Mike McQueary Is a Victim in His Own Right

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Mike McQueary Is a Victim in His Own Right
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How did this all begin?

We seem to have all jumped feet-first into the middle of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. We’ve indicted Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary without a doubt in our minds. We know all we need to know now.

It’s important to remember that this all started with a Grand Jury Report that came to light November 7. It’s a report that a very small percentage of the people reacting to this story have actually read. That’s because it’s a hefty, 23-page document.

But we don’t need to read it. We’ve gleaned all we need to from snippets that people who have actually read it have provided for us. That’s enough, right? They picked out all the good parts for us.

If you have the time, or the desire to actually know something about what you’ve been screaming about since Monday, the document is right here.

It’s a shocking account, with details that will sicken you. But more than that, it tells a tale of a cover-up and the most inept game of telephone you’ve ever seen. If you read this and are still pointing all of your blame and hatred at Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary, you need to take a step back and read it again.

Yes, those two were wrong, and we’ll get to them later, but I want to focus on two other individuals right now: Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. If the allegations are true, these were the men directly responsible with allowing that monster Sandusky to continue to molest children over the last decade.

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Athletic Director Tim Curley

As the report claims, it’s telling that the few times that Sandusky ever came close to getting “caught,” came outside of Penn State. It was in high schools, where people who discovered what was happening, went to the police. It was in the bureaucratic black hole of Penn State where things really went nowhere.

When Mike McQueary witnessed what he did, he told Joe Paterno the next day. It was then that Joe Paterno took this to Curley. A week-and-a-half later, McQueary was called to meet with them.

That’s where this starts to break down. It took a week-and-a-half for Curley and Schultz to talk to McQueary directly. Try to imagine what was happening during that time period. From what I’ve gathered, they were trying to figure out how to deal with this as quietly and discreetly as possible.

When McQueary talked to them, he told them that he saw Sandusky having anal sex with a young boy. Curley and Schultz told him they would take care of it. You have to imagine that McQueary believed that. He had to believe it.

A couple of weeks later, McQueary heard back from Curley who basically told him that it had been handled. Sandusky’s keys had been taken away and the incident had been reported.

Curley testified that McQueary had told him only that “inappropriate conduct” that made him feel “uncomfortable” had occurred in the showers. He denied that anything of a sexual nature was reported and that he termed the conduct merely “horsing around.”

Schultz had a similar story. Saying that even though he may have gotten the impression that the boys genitals were grabbed, he though the actions were “not that serious” and that he “had no indication that a crime had occurred.”

This was the information that was brought to Penn State President Graham Spanier. This was false information. Curley also said that he had notified “the child protection agency,” which was also revealed to be a lie.

These two men set into action a cover-up. The higher the allegations went, the less serious they became.

Now put yourself in McQueary’s shoes at this point. He did what he thought was right and was under the impression that it was being handled to the best of anyone’s ability. How was he supposed to know that it was being botched beyond repair?

"But he should have done something when he saw it the first time," is what everyone has been saying. That’s true, but I’m not about to put myself in the situation of seeing someone that you know, that you trust, doing something that heinous.  I can’t imagine what my immediate reaction would have been.

It wasn’t until much later that McQueary must have realized that something was wrong. And by that point, we’ve established that there was already a fairly large cover-up in play.

Just think about that word: cover-up. It means exactly what it sounds like. It’s covering up something that was brought to light. McQueary brought it to light and Curley and Schultz covered it up. Can you imagine how that must have felt? Can you just for one second see how hopeless this may have seemed to him. I empathize with that situation.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Paterno is the wild-card in this equation. He’s the one who had enough information to know that something was horribly wrong right off the bat. He knew that Sandusky was “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature” with a young boy.

At any time, he could have stepped in and given this situation the high priority attention that it needed. He didn’t. And that is why he had to go.

Curley and Schultz stepped down and will face perjury charges. Paterno and Spanier were fired. This is how it should be. But with McQueary, I see a man who tried to do the right thing and ran into a brick wall of opposition from the people that he was supposed to be able to trust. I’m bothered that people who may not have an understanding of the events laid forth in the Grand Jury Report have unfairly lumped him in with the people most responsible for Sandusky going unpunished.

I’m hesitant to use the word “victim,” because in no way do I want McQueary compared to Sandusky’s actual victims. Those are the true victims in this whole situation.

However, from what I can tell, McQueary is a victim. He is a victim of lies, incompetence, ineptitude and inaction by the men that were supposed to handle this horrible situation.

Was he in the wrong by not doing more at the time and over the years as he has seen Sandusky continue to work at The Second Mile? It’s not so black and white anymore. This is a man caught in the middle of the worst scandal to hit the sports world. By mere proximity to this situation, he will most likely lose his job and have his reputation permanently ruined.

I, for one, am not so sure that he deserves it.

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