The Courtroom: Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

Even if you’re not a sports fan, you have probably of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal at Penn State University, which led to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno. I’m going to say it right now, but I disagree with the firing.  Many people are going to disagree with me and will likely call me a Paterno apologist.  I’m going to counter by saying the media and everyone else who is called for Paterno’s head, are irrational idiots.  Let me make this very clear: I completely agree that Joe Pa made a HUGE mistake by not following up with his higher-ups.  However, one mistake does not tarnish an entire life’s work of good deeds.  He should have been allowed to finish out the season.   Here are a few other things that come to mind:

  1. I absolutely HATE people who morally grandstand and say, “Well I would have gone to police and done such-and-such.”  Sorry to break it to you, but you DON’T know what you would have done if you were in JoePa’s place.  Most of us believe that we would do the “right” thing, that we have a moral obligation to do so.  Bullshit.  This world, whether you want to believe it or not, is lacking people with good morals and people who are willing to do the right thing.  For every good deed done, two bad deeds are committed.  I have seen this firsthand.  People refuse to do the right thing because most do not care.  We as a society are apathetic towards everything that doesn’t concern our own personal well-being.  I believe in doing the right thing, but I do not harp and shout that I would do this-and-this if I were in such-and-such’s position (a fact I believe I mention in a lot of my other articles).  I have done terrible things in situations I believe I would have done the right thing.  I have cheated on a test even though I believed I would never cheat.  I have kept $500 I found on the ground even though I knew who dropped it.  People need to shut up about this moral obligation nonsense.
  2. We don’t know what JoePa was thinking.  People can guess all they want, but they’ll never know.  I can only imagine what it would be like if someone told me a good friend did something horrible.  If someone told me SIYM went and raped a girl, I wouldn’t believe it.  That’s not the friend I know.  He would never do something like that.  Joe Pa probably (not certainly) had a similar line of thought.  He also probably had a hundred other factors going through his mind, being in such a big position.
  3. Bottom line: JoePa is a football coach. That’s it.  People are all over him for preaching good morals and yet not doing the right thing.  They say he’s a hypocrite.  Why do people in this society continue to put athletes and people in power on a pedestal?  We don’t know them personally.  They’re not perfect, they’re HUMAN, people just like you and me.  I do not look up to them.  Yes, it’s great when athletes, coaches, celebs, whoever do great things.  However, I don’t expect it.  When a certain athlete is revealed to have done something horrendous, society shuns them.  Me?  I say, “Yeah he did a bad thing, but move on.”  JoePa is a powerful sports figure, and I like all the good he’s done.  He makes one mistake, and people are out for his head.  Despite what he preached, he’s not paid to pass moral judgment.  He’s paid to coach, which is all I really care about.  Another example.  Alex Rodriguez.  I don’t like him.  Yet I don’t judge him for his personality; I judge him for his performance.
  4. This is related to number 2 and 3.  According to the grand jury report (which I have read), JoePa knew of the 2002 shower incident.  That’s it though.  We can’t assume he knew of all the other shenanigans going on.  All the facts of the case have yet to be revealed.  People talk about how he was the most powerful man on campus.  I do believe he was very powerful, but you’re an idiot if you think that there isn’t some sort of chain of command.  There’s no way you can convince me that he knew how to run a school.  He knows how to run a football team.  Running an entire school is a different story. He did what he legally supposed to.  With everything that was probably running through JoePa’s head, he deferred to people in higher authority whose JOB it was to report, investigate, and play moral police.
  5. Hind sight is 20/20.
  6. The person who committed the alleged crimes is being less scrutinized it seems than JoePa himself.
  7. Mike McQueary was the one who ACTUALLY saw the alleged crime.  Why didn’t he go to the police himself (he claimed he did, but even I find this hard to believe seeing as the police did nothing…again all the facts have yet to be revealed)?  JoePa only reported hearsay.  If you know anything about reporting a crime, it can only be filed if it is by an actual witness.  People like JoePa are called upon for testimony.  McQueary did stop the rape though, according to new information.  That’s something to note.
  8. Even if JoePa confronted Sandusky, you think Sandusky would just break down and admit everything?  Sandusky wasn’t even under JoePa’s jurisdiction.  Again this is not JoePa’s job or area of expertise.
  9. Back to the higher-ups, why wasn’t this investigated moar heavily in 1998, when the first allegations were brought up?   Moar importantly, why did the administration allow Sandusky to stay on campus?  And again, it was THEIR job after hearing from JoePa in 2002 to do something about it.
  10. People have to blame someone.  It’s in people’s nature.  They are also quick to pass judgment.  Most people hated McQueary for not stopping the rape, which later proved to be false.  Also, I have heard people criticize Joe Pa “supporters” by saying, “Wait till you have kids, then you’ll understand.”  I don’t have kids, so I went to my parents.  I asked them what they thought of JoePa’s firing.  They think he was fired unfairly.  As harsh as this may sound, if it was one of us (me or my two brothers) or one of our relatives’ kids that was sexually assaulted, it is what it is.  They would be angry of course, but what’s happened can’t be changed.  From their perspective, it wasn’t JoePa’s job to play police.  They place most blame on McQuery and the administration, behind Sandusky of course.
In closing,  the whole situation is utterly tragic.  There’s a lot of people to be blamed, but Joe Pa is unfairly singled out.  Yes he should have done moar, namely following up with the administration. But nothing can be undone, nothing can be changed.  What’s happened has happened. My thoughts go out to the victim’s and their families, and I hope Sandusky gets what he deserves.  Until next time people…
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