The Penn State scandal featuring Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky is not only the biggest sports scandal in the history of American sports, but the biggest story of the week in mainstream media, as well, and I will be the first to admit to being "JoPa'd out" before lunchtime on Tuesday.
The Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has seemingly been the only story reported on national sports talk radio since Monday and it is all I have listened to during my drive to work and on my iPad, when what I really wanted to hear about were the new BCS rankings and the awesome Steelers/Ravens and Bears/Eagles games played Sunday and Monday nights.
But as the whole story comes out, I have come to realize this story deserves the coverage it’s receiving not only on the sports talk shows and websites, including this one, but also on every national and local news show, publication and website across America.
Everyone involved in this scandal, from the culprit and former Penn State football coach and defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, to those involved in the cover up, deserves every bit of ridicule and scorn aimed in their direction.
That list includes Joe Paterno and members of his staff, who knew about Sandusky’s alleged and horrific crimes of sexual abuse and molestation of young boys, and the Penn State athletic department and administration, all the way up to the President’s office, who did not do enough to stop Sandusky from possibly ever harming another child again.
However, I almost feel as if Sandusky is getting off easy in the media with all the attention being deflected toward Paterno and the Penn State administration, and not being focused on the heinous acts he supposedly performed with prepubescent boys in the Penn State locker room and wherever else he may have abused young people over the course of the past 20 or 30 years, or perhaps even longer.
Should Penn State's athletic department be penalized by the NCAA for being complicit in covering up the Jerry Sandusky scandal?
A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
From what I have read and heard about Sandusky, ranging from Lavar Arrington’s op-ed in the Washington Post to a Facebook conversation with a college friend who played as a walk-on at Penn State for a couple of seasons in the mid-1990s, everyone who knew Jerry Sandusky seemingly thought of him as a great man.
His public image, until a few days ago, was as someone who gave back to the community and as a person who helped and truly cared about people, especially the young people he worked with through his foundation, The Second Mile.
However, in light of these accusations, it seems he had most everyone fooled except those who knew about the incidents that took place.
Harboring a Criminal
That list of folks in-the-know may be longer than anyone cares to know, but we do know it includes the likes of assistant coach Mike McQueary, who purportedly witnessed Sandusky’s impropriety first hand in the Penn State locker room showers as a graduate assistant in 2002 and did not go to the police to report the crime he allegedly saw take place.
It also includes former head coach, Joe Paterno, who had knowledge of Sandusky’s alleged abuses of young boys and merely passed the message along to the athletic director’s office, and former athletic director Tim Curley, former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, and now-former president of the university, Graham Spanier, who was fired by the Board of Trustees along with Paterno.
Should Paterno have been allowed to coach out the rest of the season, and what does your answer say about you?
Everyone who knew about the reported acts, including these men’s staffs and even the parents who knew about the alleged pedophilic monster that is Jerry Sandusky and did not do everything in their power to ensure this man could never harm another young person again, is guilty to some extent, at least morally, for not exposing these crimes much sooner.
Those who knew about the allegations and did not go to the police are complicit in the cover up and protection of a man who should have been placed behind bars years ago.
Sandusky Should Have Been Stopped Years Ago
I wonder why the parents who knew of the speculation didn't take this to the police, and why the university allowed this man continued access to his own office on campus and Penn State’s facilities.
Obviously, the police and District Attorneys were eventually notified and began an investigation of Jerry Sandusky, during which time they built a case that led to his arrest and to last night’s ouster of Paterno and Spanier by the Penn State Board of Trustees upon its disclosure to the public.
Ultimately, though, everyone who knew and did not try to bring this man down; those who did not try to protect the young boys he possibly molested and whose innocence he stole and prevent this from happening again; those who harbored this alleged criminal and allowed him continued access to PSU facilities and the ability to walk around as a free man in our greater society; they are all complicit and guilty of at least moral turpitude.
Where does this rank in the echelon of American sports scandals?
The Punishment Should Fit the Crime
If Sandusky did commit these crimes against humanity, he will likely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which if guilty, and there is really no question as to his guilt, he should.
He may not be receiving as much press and attention now as his former boss, but believe me, his life as a free man may be over.
I actually feel some empathy for Sandusky’s family and what they must be going through, but their experience is nothing compared to what the children he allegedly abused and their families have been forced to endure for decades, and are now reliving, through no fault of their own.
I cringe to think how Sandusky will be treated if he goes to prison—they say child molesters get the cruelest punishment from those with whom they share space behind bars—but somehow, I think he deserves what could be coming to him.
May God have mercy on Jerry Sandusky, because the guys in cell block 6-A most certainly would not.