Sadly, but predictably, a collection of judgmental, misinformed, and misguided cretins seeks to deny the Paterno family the peace and comfort to which they are entitled. These are self-centered, highly opinionated, no account fools who merely seek attention from others who can be swayed as easily as they were and who leverage the deaths of celebrities, children, and soldiers to abet their nefarious causes. High profile events such as Joe Paterno’s death provide a springboard for these walking, talking disasters to gain the attention they apparently never received as children.
I’m not referring to the real journalists and bloggers who are fomenting discussion of Paterno’s legacy. That debate has merit, although some of us Joe supporters are so blindly devoted that we cannot allow ourselves to accept that Joe wasn’t perfect or even close to it. If you would never read a discussion of pros and cons of Joe’s career in order to delude yourself into believing that no negatives existed, at least you’re not doing anyone any harm by living in your dream world. You’re no doubt as opposed to child molestation as any of us, but you merely deny Joe’s culpability in the whole Sandusky mess, considering him the scapegoat selected along with Graham Spanier by the BOT to present the appearance of having taken strong action.
On the other hand there are those who merely hop on an anti-Paterno bandwagon because they somehow associate him with child abuse. They do this with no knowledge of what type of man Joe Paterno was all his life, and certainly without knowledge of the specifics of the Sandusky situation. In fact, none of us know the whole story about what transpired after the molestation incidents, who told whom what, and why actions were or were not taken by all of the individuals involved. Joe has taken the major brunt of the scapegoat attacks for this sordid affair, but why Joe? Why not Spanier? Do you think there’s a chance in hell that if Curley and Schultz knew about this, Spanier didn’t know? Is it possible that Joe informed his superiors and took all other prescribed actions that he was obligated to take? The reasoning behind why he did not go to the police is far too complicated for you pinhead anti-Paterno people to fathom, so I won’t bother enumerating all the possibilities. I’ll consider just one: I suspect that the institution did not want the stain on its record (read fund raising issues) that going outside it would bring about. You have to think that Spanier is more culpable than Paterno for preventing the information from getting out. (Once the police have it, the public and the media have full access to it.)
Yes, this is wrong, but as I’ve noted here in other posts, this is the way universities like to play it. Everything dirty gets swept under the rug if at all possible. When the news gets out, it is inevitably well after the fact, and by then, some asses have been covered and some lambs prepared for sacrifice. In Penn State’s case, assuming that the fish stinks from the head on down, Spanier was the person most culpable for the cover-up and Curley (who himself has lung cancer) and Schultz (who had retired) were the lambs. Joe, the perennial fund raiser, was probably told to keep his hands clean. In any case, institutional paranoia undoubtedly played a big part in the whole notion of a cover-up, and certainly you’ll agree that Paterno is not singularly to blame.
Neither did Paterno molest any boys, although the pea-brains do not make the distinction between being told something was going on in that shower (perhaps pretty vaguely) and committing the act. We’re all pretty sure that Sandusky is the one who committed the crime, but I cannot believe that Joe Paterno willfully facilitated Sandusky’s behavior in the shower. If the charges against Sandusky prove to be accurate, he was a sick man who would have found his opportunities to make contact with boys had his Penn State office and locker room privilege not existed. The boys were not Penn State students; he did not find them there. In fact, at least one of his accusers was a student at a school where he was coaching the football team, with no connection to Penn State. Does Paterno get the blame for that, too? For not locking him up somewhere and throwing away the key because of hearsay facts that were largely hidden from Joe? Or perhaps he knew everything. I don’t know. You don’t either. Yet Paterno is the target of more condemnation than is Sandusky. He was and is a very convenient, high profile scapegoat.
The condemnation is coming from a broad base: Internet nitwits — “trolls” — who frequent message boards just so they can spout off and get attention, barroom bullies who are just looking to pick a fight (thus seeking attention), and organizations such as the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, which never lets a good celebrity funeral go to waste. You know those morons, the ones who loudly protest at funerals for slain Marines? That bunch of quasi-religious goons is seeking to make its presence felt at Joe’s funeral. The message board types post impertinent, misinformed, vitriolic buckets of bile on any forum they can access — just to get attention. This outrageous behavior is permissible under the First Amendment, of course, but it doesn’t mean that the protesters have any valid points, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean they’re not assholes.
In fact, anyone who “hates on” Joe without knowing all the facts is an asshole in my book. Pin them down on why they’re acting the way they’re acting — they’ll inevitably reveal that they don’t even know the story that was printed in national newspapers and broadcast on TV ad nauseam. They listen to other assholes and spread bullshit stories that they think are correct, even if they don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about. Why? Because they need attention and their deficient brains think that this is the perfect springboard for getting it. In the process they sway even more lemmings to jump off the cliff and — you get the picture — a misinformed, misguided viral firestorm results. Any hope of seeking truth is clouded by the fog of lies and blind allegations spewed by the haters.
Yeah, you can see that I’m not observing journalistic neutrality dicta here — in fact, I’m becoming more and more pissed off at the haters as I write this. I know I’ve used some strong language, but that’s the way I feel, and damnit, that’s the emotional honesty you know you’re getting when you come here. Alas, there will always be assholes, and I have no doubt that I’m stirring up an asshole’s nest by writing this. (Another one of my famous mixed metaphors, just for the hell of it.) But hell, I think that most of you agree that on balance, Joe’s life made a very positive impact on many aspects of university life at Penn State and beyond. The Paterno family and the Penn State family together hope that the haters settle down and the Joe can rest in peace, not torment.
Thank you again for reading this.