The Joe Pa Apologists Must Face the Facts
Well, well, well, now we know.
When the Jerry Sandusky Child Abuse case first came to light in November of 2011, it set about a chain of events that led to the firings of University President Graham Spanier and "Legendary" head coach Joe Paterno.
The level headed, reasonable Penn State/Joe Paterno fans conceded that, although it was not the way they wanted their beloved coach/icon to have his career ended, it was warranted.
After all, with these allegations of horrific child abuse happening in Penn State's football facilities under Paterno's watch, to have Paterno continue to coach the team would be horribly insensitive to the alleged victims and a distraction to the team itself.
The blind loyalists ranted and raved and blamed the Board of Trustees for rushing to judgment and unfairly treating their beloved "Joe Pa," believing that all facts should have been thoroughly reviewed after a full investigation was made public before a decision was made.
Some even argued that Paterno should be allowed to finish the season as head coach before a decision was rendered.
These kids were rioting over the firing of a football coach. I will repeat, these kids—all of whom have obviously graduated high school and therefore should have some idea about how to act in a society—rioted over the firing of a football coach.
It wasn't because of some systemic evil on campus keeping students down, it wasn't because of a governmental violation of civil rights; they were not an oppressed people rising up, using violence as the only weapon at their disposal to make their voices heard.
No, they were college students who were angry that an 85-year-old coach was no longer allowed to skulk up and down the sidelines as his assistants coached the game on Saturdays.
On a sane college campus, not one infected with a cult like allegiance to a football program and their, for the past decade at least, figurehead coach, there may have indeed also been riots, but for a different reason.
In a world where people weren't blindly loyal to football and to an old school crotchety "lovable" grump of a coach who was raised to a disgustingly high status, it may have gone something like this: "WHAT?! We had a pederast who worked in our school's football program for 30 years?! He continued to use his connections to our school's football program to lure little boys into his evil web and then brutally rape them right here on campus?! WHAT?! This has been going on for 13 years and our head coach, university president and two other administrative stooges knew about it 10 years ago and we're just learning about this now?! Why, I'm so angry I'm going to throw a brick through the window of Old Main!"
Not at Penn State though.
At Penn State they flipped cars and news vans because Joe Paterno lost his job because—at the time—it was shown he did not do enough when informed 10 years prior that his former defensive coordinator was witnessed raping a child in Paterno's Lasch football building.
Hundreds of students and supporters showed up on the lawn of the coach's house a quarter mile off campus to cheer and serenade Paterno.
The newly ex-coach, who up until his death in January still did not get it and made an appearance late in the night to allow his faithful to once again bask in some of that old Joe Pa charm.
He waved and nodded his head and, in his clownishly high-yet-gruff voice, implored the students out there that it was late. They should go home. They should study. Do their homework, not worry about little ol' him.
Oh, Joe Pa, always concerned about the kids and their grades, right?
Well, there were at least 10 kids in the State College area that good ol' Joseph Vincent Paterno didn't give a damn about. They were the 10 children that his one time second-hand man, his former defensive coordinator, the man he promised would have a job coaching at Penn State as long as he wanted as long as Joe Paterno was the head coach, Jerry Sandusky brutally and repeatedly raped and molested.
Some right in the building where Paterno's day to day office was located.
In the eight months since Sandusky was arrested, Paterno's apologists cautioned we should not rush to judgement. They stated time and time again that Paterno did nothing legally wrong when graduate assistant Mike McQueary brought him information that Sandusky was witnessed raping a child in the showers at Paterno's Lasch Building on campus—he did what was required of him by law, he told his "superiors."
Sure, maybe he could've done more but hindsight is 20/20.
Well, now thanks to the Independent Freeh Report we know that Joe Paterno was not some innocent caught up in this mess. He was a co-conspirator to cover up the sexual abuse of young children on Pennsylvania State University's Main Campus and in his football program's facilities by a trusted and valued former member of his staff.
According to the Freeh Report, in e-mails from February 2001—after Mike McQueary reported witnessing Sandusky rape a small child in Penn State's Football Program's Lasch building—President Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley decided to confront Sandusky, alert Sandusky's charity/victim breeding ground The Second Mile and, most importantly, contact the Department of Welfare.
That plan changed only after Curley had a little chinwag with coach Joe Paterno.
In an e-mail to Spanier and Schultz Curley writes, "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps."
The three decide to merely confront Sandusky and do not contact the Department of Welfare or any law enforcement agency. They decide to keep it hushed up because of a conversation Curley had with Paterno. We don't know what Paterno may have said, but we do have more than two functioning brain cells and can pretty much figure out that Paterno persuaded Curley not to take this outside the University. Keep it in house. And keep it in house they did.
President Spanier, who seems to be arguably the biggest scumbag (second of course to Sandusky himself) in this story would go on to laud Curley in e-mails and then caution that the only problem with keeping this issue in house would be basically that Sandusky rapes more children and word gets out thus leaving the brain trust of Spanier, Paterno, Curley and Schultz "vulnerable for not reporting it."
Not, "oh good Lord, we're taking an awfully big chance in thinking that by confronting our old pal Jerry we'll stop his monstrous molesting of children and the biggest problem, of course, would be he doesn't take our conversation to heart and continues to rape children and ruin these innocent boys' lives. These are vulnerable children who's lives we're rolling the dice with for God's sake."
Well, you're vulnerable now, boy.
Spanier testified to the Grand Jury that he was unaware of an investigation into alleged child abuse by Sandusky in 1998. E-mails uncovered by the Freeh group show that Spanier was very much aware of this investigation. That's perjury.
There was another person who swore to the Grand Jury he knew nothing of the 1998 incident involving Sandusky inappropriately showering and touching a boy: Joe Paterno.
E-mails from 1998 show that Paterno was very much aware of the investigation and was following it closely. That's also perjury which, in this country, is a crime.
An Esquire Magazine article reports that Joe Paterno's own datebook/appointment calendar from 1998 shows a gap in his schedule where Paterno cancelled recruiting trips and a family vacation in May of that year. He resumes his schedule promptly once the investigation into Sandusky is dropped.
It's obvious Paterno knew that his then defensive coordinator and heir was apparently being investigated for molesting a small boy.
Now, Paterno may very well have in his heart believed there was a thorough investigation and Sandusky was cleared. Charges were never filed after all. Same goes for Spanier, Schultz and Curley. Nothing wrong here. But the fact they all knew there were allegations in 1998 should've set off 10 fire houses worth of alarms when McQueary came to them three years later and reported witnessing Sandusky raping a child.
Instead of being alarmed they kept calm, they thought things over and after Curley and Paterno met, they decided to protect the Penn State football program, the University's fund raising abilities and the legacy of Beloved Ol' Joe Pa—instead of stopping a child raping monster.
That's conspiracy to obstruct justice. Also a crime in this country.
Curley and Schultz are up on charges and will most likely be going to jail and they deserve to be. Graham Spanier should be up on perjury and obstruction charges as well and had he lived, based on the evidence acquired by the Freeh group, Joe Paterno should be charged with perjury and obstruction of justice and he too should go to jail.
To paraphrase Buzz Bissinger, dying was probably the best thing that could've happened to Joe Paterno in 2012.
Let's just lay this out there. Let's pull no more punches. Joe Paterno was not a great man. A great man does not put his legacy, his football program or even a university above the welfare of children.
Spanier, Schultz and Curly are not great men either but they don't have bronzed statues of themselves on campus.
Great men are not responsible for allowing a child raper to continue his child raping for 13 years after his heinous child raping actions are brought to light.
Paterno did nothing to stop Sandusky for 13 years. In fact, had victim number one and his mother not stood up and spoke up, Sandusky very well could be continuing his atrocities right now. No one from Penn State ever did anything to stop him at all. In fact, as the Freeh report shows, they all conspired to do the exact opposite.
You'll still get the arguments though from the "the sky is blue and white because God is a Penn State fan" sect:
But Joe was such a great guy, he put grades and graduation rates above winning. A dubious claim, I don't recall any of his losing seasons being attributed to him cutting dumber players who were flunking out. Regardless, he apparently only cared about the welfare of children who went to Penn State and not the poor vulnerable ones from broken homes who merely visited his campus.
But Paterno was a regular guy, down to earth, he lived in a ranch house just off campus. Yep, and he owned a 3.5 million dollar beachfront home in Avalon, just like any other "regular guy" I suppose.
Joe loved Penn State, he could've left for the NFL but decided to stay. Of course he did, he carved out his only little fiefdom why would he leave? He was the biggest fish in a not so small pond with the administrators answering to him, why leave and go to the NFL where the owner could fire him after two losing seasons?
But Paterno did so much good for State College, the University, he donated so much money to the school funded and built the Paterno Library, he put the school on the map and his winning football program pumped millions and millions of dollars into the university that help fund other athletic and education programs. So, what?
Hey, Victim 1. Jerry Sandusky forced you to engage in oral sex with him on several occasions. Of course this would never have happened if Joe Paterno stepped forward years ago and reported Jerry Sandusky to the proper authorities, but have you ever seen how nice that library is? It's amazing!
Hey, Victim 2, you were brutally raped in the shower room in Penn State's Football facility. That would've never happened if Joe Paterno dismissed and then had Jerry Sandusky banned from campus in 1998, but did you know that Penn State's research facilities benefited greatly from Paterno's success as football coach? Feel better now?
Victim 4, you were molested several times and then subsequently harassed by Jerry Sandusky. That wouldn't have happened if someone with a lot of clout at PSU did something to stop him, someone like I don't know, maybe Joe Paterno. But hey, you got to go to the Alamo Bowl and we won! Wasn't that great? And we won mainly because of Sandusky and his defense. Wasn't it great how the team carried the monster who was abusing you off the field on their shoulders, as if he was some conquering hero? Must've made you proud to know Jerry.
Victim 5, stop crying and have some Peachy Paterno. It's delicious.
The list goes on and on. Ten children, that we know about, all who were abused either by Jerry Sandusky when he was a member of Joe Paterno's coaching staff or after he retired and was given free reign of the football facilities by Paterno himself—after Paterno and Spanier and Schultz and Curley knew Sandusky was a pedophile.
Those victims, and what happened to them, are the responsibility of those four and great men are not responsible for the raping of children.
Paterno himself personally signed off on Sandusky's retirement requests, granting him and his wife financial security, an office in Lasch Building, access to the football facilities and even—in Paterno's own handwriting—suggested that Sandusky be a youth football coach associated for "6-7-8 grad[ers]" in response to Sandsuky's request to run a Penn State affiliated football camp for middle schoolers.
Just before he died, Joe Paterno wrote a letter to his former players defending the football program and telling them that this scandal had nothing to do with said football program.
Paterno's family released this letter in anticipation of the Freeh Report as if Joe, even from beyond the grave, can make something so just by using his word and his word alone.
Don't worry about what this report lays out and the mountainous amounts of evidence that say it was in fact a football program scandal—perpetrated by a once and former PSU football coach in PSU football facilities covered up by the PSU head football coach, University President, the Vice President and athletic director—Joe Pa says it's not, so it isn't.
I'm sure we're all glad that Paterno got to explain all of that to the Franco Harris's and Kerry Collins's of the world and assured them that their precious football program was something to take pride in.
It'd have been nice, if maybe too little too late, if Paterno thought to draft a letter expressing concern and sorrow for what happened to those kids he could've saved.