Which way is up?

You know, over the years in my journalistic career, I’ve seen a lot of tragedy. I remember all of the reports from 9/11, all the pictures that didn’t run, all the heart-wrenching accounts that didn’t quite make it to press. I remember the horrible pictures that came out of the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians — the activist who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer; the Palestinian man who held up his hand, coated in an Israeli soldier’s blood, to show a mob that they had killed these men. I could go on and on and on about this, but I opt not to. Instead, I tend to push it all out of my mind, and I tend to tune out the news when it comes on.

Honestly, since I entered the world of IT, I have become a news hermit.

But then the PSU scandal broke. I can no longer turn a blind eye to the news, or pretend not to hear it. Beyond the obvious reasons of why I can’t escape it, this is a bizarrely fascinating story, and people’s reactions to it are equally fascinating.

At first, I was angry because any story about pedophilia will send me into an internal rage. JoePa reported it to his bosses after he heard about it, so he fulfilled his obligation, as did McQueary. But I was still angry at them, because these guys did the minimum when it came to potentially protecting the welfare of kids. I mean, let’s face it … all JoePa had to do was call the police and have them investigate. He had a credible witness in McQueary. Have a 3rd party investigate, and resolve the issue once and for all. Yes, that meant that there was a chance that JoePa could have been fired back in ’02 and that PSU would have suffered a black eye. But at least his conscious would be clean, PSU could have put an end to this nightmare, children would have been spared, and everyone would have a chance to heal.

However, he opted not to go that route. He put in the report in the hands of others, and never followed through on it. Sorry JoePa supporters, that decision is irrevocably on him, and it was enough to cost him his job.

But then JoePa’s firing came. Trust me, I took no joy in watching it transpire. I sincerely wondered what he knew … because surely, a man so well respected could not have been in the know on what was really happening. Someone had to have lied to him, which is why he didn’t take a stand. In other words, even though I took a strong stand against Paterno, I will admit that there was some doubt lingering. He looked so befuddled when the firing came … like his kids just came to take his car keys away because he couldn’t safely drive on the roads anymore.

He just didn’t seem to get it.

And I kinda began to wonder if Sandusky had managed to play everyone exceptionally well.

But then there was a report today about Sandusky actively recruiting for Penn State in 2011. JoePa knew that Sandusky had been investigated in ’02, and more than likely knew Sandusky was currently under investigation. McQueary, recruiting coordiator, ABSOLUTELY knew about Sandusky’s actions. PSU also had to have known. And yet they sent a man, an alleged sexual predator and child rapist, to represent them and their football program, to minors.

Penn State University, your actions (and lack thereof) are appalling.

JoePa, any sympathy I had for you as a human being is irrevocably gone.

McQueary, there will be a special place for you in hell. A very, very special place.

For all of my friends who graduated from PSU and who whole heartedly supported them, I cannot even imagine what you are feeling. The man who was the cornerstone of your school and a source of pride absolutely failed you. I may have bashed you in the past, but it was all friendly rivalry stuff — I would have never wished this tragedy on anyone or their school. Trust me, I long for the day that this whole thing will be behind us, and we can go back to talking shit on each other. But sadly, I have a feeling that’s not going to happen for a long, long time.

Side note to JoePa: I’m sure during your 61 year tenure, you gave your players a speech or two about what it means to be a man, and rising up to faces challenges, no matter how big they were. And yet when confronted with your own personal challenge — what to do about a former coach accused of molesting children — you opted to sit down and pass the buck. Funny how you couldn’t walk what you talked.


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