Thursday, November 10, 2011

Say It Ain't So Joe

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Man's inhumanity to man is not only perpetrated by the vitriolic actions of those who are bad. It is also perpetrated by the vitiating inaction of those who are good.”

In 1998, the head football coach at Penn State Universtiy, Joe Paterno (along with a shitload of other Penn State faculty and administrators), was made aware of disturbing allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with young boys charged against his long time friend and defensive coordinator, Greg Sandusky. For undisclosed reasons then district attorney, Ray Gricar (who’s now missing / dead), chose not to prosecute Sandusky and so ended a police investigation into the matter. Sandusky (not) coincidentally took an early retirement package from the University less than a year later, but stayed connected to the football program (and young boys) through his “Second Mile” charitable foundation.

In 2000, a temporary janitor, Jim Calhoun (not the UConn basketball coach), witnessed Sandusky engaging in sexual activity with a boy in a campus locker-room shower. He reported the incident to a supervisor and several other staff members who did absolutely nothing with the information. Calhoun currently suffers from dementia and resides in an assisted-living facility.

In 2002, then graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a Penn State locker-room shower. A distraught McQueary reported the incident to Coach Paterno the next day (if he was distraught, just imagine how the young boy getting sexually molested in the shower must have felt). Paterno promptly informed the athletic director (Tim Curley) who informed the SVP of Finance and Business (Gary Schultz), who had oversight of university police. The pair met with McQueary to discuss the incident, but ultimately decided not to report it to authorities. Instead they simply told Sandusky that he could no longer bring boys on campus. As in so long as it doesn't happen here we don't need to know about it (are you f*cking kidding me - we're talking about the sexual molestation of children for Christ's sake - what's wrong with you?).

It’s now 2011, and Sandusky is finally being prosecuted for his heinous crimes against humanity. Curley and Schultz are finally being charged for their egregious roles in the cover-up. Paterno and Graham Spanier (Penn State University president) are finally being fired for their blatant inaction. McQueary meanwhile still has his job (as wide receivers coach) and plans on being on the sideline for this Saturday’s game. Note to Penn State Board of Trustees: if you don’t fire McQueary prior to this Saturday’s game you’re essentially spitting in the face of the young boys victimized by Sandusky and their families. Do the right thing before it’s too late.

Add it all up and 13 years passed by from the time Sandusky was first accused of sexual misconduct against a child, to the time he was finally charged with a crime. 13 years of raping and molesting defenseless children. 13 years of lost innocence never to be returned. 13 years of silence by a University desperate to hold on to its proud reputation. 13 years of misery and heartache that could have easily been avoided if not for the inaction of a head coach who "wishes he had done more," and his staff.

Shame on you Coach Paterno, and shame on anyone else with even peripheral knowledge of what’s been taking place on the campus of Penn State University over the past 13 years. Joseph Vincent Paterno - you leave Penn State University as the winningest head coach in the history of major college football, and are considered by many a true American icon. But as the old saying goes: lie with dogs, wake with fleas. And unfortunately for you there’s no flea bath strong enough to ever cleanse this stain from your sullied reputation. Along with the innocence of those defenseless young boys, so too lost was your legacy.

No comments: