Joe Paterno Fired: Why We Need To Hear from Mike McQueary Now

Matt KingFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Assistant coach Mike McQueary of the Penn State Nittany Lions walks the sidelines against  the Syracuse Orangemen during the second half at Beaver Stadium  September 12, 2009 in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State won 28-7. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

"Nobody wins. One side just loses more slowly."—Roland Pryzbylewski (The Wire)

As this whole Jerry Sandusky ugliness keeps emerging and people like Joe Paterno start losing their jobs, I keep coming back to that quote. Joe Paterno getting fired, Graham Spanier getting fired...this isn't a victory for anyone. There are no winners. There will be no winners.

In a situation like this, Penn State has to clean house. Anybody that had even the most remote idea about what was happening over these last 10 years needed to go. It's not about what they were legally required to do; it's about doing what was right, and not one person did the right thing in this situation.

But when I say that everyone needs to go, I mean from the top down, all the way to the source where this first came to light: Mike McQueary. And that's where I'm unsure as to where the firings should stop.

Everything about McQueary seems off right now. He allegedly saw a child getting molested, didn't do much, eventually told a softened version of the story to Paterno which included the phrase "horsing around" and then gave the full details to Spanier and others. Then, apparently, he was done.

That's where everyone balks on this, and rightfully so. Even though McQueary told multiple people up and down the chain of command, he still lived with this knowledge and did nothing further, even though Sandusky continued to be a presence around the Penn State football team.

My wife works for a university. She was once involved in fraud allegations involving her boss. Her boss had been caught defrauding the university and continued to lie about it to her superiors' faces after being caught in the lie. This all happened as a result of my wife basically blowing the whistle on her boss.

Now, this was not the first time her boss had done some shady stuff, and my wife figured that this had to be the last straw. There was no possible way her boss could survive this. She was wrong.

There was a light slap on the wrist, an order to shape up and everything went back to normal. My wife felt helpless. She had done all that she thought was right, and here nothing had happened. The only real consequence of her actions was that now her boss didn't trust her and just made their working relationship more strained than ever before.

Now, this is a very, very loose comparison to McQueary and Sandusky. Obviously fraud is nowhere near as serious as child molestation. And if that had been the case, she and I would have kept going to the authorities until something was done.

But I tell that story to illustrate how messed up things can get in a university or any large establishment. It's an example of how helpless you can feel when you bring something to the people you know are supposed to fix the situation, and then see nothing happen.

I'm not defending McQueary here; I'm just saying that his part in this is by far the most confusing in this entire ordeal, and he has the power to shed light on exactly what happened 10 years ago and what happened since then.

McQueary needs to talk. Now.