Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Joe Paterno, Penn State, and Being a Man

Not being one to rush to judgment, I wanted to carefully read the grand jury report on the Penn State Sandusky sex abuse scandal, peruse the news reports, and see how the situation panned out over the past few days before putting anything in writing. I think that things are very clear.

I simply cannot fathom how many men did the wrong thing. From the sexual predator Sandusky to the gutless witness McQuery to the complicit Penn State administrators -- wrong, wrong, wrong.

If you see a child being sexually assaulted should you not intercede? Should you not contact the police? Should you not look out first and foremost for the victim? How can you allow a sexual predator access to children and unsupervised areas? When you know this kind of abuse is going on do you just ignore it?

How so many educated adult males could be so cowardly in the face of such a compelling moral issue is astounding. Protection of the university, the athletic and football programs, and "the brand" were all deemed more important than the safety of defenseless children. How appropriate is the quote "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

In a sense I feel some degree of sorrow for Joe Paterno. A man who has done so much good for so many people for so many years will be defined by by an unbelievable moral shortcoming. How sad. Unfortunately, sadder still is that Paterno's failure to take the proper actions allowed sexual abuse to go on for years, fostering devastating damage to innocent victims that will scar them the rest of their lives.

The reaction of a number of Penn State students is almost beyond belief. Are they so obtuse or self centered that their major concern is not the destruction of young lives but their football coach and the program? Sadly, the reputation of Penn State has suffered incalculable damage.

I have so much more that I could say. Being a professional counselor, I find this entire situation so depressing since I have experience in knowing the degree of harm that was visited on the victims. Add in the families and friends of the victims who will share in the pain and you have an enormous ripple effect that far exceeds what most people would imagine.

Finally, I am struck by something that many of my male readers will certainly understand. Part of being a man is knowing that at one, a few, or maybe even many times in your life you will be faced with making a decision that will test your moral fiber. You can make a decision that will be wrong but make things much easier for yourself or you can make the right decision, knowing there will be a high price to pay. What we choose in these instances helps define us. It is sad to see that so many men, faced with this kind of decision in the Sandusky abuse situation, made the wrong choice.

6 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

Well said. I too watched slackjawed at the level of support that the PSU kids gave to Paterno. Just goes to show: you may be able to drink at 21, join the Army at 18, marry your cousin in Mississippi at 13, but until you're about 30, you just don't know shit about shit.

11:04 PM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Penn State students are dumb. Trading cash for kids is exactly what happened. So sick.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

It's horrible. It's so upsetting to me that I can't even read any more articles about it or hear it on the news anymore.

Not one person was man enough to do anything about this and so many were aware.

My heart breaks for those children.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Just glad I lived in E. Lansing, MI for a number of years and not Happy Valley

9:36 PM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

In the end, we are all defined not by our reputations, but by our actions. That PSU administrators and Paterno's actual actions reflect more compassion for an assraping boyfucker than for his victims, speaks more volumes than any number of years of running an allegedly "clean" program.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

One thing I don't gey about this situation. Paterno is being raked over the coals because he passed the buck. it was reported to him that Sandusky was abusing a boy and he passed it on to the AD. People are saying he should have called the cops and he winds up fired. Of course he probably deserves it since he allowed the guy to keep on using PSU facilities even after he was told about what was going on. But what about the guy who actually saw what happened? n Why isn't anyone on his ass about going to the cops or even stopping what happened. He actually witnessed one of the events and all he did was the same thing Paterno did, report it to someone higher on the chain of command yet he only gets put on admin leave with pay. If anyone should be getting crucified it's this guy for not taking a poke at Sandusky when he saw what was going on or at least not going to the cops.

6:10 PM  

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