Thursday, July 12, 2012

Liars, Liars

I am currently about a 1/3 of the way through the Freeh Report, the investigation about what Penn State did and did not do in regards to the Sandusky nightmare. As you can imagine, I am most concerned with JoePa's role, having greatly admired him.

I wanted to wait until I had read the entire report, which I plan to do this evening, but even without yet doing so, I wanted to share some opinions I have formed so far, pretty much off the cuff.

  • Joe Paterno is not looking as good as many of his followers (including me) had hoped he would. It seems pretty clear that he (and former President Spanier) knew about the 1998 shower/bear-hugging incident, something he/they denied before, which makes his/their actions (or inaction) regarding the 2001 shower incident all the more troubling.
  • I did, however, feel slightly better knowing that JoePa told Sandusky he was never going to be coach before the 1998 shower incident occurred. People have speculated it was the other way around. What I am not sure about, though, is why/how JoePa decided that Sandusky would not be the next coach. It may seem irrelevant, but if it was ultimately Joe's decision, then that shows the power he wielded.
  • I was angered to read that after that state brought charges against Sandusky, Schultz had an assistant remove some of Sandusky files from Schultz's office and deliver them to Schultz. If that does not paint a picture of a man trying to hide something, I don't know what does. By contrast, Joe Paterno and/or his family appears to have shared communications with investigators. But, again, I still have quite a bit to read, so that could change.
  • One of the biggest concerns to me, which I have not yet seen others address, is how the victim in the 1998 incident said he did not want Sandusky to get in trouble and that Sandusky might not have meant anything by their showering together and the bear hug/skin-on-skin contact. As a result, those in charge could have decided that what Sandusky did was simply inappropriate/not enough to warrant legal action. That in no way makes the denials and lies of those higher ups at Penn State okay (and I do believe they were trying to protect the school's reputation), but it kind of makes sense. These things can be hard to wrap your head around. And at the risk of making an excuse for JoePa, maybe he could not do that.
  • But that begs a bigger question/something for the future. I get people who don't come forward out of fear. That is pretty common in domestic violence. But how can you "help" those who are willing to tolerate abhorrent, deviant behavior because they are lacking affection in their lives? How can you convince kids that it not okay for someone to touch you inappropriately just because you get to sit on the sidelines of a Penn State game? Some of these kids may not have known better. And I am certain there are many parents out there who cannot or don't want to talk to their kids about this. Maybe schools should be doing this? If they can talk about bullying, which is a problem, why not add this to the mix?
Once I read the entire report, I might end up revising this post or adding some comments, but I doubt that I will feel any better about JoePa's lying that he did not know about the 1998 incident or about the administration in general. When the 2001 incident came to light, knowing what they did about the 1998 one, how could the administration (Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and Paterno) continue to let that man be on campus and not go to the police?!




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