pages state the f-word multiple times in one post. Funny how they aren’t reported for improper language. Their Dad has to go to them and tell them to knock it off. So, your readers properly using the correct terms, that is not improper, it’s the most proper use and should be commended.

    This morning, I came across this article in Fox News.

    I found it interesting, solely on what you are putting up with through this topic.

    The Fox article is brilliant. Just one small excerpt.

    The most stomach-turning part … was what Paterno’s wife said about the allegations against Paterno’s long-time assistant.

    “If someone touched my child, there wouldn’t be a trial, I would have killed them,” she told Jenkins. “That would be my attitude, because you have destroyed someone for life.”

    This is what everybody expected from JoePa — not the killing part, but the willingness to fight on behalf of kids because that is what his image was, of a guy who fought those kinds of battles. That he did not is no small thing.

    And again, that’s a Fox writer. I hope that wakes a few people up, but really: read the whole article. It’s comfortably short, unlike this page. -rc

  34. One aspect that I haven’t seen covered in all the discussion on Paterno is one that is obvious to me. And I write this not as one who is or was a Paterno fan. In fact I disliked Penn State quite intensely. A big part of this dislike was directly focused on Paterno himself and the way he had treated (coached) some his players in the past. So I’m not making excuses for him or indulging in the sports worship of him that others are. However…

    The man was 80+ years old when he died. In 2002 he had to be at least 70 something. The man was from another generation, our parents (or grandparents!). That generation wasn’t as open about many things including sex. I’m not sure that he knew about what pedophalic behavior was. Or if even if he was aware, how abhorrent was the concept to him.

    He agreed before he died that he should have done more, perhaps he couldn’t have conceived doing more at the time (2002). But this doesn’t excuse him.

    This society is quick to judge past behavior by its current mores. We often forget that the fallible people we are judging by today’s values were products of their time. Calling for their current crucifixion for past events lessens both themselves and ourselves.

    I absolutely agree that it’s wrong to use current mores to condemn actions in the distant past — though in what era was it OK to rape little boys in your care? Too, we’re not talking 100 years ago, we’re talking 10. We’re also not talking about some random old guy, we’re talking about an educator who has had specific training in the subject because he has a legal duty to act. -rc

  35. I’ve heard the ageism excuse before when justifying Paterno’s attions. “The man was 70 years old and couldn’t possibly understand the impact of rape and pedophilia.” I find that to be just repugnant of an excuse for actively looking the other way.

    Joe Pa was an exceptional coach and leader of Penn St. He did honorable and outstanding things, but he will always be remembered for this failure. I think it is just wishful thinking of Penn St. fans that we all move on.

    There is absolutely no way he didn’t understand what rape meant, what pedophilia meant. I’m more appalled that his defense that he “told” someone gives people the idea that there are mitigating arguments.

    Joe Paterno knowingly let a child molester serve as a Penn St. representative, attend functions and serve as an ambassador to his program for TWELVE YEARS after he KNEW something was wrong. It’s one thing to not know, but he did and let it continue.

    He’s lucky he passed, it’ll keep him out of court from the lawsuits and future indictments against him. And with his death, the other perpetrators may get off.

  36. As a fan of other sports than football, I had never heard of Joe Paterno before the molestation stories in the press.

    The excuse that I’ve not heard stated directly which I think exonerates Joe Paterno is that (at least at all companies I’ve worked at) once you report an issue to your supervisor or HR, you are supposed to drop it, not discuss it with anyone, and let the proper department or authorities take care of it. This appears to be what both Mr. Paterno and the witness did. Based on the CNN Timeline, I think it’s reasonable to assume that Mr. Paterno was aware of the later meeting of his superior and the witness that his report prompted and so he could reasonably believe that appropriate authorities were actively addressing the issue. Perhaps Mr. Paterno with his “executive-like” position could and should have followed up more, but I have trouble faulting him considering that he fulfilled his basic responsibility, in an area that was not his specialty, and when there were no other reports made to him.

    Joe Paterno himself apparently chose not to use the excuse above in this detail. I think he did the right thing and he best he could after the fact by saying he wished he had done more. I liken this to when a ship’s Captain accepts responsibility for something outside their reasonable ability to control (such as a batch of defective parts leading to engine failure and shipwreck.) It’s unfortunate that I and many others came to learn of a man who clearly had a positive influence on so many young people, not for his career of good works but because through error or omission may have allowed children to be harmed.

    Of course, all my opinions and conclusions are based on the media reports I’ve read and my interpretation of them. I have no expectation that an objective truth will ever be clear to me, so Mr. Paterno gets the benefit of my doubt.

  37. I have nothing profound to say other than keep up the good work! Someone close to me was abused as a child and it causes horrible pain to this day some 40 years later.

    As far as Maxim’s comments: has he really looked at Facebook lately? He’s worried about a few anatomical names? He must not get the same feeds I do or have very many friends because I see much worse than that passed off as “funny” material. Trying to censor a topic like this is exactly what helps perpetuate horrible acts by “important” people (and others!)

  38. I firmly believe that Sandusky’s actions were well known by the entire coaching community. It is very interesting to note that Sandusky is the *only* Assistant coach of Joe Paterno’s that never became a head coach in his own right. Now, that either points to Sandusky absolutely lacking any ambition (doubtful as Head Coaches of large football schools can earn millions) or something caused schools that would normally snap up a Paterno Assistant coach to shy away from Sandusky. I have to wonder how many job offers were rescinded or never offered due to whatever rumors that surrounded Sandusky.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Paterno worship and think that any man that would ignore a first person account or just do the barest minimum reporting. One fact that escapes most people is that as a person who deals with minors (ie every freshman player under 18), Joe Paterno is a “required reporter”. He must, by law, report *any* suspicions of child abuse to the police, not just his supervisor. He failed to do so. He especially failed those children by not following up on the allegations. He has *zero* excuses in my book.

    I referred to it above as a “duty to report”. I don’t know the procedure in Pennsylvania, or whether he followed it explicitly. -rc

  39. I think you are showing a mistaken assumption in your response to Gordon (and I think it is one that many people are making). In PA, his legal responsibility was to report to the Athletic Director. He did so which means he met his legal duty to act. Paterno is being condemned for not having done more than his legal duty.

    His training from the university would have directed him to only report to his superiors at the university — the failure of superiors to act is the reason that many states now require reporting to the police or social services first.

    Furthermore, it is entirely possible that he never had any training. When I worked at the university level, I was never given any training in dealing with child abuse — I was given training in adult issues and legalities, but not child abuse.

    I think he was being honest when he said that it did not even occur to him that a man could rape a boy. I doubt that my grandfather (he would have been 5 years older than Paterno) would have understood what had happened without a very graphic accusation. Unfortunately, for many in that generation, it is a completely out of the box concept.

    I think you have to judge Paterno based upon how he was raised, the laws in PA, what he was told and what actions he saw he the university take. He was told about inappropriate behavior, he reported to his superior, an investigation occurred, and Sandusky was told he could no longer bring children on campus but no charges were filed. Why at that time should Paterno (based on what he had been told) have assumed that further action should be taken? The actual witness should have been outraged and tried to get more done. If he had done so, if he had gone to Paterno again, etc. then Paterno absolutely should have done more. However none of those things happened. This is why the grand jury said Paterno followed the law. We cannot judge Paterno based upon the grand jury testimony, we must judge him based upon the facts he knew in 2002.

    “Paterno is being condemned for not having done more than his legal duty.” Yes, that is exactly what this entire page is about! -rc

  40. Sorry to hear you’re such a staunch “liberal” (ref the comments). However I have to say from my POV you have consistently stayed very non-judgmental and middle-of-the-road (very disconcerting for us real conservatives), though your latent “Conservative” views do come thru sometimes. This must have something to do with your “Liberalism”, as we all know anyone in “journalism” is a liberal…!

    Tell that to the Fox News folks! -rc

  41. “Paterno is being condemned for not having done more than his legal duty.” Yes, that is exactly what this entire page is about! -rc

    I was responding to your comment on Gordon’s post:

    We’re also not talking about some random old guy, we’re talking about an educator who has had specific training in the subject because he has a legal duty to act. -rc

    As far as Luke in DC’s post, it has been stated that at least in 2002, Paterno was supposed to report to either the police or his superiors at the university. So he met the requirement of the law.

    My problem with the people pointing the finger at Paterno is that they are not pointing the same finger at the trustees, the AD, the president, etc. These are the people who covered up the incident (and likely lied to Paterno so that he believed there was no reason to take further action). If Paterno lied about what he knew, he should have done more and deserves to be vilified. If he told the truth, he reported the incident and then got out of the way (as he was supposed to do).

    The statements regarding what was known in 2002 and what actions were taken show appropriate behavior. If more was actually known back in 2002, then more should have been done. I have yet to hear any evidence that Paterno’s knowledge met the higher standard.

    This has nothing to do with how much power he had in the university (in a way due to the power he had, he had even more responsibility to back off and let the investigation proceed if he did not know how it should be handled).

    What happened to the victims is horrific, Sandusky deserves to pay for his actions for eternity, the people who covered things up and allowed Sandusky to continue deserve to pay for that, the person who reported it in good faith does not deserve to be lumped in with the group who covered it up.

    With power and knowledge come responsibility, if Paterno knew sexual abuse was going on, he had a duty to stop it. If Paterno knew something inappropriate was going on, he had a duty to report it and not interfere with the investigation.

    I guess it comes down to whether or not you believe Paterno knew/understood what was happening in the locker room.

    I also want to be clear that none of this has anything to do with football.

    Indeed not. As for the “problem” you mention, that’s addressed in the very first comment on this page. -rc

  42. JoePa was wrong in hindsight. No one should dispute that. But the man IS human. This means he can be wrong and in this case, tragically wrong — but it should not diminish the positive things he has done either. I think Joe did the wrong thing here BECAUSE of who he was, and his strict code — they don’t really conflict. He couldn’t back away from a friend (Sandusky) without absolute proof and hey, the assistant coach that came forward seems a little flakey, didn’t he?

    I had a friend, who I thought was a good family man with a good moral compass. A picture of the wife and two kids were always on his desk. He wore his wedding ring proudly and prominently. Then I began to hear stories. Women in our office began to avoid him. People told me he was a predator, and did evil things, and I couldn’t see it. I defended the man over and over. Then one day, I SAW IT. I was crushed, and in disbelief. I still have a hard time fathoming what happened, I no longer make excuses for him, I helped send him away for good. But he had some bad wiring — he could seem perfectly normal around me. A young lady we knew told me that he always seemed normal around her also, but one day, his eyes glazed over and he did terrible things. It took a horrible act that I witnessed to break me from my denial. It seems Joe Pa didn’t get that. Perhaps he unconciously ran away from it, hoping to keep a friend and stay in denial.

  43. I admit it and am not ashamed to be a conservative. Whether liberal or conservative everyone has the right to express their opinion. What I resent is Randy continues to make fun of all conservatives if one comes out with a stupid statement. That is the typical liberal way of doing things.

    There is nothing right about what happened in PA. And if all the allegations prove to be true each person should accept responsibility. Of course, human nature being the way it is the abuser will not. Sports has become too much of a big thing in not only universities but also high schools. Very few benefit directly from sports and too much money is spent on it. I would rather see that money spent on actual education. This is obviously an emotional issue and many people have strong feelings. The children are the ones that will be dealing with this the remainder of their lives. The persons responsibile deserves life in jail. For those who didn’t report this deserve punishment too. Sports are only GAMES and entertainment. I can’t figure out why so many people get so obsessed with it. There is so much more in life.

    You are wrong in your starting position. It is incorrect to say “Randy continues to make fun of all conservatives if one comes out with a stupid statement.” The correct statement is, “Randy continues to make fun of anyone — whether they’re liberal or conservative, Christian or otherwise, Caucasian or otherwise, cop or civilian, [etc.] when they do something stupid.” — and I’ve been doing that way since the start (this example from 1998 is a classic specimen). Thus, your statement is, dare I say, “the typical conservative way of whining.” (Liberals whine too, just about other things — including that classic example.) You are, of course, entirely correct in your second paragraph. -rc

  44. While I have not read the whole page (tl:dnr), let me add my voice to those of a more conservative/libertarian bent who wholeheartedly condemns Joe Paterno’s silent complicity in these heinous allegations. Perhaps it’s because I’m not much of a sports fan, I don’t know, but covering up allegations of child abuse should not be a part of any ideology, be it liberal or conservative or otherwise.

    “tl:dnr” means “too long: did not read”. -rc

  45. Michael, Missouri said: “What I resent is Randy continues to make fun of all conservatives if one comes out with a stupid statement. That is the typical liberal way of doing things.”

    Bravo, Michael! Excellent satire! Folks, if you read those two sentences and didn’t burst out laughing, read ’em again. Now, that’s just plain good humor, lightening up a serious topic. Thanks, Michael!

    Please allow me to attempt to answer a question that Randy didn’t ask.

    He asked: if you support Joe Paterno, please explain why.

    This question stirred up a huge response, and I’d like to take a crack at suggesting why this might be so. I believe that it was a convergence of two factors.

    First, a man like Joe Paterno is rare. I fully agree with the writer who said that he’d be satisfied if he could be half the man that Coach Paterno was. Heck, I’d be satisfied with a much smaller fraction than that. Whether you agree or not isn’t the point. The point is that an awful lot of people have an awful lot of respect and admiration for a man who had an unusually long and successful career. A man who represented a model that many dads would proudly hold up as an ideal to their kids. Fewer now, though, than a year ago.

    What happened during that year?

    I submit that if Joe Paterno had been caught cooking the books, gambling on his games, cheating on his wife, or abusing dogs, the reaction wold not have been nearly so severe. Oh, there wold have been repercussions, I have no doubt about that. His image would be tarnished. But I don’t think that his name would have been removed from many trophies.

    What I’d like to suggest is that the second, and overriding, reason that this topic has caught fire is that it strikes at the very heart and core of society. And I think that people recognize this, perhaps on an unconscious level.

    I agree with those many writers who said that he did his job, that he had every reason to expect that the people who were responsible for following up would do their jobs, that they in fact covered up this alleged crime, and that they might skip away scott free, leaving a man who is no longer in a position to defend himself as the fall guy.

    But here’s the thing. When it comes to defending the weak, the frail, the helpless, the challenged, the elderly, and all the rest of those whose ability to defend themselves is somehow compromised, we go the extra mile. We take the extra steps. We protect them from the predators. We don’t let the weak get eaten so that the wolves don’t chase us. If the allegations are true, then Sandusky was a mighty sick wolf.

    If the charges are eventually proved to be true in a court of law, then an awful lot of people are to blame, and should (IMO) be held strictly and severely responsible. Joe Paterno (or his reputation) is only one of those actors. But, if the reports are factual, he is one of them.

    Not because he didn’t care. Not because because he’s being accused of tolerating the alleged abuse, and he’s certainly not being accused of condoning it. No, I think that the number of responses that Randy’s simple question educed was because of the gut-clenching realization that Joe Paterno didn’t double back. He didn’t stop to check on an injured lamb. He didn’t keep the wolf at bay.

    There swiftly came a point after which it was someone else’s job. But when kids are involved, you don’t just assume that someone else is doing their job. You make sure. The rules are different when juveniles are pitted against powerful adults. You go the extra distance. I believe that that’s a founding and sustaining principle of any healthy society.

    To think that a great man like Joe Paterno didn’t do that is a hard sock in the gut. That punch, from such a big man, might be what provoked such an unexpected swell of pained responses.

  46. I was molested and severely beaten by my father for several years. My stepmom knew. The school counselor knew (at least) about the beatings. The base counselor knew (at least) about the beatings. No one did anything, and when we got back stateside, it became worse. It’s been well over 20 yrs, and I’m still haunted to this day by all those adults, authority figures letting me down, not protecting me, being more worried about my dad — supposedly an awesome marine who’d done so much to help others — not getting in trouble.

    I can’t even imagine how the boys abused by Sandusky feel, especially now knowing so many adults — supposed protectors — knew of their plight and did nothing, or at best the bare minimum, to “help” them. His career wins aren’t going to make the sting of what those victims experienced any less sharp. He shouldn’t be idolized.

    And those who tried to censor you on FB are part of the problem in turning a blind eye and deaf ear toward those of us who have been abused and those who will be in the future.

    You wonder the same things I did — but from the more eloquent position of having been there, and wondered the same things for a long time. I can’t imagine how let-down you (and those kids) are. -rc

  47. Just another reason for me to LOVE this newsletter, and to think you are AWESOME: I missed the JoePa paragraph on FB (trying to cut back on how much time I spend there), but I’ve been waiting for someone besides ME to have that reaction publicly!! I’ve been shouting back at the TV in disgust each time I hear something along the lines of, “in the long run, he won’t be remembered for” the scandal, and all the good things he did for Penn State. How anyone can ignore the significance of what he didn’t do in that horrendous situation is simply beyond me.

    The true measure of a person’s character is how they respond to difficult circumstances — do they do the bare minimum required by law, or do they put their own ego and personal comfort aside to do the morally correct thing? He put the protection of the Penn State football program ahead of the lives and safety of children, for goodness’ sake — and even though we’re all “innocent until proven guilty,” and even if the law didn’t “require” him to do more than he did, his much-vaunted character/morals should have made him take more action. There is no measure of games won or winning seasons or good publicity or money raised (which is what folks are really talking about when they sing his praises) for Penn State that can wash away the fact that he failed, BIG time, when it came time to do the right thing. He chose to protect the almighty dollar instead of some poor defenseless children. If there’s anyone to answer to on the other side of this life, he’s got a hell of a lot of “s’plainin'” to do.

    Keep up the fantastic work — I think I need to go and renew my subscription for another few years now!

  48. I agree with Randy and most people I know think Joe was a scumbag for not following through and making sure children weren’t raped at the Penn State football facility anymore. Even Joe said he should have done more.

  49. Thank you for your reply. I hope that you are right, and my “maybe most” characterization is an overreach. And by no means do I mean to let Paterno or any other leader have a free pass for inaction. The fact is that many people with the opportunity and obligation to intervene do not. That is sad…but it is true.

    Yes it is true! That’s why I wanted this discussed: to show that inaction can be as bad as complicity. That helps people think about what they might want to do when faced with a similar situation. With that, maybe some kids will be spared having to go through something like this. -rc

  50. I personally found Maxim’s comments and threats to get the thread removed from Facebook offensive and harassing, and marked them as such. Censorship is a form of violence.

    I have nothing useful or relevant to add to the discussion — as a non-sports fan, I never heard of this Paterno guy. But if someone I did know of and look up to was revealed to have responded so feebly to a similar situation, I would immediately stop looking up to them and begin looking down on them.

  51. Thanks for the facebook post. It’s great to see there are plenty others who are also disgusted by the Joe P “worship”. But I am not too surprised, remember this is a culture that calls an athlete a hero because he does his job which he is being well compensated for, but hardly acknowledge the true heroes who are many people who truly sacrifice to help others. How sad.

  52. In many states it is a CRIME to fail to report to law enforcement and/or the local Children’s Protective Service agency when one has “REASON TO BELIEVE” that child abuse or neglect has occurred. You don’t have to KNOW it happened, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) investigate or question anyone, particularly the child. If you have “reason to believe” in any way, shape, or form and fail to report you can be held criminally liable. It is the job of the authorities to determine the facts.

    You cannot, in most jurisdictions, delegate, transfer or pass on this responsibility to any other person. If you attempt to do so, by telling a supervisor, employer, co-worker, friend, or family member and they fail to report, YOU are still criminally liable. In most jurisdictions the report is confidential and the reporter protected as long as the report was made “in good faith” (not knowingly false). Obviously, the Pennsylvania law is different. (I believe the Governor is planning to address this with the legislature).

    The bottom line: EVERYONE has a responsibility to protect children. And it seems EVERYONE in the “chain of command” at Penn State, including Joe Paterno, failed miserably in that responsibility. Had this occurred in many other states they would ALL face charges.

  53. As an Aussie reading this, it’s easy to think, yeah “well only in America”. But you have to look at celebrity everywhere can try to get away with. And they do.

    There is an Australian actor, son of a very well known celeb, who was convicted of physical assault of his girlfriend. His sentence was in essence a slap on the wrist, because as the judge said, anything further would have a detrimental effect on his career as an actor.

    The cults of personality that is within the entertainment industry, and I do also place sports here as well, is extreme. The celebs buy into it, and were left with what seems to have happened with JoPa and Sandusky. I do think it is completely reprehensible that such a thing has happened. But until people start taking responsibility for their actions, there will be more of it.

    In this day and age it seems nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions. It’s always someone else who is at fault, not me. so until this happens, Randy, you will continue to have stories for This is True.

    I don’t anticipate ever running out of material. -rc

  54. Wow, you woke up a lot of people who were snoozing through this topic. Congrats. Look, if you are in charge and responsible for a staff, then you must take action upon any information considering wrongdoing. JP didn’t and it tarnished his carefully built empire. Why move to the NFL or anywhere else, when you are king of your world?

    Why worship any coach or sports figure? I think it is a bit, well, scary that people do that. After all, just because they are good at running down a field with a football, does not guarantee they are good people at heart.

    JP acted as he did for one simple reason, he didn’t want to tarnish his empire and all the money football brought to Penn State. As long as he remained mute, and only reported to the food chain, he knew that nothing would happen to Sandusky. And that he allowed the creep to continue to bring kids to the locker room tarnishes him indeed. Like my mother always said, “You are known by the company you keep.”

  55. Randy, Thank You for stepping up to the plate.

    I’m glad “JoePa” was not my kids coach.

    Apathy is the same as guilty!

  56. I don’t know who Joe Paterno is nor do I care. Bringing this to the public’s attention is correct, it should be investigated by the proper authorities, who don’t seem to care, and the proper sanctions applied if found guilty.

  57. I wanted to say that you shouldn’t be so sure that Facebook will not censor you. I have had several friends on Google+ lately be banned from Facebook for such “offensive” posts as 1) posting links to news articles in support of gay marriage and 2) posting a video in which two women, conservatively dressed, sit and talk about sex and sex education. These were considered to be so offensive, that the posters were BANNED … so you get an idea that bashing on sports (which, BTW, I whole-heartedly agree with), which many people are more interested in than anything, including the personal rights of people who think the whole thing is nonsense, might cause you some problems. I hope not, but … I thought I’d warn you! OK, I’m going to go and read the whole post now — I am basically commenting based upon your comments in this week’s This is TRUE! post.

  58. While I am not going to defend Joe’s actions, Sandusky was no longer an assistant when Joe was informed of the situation. So that part of your story was in error. This allegation of sexual abuse was made by another assistant (who was also fired) to Joe. Since Joe did not observe the “scene”, he should have told the assistant to go to the school administration and the police and Joe would accompany him if needed. Also, this was happening on school property and Joe probably assumed by informing the administration of what he was told (hearsay), he did what was the correct thing. What if the administration told him they would take care of the situation and it was NOT his problem? Remember, he did not actually see what happened, it was another assistant. Also, Sandusky was the school’s responsibility at the time, he was NOT Joe’s assistant.

    Let’s assume that your neighbor told you he saw another neighbor (through the other neighbor’s window) taking sexual advantage of an underage child. Would you go to the police alleging sexual abuse based upon what the first neighbor claimed s/he saw? And what if it was made up (maybe neighbor 1 has a grudge against neighbor 2)? What if Joe had gone to the police and reported “hearsay” and it turned out to be false? It should be the responsibility of the person who actually witnessed the incident.

    Maybe Joe should have staked out (or had someone stake out) the showers or wherever the school gave Sandusky access. I think if Joe has seen the act himself, it might have been another matter. The question is “did this go on after he had informed the administration?”. Did the administration take any action after this was reported to them? Did Joe follow up on this incident with the administration — especially if he ever saw Sandusky back on campus? There are a lot of unanswered questions here and too much knee jerk reaction from the “lame-stream media” and uninformed because it involves a famous person. Maybe the real truth may come out and maybe never. Sandusky will have his day in court and, if convicted, will find out what its like to be on the receiving end in prison. BTW, if there was a cover-up by the school administration (and if they did discuss this with the police) will we ever find out?

    The page already addresses that Sandusky had retired — yet was still there, still had keys, and in his retirement had more time for his …uh… hobbies. As for whether he “should have” gone to the police, what part of the “duty to report” law do you think he should have ignored? -rc

  59. I have read the comments that the coach in question might not have known about such behavior because of his age. Child rape is not something new. I used to be a social worker with the elderly and it was not uncommon to be told by people who I had got to know well,of incidents of abuse and rape that had happened many years before when they were children. Often I was the first person they had told, and they wanted to tell someone before it was too late. I never forget one woman asking me to attend with her the funeral of her brother who was ‘a pillar of society’. After discussion it turned out that she was afraid that when he was lauded during the service she thought she might stand up and tell everyone what he had done to her almost 70 years before.

    As adults we may not be able to prevent such trauma happening to young people and children today. But we can make pretty damm certain that if we are told by them about it, we make sure it stops. This coach a person in a position of trust did not make it stop. We should all learn from his failing.

  60. Well said, Sir..Well said. The guy didn’t do jack, nor diddly to stop this guy, and letting him hang around as a volunteer was amazing. He basically enabled this Sandusky guy to continue his antics, and (shock of shocks), he did.

  61. To “Jane in California,” who said, “I’m no psychologist, but as I understand, abuse victims don’t forget the abuse…if anything, they remember too much.”

    You’re right, you’re no psychologist! If you were, you’d probably be aware that many people who were sexually abused as children can never consciously recall the abuse itself, but only have vague impressions and negative feelings towards the abuser themself. (Or “themselves,” as the case may be.)

    I can remember some of the physical and psychological abuse I was subjected to by my mother and some siblings, but of the sexual abuse (or the abuser himself) I recall not a thing. In fact, most of the first decade of my life is a tabula rasa, from which I get only an occasional glimmer, a hint of a recollection, a rare glimpse of something I might have done, or seen back then.

    For instance; I recently found some old pictures of Ottawa from 1940, including an image of the old Mason Gamble store and the Centre Theatre on Sparks Street. I shared those images with my elderly father, who often spoke of shopping at Mason Gamble’s department store as a young man. Seeing the Centre Theatre brought back a glimmer of a recollection, so I asked my father if we saw “Born Free” at the Centre Theatre back in the 1960s, to which he replied, “Wow, your memory really amazes me sometimes!”

    The fact is that I didn’t consciously “remember” anything; I merely got a vague impression of liking the curioius texture and feeling of the Centre Theatre’s crushed red velvet wallpaper under my hand, and of hearing the theme song of “Born Free” in the back of my mind.

    I can’t remember what was done to me, but I get a very bad feeling whenever I remember a certain “friend of the family,” and how the mere mention of his name makes me feel queasy and slimey dirty. A psychiatrist later characterised the highly sexualised behaviours I began displaying at the age of 8 and 9 (which, coincidentally, was when this “friend of the family” was being entrusted with our care) as “highly alarming,” and “indicative of violent sexual abuse.”

    So no, “Jane in California,” abuse victims don’t always “remember too much.” Sometimes, we can’t remember ANYTHING because the subconscious mind is forced to take such drastic steps as wiping an entire decade from our memories; this is done in order to protect us from things that are too painful or difficult to bear.

    If you were a psychologist, “Jane in California,” you’d know that.

  62. Though I do not follow Football in any form, I can agree that JoePa could and should be admired for his LIfe’s Work. His failure to act in the Sandusky case does not detract from that. However, his failure to act and continue to do so, does detract from any admiration of him as a person. I would hope that any one seeing a child in a compromised position, or told of it, would reach out not only to the campus police but child welfare and the local police. If in reporting it to his superior he thought he had done the best thing, he obviously missed the many notices, pamphlets, classes and commercials that abound regarding reporting, the majorioty of which are required for teachers, coaches, etc.

    The bigger problem lies in the insular nature of College Campuses. Far too often allegations of Rape, and assault are handled by a Campus Committee and Campus Police, rarely adeqautely, rarely to the aid of the victim and by the time it reaches the Local Authorities and Courts, evidence is lost, confused or no longer exists. Neither Campus Police or Committees are equipt or trained to handle such problems or to determine and punish or absolve someone involved in such crimes. This is something that needs, nay, MUST be addressed if our children are to be safe on campus.

    I understand that false accusations do occur almost as often if not more so than true ones, but they need to be reported to the Local Authorities, and documented by Dr.’s and Nurses that are trained to handle sexual assault cases. I understand that no school wants parents to look at higher incidents of crime and assault on a campus if they are reported to someone other than the school, as it means they would be more reluctant to send their children there, BUT for the protection of the young adults attending that school and so that actions can be taken to lower the incidents, it needs to be done.

  63. I too am saddened by the events that took place at Penn State. I believe that much could have been prevented if all parties did what they could to stop the abuse, rather than what appears to be not enough concern for children and too much concern about rocking the boat. More boat-rocking, please!

    We have used this as an opportunity to review our church’s “Safe Place Plan”, our church’s strategy to avoid the possibility of child sexual abuse happening at our church.

  64. Hey, the same thing happened with Michael Jackson. I’m disgusted every single time he’s honored, or we remember his birthday. The nation is full of people who care more about their entertainment than the fate of a small, defenseless child.

  65. Enough has already been said here but I saw a comment made by Chris in California that to me says it best:
    “I have forever been amazed that so many people in the world consider professional sports so incredibly important. Important enough to lie, cheat, steal, and all the rest up to and including murder. Civilized behavior in the real world is what IS important, not some silly game.”

    Chris — now I know at least 1 person other than me and my wife think the way you do. Well said.

  66. So the Governor of PA declared flags flown at half mast last week in honor of Joe Paterno. Huh? I thought that honor was reserved for fallen military and dignitaries, not a man that turned a blind eye to repeated abuse of children by a member of his staff. As a Vet and American I am appalled. (More fuel for the fire!)

  67. I want to preface this comment with one thing. I do not watch sports, I do not read about them, and in general feel those in sports make way too much and would be a prime target of mine in a wealth redistribution scheme. Or to put it bluntly, by default, I don’t like sports or the stars of sports. As such I didn’t even know this man existed before I got my thisistrue issue.

    With that said I have no issue with people who hold him in great respect (just because a lot of folks who deserve respect don’t get it doesn’t mean that those who do get it should be lambasted). From what I have read it seems he was indeed a man worthy of respect, at least more so than any.

    At the same time I do not have an issue with those who say he made a mistake in this case (as he himself admits). However, I do think his failure to follow up is being overblown purely because of the fact that he is a respected figure. Perhaps because people expect his ‘armor’ (reputation) to be strongly defended and thus come out with their strongest lashings.

    From what I have gathered he did what most reasonable folk would do. He followed procedure and law as it applied and got the fok out of the way when told to. Basically as stated by another officials running an investigation effectively tell you it is no longer any of your business and you are NOT to interfere in any way (including questioning the perp, etc). Most people would trust the authorities that they reported to, as he did. In my eyes his failure here, while tragic, is reasonable enough.

    Should it diminish the respect people hold for him. Sure, however, some of that lost respect, in my eyes, is regained by his admission that in hindsight he should have done more, that he made an error in judgement. Everyone makes mistakes, some more costly than others, but these days getting a person to admit they should have done more rather than pushing the buck to another person is rather rare in my experience.

    So effectively by bringing Paterno to my attention you brought to my attention someone who I think has earned my respect as well as brought to my awareness that one can’t trust your superiors to do what is righ. . . screw that one. I already knew that. Often seems the less able you are the more likely you are to be in a ‘superior’ type position.

    A bit on a tangent, but I don’t find it hard to believe that he wasn’t convinced by McQueary’s account. I have had a hell of a time convincing people just in my parents generation, let alone my grandparents generation, that men and boys can be sexually assaulted and raped. And Paterno is of my great grandparents generation. . . so it isn’t hard at all for me to believe he would have a hard time ‘understanding’ what had been reported to him.

    I wish to end by saying that the people I blame strongest are those whose failures aren’t reasonable. McQueary reporting it to a trusted faculty member (from what I have gathered your go to guy at Penn when Paterno was around was Paterno, i.e. respected and trusted to do the right thing) and then again to others as he was called to do so. Assuming his statements I have read are the full truth it seems he acted rather reasonably. I don’t see any strong reason to lay blame on him, though as with Paterno who could have done more. The real blame, assuming the statements I have read are accurate and that we are blaming someone other than the perp himself, lies with the upper officials who Paterno reported to and other officials who recieved reports and brushed it under the rug while letting the reporters believe it was ‘being taken care of’.

    That is my 2 cents. . . well I gather it is more than 2 cents by this point 😀

  68. So far, I’m seeing posts that list the great things that Paterno did, which is true. And posts that list the terrible things Paterno did (or failed to do), which by his own admission also seem to be true. So the issue here, as I see it, is not whether he was a great man or a failed man. It’s all about the efforts to CENSOR any criticism of a man on a public forum like Facebook, even when it’s public knowledge.

    THOSE are the people who are questionable. Those who would patently ignore the man’s shortcomings as though it were inconsequential in the grand scheme. Just sweep it under the carpet, right? How many other sports celebrities continue to play and earn millions while their drug convictions would get any ordinary person several years in prison?

  69. I believe it is very telling that Sandusky was the heir apparent, and then Joe tells him, he is no longer in line. Sandusky retires because Joe basically put his career at an end. Joe allows the on campus visits and bringing children to continue — until an actual witness speaks. Is it possible that Paterno took Sandusky out of the running because of knowledge of his activities.

    I understand the admiration for Joe’s success as a winning coach. But, I wonder how many of the former players would want one of their sons to be allowed to be abused on campus — and be happy that everyone in charge chose to look the other way.

  70. I agree that Paterno did not follow up and should have, but I wonder if his bosses who he reported the incident to were fired. I’m pretty sure they were not crucified in the media as he has been. I am not a JoePa fan, but I am not happy about the way the media chose him to be the only one held responsible. They routinely pick out the biggest name to increase their ratings and as a result do not report the facts, and democracy needs the facts to survive, not just a press free to be as sensational as they can in thirty seconds.

  71. CathyAC, Titusville Fl wrote, “I understand that false accusations do occur almost as often if not more so than true ones….”

    This isn’t even remotely true. False accusations of sexual assault happen at the same rate as other crimes — about 2% of reports. This page has more information on that statistic, including citations, and this is a quick discussion on why people think false accusations are common. If you want to jump straight in to a scholarly critique of the few flawed studies that promote a higher number, that’s here (PDF). Finally, I present information on why it’s incredibly difficult for childhood sexual abuse survivors to step forward here:

    It’s incredibly difficult for any survivor of sexual violence to admit that it happened, and this is compounded when the admission is public and even more so when it’s the focus of media attention. On a more personal note, I can verify that dealing with the courts is a traumatic experience. I was sexually assaulted as a college student at a large university (and one that was embroiled in a football-related sexual assault scandal at the time as well). I had to repeatedly recount, in explicit detail, every single moment of what happened. The first time, it was for a preliminary hearing (the equivalent of a grand jury investigation). During the actual trial, I had to go over it again, still in excruciating detail, in front of a room packed full of strangers, reporters, and my own parents. I lost many friends, and because the person who assaulted me was someone I knew before the incident, the media not naming me didn’t preserve my anonymity (they named him, and gave enough back story that even passing acquaintances could and did identify me). I endured cast attacks on my character and personal history, despite laws that are designed to protect sexual assault victims from exactly that. They’re easy to circumvent. The trial went on for days, and when I got home, I couldn’t turn on the tv or read a newspaper without encountering coverage of the trial. All this, without a well-known person being involved. At the most, I sincerely doubt anyone would willingly subject themselves to that level of scrutiny and aspersions cast on their character without an incredible reason.

  72. I, myself, was amazed at the amount of people on Facebook that stood up for this man. He covered this up when he found out. If the University and the police did nothing, why did he just drop it? I would have been hounding them day and night. I didn’t see your post, but i would have agreed 100%. I don’t get the hero of everything and everyone involved in sports, and it should stop. Worship the real heroes, not these men with feet of clay. And as to what someone posted about bad-mouthing someone who just died? So what. There is nothing sacred about someone who just died that we shouldn’t tell the truth about him.

  73. I’m not a sports fan much … but I love movies. This reminds me of the case of Roman Polanski, who drugged and raped a 13 year old, fled the country rather than go to jail, and has legions of Hollywood stars who instead of condemning him defend the man because he’s an artist.

    I think they’ve sympathetic to the judge changing his mind after Polanski agreed to plead guilty, using the case for personal gain. Even the victim criticized the judge, saying he caused “way more damage to [her] and her family than anything Roman Polanski has ever done” for “personal gain”. (Summary of case) Another example of “forget the victim” in order to score points. -rc

  74. The fabric of rationality has many rips in it, some gaping. Thanks for featuring the comments from the Paterno/Sandusky supporters to remind us that in evolutionary terms we live in the Pleistocene present with hunter gatherer brains that confronted with tribal dissonance still can confabulate the most stunningly anti-factual scenarios. Delete this last sentence if you wish, but I suspect that most of these P/S supporters also inhabit the far right fringe of the political spectrum.

    I still don’t understand that. Being conservative means you support the ass-raping of little boys? Being against same means you must be liberal? Funny, but I thought being against child rape just meant you were human, not political. -rc

  75. You said “It’s all well worth a read, even if you don’t give a rat about Paterno.”

    I really don’t (give a rat about Paterno).

    However even before his passing, I was fairly sympathetic to his situation.

    Rape is terrible and child rape is worse if that’s possible.

    However what was presented to Paterno was an accusation. From all accounts he did not want to believe the accusation. Indeed nothing has been proven so far in the courts, though the media have certainly published a compelling narrative.

    Joe has not been accused of participation in the crime. He did not directly witness a crime. He did his legal duty and reported it up the line, where others had responsibility for investigation and prosecution.

    “Harvey in WA on January 24, 2012” posted on your blog a perfect articulation of my attitude on this:

    …once you report an issue to your supervisor or HR, you are supposed to drop it, not discuss it with anyone, and let the proper department or authorities take care of it.

    I have a long friendship with a Foster Mother whose specialty is girls who’ve accused a family member of sexual improprieties. She tells me that about 1/4 of the girls she fosters have probably made up the accusation. I suppose it is a way to get some power in an otherwise dysfunctional household. Perhaps and they’re too young to understand the full “nuclear option” nature of the accusation.

    Anyone who works with kids for a few decades can probably tell similar tales.

  76. @Stacy in Ohio: I did say ALMOST, not as often or more often. False accusations and allegations do happen, unfortunately. Having worked for a Rape Crisis Spouse Abuse Center I am very aware of how often it is NOT false. But we have had in the past cases of false memory and allegations that have ruined lives even when proven to be false. But please understand something: I have not just been a counselor, but I am also a survivor of rape, both incestous and non, and I am well aware of the aftermath involved. Moreover at the time of the incest I went to police, teachers, pastor and was told over and over again, middle class families don’t do things like this — you need to stop lying. I was lucky there was one person who did believe me and helped as much as she could but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my father’s child that I was actually able to get out of my home situation. At the time I was able to get out thanks to the courts; they tried to force me to tell them who the young man was who fathered my child, and refused to believe it was my father. He got away with it. I was punished by being forced from my home, my school, my friends. You truly are not the only one who is a survivor. At least these days they listen. In the 60’s, they barely admitted it happened at all.

  77. The Paterno worship is ridiculous! I’m an RN, understand childhood sexual abuse, and one thing I do know for sure is that it changes the victim permanently. The victim will never be the same person again, lives a lifelong sentence while perpetrators continue to abuse without having to take responsibility for their behavior and conseequences of same. And to NOT do anything about the abuse and abuser is unconnscionable, and is absolutely worthy of destroying the ‘legendary coach’s’ reputation. He might have required players to maintain a GPA, and he is morally bankrupt, and by extension, so is the system in ‘sports’ that encourages such cover-ups.

    Also, thanks for publishing the obits of little known folks. I am grateful to the little known scientists who buck the politicos for the benefit of scientific information — that is priceless.

  78. Bravo. I live in a high end golf community on the ocean in North Florida. At first glance it would appear we have NO democrats or liberals but they sneak in everywhere and look like everyone else. A lot of our members are from, hell, most of our members are from “up north” and are football fans, baseball and basketball and tennis and croquet, not to mention golf fans. Personally I enjoy golf, watching golf, playing golf but not necessarily listening to other people talk about golf. The rest of the sports not so much. Collegiate sports not at all. I believe education is more important but then again I’m an individual old fogey who has actually watched basketball players attempt to speak during interviews.

    You may imagine I don’t make a secret of my opinions and believe it or not the vast majority of the folks here believe as I do that Paterno was not railroaded, was not doing his job and is guilty of omission. Not as guilty as Penn State Administrators or their Security but guilty for not determining the truth of the first accusation. This assumes the first public accusation was the first time he, as the man in charge, was the first he knew of Sandusky’s activities. Oh wait, could it be he was afraid of scandal?

  79. Your post on facebook was the exact same reaction I had. I am not on facebook, so I did not see your facebook posting until you put in your blog. Thank you for doing so.

    You have shown yourself to be a true man of courage, character and conviction. Your moral compass is not overshadowed by greed and I believe you are a far greater man than Joe Paterno could ever be.

    I live in Missoula, Montana, where the University of Montana football players are worshipped both on and off campus like some sort of lesser gods. Last June, UM quarterback Nate Montana (yes, son of Joe) was pulled over in Missoula for going 39mph in a 25 zone. He was then arrested for DUI after failing a sobriety test and refusing to take a breathalyzer test. The charges were later reduced to reckless driving and his license was suspended for 6 months (for refusing the breathalyzer, not the reckless driving.) The speeding charge was dropped. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Missoula County jail, all suspended, and ordered to complete a chemical dependency evaluation. UM athletic director Jim O’Day said Montana will “be subject to the same internal disciplining as any student athlete convicted of a misdemeanor traffic offense. The discipline will be administered by the head football coach, and the offense violated neither the UM student code of conduct nor the code of conduct for student athletes,” he said. And to top it all off, his lawyer tried unsuccessfully to have his license reinstated, claiming the cops had no legitimate right to stop him in the first place. Speeding is a valid reason to stop a vehicle last I knew.

    This is the kind of culture that college football breeds. “HIS BEHAVIOR DID NOT VIOLATE EITHER THE STUDENT OR ATHELETIC CODE OF CONDUCT!” Not true: The Student-Athlete Code of Conduct specifically states that “violation of civil or criminal laws is subject to disciplinary action(s).” Football players obviously don’t have to live by the same rules as the rest of us. But wait, there’s more…

    On September 10th, an inebriated young man, Dan Thew, streaked naked across the UM football at the beginning of the second quarter of the game. The local newspaper, the Missoulian reported, “While some people found the stunt amusing, UM administrators are not laughing. ‘We’re not going to tolerate that at all,’ said UM Executive Vice President Jim Foley. In all likelihood, the student — presumably a UM student — ‘will be suspended or expelled for violating the student conduct code come Monday morning,’ Foley said. ‘I assure you, that won’t happen again,’ he said.”

    Although he was charged with disorderly conduct and obscenity by the Missoula Police, UM has not disclosed the results of its disciplinary hearing. “Students are typically suspended or expelled from UM only in cases involving rape, sexual assault and violent physical assault, depending on the severity of the case”, said Dean of Students, Charles Couture, who oversees violations of the student conduct code.

    I don’t know what ultimately happened to Dan Thew… I could find no followup articles regarding either the outcome of the charges against him or the action taken by UM. But I do know that, unlike Nate Montana, he made a public apology for his actions.

    If you look at the comments posted on the Missoulian website after the articles for each of these incidents, the reactions of local football fans speak volumes about the tolerance for bad behavior by foot ball players. They excuse Nate for drunk driving, but want Dan imprisoned and the key thrown away for drunk streaking. A woman claiming to a founding member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Susan Campbell Reneau, publicly called for his expulsion from the university, charging him with a felony AND putting him on the sex offender registry. But she was silent at the time of Nate Montana’s arrest for drunk driving!

    And now we have several football players facing rape charges. At first, the university refused to get involved saying it was a police matter, but it has now grown too big to sweep under the rug. (article)

    And yet… the defense of the football players actions (and blaming the victims) continues.

  80. In retort to Gary L., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s post & in defense of Jane in California, I’m one of the ones who remembers too much of the sexual and physical abuse suffered at the hands of her father. I can understand wanting to educate those who haven’t been abused as to the plight we’ve suffered (at least as much as possible if only in hopes more knowing about it would help keep it from happening more), but IMHO it’s better to save the anger & attacks for those who prey on the innocent, those who aid the asshats, and those who turn a blind eye toward it.

  81. Let me tell you from personal experience.

    A long time ago when I was a young boy I was involved in a similar situation with an older man who was supposed to be a community leader. In those days nobody would even consider the word of a kid against such a man… so I grew to be a man, now 62.

    The end result for me was major problems in relationships, multiple personality disorder. I guess satisfaction came when the guy died (a terrible death) and I could go back to that little town and piss on his grave.

  82. Leaving out the characters that are involved in the PA Scandal, I can say BRAVO to Randy for bringing this subject into the light of day.

    As a father, I depend on others in the “village” to watch out for my children when I am not there, i.e. when they are in school, at the movies or whatever.

    I can honestly say that I am ashamed of those who defend a lackadaisical reporting of the offense of child abuse but also doing all that they can to keep it from continuing.

    Thanks, Randy!

  83. Thank you for writing this post. I must have missed the original post on Facebook, so thank you also for mentioning it in your newsletter.

    I do not follow college football and until this scandal became news a few months ago, I would have had no idea who Sandusky — or Paterno — was. When I first saw the news, I read quite a few articles (in part to have a better grasp of the case before I replied on Facebook to a friend who had put up posts indicating they cared more about what might happen to Paterno’s reputation than the actual details of the case).

    With regards to Paterno, I agree with many (most?) of the posters here, Paterno may have done many good things in his life but when faced with the assistant’s report of what the assistant saw in the showers, Paterno failed — he took the easy way out, when he shouldn’t have.

    It does not negate all the good he was said to have done. But all the good he was said to have done does not negate his looking the other way and deciding Sandusky was someone else’s problem.

    I think part of the reason discussion about Paterno gets so heated is some of his defenders seem to see him as the standard-bearer for all that is good and right about college sports, and some of his detractors seem to have made him into a symbol for everyone who looked the other way throughout the years Sandusky was abusing kids.

    As a few other posters have noted, there were a lot more people than just Paterno who looked the other way and took the path of least resistance and least public scandal when accusations were made against Sandusky. Even with the accuser who finally came forward and started the latest investigation, both he and his mom were asked numerous times by high school officials were they REALLY sure they wanted to go to child services with these accusations? (In the articles I saw, the accuser’s mother was still quite angry about those repeated questions and cautions, YES she HAD “thought about it” and DID want to go to child services, thank you very much!)

    I am appalled by the political obsession of some who want to make this into a liberal vs. conservative issue. I tend to lean conservative but have both conservative and liberal friends (as well as a couple anarchist friends); given the predilection of some of my liberal friends to endlessly discuss their efforts to “understand” someone’s actions, I could just as easily argue there’s a conservative bias in your post because you don’t waste any screen space on “understanding” Paterno’s lack of action or discussing possible “issues” he might have had, you just state that he did the minimum required and in your opinion that wasn’t good enough. (*gasp* How very judgmental and unysmpathetic!!!)

    As you noted in one of your comments, a person being against child abuse does not make them “conservative” or “liberal”, it makes them human.

  84. Here’s what I wonder: suppose Joe Paterno had been, say, a drama professor in an award-winning theater department instead of a football coach, and someone reported seeing one of his assistants raping a kid backstage. I bet that those who’ve defended Joe-the-football-coach would be down on Joe-the-drama-teacher like a ton of bricks, outraged that he could let something like this go on.

    Sadly, I think you’re right. -rc

  85. Have you noticed that the appellation “LIBERAL” seems to have replaced “COMMUNIST”?

    Actually, no: I’ve found for some time that they seem to be synonyms to the people using them. -rc

  86. I agree with you. The way the people in this country worship the sports world is quite pathetic. If people would use this energy for something useful, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t be in the shape we are in. Sometimes, I think sports and the hysteria it causes is done to keep people from caring about what is really important. No excuse for what Paterno and the others failed to do.

  87. Oh Thank God, some people still think like my husband and I. We thought the world had gone crazy. If Paterno did not do anything within the first ten minutes and do it decisively (meaning thrash Sandusky) it was wrong, thoughtless, inhumane, contemtuous and stone hearted, sadistic and barbaric.

    Why are celebrities lionized and so adored after they die when they were skunks in life? Sports has nothing to do with it.

  88. The ignorance of the comments here is appalling. Joe Paterno did more good for more people than probably all of the posters here combined. The fact that he is the winningest coach in college football is a FOOTNOTE to his legacy. It was the LEAST of his accomplishments.

    Joe was first and foremost an educator, second a philanthropist, third a molder of character, fourth a winning football coach. He used his status and the college football program to better equip Penn State to provide the best education possible through the public land grant institution.

    FACT: Joe and Sue Paterno donated over $4 million back to Penn State. Mainly to the wing of the library that bears his name and the campus spiritual center. This was mainly when he was earning a very modest $500k per year when other college head football coaches are making $2-4 million per year. He’s also a tenured faculty member…name another college coach that is actually faculty! He also helped raise millions and millions more for academic programs. AFTER he was fired from Penn State by telephone, he wrote a $100,000 check to Penn State to further the library and to help students earn an honors education through the Paterno Fellows program (source).

    FACT: Joe Paterno built a football program that emphasized academics over athletics. It was called “The Grand Experiment.” He wanted to show the world that you could have student-athletes who were students first. Penn State football has consistently had one of the highest (if not THE highest) graduation rates for the entirety of the Joe Paterno era. Not only that, but football players are routinely going to graduate school, law school, etc. and then returning to their communities to help them in any way possible. (source)

    FACT: Joe Paterno leaves a legacy that will live on in the lives he touched in so many ways. ESPN was one of the first to berate him for not “doing more.” However, this article does his legacy a tiny bit of justice.

    Yes, he made a horrible mistake. But he is not nearly the coward or horrible man people have made him out to be from this. You all probably say you would have done more, but “statistically you’re full of crap“.

    What we have here is a wonderful, upstanding and honorable man that *possibly* made a terrible mistake. One that ANY of us could have made, especially when the accused was someone we thought we knew for over 30 years. That mistake should not take away a legacy of excellence and honorable actions built over 60 years.

    For those that think Penn Staters love JoePa for his football success, you are most ill-informed. Educate yourself on who this man really was, and remember that you shouldn’t point out the splinter in your neighbor’s eye when you have a 2×4 in your own.

    Interesting how you berate everyone for commenting while not knowing enough about a man who had thousands of articles written about him, and then you go on to castigate everyone when you know nothing at all about them. It’s further interesting that you don’t even bother to disclose your own bias — that according to the IP address of the computer you’re posting from, you either work or study at Penn State. -rc

  89. The thing is: if Paterno really were such a saint of a man, who cared for others so much, how could he have made such a terrible “mistake”? I don’t buy it. He refused to put himself in the position of being connected with a scandal, to protect HIMSELF.

  90. I will agree with Jason, PA in his assessment that MOST people are not leaders of men, much as they’d like to imagine themselves to be. There have been many studies about what people REALLY do when faced with an unusual situation, and most end up going with the status quo rather than risking embarrassment or ridicule for stepping outside the box of safety. Basically, most people are followers. And then my agreement ends there.

    That’s why true leaders of men are rare. There are some who praise leaders for rising above the status quo, to do what MUST be done. But more often, those leaders risk criticism and condemnation. After all, who died and made THEM God, huh?

    Well, Paterno WAS a leader of men. A PROVEN leader of men. He’d already established that he was the kind of guy to rise above the status quo and make the hard decisions, regardless of the potential cost. And didn’t! As a leader, it was his own duty to go beyond the status quo for what’s right, not simply follow it. Do any of you REALLY think Paterno would have lost all his credibility just for rocking the boat to do what was right for his students, his team, for his people? A lifetime of greatness is not washed away by momentary embarrassment. No, Joe embarrassed himself, after the fact, as he himself admitted.

    As for any political connotation, I consider myself to be a conservative. Yet I can find lots of conservatives who insist that I’m a liberal. But whichever I am, I’m bored with radical lunatic fringe idiots on both sides who spew dogma rather than intelligent thought. This story is not political on either side of the spectrum.

  91. I’ve been reading these comments all day. I have yet to read, “I am the parent, mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc. of one of Sandusky’s victims,” or better yet, “I was raped by Sandusky” and I think JoePa is a saint and he did his job because he followed protocol. I am also wondering how differently JoePa supporters would feel if it was their child being raped in the showers at Penn State, and all the Saint did was follow protocol?

    I also did a little research and I can’t find a former football coach that was canonized into sainthood. I’m thinking it is because FOOTBALL is just a SPORT! I view JoePa’s actions as more of an ethical and moral issue. He guesses he could have done more. And I believe the victims were hoping and praying someone would do something MORE to save them. For me, it’s as simple as that.

  92. Let’s take it one step further:

    Let’s insist that the media stop referring to it as a “sex scandal”. It’s not a sex scandal. It’s the repeated systematic rape of young vulnerable boys who were entrusted in their care, not just the rapist’s. A proven leader of men doesn’t turn his eyes away from rape; he stands up for the vulnerable and does what is right for humanity and his integrity. Some of you conveniently forget: an assistant coach, an eyewitness to the rapes, reported what he saw to Joe Paterno. No wonder victims stay quiet if some of these posts reflect the lack of empathy toward victims of sexual abuse and rape.

    My first reaction when this was really heating up in the media was similar: “Memo to headline writers: Child sex abuse is not a ‘sex scandal'” (view the tweet from 11 Nov 11). There were a lot of thumbs up (“Likes”) when it was repeated on Facebook. -rc

  93. Your comments regarding coach Paterno’s late career are more important than people realize. He might have been a successful football coach, but he was a complete failure as a community minded citizen, ignoring the needs of the very young men who were being destroyed by the man he kept by his side.

    Too many people bury their heads in the sand, saying things such as, “Oh, it’s only a few boys. He told him not to do it. He reported it to the school. He did all he could do.” I daresay he likely passed it off as “boys being boys.” It is directly due to these people that this travesty will remain unchecked and countless innocents will be introduced to a lifetime of mental stress that cannot be imagined.

    I know…I am a victim, in another city and another country, just across the 49th Parallel.

    He was my cubmaster. He was also a newspaper route carrier supervisor. His full-time job and so-called community work exposed him to young boys from 8 to 14 years old…a real smorgasbord. I will not go into great detail, suffice to say my teenage years were destroyed and remain a memory of guilt, longing, shame, self-loathing, and hurt. It destroyed my first marriage, which did last more than 20 years. Suicide remains a welcome thought. I know what these boys are going through and will continue to go through. Counselling and medicine will dull the pain; but the scars will never completely heal.

    I kept it inside for 45 years. I finally went to the police with the story. My videotaped interview lasted 90 minutes. He was arrested and charged. His defense: “consensual sex”. He finally agreed to a plea of sex with a minor. He got one year of house arrest. He was not even mentioned in the media, thereby denying other victims the chance to step forward and ease their pain.

    I am a father, grandfather and active community volunteer, having received many plaudits for the work I’ve done. Most especially, a great deal of my time has focussed on community based policing. I do it to try to keep my brain busy. I can’t sit still. I can’t erase the memory of what was done to me. I was a victim in a spider’s trap.

    Coach Paterno, you might be resting in peace; but there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of us who will never have a good night’s sleep.

  94. Dear Anonymous:

    Reading your post brought me to tears. My first reaction was to respond. Then I realized that there was nothing I could say that would ease the pain you have to live with every day, because I am not you. What I can tell you is that I commend you for sharing your story and fighting to have the man that tortured you punished, even though the punishment was minimal. You still stood up for that broken little person inside of you. Please keep fighting because we, society, need people like you to speak out and let the world know how having a respected and trusting person, in your young life, rape you has affected who you are, your hopes and dreams; your entire and life.

    In my thoughts –

    Statistics estimate one out of four children will be molested. The majority of children will be molested by a family member, friend, or mentor. Many children will never speak out because of fear and shame.

  95. Well, Robert at least wrote level headedly and is correct in that we do not have all the evidence to declare JoPa guilty of anything…but this whole blog is about why should a person be worshiped as a sports icon when a cloud of suspicion hangs over him. I would change that to why should be be worshiping any sports figure. What has any sports figure done in a sports game that has benefited humanity for more then the length of the game? This is a football coach that got paid more then most of the departments’ of the university entire annual budget. Einstein didn’t get a hundredth the worship JoPa did and Einstein’s contributions to humanity are still being realized. The fact that Penn State has a winning football year does not increase the value of a degree from there, nor does a losing football year decrease the value of a degree. I would mourn more the death and/or retirement of a professor than a coach any day.

  96. I subscribe to your column and saw your reference to this “joe Paterno” discussion today. Thank you for taking the stand that I should have published on Facebook myself. I am a tea party conservative but like you do not see this as a liberal/conservative issue. The fact that no one pushed for an investigation when this first happened to either save children from peril or to prove Sandusky falsely accused are paying the price for not doing the RIGHT thing at the RIGHT time. I hope the true lesson in this (that I see you and many of the commentators promoting) is when you see something that is wrong ACT — Innocent lives are always at stake in some form or another.

  97. One thing this whole tragedy brings to mind to me is the irony of the mainstream media who are so quick to savage what appears to be a “good” man over the very same thing they have done. My own experience with pedophiles like Sandusky is alleged to be, is that a well thought of son of a powerful judge molested my brother. For nearly a decade after my brother spoke out against him, he continued to molest, continued to be lionized for his “charitable” works. And the newspapers and editors who so loudly called for and lauded the firing of Joe Paterno, refused to print the accusations of my brother because of concern over “legal ramifications”. Even when he was prosecuted, it was only for providing a minor with alcohol and a token suspended sentence was handed down (Interestingly, by a judge who once clerked for his father and owed his very career to him. ) The whole episode was reported in vague legalistic terms in the very back of the paper, not more than two paragraphs. And not even his name was used, only a “local community volunteer”.

    Only nearly a decade later when one of this pedophiles victims butchered his own family at this beasts behest and another killed himself, was he seen for what he was. And then the investigation took nearly two years before he was finally arrested and released on bail. Three years and six months later he was finally sent to prison for life. His victim? He was whisked to prison before the calendar page changed to become prey for even more sadistic individuals our society has produced. The ability of Sandusky, like the pedophile who defiled my brother, to continue his deprivations for years after his first brush with the law, have not to do with sports or fame, but power. In this country we all too often grant power not based on the character of the person, but on the bounty he lays on the table, whether it be a pennant, votes for a local politician or graft for the politicians’ supporters.

    On the other side of the coin, I know too the strain and power a false allegation of this kind can have. My own father was subjected to such ironically at the behest of a pedophile in an attempt to silence him. The reason such beasts are allowed to roam among us and safely continue their predations, is our fear of sexuality. If I stand for this child who has been preyed upon, what is to stop such a powerful allegation from being levied against me? Can I truly account for every second of every day and defend myself? Even if I am not found guilty in a court of law, I would remain an outcast.

    Too often, the scales of justice allow too much sway by the coins of power. We blindly leap to the defense of the beast, unaware we are protecting not a good man, only a powerful one. We should dream of the day when men are not judged by their abilities on the gridiron, or their talents for getting votes, or their public deeds, but on the whole, the content of their character.

    I know myself I am no great man. But I believe, based on what is in the record of your beloved JoePa, I have more character in my pinkie than he showed on that day. On that day, he failed, but others failed too. Almost anyone associated with his program, or the charity from which Sandusky used to find victims, failed. Either by outright knowledge, or willful ignorance, they stood by while a beast fed on the lambs. I myself, was conflicted when my brother’s allegations were told to me. I worried of the ramifications of our family setting itself against such a powerful family. But, I stood on the line, shoulder to shoulder with my brother, that he should know he had no reason to be ashamed, the one who had done this deed owned the shame.

    In your own life, take this as a lesson, not of whether to lionize JoePa or demonize Sandusky. I know not whether Sandusky is innocent or guilty. My experience would color any determination I would make so I could hardly be an impartial arbiter of such facts.

    Instead, look out into the community around you. There are children all around you walking as sheep among the lions. Take up a staff, watch over them. When you see something amiss, confront it. Ask the hard questions. Risk being wrong. Bring more eyes to bear on the suspicious. The innocent will not chafe under such scrutiny, only the guilty. Become not a part of the problem, but one of a million cogs in the solution. As for Sandusky, the authorities have him in hand now. And for JoePa, he now faces the only judge who knows the whole truth, including what was in his heart. I pray his judge will be merciful.

    Powerful testimony from someone who knows what he’s talking about. Thanks, John. -rc

  98. Thank you very much for making this forum, and for allowing and not censoring the discussion.

    I don’t “do” Facebook, so I missed the sections there.

    This whole episode is a re-play of the Canadian experience of the same issue, only involving hockey (see Graham James et al.)

  99. Given the thought process from our friends in red, it’s no wonder this type of pederast behavior continues and all too often remains unreported.

    But, to give this behavior some historical context, in ancient Greek times pederasty was rather prevalent and accepted. Has our puritanical beliefs defined this behavior as unacceptable in today’s society? And have these beliefs created what we now define as predators? Believe me, I am not condoning or accepting the alleged actions but wanted to look at a societal perspective.

    And please, no Greek jokes.

    I’m not well versed in the practices of ancient Greece. I can only look at today, when violating other people without informed consent is, obviously, predatory behavior. Doing what you want with consenting and willing adults is fine with me. But children cannot give that informed consent, and whether it was prevalent and accepted in the past or not, there is no doubt that it isn’t now. -rc

  100. I was (excuse me, that should read “am”) a victim of rape … not “date rape” but rape through coercion by someone who had the ability to destroy my career. I live with PTSD, occasioned by living with rockets pointed at me and a base-wide lock-down, and the frosting was the rape connected with my being able to get a new assignment after my in-country tour was over.

    Was I weak? Was I a chicken, afraid to speak out and protect my rights as a human being? Possibly. Or possibly I wanted to be able to care for a child who depended upon me for everything, or possibly I simply was a weak-kneed idiot who allowed things to be done to me.

    Regardless of who or what *I* was, the rape was still a criminal act. The blackmail was a criminal act. The sonuvabeech got away with it because I was too afraid, and I’ve lived with the consequences for over three decades now.

    Abuse cuts to the heart, the inner workings of an individual, the very soul. If someone knows of such activity and fails to take personal responsibility for reporting the abuser, and hopefully preventing further abuse, that someone is even worse than the abuser. The abuser thinks it’s “ok”; the person who fails to stop what s/he knows is wrong, does even more harm than the abuser.

    Silence is not golden. Silence is black and blue and blood red and dirty dirty filthy non-innocence. What makes me saddest is that there are people who are actually attempting to excuse the silent ones, protect the reputations of the more-guilty-than-the-perpetrators.
    What kind of world are we living in?

  101. @Bill/NJ According to what archeologists and scholars have found re greece and rome of ancient days, most children did not survive 10 years, those who did could expect (barring war, famine, disease, accident) to live to age 50. A few a bit more. However they married YOUNG, often not for love but alliances and had children young themselves. A very different time than now. Pederasty and homosexuality did not carry the same onus it does now and in fact was encouraged to help keep population growth from outstripping food supply.

    I won’t say our children are not just as savvy now about sex as they were then, BUT as it is NOT acceptible in our society, and carries a great deal of stigma, the child is betrayed by the very people he is supposed to rely on for safety and guidance. The damage rape does at ANY age is immeasurable both psychologically and physically. It is not an act of love, it is an act of coercion and power that damages it’s victim far longer than it takes for the perpetrator to move on to the next prey. It is even worse when the child is not or believes they will not be believed because of the person’s standing in the community.

  102. Is it too late to unsubscribe because of the Paterno thing? Apparently some have figured out that by unsubscribing all the bad things go away. It doesn’t generally work that way in my world, but if you think it will help, please unsubscribe me. I’m even willing to get more subscriptions so I can unsubscribe more.

    It shows how really biased journalism has become. In all the news reports I saw, no one even hinted that this was all your fault until your own subscribers pointed it out.

    Regrettably, sayin’ it ain’t so doesn’t make it not so. Reality is cruel that way.

    Now that’s funny! -rc

  103. Bob in NC said “Let’s assume that your neighbor told you he saw another neighbor (through the other neighbor’s window) taking sexual advantage of an underage child. Would you go to the police alleging sexual abuse based upon what the first neighbor claimed s/he saw? And what if it was made up (maybe neighbor 1 has a grudge against neighbor 2)? What if Joe had gone to the police and reported “hearsay” and it turned out to be false? It should be the responsibility of the person who actually witnessed the incident.”

    Would I go to the police? Jesus jumped up Christ in a motorized sidecar, why WOULDN’T I go to the police? Sure, maybe neighbor #1 misinterpreted an innocent event, or worse, made it up. But that’s why the police department has these things called detectives who are responsible for investigating allegations. When we’re talking about serious harm to a child (or an adult, for that matter), how can anyone sit back and say “Well, he might be wrong, so I’m not going to say anything to the people who could find out for sure.”

    The fact that neighbor #1 failed to do the right thing does not absolve me of responsibility if I don’t do the right thing and someone else gets hurt.

  104. Just to add to Angie in Kansas response to Bob: Child molestation is not something one needs to be spreading rumors about in any case. It’s nothing less than slander. I would just be forthright with the police from the get-go, “Neighbor X said Y.”

    Yes, friendships will be burned, people will get hurt. But, better two feuding dumbasses than one child.

  105. Paterno did do the minimum required by law and did remove unescorted access to the facilities by Sandusky. However, by law, the supervisor and school officials were required to report it to the police. Paterno did not follow up but should he have? How would he? He would not be allowed to know if anything was reported due to privacy laws. Investigations are not discussed by the police to non-witnesses. The crime was committed by the university officials that did not follow the law. Paterno did follow the law. He did not cover it up but made an official report. The university never fired or punished those that violated the law but fired Paterno for following the law. Lets put the most blame on the illegal activities of the university officials that did the cover up. Paterno was not that person. Should he have done more? That depends on your moral standards. However, do you have a right to make a moral decision for another? Was it moral to follow the law and stop the person from coming on campus to do his evil deeds? I think that was moral. He did more than the MINIMUM. Should he have done more? I think so but let us at least acknowledge that he did more than the minimum and what he did do was by law enough to insure the police were notified. The big problem was not Paterno but his superiors at the university. They behaved illegally not Paterno. Let us hear the noise over the university protecting those law breakers and firing the person that obeyed the law. Where is the outrage at that? You are concentrating on someone because he is famous. Turn your wrath on the truly evil still at that university. Paterno is not evil, he did do something. Others did NOTHING.

    All of your points are already covered on this page. What more could he have done? PAID ATTENTION when Sandusky was found alone with young boys at the university again and again and again over a period of years. This should get anyone’s attention, let alone with the later information that he was raping boys on campus. Second, “Yes, the page is about Paterno, but I definitely agree that there’s a lot more culpability in this case than his.” (January 24). Yeah, this page is long, but you seem to expect people to read your comment. I think the least you can do is to read others’ to see if your points are already covered. -rc

  106. My husband was talking about “sports worship” the other day — why do we call sports stars “heroes” and give them millions whereas firefighters and police receive rare accolades?

    It’s certainly not the end of the world. It’s entertainment. It’s not going to change. However, it IS frustrating — especially when it really does seem to turn into a form of worship. It’s surreal, and more than a little creepy.

    Also, I feel that we shelter kids too much — they need to know about people like Sandusky and events going on in the world. People seem to think that kids are stupid or can’t understand things. They can. They need to.

    On the up side, if we’re all arguing about sports and what someone wore on a reality TV show, it must mean our lives overall are fairly peaceful and problem-free (hence those jokes about “first-world problems”).

  107. There was so much wrong with the way this was handled by grown men of Penn State, How can we expect the college boys to behave? I commend you Randy for speaking out and allowing others to voice their opinion.

  108. Randy, thanks for your comments, you agent provocateur. As you mentioned in one of your comments, you often overstate something to prod a response. So, here are two things that I’ve reacted to, based on your post, and many of the comments.

    The first item is the whole sports idolatry/cult of personality thing. I’m in the heart of “Crimson Tide country”. We know a thing or 8 about coach idolatry! Paul “Bear” Bryant has been dead, lo, these last score and 9 years. But by golly, you wouldn’t know it if you wandered around Tuscaloosa. His trademark hounds-tooth hat has become the defacto symbol of the town. There are numerous landmarks, streets, etc. named after him. There are pictures EVERYWHERE of him. (Disclaimer: UA grad, mildly interested in UA football) There are people who have UA football/Bear Bryant rooms dedicated to the worship of their idols; I’m not at all exaggerating. I just don’t get it.

    To so identify with a GAME and the players therein that you take personal offense when anything negative is said is the height of lunacy to me. But I see it every day. Sure, I’m happy when the team for my alma mater wins, but the next day… so what. It has no bearing on my life. But that is not the case for many. So, Randy, you called the spade a spade: idolatry. That’s it plain and simple. And much can be “excused” in “reverence to one’s god”.

    Which brings us to the second issue. I saw a lot of folks tossing about whether Paterno had an “obligation” to report to the police or not. While the circumstances of how the initial event was reported to him seem like hearsay, he was obligated by Pennsylvania statute, Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6311 and § 6312, to report the incident in writing. (Oddly, the website that I found this information:, doesn’t say to whom this report should be made.) As a school teacher or administrator, Paterno was under obligation to submit a report of “suspected abuse” in writing to, I would presume in this case, the child protective services and/or police. I don’t know if the campus police would suffice, but there should have been a paper trail, according to PA law.

    OK, there’s a third thing that comes to mind after all this: should he have followed up? Well, considering many of the other people outside PSU that had “suspicions” and “concerns” SOMEBODY should have!! Yup, Paterno held some culpability, as did the McQueery, as did the AD, the campus PD, whoever in the administration knew of the report, that wrestling coach, etc., etc. The fact that Sandusky continued in an organization that was aimed at kids absolutely astounds me. Why wasn’t that mom who tried to report abuse listened to?! Who in her situation dropped (or covered up) the ball?

    I think there’s plenty of criminal and civil blame to go around. Paterno just happens to be a prominent and easy scapegoat, especially now that he can’t defend himself (not to take him off the hook either). Unfortunately, I’ve seen not just university officials, but local officials work together to “minimize” the effect of “adverse events” on the school and town. All for the mighty dollar, and “reputation” of the school. It’s pitiful and sinister at the same time. The precedence of a game over a human life (lives).

    P.S. to all the posters who were victims of such abuse and shared their story and perspective… thank you. I hope you can leave such things behind and have peace.

    Yeah, they have a lot of guts to tell their stories in public, even if there names are obscured enough for anonymity. They relived terrible experiences in the hopes that others would become educated enough to stop someone else from having such a terrible experience — and that just might happen, making it worth the pain. -rc

  109. Randy,

    Just curious, was there any push-back from Facebook caused by Maxim’s actions? Was there any push-back at all from Facebook because of the discussion content rather than from prompting by complainers?

    Short answer: no. Longer answer: one of my friends had contacts at Facebook, and he contacted them to counter Maxim (on his own; it was not at my request). The contact looked at the page and said there was nothing to worry about, and thus didn’t bother to ask the team to leave it alone, since he was confident they would leave it alone. Apparently, his confidence in the team was well founded, since I didn’t get any sort of warning or expression of concern. Still, I’m glad I took action to move it here, since it eliminated any worry and brought the discussion to a wider audience. -rc

  110. Suppose Joe P was, say, Joe the plumber. No status in the community, just an everyday guy. And, just to add another supposition, let’s assume there are no laws, “requirements” or restrictions, period. Common sense prevails as unspoken law. How would we and the press pass judgement and who then would we blame? Our friends in red would string up all involved who failed to do the right, common sense thing, I think. And we would applaud.

  111. I’m going to front this with the following, just to avoid discussion of any “bias” which I will almost certainly be accused:

    1) I do not watch football, or traditional sports of any kind, more than a few times each year.
    2) Before this scandal, I had never heard of Joe Paterno.
    3) I am a right-of-center conservative and a registered Republican, though I do not vote in the primaries. I am registered as a Republican only because I find it more likely that I will vote for a Republican than for a Democrat.
    4) I am absolutely and radically opposed to any form of pedophilia. Note that this does not mean that I agree with the “age of consent” laws in every state; if a 21-yo and a 17-yo have consensual sex, well… that’s not pedophilia. Sorry.

    The rest of this will be addressed to Mr. Cunningham.

    Now, on to the main point: why are you crucifying Joe Paterno? Did he make a terrible mistake… maybe. Was he an upstanding, contributing, generous community member and leader? Absolutely.

    Now, I’m sure many of you have already started to ignore what I’m writing, simply because I’m not raging at Mr. Paterno’s “duplicity in not apprehending a CHILD MOLESTER!” However, I do not see any evidence, much less proof, that anything was done incorrectly here. Paterno just had “some guy” tell him that one of his close friends MIGHT have engaged in POTENTIALLY illegal/unethical activities. What exactly is he gonna do? The fact that he immediately reported it to the President of the U and the Campus Police Chief was the correct response. End of story.

    Well, according to one of your readers, he should have “thrashed” him within “10 minutes” of hearing the accusation. Excellent advice, right? The irony of it is that, despite the fact that you regularly attack the violence of society, you did not make a single comment in opposition to this. Why? Because you’ve already convinced yourself of his guilt, apparently.

    On top of that, you make false statements in your responses to reasonable people (i.e. those who simply want the trial to be completed before Sandusky is damned) by saying that Joe Paterno “did nothing.” You are really out to get this guy, even though you do it under the guise of “asking why.”

    Furthermore, you REVEL in the hero worship that the members of your site lavish upon your every word. You once said that you “expect politicians to be hypocrites.” I advise taking it one step further: expect PEOPLE to be hypocrites. You have become one, even if you weren’t always.

    Additionally, I’ll add a bit of personal perspective to this situation. I was accused, in the months leading up to my wedding, of cheating on my wife (to-be) “all the time.” This accusation came from one of her bridesmaids, no less. So what did her friends and mine do? They warned us that a nasty rumor was circulating. None of them accused us or even asked us if it were true. Why? Because they were our FRIENDS.

    No, this is obviously not of the same severity as an accusation of pedophilia/rape. But the same thinking applies. Paterno and Sandusky had worked together for a LONG time. Paterno had loyalties, and that’s no surprise – nor is it a crime or a wrongdoing.

    And let’s be truly honest. Sandusky had been involved in charitable childrens’ organizations for some time. Him being around kids all the time would come as no surprise. And if someone had a grudge and wanted to see him go down? What better accusation that pedophilia. Is it even so unthinkable that someone might make a mistake in what he saw and make a potentially false accusation? No, it really isn’t.

    Of course, we all “know” now that Sandusky is “probably” guilty. Then again, we all “knew” the same thing about Michael Jackson. Was he guilty? We don’t know. And that’s really the issue. WE. DON’T. KNOW. And Paterno knew even less than we do.

    So yes, having looked at the evidence, I can say I still respect Joe Paterno. It appears that he made a terrible mistake. It appears that he could have done more. We can;t be sure. What we can be sure about is that he did many good and great things for the students at the college and in his athletic program. That is what we KNOW.

    As for hero worship… well, it’s not really a surprise. People are attracted to greatness, and Paterno was a great man. He was a good man. But the only thing the public loves more than a hero is seeing a hero fall. It lets us feel better about ourselves. “Hey look, Joe Paterno was a ****-up who covered for a pedophile. What SCUM. I’m gonna go back to being an alcoholic/abuser/sloth/whatever now, content in the knowledge that everyone is as bad as I am.”
    Think on that.

    “Now, on to the main point: why are you crucifying Joe Paterno?” Wow: how sensationalistic. Did you really even read what I wrote? I pointed to his several failures — which he agreed he had failed at — and simply asked the question: “Really: if you still respect the man, tell me WHY.” Only one person actually answered that question (and I thanked him for that answer.) You’re running around in circles with your hair on fire …why? -rc

  112. Um, I answered your question… and responded to the bit about hero worship. Last 2 paragraphs. So glad you’re reading for content instead of just reacting aggressively.

    Oh. Wait.

    So do I get a thank-you? Or is it back to accusing me of “running around with my hair on fire?” I mean, any reasonable person who reads my post can see that it is OBVIOUSLY not rational or forthright and that I am foaming at the mouth. I always forget that.

    I didn’t see the answer to my question — I glazed over long before the end. If you say it’s there, great. Glad to have it. -rc

  113. Sorry for posting to this so late but I’ve fallen way behind in my reading. Do you have a link to your facebook post or has it been pulled?

    I don’t have the link, no. It hasn’t been pulled, but it has been buried, since I post quite a bit. I’m pretty sure it was on my personal page, as opposed to This is True’s page. You may find it by scrolling ever back to mid-March. -rc

  114. I’m flattered you quoted my remarks on Facebook several times. Nice to know someone thinks I’m intelligent and well-reasoned. 😉

    Joe Pa was human, and humans make mistakes. True enough. My outrage with his inaction is not that he didn’t push harder and come down on Sandusky over one incident, it’s that, despite there being multiple reports of pedophilia, Sandusky was still allowed in to Penn State’s facilities and no one stopped him bringing boys in with him. It’s that Paterno was involved in covering things over. Yes, we all make mistakes, but making the same one over and over isn’t ‘being human’, it’s choosing to make bad decisions over and over, and JoePa’s repeated wrong decisions allowed children to be raped and assaulted. No doubt he did great things at Penn State, but his legacy will forever be tainted now by what he allowed to go on.

    Allowing continued child rape is now his legacy. -rc

  115. I’d like to point out your comment about language:

    “One other thing: words aren’t ‘obscene’ — actions are.”

    I saw no obscene language in the posts. The appropriate words were used when necessary. I am a Christian, so I am not very liberal when it comes to such things. I forbid foul language in my house.

    All that aside, it is very possible for language to be obscene. Foul language is language that is designed to offend and serves no valid purpose. I hear it coming from the mouths of teens all the time these days. I figure that they can show me enough respect to watch their language when they are at my house, and if they can’t express themselves in an appropriate way then they need help. I am well-respected by those kids, and I have even washed mouths out with soap!

    As far as the subject of the discussion, well I never paid attention. I find sports to be boring and sports culture to be highly offensive. You just did an excellent job of pointing out why I find it so offensive.

  116. I read the entire page, every comment, and the follow up of the topic after the report came out. I am absolutely gobsmacked that people still want to support Joe Paterno and his ego. Look, the old man wanted to die a demi-god. He was virtually worshipped at Penn State, and he used that power to make millions of dollars for the school and for himself. All he wanted was to maintain his little empire and be worshipped, no matter who had to be sacrificed to obtain that goal. In doing so, he committed a crime, and he allowed crime to continue to happen on a regular basis. Any real man would have hauled of and beat the daylights out of Sandusky for what he did. But Paterno was too worried about maintaining his demi-god position.

    Someone said in the first comments that it was the players who won the games, not Paterno, and I agree. I also agree that this sort of hero worship of sports figures is a very sick thing to do. I know a lot of guys get their warrior fix by linking themselves, mentally, to a particular team. Like the Romans in the days of the gladiators, they hero worship their team and suffer real depression if it loses. This is NOT healthy behaviour. I know there isn’t much out there for guys to do to use up the “me hunt, me fight, me man” urges in them, but worshipping people like Paterno is sad.

    But, even with all the proof in the world, there are people who will still refuse to see the truth. Penn State will now have the reputation of a school that put power, money, and fame above the safety of a child. I imagine their alumni donations took a huge nose dive. I hope so. I feel sorry for the players, because they are now tainted with the same brush as everyone else. I feel even more sorry for the kids that were raped by someone they trusted, and who were too afraid to say anything because of the power he held, and the power of the men who called him their friend. Sickening. . . just sickening.

  117. From the earliest levels of education, sports are glorified. While I agree there are many wonderful facets, including team spirit and leadership, when sport becomes an inter-school sport it starts to create superstars on athletic ability alone. And that could be said to be a good thing if the same were true for Academic or Artistic ability. Or if non-superstars were equal off the playing field.

    Many of the countries that currently put us to shame academically only have intramural sports at amateur level.

  118. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Randy for being outspoken and standing up for the children. As a survivor of child sexual abuse myself, we need more people like you to speak up for the children.

  119. Living in another country, I have been following this situation with a passing interest. While watching ESPN last night, I became very annoyed. They were interviewing Joe Pa’s son, and in the face of overwhelming evidence that his father knowingly condoned and facilitated Sandusky’s activities, the son pulled out every red herring imaginable to deflect the blame from his deceased father.

    As much as I like sports figures, and their achievements, I do remember that they are all human beings, and not the demi-gods that some try to make them out to be. Personally I think Paterno Jr should shut up, and make apologies for the obvious wrongs that his father allowed Sandusky to perpetrate and perpetuate. Perhaps Joe Pa is lucky in that death robbed him of the real embarrassment of having to admit in open court to his complicity in Sandusky’s crimes (something Cutler will have to face).

    In the end, the man was shameless in trying to maintain a legacy when clearly he was full of crap! If the Penn State coaching staff had done the right thing 14 years ago, Joe PA would have died with a real legacy. Now his name is toxic and almost no one wants anything “Paterno” as part of their dealings.

    My heart goes out to all of Sandusky’s victims, some of whom I am sure have lost their innocence and faith in humanity a long time ago. While this can never make up for the violations you’ve faced, rest assured that justice in this case was done, and now everyone truly is aware of what a weasel Joe Pa really was.

  120. I couldn’t agree with you more. Although I am a big Pro football fan, worshiping a player or coach is inconceivable.

    Regarding Joe Paterno’s coaching legacy vs his failure to protect to children. We had a saying in the Navy (cleansed here). One Ah Crap! wipes out 100 At a Boys.

    For those who have posted here that are Christian, we must remember what Yeshua said: “It is better to hang a millstone from your neck and jump off a bridge than to harm a child” and “if you do it to the least of these, you have done it to me”.

    To say that Joe Paterno did all that he had to do is like saying that you saw your neighbors house being broken into and told another neighbor about it, hoping that they would call the cops so that you didn’t have to get involved.

    This whole thing kind of reminds me of that case decades ago in New York where about a dozen people saw a woman being beaten to death and they all just watched, no one wanted to get involved or call the cops.

    I must add that I know someone personally who was abused as a child and I can assure that one writer that they do not forget.

    In closing I hope that everyone at Penn State that chose not to get involved and protect those kids, gets what’s coming to them.

  121. I have to disagree with a couple of statements made. One is that it’s the players who win the game and not the coach. As a Cowboys fan, I’m here to tell you that the Cowboys were failures under Wade Phillips, and began to show better performance under Jason Garrett. Without a great leader to inspire followship, players just bumble around. That’s why great leaders in industry are also worshipped.

    And none of them aspire to being worshipped. It follows great leadership. As Winston Churchill said, “Some men are born to greatness while others have greatness thrust upon them.” Even though it’s sometimes by fluke, it’s still earned. Unfortunately, AND likewise, by fluke, inequities are also thrust upon them which denigrates their former greatness. You can continue to hold their greatness in esteem, even though not as highly as it would have been, or reduce them to total failure in spite of their accomplishments, or simply balance them together.

    But I agree, with the errors made by Paterno, he’s definitely forfeited much of his greatness, and that’s a plain fact in spite of any worshippers with blinders on.

    I do see and mostly agree with your main point. But I disagree on “none of them aspire to being worshipped.” That does, in fact, seem to be behind much of Paterno’s shortcomings. While anyone who does a good job likes being appreciated, his actions show a pathetic need to be revered. I find it unlikely he’s the only one. -rc

  122. I may be a bit biased against sports culture to begin with — in my hometown sports and especially football were so worshipped that the art and drama programs were left floundering, as well as girls’ sports. The board would rather slap down thousands on a brand new football field than wire and adequately build a proper auditorium and repair our pathetic practice area beyond “random slipshod corrugated metal and concrete building”.

    That being said, I’ve seen firsthand what sports worship does to a town. It’s why I’m even more disgusted with what happened at Penn State. The mentality is “so what if a few kids are raped? they’re not football players! They’re not going to get me fame and recognition! FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL”. The fact remains that Papa Joe let his assistant coach get away with molesting and raping children because he didn’t want it to be a stain on his career. I’m just glad that Sandusky got his, and one day Paterno will be remembered for the covering-his-own-ass coward that he is. Not a “great coach”. Someone who put football above the safety of children.

  123. Several months ago, Will said, “These ‘boys’ now men, I assume, are likely creating a false story. These accusers should step forward and publicly announce their intentions”.
    I missed that remark first time around. I can’t think of a better example of people covering their ears and shouting “La, la, la, la”.

    I scanned, but I can’t find any place on this page where Will explained why he thinks these ‘boys’ now men are likely creating a false story. Did Will give any kind of reason for thinking the ‘boys’ are lying?

    Because that makes me more angry than the whole rest of the page and the stupid things posted on it. For a victim of a sex crime to be told that they probably just made it up — it’s like being raped twice, once by the predator and once by the police.

    Will seemed to want to discredit anyone who accused Paterno without proof; then he accused the ‘boys’ without proof, in a particularly slimy way.

    I wonder what goes through his head? Especially at night, when he’s alone with his thoughts?

    Yeah, young boys just love telling adults that they’ve been raped by ugly old men, and repeating it over and over again for investigators, prosecutors, judges, juries, and newspaper reporters. So much so they make it up all the time. Riiiiight! -rc

  124. Intersting discussion on how “sports culture” is an underlying influence on why the Penn State situation was allowed to go on. Even more so, it’s a football culture that builds a mentality of not rocking the ship or going against the grain. Football is coached as the utlimate “Team” sport where everyone relies on everyone else and the team is thought of as a family and so on. The coach(es) are the head of the family and are not to be questioned especially if they are winning. They are god-like in that culture.

    Sports are not a bad thing and I believe they teach life skills including social and self-discipline skills, but sports are way too over emphasized in our American culture and as such they are tied to money and money speaks even more in our culture than sports themselves. (see politics)

    Anyway, bottom line is Paterno was in the wrong as were the university administrators who tried to ignore the problem in hopes it would go away.

  125. Randy, you forgot one of the tidbits from that story: “I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Paterno,” Freeh said. “But the facts are the facts. He was an integral part of an active effort to conceal.”

    If Mr. Freeh, who spent 6 months combing the ins and outs of every aspect of this case, could still have respect for that man, why is it so hard for you to believe others might as well?

    I left out MOST of the report. What’s the point in repeating the entire thing?

    Let me ask you an even more important question: Why is it so hard to understand why others don’t respect a man who let children be raped for 14 years, and find it hard to understand why others can? -rc

  126. Anyone working with children has an obligation to report their SUSPISCIONS of ANY abuse of ANY sort. Once that first report is made, you may think that’s enough. It is, only if there is a full investigation and appropriate follow up. If there is no investigation, you report again and again, going up the chain of command and finally going public if no actions are taken. When you are the person in power, as JP was (without any doubt), you are the one responsible for the investigation. Yes, the Penn State university administration failed in its duty; however, everyone in this discussion acknowledges that JP was the de facto “Man-at-the-Top.” It was his obligation to force this into the sunlight. He failed.

    I must agree with an earlier comment that had the obituary been about Cardinal Law, his presiding over the pedophile scandal in the American Roman Catholic clergy would be discussed in the first paragraph, with barely concealed outrage that the matter was hidden to protect the church rather than the victims. I find it curious (no, make that discouraging) that we can attack our religious institutions for their failures, no so with our sports programs.

  127. What Paterno did (mounting a vast cover-up of the behavior of a major-league pedophile) was in my opinion far worse than what Sandusky did. Why? Because Sandusky was sick. And while that doesn’t excuse what he did (may he rot in prison with the other kiddie-rapists and get what treatment that entails in prison) he apparently could not help himself.

    Paterno is a different story. No one has accused his disgraceful conduct as sickness. No, JoePa was ONLY concerned with his sainted football and Penn State. He led the attempts to cover-up Sandusky’s corrupt behavior while sanctimoniously judging other coaches. I consider what JoePa did tantamount to being an accessory to Sandusky’s criminal acts — he aided and abetted Sandusky by actively pursuing the cloak of silence.

  128. Randy, did I ever even say I respected the man? I knew little of Joe Paterno, and generally had no opinion about him one way or the other before everything came out. The only college football I’ve ever followed even remotely closely is that of the two colleges I’ve attended, neither of which were PSU. But you immediately assumed (incorrectly) that I have something against anyone else who has no respect left for Paterno. If you have an issue with my position (which you’ll notice I never actually revealed), that’s fine. Just make sure you know it IS my position before you start barking up the wrong tree.

    I’ll make it abundantly clear: I absolutely understand why people can say they have no respect left for Paterno. His inaction allowed a predator to continue to do irreparable harm to young children. I probably fall mostly into this camp, largely because I have never known much about Paterno except that he coached PSU since basically the beginning of time, and my primary exposure to him has been via the media concerning the Sandusky case.

    On the other hand, I can also understand why others (including Mr. Freeh) can still have respect for Paterno. He seems to have done many good things for the community, and had a positive impact on many many people. I can easily see merits to both sides of the argument. While I don’t personally have much or any respect for him, it is largely because I was ambivalent and unfamiliar with him from the start. In general, I don’t subscribe to the ideology that the bad someone does wipes out the good. If I did have great respect for Paterno before the whole Sandusky case came to light, I would probably still respect the good he has done, while condemning his failure to act and feeling sorrow that such a great man could be complicit to such atrocities. But again, being clear, this IS NOT my position, but I can empathize with those who do feel this way.

    I have now answered your question (or at least made my position clear, rendering your question moot). Will you answer mine?

    I didn’t say you did respect him, Gordon. Please read more carefully. As for your original question, “If Mr. Freeh… could still have respect for that man, why is it so hard for you to believe others might as well?”, Mr. Freeh is both a politician, and in the employ of PSU, who commissioned his report. He is approaching this carefully and politically. I discount what he says; to say it with less political sensitivity, even I can say “I respect what Mr. Paterno accomplished as a coach and a booster of the university.” One could easily say such things about any despot dictator, and be entirely correct. Yet who goes out of their way to say nice things about Hitler, Idi Amin, or Stalin (except maybe “At least the trains ran on time.”?)

    Obviously, I’m not comparing Paterno to Stalin. But how can I respect a person who built his life on fostering some youth, while simultaneously knowingly aiding and abetting the literal destruction of other youths? The answer is, I cannot, as it puts the lie to the entirety of his professional life and apparent life mission. So yes: I have difficulty understanding how others can respect him, and find it incredulous that anyone can have a different stance. At least, once the details became known, via the Freeh report, which was commissioned by the PSU Board of Trustees. That the report is that damning considering the sponsor says a lot. So yes, of course I asked the question, and genuinely wanted a response. The shocking thing is how few asked the question, and how many still support Paterno, somehow glossing over the facts that were uncovered at the behest of the university itself. -rc

  129. One theme that I find seems to run through many of Paterno’s defenders is that he did so much for the players — highest level of graduation, he raised so much money and brought such prestige to Penn etc. The implication or unspoken follow-up seems to be what is the sacrifice of a few children to keep such a great thing going. While Paterno didn’t molest those children he is at the least morally guilty of letting it go on just to protect his and Penn’s reputation. It reminds me of the hero worship of Michael Jackson and the dismissal of the many allegations about him. It’s okay if it happened because he brought joy to so many with his music. I would send all my fellow readers of your blog in search of the short story by Usula K La’Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. It describes this position very well.

    I’ll bet many of the same people defending Paterno were outraged that Michael Jackson “got away with it,” too. -rc

  130. Randy, you said (at the top) that you simply asked the question of why there was such reverence for a man who allowed child rape to continue under his nose. There was a lot of anger over such a question: Paterno “did so much” for football, Penn State, and the students in his program! As if sacrificing young children to a predator somehow was OK because he did good things for young men.

    Eerily, this is very nearly the same conversation I had with a guy I worked with. He had gone to a catholic seminary, left after a couple of years, then got married and had kids. He is still very devout.

    One day we were speaking about the catholic church, and I mentioned that I could never be 100% happy with them, nor trusting, because of all hateful things and murder and torture that had been done in the name of the church.

    He responded that since then, though, the church has done SO MUCH GOOD — and he didn’t really finish that thought. I think he was trying to say that the GOOD stuff outweighed the BAD stuff, that the crusades visited upon innocent villages the raping and pillaging that made their name, is all moot because here and now, the church is so wonderful that it doesn’t matter if a few kids were killed back then.

    I’m not bringing up religion for its own sake; I merely mean to compare the conversation I had with this almost-priest to the ones that people who worship Paterno are saying to all who will listen.

    But isn’t that weird? In their world, I’m assuming that if a doctor killed your spouse through malpractice, but did a lot of good in the community, they would not prosecute. And you would continue to see the same doctor, right? Or if a highly-placed executive (in your country or in your company, either way) were known to have two or three small children hidden away in an apartment somewhere which he used as sex-slaves, but that executive would be forgiven due to all the millions of dollars he’d given to charity.

    What a weird, skewed sense of right & wrong these people have.

    Yep. As for your friend, I’m glad for him that the bad things done in the name of the Catholic Church was all in past centuries. Now, let’s get back to the topic of the sexual abuse of children by people in highly trusted positions…. -rc

  131. There is certainly no excusing any of the participants for this series of unthinkable acts. I maintain that Sandusky’s behavior was so unthinkable for Paterno, so far beyond what he could imagine, that as an elderly man, he just could not process it. I’m sure he knew that when it came out that would envelope the program with shame and forever taint everything he had done over all the decades. He rightly knew that all anyone would ever talk about again was this scandal if he had exposed it. It would have to be incredibly difficult to throw your entire legacy under the bus, even though it is of course the right thing to do.

    Randy, I’m not sure that even with your Mensa-confirmed intelligence you can really fully put yourself into this man’s shoes and completely understand the pressures he had being beloved by millions of people. For those of us (you included) out of the serious limelight, I really believe things that appear black and white to us must appear as shades of gray to them. Like the common theme of artists and entertainers who turn to drugs and alcohol, we look at them and shake our heads and can’t understand why, when they seem to have everything.

    One other difficulty that the Coach faced is loyalty, a strong tenet of sports leadership. It must be incredibly conflicting to be in the position he found himself in.

    What would you do if you found out your best friend did something unconscionable? Run straight to the police? How about your wife? I would like him to have pressured Sandusky to come forward. I’m very disappointed in him and the program. For program preservation, I’m surprised he didn’t pressure Sandusky to at least leave the program.

    I’m sure you’ll either ignore this or say something snarky, but it’s easy to throw rocks at Paterno if nobody has every put you in a position of difficult choice.

    Read the comments, Coach: I’ve talked already about being in difficult situations. I’ve called the cops, I’ve gone to court, I’ve testified and seen justice done. Do you seriously mean you would allow a pedophile to continue with your knowledge, consuming child after child after child, just as Sandusky did after Paterno found out? Really? You proudly have “Coach” as your email address; is that really what you’re saying?

    Yes, there has been terrible damage done to PSU’s programs. Yet had Paterno laid down the law at the start, he would have had 14 years at the helm to get things back on course. Instead, he chose to ignore what was going on — and the evidence is clear he did know what was going on, and was not the addled geriatric idiot you and others have tried to pretend he was — and instead made it worse. He made that decision knowingly, and thereby sacrificed multiple children to Sandusky’s pedophilia. How is he therefore not deserving of his own infamy? -rc

  132. The truth of a person’s character comes to light when they are forced into an untenable position. A person of decency and integrity makes the RIGHT decision, regardless of its impact on himself. The person who fakes decency and integrity shows his true colors by making the wrong decision or refusing to decide.

    Paterno may have done some good, and that good may very well live on. But it will not live on because he was of good character, an honest, decent man who put the lives of others over his own, it will live on IN SPITE of him. Anyone can throw money at something, especially if they want to APPEAR to be a decent, honest man of integrity. But when it came time to SHOW us his mettle, there was no mettle to speak of. He has tainted everything he’s ever done. His legacy could have been that of a man who saved lives, who did the right thing no matter what, who was a man of integrity. Instead he’s left a legacy of shame, poisoning the very good he did and in some cases may very well have caused the death of that good.

    And Kelly, that is a ridiculous argument. Men and women have to make difficult decisions every day. He made a selfish choice and now it’s come out and now, rightly so, people are not impressed with his “legacy”. It’s not like he had to choose between two horrifying choices. He had to choose to save children or preserve himself…we see what was most important. And can we not talk about old people as if they are too stupid to know that raping a child is wrong? I think you insulted every old person to ever exist with that comment.

    The sad thing is, had he done the right thing in 1998, his legacy would very likely have been preserved. Instead, he allowed the destruction of more young boys. -rc

  133. Holy Freaking Cats! Kelly, the very first thing I would do is turn someone in if I found out they were abusing anyone, especially children! Not only is it the right thing to do because of the law, but it is the morally right thing to do. I don’t think rich people, or famous people, of whom I have known many over the years, think any differently than we do. They know the difference between right and wrong, they simply choose to put their fame, wealth,and power over the morally right thing to do. Even if some of them are old and decrepit men and women now, they still know the difference between right and wrong.

    I turned in my son for drug abuse when he was 15, it was the hardest thing I have ever done, other than bury him. It was the only thing that saved him until another man took his life. My point is that if you have any sort of conscience, then the right thing to do is clear.

    I can see that you are still blinded by the cloud of power and fame that Paterno had over the Penn State football program. Some people just can’t deal with the truth, and you seem to be one of them.

    I hope Kelly will post again after he’s had some time to think about it. -rc

  134. I see traffic has picked up on this page in the wake of the Penn State inquiry… and I’m amazed at the number of people I see still defending Paterno’s actions or lack thereof and not just here but all over the internet.

    @Kelly from San Diego – Joe Paterno’s age is no excuse at all for his lack of actions — I’ve said that from the beginning. At best he attempted to keep this under wraps for his friend at worst he kept it under wraps to protect his so-called legacy. In either event he had an obligation — the very same obligation that each and every one of us has as decent, rational, and responsible human beings — to protect the children on his watch. And yes it was indeed HIS watch as head coach especially when these crimes took place at his school. You ask the following: “What would you do if you found out your best friend did something unconscionable? Run straight to the police? How about your wife?” I would confront the person — and if they were doing what Sandusky did it would very likely get physical as abusing a child or woman pushes my buttons… As reasoning responsible human beings it is our job IMHO to protect our children from predators like Sandusky and those who help to facilitate those predators like Paterno did.

  135. If it were JUST ONE INCIDENT, and if Paterno had admitted to it and apologized sincerely, then no matter how despicable that incident was, I could forgive him. Even in this situation, had Paterno ultimately confessed and sincerely apologized, I could probably forgive him. I’m a very forgiving person, as long as the ex-offender is honest and repentant. That being said, JoePa was neither honest nor repentant, from the start of the incidents until his death. So NO, I will not forgive him. What he did was absolutely despicable, and to continue to lie about it to his grave is even worse.

  136. Thank you for waiting for the release of the FBI report before reposting links to this page. I withdraw my comments rationalizing how Joe Paterno *might have* thought the situation resolved. There was clearly no excuse for his criminal behavior, and I weep and pray for Sandusky’s victims. I hope they find some small relief in his convictions. I hope others who are find themselves today in a position to speak out and defend the helpless will take courage … and action, NOW.

    Just to clarify, Freeh is the former director of the FBI, and was engaged for this investigation via his private law firm. Thus as I understand it, the FBI itself was not involved in the preparation of his report. -rc

  137. I have waited some time to add my new comments in the light of the independent report on JoePa’s complicity in Sandusky’s abuse of boys at Penn State. I wanted to try to convey something intelligent instead of the primal scream at those that still find it possible to support/respect/worship JoePa that was my first instinct. I think it is clear from this report and other independent sources, JoePa was without a doubt THE power at Penn State. If JoePa said you had to go, you had to go. If JoePa said you were to be coddled, protected, etc. then that was what was done. This is nothing less than the power of a despot.

    Randy, you seem reluctant to compare JoePa to a dictator like Stalin and his ilk. I have NO such compunctions. This man was the benevolent despot of Penn State from all accounts. Benevolent, but nonetheless a despot. A power granted to him for his ability to lead young men both on the field (football) and off the field (academics). For those who still respect or worship JoePa and think this whole Sandusky thing should be nothing more than a footnote in his grand legacy, indulge me a moment.

    Let us go back to that moment in 1998 when he found out about Sandusky. I will not presume to know exactly what he heard, but let us agree that he knew something inappropriate was going on with Sandusky and young boys. Whether he knew it rose to abuse or not, he knew that inappropriateness was going on. Did he choose to use his considerable power then to shine a light into the darkness of the relationship(s)? Did he use his considerable power to keep Sandusky off Penn State campus? I have no doubt in my mind and I don’t think anyone else does, that if JoePa had said, “I want the weirdo kept off Penn State campus.”, then Jerry Sandusky would never had set foot on Penn State soil again. Not without serious legal ramifications. This would have led to questions from Second Mile and also led to Sandusky without a safe haven to recruit young boys and perform his deprivations upon them. True, he would have likely continued and he would likely had been caught sooner if JoePa had *only* withdrew his protective hand from him.

    Now, let us again look at that moment, and this time, let us assume as the report states that JoePa knew exactly what was going on and had put his foot down and said, “Try to keep the football program out of this but nail this pedophile.” Can you imagine the resources that would have been set against Sandusky? Sandusky would have been destroyed whether they ever got the evidence to prove what he did or not, his ability to hurt children would have been all but eliminated. Penn State would have been hurt, badly. But, JoePa would have been able to, through his ability I believe, pull them through that. And he would have set an amazing standard for his players and his program. I think I would have worshiped him had he done this. He would have been worthy of praise. “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”

    Instead, he chose to be “humane” to Sandusky, a creature that had long left its humanity behind it. This is the danger of benevolent despots over juries or rule of law. Good people have bad friends sometimes. I know I have a few friends who are less than the standards I set for myself. But, when you have that power, you can cover those bad things for that friend, and enable small things to become great injustices. Whether it is a cousin of a judge who keeps drinking and driving until they kill, or a monster like Sandusky who is able to deceive those around him while he preys on their children. This is the reason for our country being set up like it is. No despot. Rule of law, not of personality. Yet, we still cling to that idea from the days of Kings and Queens, that a just person can rule us justly. They cannot. They are human, and they will make mistakes. In a democracy, these mistakes can be fixed and remedied through the separation of powers and checks and balances of one groups power over others. Democracy is harder, more work to be a citizen in a democracy than in a despotism. But, on the whole, I think well worth it.

    JoePa should go down in history as what he was, a benevolent despot brought down by the depravations of one of his inner circle who preyed on our children. Who knows what other depravations or injustices JoePa covered up? Perhaps one of his star players from long ago had a problem taking “no” from his dates? Perhaps one of them liked to drink and drive putting every man, woman and child in your “Happy Valley” at risk every weekend? This was just one time, you protest? Oh, yes, it was just one time, over 14 fucking years. A phrase a bit rough for Sandusky’s victims, but I think they will understand and forgive its use. Such a total lack of character in his decisions in regards to Sandusky call into question every decision the man made with the justifications “It is the right thing.” “It is the humane thing.” I care not for this man’s “humanity”. If this is his idea of humanity, count me among the uncouth, uncivilized of the world, and proudly so.

    What I will be interested to see if they go after everyone else who was complicit in this or if they burn JoePa in effigy and leave it at that. In specific, I think those on the university police department who were involved should spend their golden years trying not to drop the soap. As sworn officers, their betrayal of their oath is even more loathsome to me. And trust me, JoePa’s failure is LOATHSOME to me. I think some thought should be given to a complete dismantling of the university and reconstituting it, with only those who can prove they were not a part of JoePa’s cover-ups of Sandusky allowed to be a part of it. I know I am being overly harsh and unrealistic, as this would never happen, but it should. The laws are there to do so. I feel this university nicely fits the definitions of a corrupt organization under RICO. And can you *imagine* the precedent that would set for other similarly situated institutions when word of such an allegation reached the ears of those in power at that institution? Instead of sacks to cover their asses, there would be a run on the flashlight and battery stores. And trolls such as Sandusky would lose their bridges to hide under.

    But alas we live in a lazy country and this will not come to pass. Instead, we will briefly become outraged and demand cosmetic and procedural changes that have no power to stop the next JoePa from ruling a roost such as this. And when we tire of our vigilance one will step forward. And, so long as they have the talent to provide the institution what it so richly desires whether it be a university and a winning football program, or a Fortune 500 company and its desires for obscene profits. We will not question their judgments and proclamations and do it their way. And thus we will build bridges for the future Sandusky’s to hide under and prey on our children.

    RICO is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law designed to fight organized crime. -rc

  138. I find sports-worship disgusting. As prior posters have pointed out, people who routinely risk their own lives to save the lives and property of others are heroes. Sports figures are just grossly overpaid entertainers. I don’t know how it is elsewhere in the nation, but where I live foul-mouthed football coaches are considered more valuable to society than skilled and compassionate doctors. ESPECIALLY if those doctors provide gynecology services to women!

    I cannot help but wonder how many people are privately praising Paterno for his part in the cover-up. It seems clear that very many people would have been happy to allow the abuse to continue forever as long as it meant nothing would interfere with their beloved football games.

  139. Randy: “This isn’t about a listing of everyone who’s culpable, it’s my asking why there is idol worship of one man who is culpable.”

    IMO Joe followed the right course of action. Others didn’t. Sure, hindsight is 20/20. Joe could have done more but he had -every- reason to believe that after reporting (what was reported to him as heresay) to the head of the University Police Dept, it would be handled and handled properly. Why wouldn’t he? Wouldn’t YOU expect the police to handle a crime you reported to them? Furthermore, Joe was told as much by Curley / Shultz / Spanier that is was being handled. One instance of oversight / poor judgement does NOT erase a man’s lifetime of achievements & the countless thousands of lives he impacted in a positive way. The countless number of former players, almuni, students and fans who stood up and defended Joe’s character are testament to this.

    He was a genuine, humble, GOOD guy who made a bad call. I will not villify him for Jerry’s heinous crimes, McQuery’s lack of action or the pathetic bumbling by University administration.

    The Freeh report is simply opinion / inference and heresay. There is no proof Joe knew the extent of Jerry’s crimes or actively sought to cover anything up. Not one letter, email, memo or audio tape. Nothing.

    I know I’ll be attacked by most of you (and rc) for this opinion but let’s stick to the FACTS, not your feelings. After all, it’s — “This is True”, not “This is Randy’s Opinion”.

    The Freeh report is the result of exhaustive investigation, and his team had unprecedented access as he was commissioned by the PSU Board of Trustees. It’s astounding you can so easily dismiss it. If you consider this response an “attack”, so be it. -rc

  140. Thank you, Randy, for taking Joe Paterno and his supporters to task for being quiet and/or looking past this because of the “good works” that he had done. I was molested by a Catholic priest in the 70’s and found out in 2004 that the diocese knew that the priest was molesting boys since the early 60’s. The bishops chose to do nothing other than to move this priest around to different churches. I do not care how many good works the priest has done in the past, nor how many good works that the bishops did. The fact is the priest molested dozens of kids and the bishop allowed it to happen by inaction even though he knew what was happening. It happened to me, and I have to live my life knowing that others knew but chose to do nothing. May Joe Paterno and his supporters answer to their decisions in the end days. I will not support these morally and ethically bankrupt individuals in life or death….unless they repent that is.

  141. As a resident of PA and a daughter of a Penn State Alumnus, I have always been aware of the greatness that was Joe Pa. I must say that from the beginning of this whole tragedy I have doubted that greatness. While I am sure that there are some lies (After all it is based on interviews, among other things, and people embellish.) in the Freeh report, I think there is a lot of truth as well. Either way I am absolutely convinced that Joe Pa and the entire administration of Penn State is/was wrong. Jerry Sandusky is a predator and at the first sign of anything not being on the up and up in his actions, he should have been stopped.

    Damn Penn State’s reputation! These are children we are talking about. In fact, that’s exactly what they did by covering it up, damn their reputation forever. It is now a 100 times bigger a scandal that they covered it up than it would have been if it was handled immediately all those years ago. And, I’m not talking about firing Sandusky, I’m saying that he should have been reported, investigated and arrested immediately. It would have been handled, addressed and gone in the blink of an eye. Now it will be a scandal for years!

    Other than that… I’m adding my comment to this blog as I read this today on CNN about the relationship of Penn State, Joe Pa and Vicky Triponey, who was Head of Student Affairs. It was very interesting to learn more about the “Penn State Way” and I thought others might be interested as well.

  142. Ooh, I just can’t resist…

    Brian, Pittsburgh: “After all, it’s — ‘This is True’, not ‘This is Randy’s Opinion’.”

    Actually, the newsletter is “This is True.” But this forum is “Randy’s Blog”. So it is, in fact, “This is Randy’s Opinion.” (Yeah, I know, I’m quibbling, but I just HADDA do it…)

    Brian may never see your reply: he has unsubsrcibed from TRUE with the comment, “Can’t take any more of your JoePa bashing. Good bye.” Is it really “bashing” to look at the evidence, clearly see his beloved “Joe Pa” could have stopped 14 years of child molestation, but didn’t — and call him out for it? As you’ve already figured, I don’t think it’s “bashing” but rather just telling it like it is. -rc

  143. One indicator of how far our society has sunk is the fraction of the population that can keep a straight face while uttering the phrase “football hero”. (Never mind “guitar hero”.) As if anything that has ever happened on a chalk-lined field can be spoken of in the same sentence as that which soldiers and policemen, firefighters and other rescue personnel, etc. routinely deal with as their stock in trade. Gridiron “courage” is to the real kind as a flight simulator is to a jet fighter. Useful as a training aid, but that’s about it.

    At the very least, the surviving officials who looked the other way should be charged with the same crimes as Sandusky and the football program should be disbanded and not be allowed to be reestablished for a decade or so. (That will put a major crimp in the school’s finances — tough shit, deal with it, you smug assholes. You’re a big part of the reason that “Happy Valley” has become a euphemism for a young boy’s asscrack, and “Football” one for pedophilia — so “own” that, too.)

    I’m undecided about whether the football stadium should be demolished. It’s not like they should be having any use for it in the near future. OTOH, maybe a locked-up, disused and visibly crumbling stadium, and a big bill to refurbish it when they get their program back, would serve better as reminders. But that statue of JoePa has to go. Any good the man may have done is far outweighed by the good he failed to do.

  144. My father attended Penn State in the ’40’s, and knew Joe Paterno way back, though not well. He deeply respected him, although not the adoration some have elevated ‘JoePa’ to, so I have some prejudice. However, one thing that keeps coming to my mind is this: The graduate student who witnessed the rape of the young boy in 2002 in the shower just looked at them, left and told his father. Then, He reported something of what he had seen to Joe Paterno, who immediately set up a appointment with the athletic director. The athletic director waited a week and a half before contacting the grad student, and asked him to a meeting with him and also the finance director.

    This raises two red flags for me:

    1.) Why did the grad student walk away without doing anything? How spineless can a guy be? How many guys would witness a crime like this on a young boy and just take their property out of the locker and go on their way? Most guys I know would likely have clobbered the old pervert before calling the police.

    2.) Why did the athletic director wait ten days before contacting the grad student/witness and then having the finance director sit in on the meeting? That stinks of cover-up, already, unless the grad student was too wimpy to say exactly what he had seen. Make that, even if the grad student was that wimpy. If I witnessed that same thing or what the janitors had before that, I like to think I would have thought about the boys’ well-being before I worried about my job.

    The grand jury report listed above proves the athletic director and the finance director are guilty, but the grad student most likely is guilty, too, if not of a crime, then morally. Was he too timid to repeat what he claimed happened right in front of him? Why did he call his father instead of the police? Why wait a day before calling Joe Paterno?

    If Joe called the athletic director and were assured that the matter was being handled properly, he might not have done any more than he did, thinking that things were being dealt with. Maybe people didn’t tell him all the details, being awed by the legendary coach?

    All I know is this: If I were on a jury that was deciding the fate of the grad student who witnessed the rape of an 11 year old boy and beat the rapist to a pulp with his bare hands, I would have no guilt on my conscience after voting either ‘not guilty’ or ‘justifiable homicide’.

    Anyone fired for reporting sexual assaults such as these were, would have lawyers standing in line to take the case, pro bono or financed by an opposing school.

    You do raise excellent questions, and maybe we’ll see the answers to a lot of them. There are indeed more prosecutions coming. Whether “everyone” who “deserves” prosecution will face it, though, is unlikely…. -rc

  145. Joe Paterno had to know that nothing came of his report. Sandusky was his friend and he was still on campus. Paterno had to have known that no action was taken, or was planned to be taken. He did not live in a vacuum. He had regular contact with those in the administration whose job it was to investigate his report. At the very least, he must have inquired of SOMEONE, what was being done. AND if he did NOT, then he did NOT fulfill HIS obligation. While the letter of the law does not require that one follow up on a report one has made, you can be sure that a man of Paterno’s standing at Penn State would have been kept informed.

  146. I cannot understand how some persons ability at any professional sport somehow allows them immunity of the law. It is ridiculous to idolize Paterno. It was fairly obvious up front he was quite involved in coverup activities, and the court upheld that. As far as I am concerned he too was a pedofile for supporting Sandusky. I don’t see how his coaching ability should have any effect on that.

    Paterno as a person had no conscience, no concern for people and no concern for right or wrong. These are not traits of a good person let alone to make him a heroic icon.

    To clarify, a court didn’t uphold that, an independent report commissioned by the PSU trustees did. (It was Sandusky who was convicted in court.) The report was authored by Judge Louis Freeh, the 5th Director of the FBI and now in private law practice. -rc

  147. Posted by Mike from Dallas on July 17, 2012:
    Ooh, I just can’t resist…
    Brian, Pittsburgh: “After all, it’s — ‘This is True’, not ‘This is Randy’s Opinion’.”
    Actually, the newsletter is “This is True.” But this forum is “Randy’s Blog”. So it is, in fact, “This is Randy’s Opinion.” (Yeah, I know, I’m quibbling, but I just HADDA do it…)

    Brian may never see your reply: he has unsubsrcibed from TRUE with the comment, “Can’t take any more of your JoePa bashing. Good bye.” Is it really “bashing” to look at the evidence, clearly see his beloved “Joe Pa” could have stopped 14 years of child molestation, but didn’t — and call him out for it? As you’ve already figured, I don’t think it’s “bashing” but rather just telling it like it is. -rc

    Mike — this forum IS Randy’s blog but the topic was featured in the newsletter with links as you well know.

    I think my biggest complaint here is that RC and the public mob have convicted Joe based on heresay in the Freeh report and what they think Joe knew and when he knew it. Nobody knows what Curley / Shultz and Spanier told Joe about the situation and what had transpired and what Joe told them in return…or if those conversations alluded to in emails referenced by the Freeh report EVER even took place.

    To excoriate a man who earned a lifetime of respect, lived humbly, mentored thousands of students, donated millions to the University and was a Presidential “Point of Light” based on heresay, allusions and half-cocked theories about what you THINK he knew and when you THINK he knew it just doesn’t pass muster in my book.

    (And why no harsh words for the man who actually witnessed one of the attacks, did NOTHING then allegedly told Joe a half-truth? That’s where anger should be directed. How can you see that and do nothing?)

    You just proved you’re making comments (which you clearly expect others to read) when you haven’t bothered to read the comments before yours. There has been that anger expressed right here on this page — again and again. You’re expecting that the allegations from the Freeh report must be vetted in court to “convict” (if you will) Paterno, but that’s not going to happen: a dead man cannot be tried in the U.S.

    Thus you dismiss the report as “hearsay” (“Evidence based on the reports of others rather than the personal knowledge of a witness and therefore generally not admissible as testimony.”) The report is, in fact, based on the personal knowledge of multiple witnesses, backed up by millions of documents, all of which paint a clear picture. You refuse to see that picture. That’s your privilege, but you can hardly expect others to buy into your bias. Simply put, the evidence clearly shows that Paterno lied, and is culpable in the sexual abuse of multiple children over multiple years. It is also a fact that the callous dismissal you and others express in public forums absolutely contributes to making it easier for pedophiles to operate — those who have been sexually abused have said so again and again on this very page, and in other similar forums. -rc

  148. To Brian – Pittsburgh:

    As Randy said in the update, “The idea that Paterno was not really aware of the ’98 incident ‘is completely contradicted by the evidence,’ … Rather, Paterno ‘followed the case closely.'”

    The word used by a judge/attorney/former director of the FBI — someone who fully and professionally knows what the word means — is “evidence.” Not “hearsay” nor “rumor” nor “supposition” but “evidence”!

    Brian, you further lament that this page “excoriate(s) a man who earned a lifetime of respect” (etc.) That only looks at one side of the very important equation. While Paterno did in fact earn that respect, he then not only washed it away by his own actions, he tipped the scales very far the other way. You expect us to only see the former and ignore the latter. So my question to you is, exactly how many “mentored students” do you think it takes to excuse his culpability in the multiple rapes of a 7-year-old child? Is that number different from how many it takes to excuse the multiple rapes of an 8-year old? Or a 10-year-old? Please be explicit in your reply: perhaps exact numbers will help me understand your thinking, because clearly you’re saying Paterno’s accomplishments (and I agree, mentoring someone well is a real accomplishment) outweighs those many destroyed lives.

    (I also hope Kelly in San Diego responds to the questions Randy and others put to him; I really do hope to better understand such thought processes.)

  149. I just wanted to reply to what was Posted by Brian – Pittsburgh on July 18, 2012:

    To excoriate a man who earned a lifetime of respect, lived humbly, mentored thousands of students, donated millions to the University and was a Presidential “Point of Light” based on heresay, allusions and half-cocked theories about what you THINK he knew and when you THINK he knew it just doesn’t pass muster in my book.

    It is not “thinking” if it is backed up by evidence. Mr. Freeh is a lawyer (and by all accounts a damn good one) and well knows that saying such things he doesn’t have the evidence to go to court and backup can land him into a lot of legal troubles. I have read the entire report (several times actually) and have found from what is said, at worst JoePa was complicit as an accomplice and at best head in the sand about the allegations. Either is bad enough to remove him as a role model I would want future generations to follow. That is after all what hero is all about. And JoePa even in his own words has proven himself no role model. He states himself, “I wish had done more.”

    (And why no harsh words for the man who actually witnessed one of the attacks, did NOTHING then allegedly told Joe a half-truth? That’s where anger should be directed. How can you see that and do nothing?)

    I think much has been said about McQueary and the others. And I share the disgust of these individuals actions as well. But, the topic here is JoePa. Why? Because he is the only one people are lionizing despite the evidence of his complicity in Sandusky’s abuse, if not outright conspiracy to cover it up. Due to this controversy I have learned more about this man than I ever wanted to know. I admire the “Grand Experiment” idea that he had to both educate student athletes instead of just use and discard as many football programs do. But, at the same time with the calculating coldness that comes through in these events where young boys were molested and JoePa was apprised of the accusations and he does nothing. He stands mute. A man who from the record I have read, had an opinion on how the napkins were to be folded at the banquets, a micro-manager of the Nth degree, but on this he pleads, “Not my job.” I have just one word for that. Bullfuckingshit! I am not buying that. If he was ignorant of it, he was WILLFULLY ignorant. In light of this calculating edge to the man, it is hard to wonder if his “Grand Experiment” was more about making Penn State a recruiting power house (and extending his stay as head coach) than actual concern for the student athletes.

    But all of this you say is an attack and you miss the whole point. (If I wanted to attack, I would spend screens just on your use of the word “humbly” in describing JoePa.) The point is, what can we do next time to assure the next Sandusky does not continue undetected for 14, 15, 20, 30 years? The only way to parse these lessons is a thorough and frank discussion of the actions of all involved. Everyone failed, not just JoePa. But what gets my shorts in a twist is the cavalier way you accept the party line and toe it in defense of your “infallible” hero JoePa. He was not infallible he was human. All too human it seems.

    Why does this bother me so much to see masses of people continuing to worship a man? Because that refusal to see the bad is how we got here. It’s how the son of a bitch who bent me over a fold-out table when I was twelve years old and stuck his dick up my ass was able to rape over 150 young boys over a span of at least 25 years. It’s how it took not one, not two, but 6 boys coming forward to finally end his deprivations. It took a special prosecutor from outside our county because no one in the county would believe it of such a “respected” and “well liked” man. A man should be judged not by his personality or his talents but his actions. And, JoePa’s actions fell well short of the bar for me. You are entitled to your opinion and Randy to his, and I to mine. And I truly hope that no one ever sticks a dick into one of your loved ones’ opinion. Because I can tell from your lack of ability to see people for what they are you will not believe them and allow them to be victimized again and again. (Now that was an attack.)

    Truly Brian and Kelly, if you believe your JoePa is being abused, and unfairly flagellated, bring facts to the table. Specific examples for instance that his character was above reproach. I would love to hear examples of him dismissing for example a winning quarterback for character defects such as cheating or law breaking, etc. I have a feeling any examples you bring will also have defects that affected their talent. IE, they started losing games or not scoring right before JoePa got a case of the morals. But, prove me wrong. Don’t just dismiss the mountains of evidence with the childish, “But they did it too, ma!” Joe Paterno was supposed to be a leader of men, a coach of a superior football program at a superior University. With the great power that granted him, he was given a great and grave responsibility to use it to do RIGHT by EVERYONE, not just his players and staff.

    His life still has lessons for us. But the one I fear and I think you fear also will be a lasting one is that of the dangers of pride and where it can lead us. But, I could be wrong, it could be one of laziness, and that’s why he didn’t take action. There is much here to be learned on why he did what he did and didn’t do what he should have. But, we need to examine the facts, not our feelings for the man to find those lessons for us. Otherwise there is no point to this whole exercise. We should just vote it up or down and be done with it. But, that’s not what this is about. Might be what Randy had in mind, but I doubt it. It’s about prevention or that’s been the thrust behind each of my posts on this subject.

    (One last thought about the term sports heroes. I have only seen one sports star in recent years that I would dare to say had the stuff of a hero, Pat Tillman.)

    This page is most definitely “about” prevention. In my reply to Maxim (who wanted the thread on Facebook censored), I made it clear why I moved it here:

    I want it on my site so that I can ensure this discussion is available. … Yep, some 13+ kids read my original comment, and perhaps read all or some of the comments thread too. Good! As others have said, they’ve heard the words before, and if they’re not aware of the fact that some of the “responsible” adults around them commit sexual atrocities upon the very children they’re supposed to protect, then it’s time they became aware. Anal and oral rape is an ugly subject? You bet it is, and I want youngsters to know that it’s OK to say no, and if it happens anyway, they need to know that the police and other authorities do want to help them and put the bad people into jail. (“People” because it’s not just men: women sexually abuse children too, even if not as much.) The sexual abuse of children is simply not right, and to cover it up, to demand that this ugly subject be hidden from view like it’s not happening, is part of what makes it possible for pedophiles to continue their abuse.

    And that’s exactly what “JoePa” defenders want: for this topic to go away. That will make it easier for other pedophiles to continue their dirty work. Those who have been there and lived through it — like John here — have made that clear. We must stop looking the other way and sweeping this under the rug. It creates more victims of depravity. -rc

  150. I think the original topic was, Why is it that professional sports heroes are Automatically Exempt from any criticism, no matter what they’ve done wrong? I noticed a similar story in this blog in Norwood, CO where a student was sexually assaulted on a field trip.

    Most of the statements here have addressed two issues. One, Joe Paterno was a saint and should face no criticism of any kind. And two, Joe Paterno was just as guilty as the rest and should be condemned forever. Great people screw up. It’s a fact. It doesn’t change that he accomplished great things. It also doesn’t change that he screwed up.

    The question was, What is the GOD worship over the guy? For those who’ve condemn him, nothing will change their minds. For those who refuse to condemn him, nothing will change their minds, either. So WHY the eternal defense of somebody who may have been a great man, but was still just a man, to begin with? Men make mistakes. Men screw up. They live and die with their mistakes. It’s their followers who try to elevate him to immortality.

    Thinking does change minds. Editorial cartoonist Rob Tornoe did a sweet eulogy cartoon of Paterno when he died. After the Freeh report was released, Tornoe changed his mind. He not only said “I was wrong,” and not only withdrew the cartoon, but issued a new one strongly condemning Paterno. -rc

  151. The people who continue to worship Paterno, doubting his culpability for covering up Sandusky’s crimes in the face of overwhelming evidence to the fact, are operating from exactly the same mindset as those who doubt Obama’s citizenship or that Armstrong walked on the moon. They possess weak analytical skills and are so identified with a certain — generally emotional — point of view (Paterno’s apotheosis in this instance) that they are blind to countering evidence. We are not really rational animals, but rather rationalizing ones, and the continuing Paterno worshipers are the same people who embrace conspiracy theories and fundamental religion.

  152. I’m a longtime Premium subscriber, and I enjoy reading your newsletter and seeing the different opinions. I often find you well-reasoned and intelligent most of the time, and I appreciate your thought provoking discussions on many subjects. I generally hold great respect for you, and trust that you listen to comments as they are presented to you.

    This is why I am a bit puzzled at your reaction to the Paterno incident, and perhaps I am reading into things too much, but I will do my best to back up my observations with facts as best I can. You seem to hold a hatred for Paterno on the same level as the child predator Sandusky, and have resorted to insults and incendiary remarks (for example, stating that those who refuse to hold Paterno accountable help perpetuate child rape -– that sounds very dismissive of opposing viewpoints to me) to people who will attempt to defend Paterno. This seems unusual behavior for you, as I typically find most of your criticisms of others to be logical and respectful. Certainly some of the defenders are blind to the facts, and are simply defending him out of a misplaced loyalty to football or school or whatever, but I would like to question your apparent condemnation of Paterno. FYI, I am indifferent to football and have no real interest in protecting or condemning Paterno. I am simply seeking clarification on some inferences, while provoking further discussion, which I hope you will enjoy.

    Your statements seem to imply that a) Paterno had an active part in a cover up, b) that Paterno had full knowledge that Sandusky raped (and continued to rape) boys since 1998, and c) that Paterno actively put football ahead of the welfare of those children (“sacrificing young children to a predator”). You cite the Freeh report as “vindication” of your comments on Paterno. From what I see, the report itself does not contain things that seem as condemning as you say they are. Most of what you seem to consider vindicating are Freeh’s conclusions — not the evidence itself. When I examine the report, I find very little conclusive evidence of a), b), or c). Please allow me to elaborate. I will cite some of the information you present in your “July 2012 Upate” on the Worship page on This Is True.

    ***Freeh’s Conclusion: “The idea that Paterno was not really aware of the ’98 incident “is completely contradicted by the evidence,” says the author of the Penn State report, former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Rather, he says, Paterno “followed the case closely.””

    ***Facts on the 1998 Incident in the report

    Page 47-48: The lead up to the email where Curley reports having touched base with coach Paterno regarding the 1998 incident indicates that the discussion involved accounts of bear hugs, wrestling, etc., with no allegation beyond that. It sounds to me like the “touching base” was more of a statement to Paterno by Curley stating to Paterno, “nothing criminal went on here.” Nothing in this section indicates to me that Paterno even knew of a sexual assault.

    Page 49-50: “Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” Again, at this time it doesn’t appear to me that Paterno is aware of sexual assault and is in fact trying to determine where the report stands — that is, what happened? The updates to Paterno, from what I can gather, would be that Curley told Paterno that “there was no criminal behavior and the matter was closed as an investigation” (according to Schultz’s account of the investigators’ meeting). So still, I do not see any moral shortcomings of the coach. When one is told that the investigation is closed and that there was no criminal behavior, why would someone investigate on their own? Paterno would have little to no reason to question that status report, in my opinion.

    Page 51: It states, “the available record is not clear as to how the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was conveyed to Paterno.” Based on what I’ve seen in the lead up to this, I don’t see a thing that would indicate that Paterno had knowledge of a sexual assault. To me, it makes sense that he would not address Sandusky directly, because he had been told that nothing criminal (and presumably nothing sexual) had happened. To me, this makes Paterno’s assertion that he did not know of inappropriate sexual conduct during his Grand Jury testimony accurate. It sounds to me like as far as Paterno knew, the 1998 incident wasn’t related to sexual conduct.

    At this point after the 1998 incident, I find it reasonable to conclude that Paterno was unaware of the sexual assault. You and/or Freeh seem to have conclude without a doubt that Paterno knew of it, but I don’t see that in the evidence as I quoted above. If you are seeing something that I have missed, please share it with me.

    I do not understand how Freeh makes the leap from the fact that “Paterno was aware of an incident with Sandusky involving inappropriate conduct with a child, and when he followed up was told that there was no criminal behavior and that the investigation is closed” to what seems to be the implied opinion that “Paterno knew that Sandusky sexually assaulted a child and let Sandusky get away with it.”

    I also question why Paterno specifically is being regarded with what seems to be the same level of contempt as the reprehensible criminal behavior of Sandusky. Again, I have no reason to defend or condemn Paterno, but nothing that I have seen so far leads me to believe that Paterno was implicit in a cover up, and is therefore undeserving of this rage. Sandusky, we now know, had incredibly offensive behavior. Most anger, in my opinion, should be directed at him.

    Let me be clear: if indeed Paterno without a doubt knew that Sandusky raped children and continued to rape children and let him slide in the face of that knowledge, *especially* if it was in order to protect the football legacy, then Paterno himself is absolutely accountable and deserves a special level of condemnation. Freeh in his press release states, “it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity … [others including] Paterno … repeatedly concealed critical facts …” but I don’t even get close to that upon my examination of the evidence presented. I hear Freeh condemning Paterno, but I do not specificaly see why. Can you understand my difficulty? What am I missing?

    Absolutely had Paterno gone above and beyond, as all the supporters wished he had done, and in spite of being told in 1998 “there’s nothing to see here” continued to investigate on his own and determined the truth, that Sandusky was a pedophile and needed to be dealt with, then Paterno would be every bit the hero that his supporters think he was. He did not do that. Does that make him evil? Does that make him reprehensible? I would argue no – it makes him human. He has a part in this fiasco, but the level of blame that is being levied on Paterno seems unreasonable to me.

    Regarding the 2001 events and later, so far the only thing that I see is one line on Page 67, that in 2011, Paterno states that McQueary’s description to him of the 2001 incident “was a sexual nature.” I can reasonably conclude that Paterno then had reason to suspect Sandusky’s transgressions, and should have done *something*. To attack Paterno, I’d say he should have investigated it himself. To defend Paterno, I’d say that him turning it in to his higher authorities *was* doing something. Paterno himself with the benefit of hindsight admitted that it was not enough, that he “wish[ed he] had done more.”

    I believe that what others consider to be Paterno’s legacy, character, and example (aside from the events we’re discussing here) would serve to be mitigating circumstances against his transgression of not reporting at least the 2001 incident to the police. I would also think that Paterno could reasonably conclude that if he informed the school authorities, that they would properly inform the actual police if the situation warranted it. That they didn’t might have indicated to Paterno that the allegations were false, or that they were investigated more similar to how he was told the 1998 investigation happened. While this does not excuse the alleged crime for failure to report as Randy and others have described, I don’t think that it requires us to escalate this crime to the level of rage that should be conferred to a child predator… unless there is more evidence to support that inference, which I do not see at all.

    Thank you for letting me speak my mind, and I hope that this brings healthy and respectful discussion to help me understand the viewpoints a little better. I certainly may have made some mistakes in my long essay, so please forgive any typos and correct any misstated facts.

    p.s. Something to think about: When someone who you know and respect is accused of or actually does something that seems out of character, isn’t it often the case that we give people the benefit of the doubt? Perhaps Paterno did give Sandusky the benefit of the doubt when he turned him in to the higher ups in any incident. Perhaps Paterno’s supporters are giving Paterno the benefit of the doubt when he is being attacked (whether rightly or wrongly). Perhaps I am giving Randy the benefit of the doubt when I see him attack someone with such certainty and vitriol like I’ve never seen before in years of reading his newsletter, based on what seems to me to be less than rock solid evidence! Obviously “benefit of the doubt” is never seen as enough when the truth is revealed to be contrary, but isn’t that human nature?

    “Hatred of Paterno”? Not at all. Hatred for what he allowed to happen? Absolutely. It’s important to separate the two. While I’m not the victim of sexual abuse myself, which is why I so appreciate the weighing in here of those who have been, I am sensitive (perhaps overly so) to issues involving injustices perpetrated by adults onto children (ZT falls into the same category). I don’t consider your example of “insults and incendiary remarks” to be insulting at all, and I hope my emotion-tinged responses have not actually led me down that path.

    I do have the Freeh report here, but I’m getting ready to go on the road yet again (sigh) first thing in the morning, and definitely don’t have time to scan it carefully to quote details back to you. With luck, in my absense, others will (perhaps John in Arkansas, who has read the report “several times”). At the very least, I’ll be able to (within the bounds of times I’m offline while in travel and meetings) continue to approve comments. -rc

  153. Well I was preparing a response based on the Freeh report, but Shawn in Pittsburgh wrote one that was a lot better than what I was coming up with. So I will just give a few observations.

    As I was reading the report (I won’t pretend to have read the entire 250+ pages. I mostly just read the introduction, the executive summary, the timeline, and the lengthy account of the incidents from 1998 up until the grand jury), I was struck with how sparse the references to Joe Paterno were. The names of Schultz, Curly, and Spanier were very prevalent, but Paterno was decidedly less so. If he were so heavily involved in the coverup, I would expect his name to be at least as common in the report as the others, especially considering that he was probably the one with the most power, including the university president Spanier, and is easily the most well known of the four. And most of the references to Paterno were things we knew before the massive investigation.

    I find it a little disingenuous of Randy to say that the proof of Paterno’s misdeeds is backed up by millions of documents. If there really were such a plethora of proof, you can be sure it would all be in the report. The surprising lack of proof shows us just how useless the majority of those millions of emails were (as pertaining to the present case).

    Despite all this, I believe Paterno made serious errors in the Sandusky case, and I believe that he was involved at least to some extent in deliberately covering it up. Perhaps the most damning evidence, in my eyes, is what followed the 2001 incident that McQueary reported. The fact that everyone involved, Paterno included, only seemed to care about Sandusky and how the incident would affect the program and PSU, and did not make any attempt to identify or reach out to the boy who had been raped, to me speaks volumes of what was their highest priority.

    Stop putting words in my mouth. You say it’s “disingenuous of Randy to say that the proof of Paterno’s misdeeds is backed up by millions of documents.” Disingenuous indeed. What I actually said was (here are my two, and only two, references on this page to “millions of documents”):

    How “exhaustive” was Freeh’s report? Extremely: it was built on interviews with 430 witnesses and the review of 3.5 million documents (such as emails).

    The report is, in fact, based on the personal knowledge of multiple witnesses, backed up by millions of documents, all of which paint a clear picture.

    It is true that the Freeh report is supported by witness interviews and the review of many documents. But that report is not solely about Paterno. -rc

  154. A reply to the Post by Shawn in Pittsburgh on July 19, 2012:

    “At this point after the 1998 incident, I find it reasonable to conclude that Paterno was unaware of the sexual assault.”

    I am seeing many things, most of all that Freeh is a lawyer who as I have stated before knows the liabilities for libel/slander and I am sure is not about to put his home and assets at risk making a statement that he cannot defend in court. Second, if you turn to page 12 you will note: “At the request of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, the Special Investigative Counsel did not interview…” and throughout the report references to working with the Attorney General and District Attorney. There are still open and pending charges against three officials as I recall. (Subject to correction, I remember vaguely on the night of Sandusky’s conviction, something mentioned about one of them might be dismissed and I have been unable to find a written article to confirm.) This will probably not satisfy you, but some evidence is being withheld pending the conclusion of all the pending criminal actions in the case. Its strength has been weighed by Freeh and his report is based on that. I presume his standard for the report is probably at minimum what he can defend himself in a libel/slander suit against. Which I know is a long ways from the weight needed to convict one of criminal charges. This is why you will note in my posts, I state, Paterno was “at best head in the sand” about the Sandusky allegations. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here because I *know* my emotions in this are not objective.

    “I hear Freeh condemning Paterno, but I do not specificaly see why. Can you understand my difficulty? What am I missing?”

    I cannot speak to why Freeh comes to this conclusion, but myself, I come to this conclusion by reading both the report with what has been reported publicly by Paterno’s own supporters and those who worked with him. Primarily his penchant for micro-management to the Nth degree has been well reported, and not just since the incident was reported but going back decades. It is hard for me to conceive of someone who has that penchant, and knowledge of a budding scandal with one of his key coaches (in 1998 Sandusky was still an Assistant Coach), and he is not asking for specifics? It is crosswise of everything I have read on the man. Is it “evidence” that would hold up in court? Louis Freeh seems to have bet his house and everything he owns that he can defend the statements. Because you have to know Paterno’s family does have the financial means to take it to court. Does it meet the standard for a conviction? Possibly not. But, if you didn’t already know, what can be proven in court and what is true bear very little resemblance to each other in the eyes of those who have lived through it.

    Also, another fact that comes to mind was that, shortly after the incident, Paterno told Sandusky he was no longer being considered for the head coach job. Indeed, he told him that his work with Second Mile was the reason. (I have looked for the source and have been unable to find it, so if you find it please correct any inaccuracies.) He did not come out and state he had concerns about his relationship with the boys, but rather said it was the time it took away from the program. I find this telling. I am of course implying that Paterno had suspicions something wasn’t right with his work with Second Mile, and there is no direct evidence. But, in light of all the other evidence, I find it hard to believe this was not a determining factor in why Sandusky was taken out of the running.

    “Does that make him evil? Does that make him reprehensible? I would argue no – it makes him human. He has a part in this fiasco, but the level of blame that is being levied on Paterno seems unreasonable to me.”

    All too human. That he did not investigate and that he did not ask any questions that would force someone to tell him of the sexual nature of the accusations, coupled with as I said before his need for control and micro-management that was well known, seems to fly in the face of his character. The one time he didn’t get all the details on something, it’s a sexual assault? Sorry, I just don’t buy it. Maybe he was uncomfortable with the subject, but he would have had to know there was a sexual side to the story to have stopped asking questions if that is the case. And that makes his statement to the Grand Jury, “I do not know of it” when answering a question asked of him that other than the 2001 incident did he know of any sexual accusations or rumors about Sandusky, perjury unless he was honestly senile and had forgotten it.

    “To defend Paterno, I’d say that him turning it in to his higher authorities *was* doing something.”

    In light of the above, and this being the second time we can prove Paterno was aware of allegations regarding Sandusky, is where I part company. He should have used all his power at that point. By the accounts in the news, Paterno’s word was law on Penn State campus. He had clout, this was his chance to use it to assist someone who could do absolutely nothing for Paterno. (By all accounts, the students who he mentored were athletes who brought something to the table. And the same for his other charitable works.) And he did not step up. Were his actions criminal? I don’t know. But they are far below the standard I would hold myself to much less a powerful individual faced with the knowledge a child had possibly been harmed under the same roof of his office. More on this after your next point.

    “While this does not excuse the alleged crime for failure to report as Randy and others have described, I don’t think that it requires us to escalate this crime to the level of rage that should be conferred to a child predator… unless there is more evidence to support that inference, which I do not see at all.”

    As an athletics coach at a public university he is a mandated reporter, and while I am not a lawyer, my understanding is the only person/agency a mandated reporter can report to is the police and the child welfare agency. Not your boss, not your wife, not your mother, not your second cousin, the police and the child welfare agency, period. In some states, telling either is enough (and most of those states require that agency to forward it on to the other regardless of their own findings), in other states it requires both. This is a protection that I and other victims have lobbied hard for. It allows for a double safety net that two agencies will investigate an accusation, not just one. If one fumbles, the other is there to pick up the ball. I do not know off the top of my head Pennsylvania’s specific requirements. But, this may be where I take a different fork than Randy, in that I think this law that protects children should have zero tolerance. If you are a mandated reporter and you don’t report an accusation, I am sorry, but you’re guilty and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law whether the abuse accusation was founded or unfounded. It is the only law I think there should be zero tolerance for but because I understand the risk all too well when it is not followed that I take this position.

    I find it hard to believe a man who could navigate the arcane regulations of NCAA would have trouble understanding that he couldn’t just tell his boss and be done with it. Indeed, it appears in the report that the president, Spanier, acknowledges as much and I find it hard to believe he or the university counsel did not brief Paterno of this obligation (p. 24 second bullet). And on the same page first bullet you find where “professional help” is offered at Paterno’s implied insistence. That means he understands that the man had a problem, and rather than force him to face the piper he wanted to coddle and protect him and try to fix him. Or that is my read of that. Sexual predators can’t be fixed. Well they can but the Constitution says that falls under “cruel and unusual”.

    Now I want to digress.

    The vitriol that seems to be taking place as a result of this whole affair is something that does bother me. After my last entry, I took the time to go to Penn States Facebook page and note the discussions there. And it seems the students and staff there are being met with an outpouring of hatred that is on the most part undeserved. I find it hard to believe even 0.1% of them had any idea about Sandusky, in large part due to JoePa’s efforts I suspect. I found where $500,000 had been raised by the students to support (a support hotline for sex crime victims) due to the Sandusky case. And elsewhere on that page, I found where a user had posted a thanks to the University Hospital for saving her daughter to have the comment replied to with something to the effect of (I didn’t write it down and can’t find the post now.) “How does it feel that a child had to be raped for your child to be saved?” This is utter and complete mob mindset bullshit. While I condemn the leaders of the university and Paterno for their lack of action that let a child predator operate in their very midst, I hold no ill will for the students and faculty who had no knowledge of the affair, much less condone the insult given to a woman who was thanking a Hospital for medical care. I hold some dislike and distrust of those who still in the face of mounting evidence about Paterno and Sandusky as well as the Freeh report that Paterno was blameless. But I have no desire for violence on the campus or other threats like I have been reading.

    While in my prior post I mentioned using RICO to shut down the school, and I still wonder if that might be a way to go so as to set an example for the next institutional leaders confronted with a problem such as this. It was mostly a tongue in cheek stab at the frustrations I have with those who in face of mounting evidence still defend JoePa and have a university education, but can’t articulate specific facts about his tenure that are so good and worthy as to overshadow missing the mark so far on this and letting all these children be hurt. Should his statue be torn down? No, it is a part of the institution’s history. Should it be moved to a less prominent position? Absolutely. I think it should have a marker that tells both of his deeds and his failure. Tell what you will on one marker of his wonderful record. But on the other, tell the dangers of not reporting suspected abuse and what it can lead to. Perhaps even with a number posted on it for reporting abuse or even better yet, a campus phone right there with one touch dialing to an abuse hotline.

    People, JoePa is dead. Cases for the others are still ongoing. But there is absolutely no reason to condemn 45,000 student and untold faculty by painting them with the same brush. JoePa’s legacy will be decided by history and I strongly suspect it will not be kind to him on his failures in the Sandusky case. But there is no reason for hatred. Get at the facts, and come up with ways to prevent this in the future. With no animosity and fervor, we need to find a way to accept what has happened and step forward. I see in the posts on Penn State’s Facebook page a snapshot of the conflict and hatred when my abuser was finally brought to justice. It is in many parts why I no longer live where it occurred. Instead, I live some hundreds of miles away from family and everything I had known. Don’t let this divide you, turn you one on the other. If you do, it will only hurt more people and drive Sandusky’s victims into further pain. I had made my posts hoping that some would see the raw emotions that this kind of abuse can stir in its victims even decades after the fact and understand the grave nature of efforts at preventing it.

    But, I think I have failed. I will reply to specific questions for me, but other than that, this will be my last post on this subject. It is beyond me to contribute if the message is not being heard and instead, a mob is forming opposing everything football and Penn State just on principle. I don’t think that is what Randy or the other posters *here* are doing. But nonetheless that is what I see in the wider discussion on this subject. And with the vitriol I think I let show in my previous post, I think instead of working towards a solution, my posts are instead feeding a frenzy. I wonder if Brian and Kelly are reacting not to anything we have written here but to the general tenor of all the nastiness that has been posted by trolls and flamers elsewhere on the web. I weep as I write this. You cannot understand the depths of the emotion this stirs in me to see in unprecedented thoroughness of the depravity of humanity in the reaction to a crime so terrible. To use it to settle old scores and threaten violence, I am just ashamed. In a nation where we have 78 children raped or sexually abused every hour, 5 or more of them will die each day as a result of injuries sustained in their abuse, and we have thousands of people flaming and trolling over whether a statue should be torn down or moved? If those resources and that energy was turned and harnessed to protect even a fraction of that number, we could save hundreds and perhaps thousands.

    I just want to apologize to any and all who were offended by the tenor of my remarks. My remarks were made to shock, in the hopes it would make you see the seriousness of the issue. But too I think I reveled in shocking because it was an outlet to my general anger and other emotions reignited by this case. I do not apologize for the facts or my opinions of what I *think* about JoePa. My view of him is unwavering. My apologies are for the ways I chose to make my opinions and state the facts that were less than civil. You too, even if you believe JoePa to still be an overall good man are worthy of the respect due a human. Brian, I especially apologize for the remark about your loved ones. I wish none harm. No, not even my abuser or Sandusky. I don’t want them ever to be free to prey again, but I wish them no harm. My closing message is this: put away emotions, discuss the facts, glean from this one thing *you* can do to prevent abuse and do it. Be it being more mindful of a child you normally ignore, or volunteering with a charity that works with abused children. Or just being mindful of your child’s friends and keep an open dialog that they know they can come to you and be believed. If you see something, do something, not violence, but engage the authorities. Snap a picture with your cell phone and turn it over. Do something, resolve that if nothing else, that you will keep an eye open and do something if you see it.

    I don’t believe libel/slander is an issue here, at least with regards to Paterno: in the U.S., a dead person cannot be defamed (in a legal sense).

    Your suggestion of withholding information due to the ongoing prosecutions of other players in this case does sound reasonable.

    As for the mandatory reporting requirements, my understanding of the law in Pennsylvania is that it’s not only required to report such to the police, but to also then put the report in writing. There were neither oral or written reports made by Paterno, nor by several others who clearly did have knowledge. I have been trained in Colorado’s mandatory reporting law several times, and I’m “just” a volunteer. Surely a full-time employee of an educational institution who works with youth was required to take similar training again and again and again.

    I agree with you that mob violence against students and innocent faculty is ridiculous — it simply creates more victims of Sandusky’s actions. Is that what they really want?

    Thanks for responding to my request to weigh in again. I don’t think you have failed. Your main mission here was (it seems to me) to open some eyes to the damaged caused in these cases from the view of a victim of such crimes. You succeeded admirably in that, and I again thank you for providing a perspective that I cannot. -rc

  155. There is actually a third reference to “millions of documents”, which is probably the one to which Gordon in Lafayette was referring. In response to Brian in Pittsburg on July 18th, you did say, “The report is, in fact, based on the personal knowledge of multiple witnesses, backed up by millions of documents, all of which paint a clear picture.” But you were speaking of all the evidence in the report, not just the specific evidence against Paterno.

    Dang Chrome’s search abilities! Thanks. -rc

  156. “The sad thing is, had he done the right thing in 1998, his legacy would very likely have been preserved. Instead, he allowed the destruction of more young boys. -rc”

    If he had done the right thing in 1998, his reputation would have been enhanced, and his legacy infinitely greater, in my opinion. Part of our society’s mythology about great coaches, is that they do the right thing even when it is unpopular. Another is that they act boldly and decisively to hold themselves, their players, and their employees, to a higher standard than the rest of the world. Good coaches bench players without waiting for legal process, and those coaches are praised for it. They fire assistants for inappropriate conduct and sometimes for nebulous links to questionable individuals and situations that are nowhere near the rigorous standard required in legal proceedings.

    For all of these things (whether I like them or not), coaches are praised and rewarded. JoePa had the reputation of paying more attention to the details, and taking more preemptive actions, than all but a few famous coaches. If he had taken a strong stand in 1998, he would have gained respect, rather than lost it. Perhaps there would have been short-term consequences for recruiting and fundraising, but the longer-term effect would have been positive for the university, and for everyone involved, except the perpetrator(s).

  157. When you are in a structured environment (the Military, Fire/Police/EMT, Collegiate, most all employment situations) you follow chain of command. It is important to the structure of the organization to adhere to its organizational environment.

    From the legal standpoint, it is important to remember here that there are others that are ‘culpable’. Paterno did what he was supposed to do and informed his superiors of the comments made by McQueary. Paterno did not witness any of the actions, therefore it becomes hearsay in a court of law. I am not arguing the definition of “Paterno did what he was supposed to do.”

    This train of thought follows in cases of racial bias, inappropriate comments in the workplace, and includes sexual harrassment in most organizations.

    The artist’s removal of a halo on a mural and today’s removal to storage of Paterno’s statue only serves to appease the general popluation and does not address the underlying cause of the organizational failure.

    There were so many failures by superiors, including the University Police Department and the local Police Department, several years earlier.

    We seem to want to approach, or, more, attack, where we feel the most harm will result. In this case, Paterno is, not only dead, but cannot explain or defend himself.

    I respected Freeh when he was headed the FBI, if, for no other reason, than he was the head of the organization. And, this is the point in this case; Paterno was the ‘head’ of the organization, only the football program.

    Now, should he have taken steps to remove Sandusky from his Emeritus position? He did not have the power to do this; the University Regents or President of the University would be responsible for doing this, if they deemed it necessary.

    Tomorrow at 9AM EST, the NCAA will ‘punish’ the University and the current and future students; perhaps misguided judgement again.

    The Courts will make judgement, hopefully in an appropriate manner against the currently accused. There is tremendous value in this, except that, again, the University Regents, upper leadership, current and past, will most probably escape their judgement, unfortunately.

    Who was responsible? Sandusky. Who ‘should’ have acted sooner? All of the supposed leaders of PSU, of which Paterno was not one.

    Attacking Paterno does not serve anything, nor does ‘lionizing’ or ‘idolizing’ him. The tort side of the legal system will meet its justice in years future against those who, evidently on a continual basis, ‘covered up’ or ignored the warnings, the comments, the reports, and the hearsay.

    None of us know all the facts in these cases, therefore our movements toward hatred and vitriol toward any one individual, perhaps other than Sandusky, are misplaced; zt least at the present.

    Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion as others have.

    You start by arguing that “in a structured environment… you follow chain of command.” You end the argument by saying that one of the levels of command should be skipped, that Paterno was not a “leader” (commander). Indeed, that’s the whole point of this page: he was, in fact, one of those leaders. Not of the university as a whole (although even that could be argued), but of his program. And it was within that program that Sandusky operated not once, not for days, not for weeks, but for years and years. Paterno thus knew or, in the parlance of this paradigm, “should have known,” what was going on. Freeh indeed argues that the evidence shows Paterno did know, and still did nothing. -rc

  158. Randy, that’s my comment at the top of this list, back in January. Time for me to say this here: I was wrong.

    Paterno failed, and failed miserably at what he was supposed to do. In the end, he will be remembered for this, and that saddens me. He had the potential for such a great legacy, and he failed to stand up for the helpless when he most needed to.
    Was taking down the statue the right thing to do? I’m not sure. If it stayed up, it would have been a target. If it goes back up in the next ten years, it’ll be a target again.

    Does the university deserve sanctions from the NCAA? Again, I’m not sure. I think this falls outside of what the NCAA is chartered to do. This wasn’t a “football” thing any more than it would have been a basketball thing had it happened at the Jordan Center.

    You’re a big man, Bob. Kudos. And you’re still thinking: you’re asking good questions. That’s all I ask. -rc

  159. I appreciate you for discussing this issue, and still the way you’ve framed the issue bothers me. I don’t think one needs to frame one’s respect for Paterno as binary and total. I think one could respect what Paterno did for students, players, and the university, while feeling disgusted by his unwillingness to stand up for the abuse victims. I don’t know that either one needs to negate the other.

    Moreover, anyone totally and universally deserving of respect or undeserving of it would be entirely too boring to write about, no?

    Good points, but remember the context in which this was posted: Paterno had just been fired, and students on campus (and former students off-campus) were pouring their hearts out, protesting how “unfair” it was. They only looked at the good things he did (and he did do lots of good things), and were completely ignoring the bad things. I simply had and have a hard time ignoring raped children. -rc

  160. I read the entire Freeh Report. All I see is an excerise in Non-linear logic, Circular logic, and “conclusions” based upon these questionable practices. Convict a great man without due process. Convict him in the “rotten to the core” Media. Joe Paterno is mentioned ONCE in the report. Where, oh where… is it stated that he knew anything other than what he said he knew? He said that he heard that Sandusky was seen showering with a child, and it made people uncomfortable. And yet, all you schmucks call him a liar, and state forthrightly that he knew that Sandusky was raping children and allowing it to happen. PROVE IT! You can’t prove what isn’t so. The NCAA punishes the team, the school, and Paterno for what? Lack of openness? If the NCAA wants openness, let it start with the head of the NCAA getting rid of his stupid toupee.

    I don’t know what report you read, but it wasn’t the Freeh report.

    Page 14: “Paterno … failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”

    Page 15: “Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley gave the following reasons for taking no action to identify the February 9, 2001 child victim and for not reporting Sandusy to the authorities….”

    Page 16: “Paterno told a reporter that ‘I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away….'”

    Page 16: “…the most powerful leaders at the University — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.”

    Page 17 discusses how Paterno and others decided to allow Sandusky to retire “not as a suspected child predator, but as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy …[and] retained unlimited access to University facilities”.

    Paterno is also discussed on Page 19, Page 20, Page 21, Page 23, Page 24, Page 26, Page 30, Page 35, Page 39, Page 40, Page 41, Page 47, Page 48, Page 49, Page 51, Page 52, Page 53, Page 55, Page 56, Page 57, Page 58 — SHALL I GO ON? His name is mentioned repeatedly throughout the report, not “ONCE”. The report goes on for 162 pages plus numerous appendices, and Paterno is a central figure.

    Cover your eyes to the clear evidence if that makes you feel better, but you should know that people like you HELP pedophiles operate, to continue to rape children, to get away with one of the most despicable crimes humanity can think up, because you refuse to open your eyes to the ugly facts. But don’t you DARE ask decent people who are not bamboozled by the supposed “glory” of football to go along with your lionizing a man who allowed it to happen not once, not for a week, but again and Again and AGAIN for years and years and years.

    Educators are required to do something when confronted with such evidence, not “back away”. Actual human beings, meanwhile, do something about such crimes even when not required by law. -rc

  161. You prove my point for me!! Oh, OK. Perhaps I was unclear. WHERE DOES IT SAY HE KNEW THE EXTENT OF THE ABUSE???

    You may think so — if you’re completely deluding yourself. So he only knew about a few boys being ass-raped, not about all of them? Therefore it’s OK? Yeah, that shows you as a real human being, Jim. Hits me right HERE. -rc

  162. In comment to several people who decided to start calling people names: A favorite ‘debate technique’ in 21st-century society is, when you are losing the argument, to revert to calling those people who disagree with you names. I suppose this has been going on since man first learned to speak and to create hurtful names but as EVERYTHING has been politicized in modern society, the names of “Liberal,” “Conservative,” “Fascist,”, “Neo-Nazi,” and “Racist” seem to the ones that get thrown around the most. The reason they are used so often is simple — they WORK! They successfully deflect the debate away from the points where the name-caller was losing and force the person on the other side to either defend himself from such charges or simply walk away — either way, the name-caller wins.

    Joe Paterno was a great Football Coach. He worked hard to raise the Penn State program to national prominence and he should be remembered for that. I am not a major sports fan myself but I do believe that there is a place for sports in our education system. There is someone else who shares culpability with the people who were directly involved in this scandal and that person is not really A person but is in fact SOCIETY AS A WHOLE!
    Let me explain. Many writers have said how what Coach Paterno did (or did NOT do) was to uphold and maintain the reputation of the Penn State football program and the school itself. The explanation for this behavior is that WE the PUBLIC demand more and more from College Sports. A coach who has (at many schools) ONE losing season will find himself looking for work at the end of that season, particularly at the schools with long histories of national prominence and winning teams (Schools like Alabama, Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida, USC, Ohio State, Michigan and others in that same caliber of performance. They may not be in the top 5 every season but they generally win at least 9 games a season and always go to a post-season bowl).

    In 2002 someone comes to Coach Paterno and says that there are some untoward things happening in your facility involving a former staff member who still has access to the facility. Sandusky no longer works for Penn State but is using the facility for his illicit activities. Paterno has to decide if the potential ‘down-side’ to the University and his Program of going public with the allegations is outweighed by the good it would bring. Since he has not seen the activity he knows that go public would be a mistake because he cannot prove anything and the media would have a circus. Also, he knows that the money is going to dry up if the allegations get out. So he takes the ‘safe route’ and reports it to the AD as he was required to do. The AD is also thinking more of the effect on the reputation of the school and the potential liability than he is about what may or may not have happened.

    Society’s fixation with WINNING (at ANY COST it would seem) thus lead these people (and the others in the University Administration) to obstruct justice and allow the molestation to continue.

    My question is WHY did Sandusky still have keys and access to the Athletic Department facilities? Most companies when you retire or are otherwise ‘relieved of duties’ immediately expect their former employees to surrender keys, ID Badges and other items that belong to the company (in this case, the University Athletic Department). If he needed access because he was going to be running a special program for children at the University’s facilities, then the University had a DUTY to perform background checks on Sandusky and anyone else who would be working with or around the children! And since he was no longer on Staff he should have needed an escort (or at least had to sign in and out when he came and went to and from the facility, but not be given a key.

    At the end of the day the facts remain — Paterno was a great coach who messed up. He should be remembered as the great coach he was but should also be remembered as the man who COULD have stopped Sandusky but did NOT!


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