The first Penn State official to perish in the Sandusky child molestation cover-up is the venerable Joe Paterno, who announced this morning that he would retire at the close of this football season. It remains to be seen whether his wishes will come to pass, as there is sufficient public pressure, ginned up by the national media, who have been magnetically attracted to this story, to end Joe’s career immediately, if not sooner. The Board of Trustees is meeting again tonight to discuss that, among a myriad other issues arising out of the Sandusky affair.
Why should Joe be the first to pay the price? He was exonerated by the Attorney General’s office, who have presumably placed him on their list of witnesses for the prosecution of Sandusky. He properly reported the information given to him by McQueary to his superior. Who knows for certain that he didn’t follow up and inquire about what was going on, as so many media wonks and bloggists (including this Turkey at times) have suggested or flat-out stated?
Given that introduction, Dan Vecellio wrote a compelling article for Onward State. You owe it to yourselves to step aside from the media frenzy and think about what Vecellio has to say.
When cooler heads prevail, I, too, hope that we can have definitive information about who did exactly what to whom and when, but knowing the secret nature of the ivory tower, that might never happen.
Mark Oland says
I am incredibly disappointed with your take on this tragedy. It is sad that those close to the school can’t see that all those involved, including coach, caused so much harm to so many. I hope the Board tells him to go now, tonight, and that the school shuts down football for the year.
If, like at Duke, this turns out to be bad information (has anyone yet denied this happened?), so be it.
This is just sickening. Where is the sense of right and wrong?
The Nittany Turkey says
I’m trying to look at this fairly, Mark. I’ve backed off a bit about Joe because there is a lot we don’t know about what happened behind those ivy covered walls. I, along with many others, have had my mind bombarded with the “facts” as presented by the national media, and have reacted to them with outrage similar to yours.
I don’t think that firing Paterno and cancelling the rest of the football season is going to do anything for Sandusky’s victims. The investigation needs to continue, the full extent of the damage known, and all the incidental facts gathered instead of going off half cocked finding scapegoats.
Much as I revile the U.S. Department of Education, their investigative involvement now in respect of the Jeanne Clery Act might reveal some new facts.
You say: “If, like at Duke, this turns out to be bad information (has anyone yet denied this happened?), so be it.”
To that I respond that Paterno is innocent until proven guilty. We are abandoning due process and fairness by responding viscerally. “Off with his head!” I understand that; I’m sick over all of this myself. But this isn’t the Middle Ages. We’re supposed to be civilized. We haven’t yet even heard Joe’s side of the story.
If you didn’t read Vecelli’s piece, I encourage you to do so.
Mark Oland says
Permit me one rejoinder-
I think you are confusing criminal responsibility (though I am unclear what the law requires one to do when presented with this info) with moral responsibility and sending a message to all about what type of school this really is. When the Board announces its decision in 30 minutes, I hope they don’t fall into the trap of “innocent until proven guilty,” but rather take strong measures to assure everyone that all those involved in the tragedy that occurred will not, for one more day, be allowed to proceed with business as usual.
Fwiw, I read the grand jury statement and their findings are just sickening.
That said, I usually enjoy your blog.
The Nittany Turkey says
Thank, Mark. I do appreciate your comments.
I did mean innocent until proven guilty morally, not legally. Lots of people are casting moral judgments without knowing all the facts. I don’t know whether we ever will know them, but I’m still hoping that there is some mitigation for Joe’s assumed inaction.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t think Paterno, Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and McQueary need to go. I believe that cleaning house is essential to the healing process. Regardless of whether these men stay or go, the moral judgments we hang on them will persist.
The BOT has met and will speak soon. I’ll have more to say once their decisions (if any) are known.
I read the sickening presentment of the grand jury, too. It was exceedingly difficult to read at times.