Obviously, the hot topic in sports...hell, in the world...is the ongoing Penn State sex abuse scandal. Living in Pennsylvania, I have a somewhat intimate idea of the scope and impact of the matter and formed an opinion on it relatively quickly, but elected to hold off until I knew some more facts of the case to share it with y'all....I know not knowing the facts doesn't stop most people, but you're likely here because I'm not most people.
I won't get too into the details, because if you're reading this you have a computer and know likely more than you want to about what what exactly is going down. However, I feel that there's a certain inequity in this case, namely that the nexus of the entire thing (according to just about everybody) is an 84 year old man who, as far as anyone knows, has never done anything more illegal than steal credit for coaching a Division I football program for the last 5 or 10 years.
Let it be typed that if old JoePa knew any more than is reported, I cannot defend him in any way whatsoever. When you see the charges that are being brought up here, you can see why I can't condone any shit like that. However, where so many people are jumping on his back for his percieved inaction in not reporting the claim to police, they miss a key part of the story...that a grown man, by his OWN CONFESSION, walked into a shower room and saw a child being violated by another adult...and did NOTHING about this.
That man's name is Mike McQueary, and in case you hadn't heard, he still has his job (yes, even after Penn State did the equivalent of nailing their own personal Jesus to the cross). Why the FUCK aren't we on this coward with all the wrath we can muster? You tell me, what kind of person could walk in on a scene that I have plenty of narrative powers to describe but no desire to picture and about-face like "oh...bad time, I see. I'll come back later...you guys have fun."
With all the options at his disposal, such as tearing the disgusting pervert a new fucking asshole, separating the two like a hockey ref, or even clearing your bitch ass throat so the kiddiephile knows that he's being watched doing something that is totally not cool and...y'know...stops...he elects to go home and call his daddy. Way to exempify the honor, integrity, and other rare elements that Penn State football program claims to instill in its young men, Mike. I'm sure your father was very disappointed in him, raping kids and all.
As if that wasn't enough, he had the brain fart that precipitated the upcoming shit storm...instead of going to the police about the CHILD RAPE HE HAD WITNESSED FIRSTHAND, he...tells the coach of the football team. Again, well-handled, sir. Of course, this is the point in time where everybody and their mother wanted Papa Joe to pick up the phone and immediately report this damning hearsay to the...wait, what? Did I just say "damning hearsay"? No such thing, is there? Yeah, that's right...can't exactly go to the cops with what you heard somebody saw.
This brings us to Joe Paterno's alleged involvement in this truly fucked up scenario. He, knowing that the last sentence of the last paragraph is something you either learn the easy way or when the cops hang up on you, informed someone who could then launch an investigation into the at-that-point-unsubstantiated rumors. (Say what you want about Joe addressing the creep in question directly on the matter...can't just go up to a person you consider a friend and go "so...banged any preteens lately?" Can't exactly "oh, my bad, then" that one.) At this point, as far as I understand how chains of command work, it became the responsibility of the nominal boss, the athletic director, who Paterno did inform, to pursue an investigation into somebody that works for him having sex with little boys on school property.
The point of the last couple of paragraphs was to make a point about Paterno's culpability in the situation...which is minimal. Review the steps in this situation. On one side, you have the the former football player who decided that stopping a child rape in progress was too much for him to tackle, and on the other you have the athletic director who decided that protecting the image of the university was more important than ridding the campus of a predator (how's that working out?).
In the middle, you have Joe Paterno, who appears to be the only person who did anything close to what was required of him...and was fired for his trouble. Popular opinion states that not only does Paterno deserve this, he deserves the chair for running and masterminding a underage brothel on a state-sponsored university campus...or something. Don't get me wrong...personally, I understand why JoePa had to go. He is the face of Penn State, and right now that face has black eyes, a broken nose, a fractured orbital socket and a buck-fifty scar. I can see why they have to have some plastic surgery.
However, in all the craziness surrounding this thing, some things get lost in the shuffle. For one, (and this went without typing, but nobody's going to say I didn't type it) there are children who were forever scarred by what went on because some guy thinks a football coach is more equipped to handle criminal matters than the police. That's fucked up. The rapist is still a free man and is not being shot in the dick with rock salt bullets right now. That's fucked up. The true champion who noticed a child being sexually assaulted and thought the best thing to do was inform his parents will walk onto the field on Saturday and help coach the Penn State football team...and THAT is fucked up.
In fact, the fact that McQueary keeps his job (and even gets a promotion...he is now the head coach) while the only person who did anything even remotely resembling the right thing is railroaded right out of Happy Valley is a travesty. I don't particularly count myself as a fan of Penn State or Joe Paterno, I just know when shit doesn't make sense when I see it. Say whatever you want about Paterno's involvement or lack thereof...the fact is the only person who knew for an indisputable fact that children were being harmed by this monster was Mike McQueary and he did NOTHING about it. This is an indication of the obvious...that Penn State administration fucked this as far up as they possibly could.
They say that the worst kind of cowardice is to know what the right thing is, and fail to do it. This means that a confirmed example of the worst kind of coward will walk the sidelines each Saturday as long as McQueary is deemed fit to be a punk ass leader of young men. If I was a Penn State football player, I would refuse to take the field as long as my coach is fired and the one who dragged him into the bullshit is still on the sidelines. Bottom line is, Penn State tried to make an example out of their patriarch in the wake of this disaster...what they are doing is showing an example of what they will tolerate as representative of their football program and school at large...can't blame JoePa for that. Just sayin'.