Penn State Scandal: The Complicity of Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary

Joe BoylanCorrespondent IINovember 8, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions talks with offensive assistant coach Mike McQueary during the 2010 Capital One Bowl against the LSU Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Penn State won 19-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The disgusting acts of legendary former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, the man who played a major role in the success of Penn State's football program and put together those incredible defenses that led to two NCAA National Championships, has forever tainted the program, his legacy and the legacy of his boss and friend, Joe Paterno.

Athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz have both left Penn State. They have both also been arraigned as part of the ongoing investigation into the heinous actions of Sandusky, the defensive genius and "Guru of Linebacker U". If there were any justice head coach Joe Paterno and wide receivers coach Mike McQueary would be joining Curley and Schultz on the unemployment line and before a judge.

There is already an effort afoot to distance Paterno, Joe Pa the Icon, the Pope of Penn State, Saint Joe, from this scandal. His own offensive "apology" in which he stated he did what he was "supposed to do" tries to spin all responsibility away from the 85-year-old coach.

Apparently, as a leader of men, as an educator, as a man who adopts a holier than thou attitude, who insists on "winning with honor" what you're "supposed to do" when you are informed that a 58-year-old man, a friend of yours, a man you hired and worked with for decades, is sneaking little boys into your locker rooms and showers to molest and rape them, is to simply kick the information up to your immediate superior and then forget about it, never questioning why an alleged child molester and rapist still occupies an office in your program's building and why he still is walking around your campus nine years after his despicable actions were brought to your attention.

You're not "supposed to" confront the man, again a friend of yours for decades, about the allegations.

You're not "supposed to" find the alleged victim to get his side of the story and get him help.

You're not "supposed to" call the police directly.

Unbelievably, Curley and Schultz are facing charges for not reporting the crime. However, Paterno who reported the crime to them faces no such charges...not to mention McQueary, but we'll get to him later.

Joe Paterno is Penn State. He is the face of the university, he is the icon and he is the figure head of the football program. He's 85 years old and about 20 years past his retirement. He has hung on to his post because of ego and because of a desire to chase down an all time wins record which he achieved with his 409th victory this past weekend. No matter that Paterno hasn't actually coached a game since sometime around 1998, he suits up in his sweater and windbreaker and stands on the sidelines—or in a press box without a headset, mind you—while his underlings manage the wins for him and then he collects the kudos and the acclaim afterwards.

He also has more power at Penn State than Curley and Schultz combined. For him to hide behind the excuse that he did what he was "supposed to do" is an insult to anyone with a sense of right and wrong and with more than 10 working brain cells.

If Joe Paterno wanted Beaver Stadium moved six inches to the left, the university would find a way to comply.

To think that Joe Paterno, who is apparently so hands on with every other facet of his program, would let a matter of this magnitude be handled by Curley and Schultz is a farce.

Joe Paterno is accountable to no one at Penn State and so it seems he is not even accountable to the law.

If Paterno is legally in the clear, which if you give me a thousand years I could still not wrap my mind around, then morally he is culpable.

Here's a hint of morally what Joe Paterno was "supposed to do" when one of his assistants came to him to tell him that he found Paterno's friend and former right hand man, Sandusky, naked in the showers with a naked ten-year-old boy: Call 9-1-1.

Call the police, get a hold of detectives, have McQueary tell his story to them. Bring Schultz and Curley and Penn State University President Graham Spanier on board to also meet with detectives.

And then if he felt like it, Mr. State College, molder of men, Mr. Win with Honor Joe Paterno could've tried, with the authorities, to track down the victim so he could talk to the police about what awful things Sandusky did and ultimately get the medical and psychological treatment he no doubt needed after being brutalized by the former Penn State coach.

But, Paterno did not feel he was "supposed to do" any of that. He merely passed the buck and washed his hands of the whole ugly matter.

Curley and Schultz then dropped the ball big time. They found Sandusky's behavior to be bad enough to tell him to no longer bring children onto campus, but still allowed him his office on campus and full use of the football facilities, not to mention use of other Penn State satellite campuses for his over night camps for at-risk youth. Brilliant.

Why was Sandusky protected? Well, maybe because had either Paterno or his "superiors" turned Sandusky over to the authorities it would do irreparable damage to the legacy of those great Penn State teams, taint the program's image, smear a stench of garbage all over a majority of Paterno's reign as Supreme Emperor of State College not to mention his "win the right way" motto.

Paterno, no doubt, would have faced questions in 2002 (when the alleged crime took place in his building) that could've ended his tenure then and there. Sandusky was his man after all. He worked closely with Sandusky all of those years, saw Sandusky bringing kids from his Second Mile charity to football events including on the road to Bowl Games.

Did Paterno not turn his friend over to the authorities because of loyalty? Well, "The company you keep" is the saying and if loyalty to a child molester is what's important to you, then you and your BS slogans of "Win with Honor" are morally bankrupt.

Let's now get to Mike McQueary who should be on the hook more so than Paterno. According to the indictment and reports, McQueary was returning game films when he heard noises coming from the shower room. McQueary went to investigate and what he found is something that is so incredibly horrid to even think about that I have trouble actually typing it.

But, let's not beat around the bush here. Let's not split hairs, let's call it for what it is. McQueary didn't witness inappropriate touching, he didn't witness some "horsing around", he didn't walk in on an awkward situation that could've possibly been something other than what it appeared. What he—according to the indictment—witnessed was a naked 58-year-old man brutally raping a naked ten-year-old child against the wall of the Penn State University Football team's shower room.

Let that sink in a minute.

McQueary is not a babe lost in the woods. He wasn't himself a child walking in on Sandusky and his victim unable to comprehend what was going on. He was a grown man. A man who played starting quarterback for a major college program. A man who in that role was looked upon to be the leader of other men. A man who in his role as assistant coach was being asked to mold and to develop other young men.

What did this grown man reportedly do? 

Did he lash out in blinding violence in order to save a little boy who was being violated and brutalized in the most horrific way imaginable? No.

Did he muster up all of his shock and anger and shout, 'What the hell is going on here!? Get off of him!"? No.

Did he cough, clear his throat, drop the film canisters, kick over a mop, slap the wall, anything to make a noise that would cause Sandusky to stop raping a ten-year-old child? Apparently not.

What he did was run away. 

McQueary, an athlete who is a good 25 to 30 years younger than Sandusky, (according to reports) did not stand up to the former coach and protect the small child—he simply left. He left that boy alone in that shower with that monster.   

McQueary, Big Red, a sideline favorite of cameramen and directors covering Penn State games on National television, went home. He didn't run out, which seeing as though he walked in on an incredibly shocking scene could possibly be excused, and grab a security guard, a janitor or other students walking by for help. No, he went home. He discussed the issue with his father and then the next day went to Paterno with the information. Paterno, kicked the issue up the chain of command and then apparently forgot all about the ordeal.

I can't imagine the horror McQueary experienced in that shower room. He must be haunted every single day since then by what he saw, which makes it all the more incredible that he apparently never followed up on what he told Paterno. He never once officially questioned what was being done about the child rape he witnessed, or why the rapist was still a welcomed member of the Penn State Football family. He never went to the police himself to see if anything was reported. He didn't confront Sandusky after the fact with what he saw.

He did take a promotion though to become the team's wide receivers coach. A promotion that should now be investigated.

This is not to muddy the waters nor is it a witch hunt. This is not taking the eye off the proverbial ball. Sandusky is the foul child raping beast here, but he'll get his day in court. He'll face his charges and his chargers and hopefully he will be put away for the rest of his natural life.

But, if the reports are true (as Paterno himself likes to say), if what is in the indictment of Sandusky is what really happened, then Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary are just as guilty as Curley and Schultz and should both either be removed from their posts as well or voluntarily step down.

After all, JoePa, it would be the "honorable" thing to do.

Spanier, Curley, Schultz, Paterno and McQueary ultimately turned a blind eye to Sandusky's behavior. He reportedly was using Penn State's weight room as recently as last week. As a result more children were molested by the former Penn State coach in the years between the incident McQueary witnessed and reported to Paterno in 2002 and 2008.

Spanier, Curley, Schultz, Paterno and McQueary all share some of the blame for those subsequent molestations if the indictment is true.

Other coaches have stepped down or been removed as a result of far less.

This is not some booster buying cars for players. This is not some wide receiver hiring an agent too early. This is not some kid getting a free tattoo. This is alleged child rape committed by a one time valued member of the Penn State coaching staff and a man who the Penn State Football hierarchy heard allegations about and still let use their facilities for years after his actions were brought to their attention.

There is no honor, Joe Paterno, as all this swirls around you and your program, in putting your head down and trying to beat Nebraska this weekend. It is meaningless and empty. I can see the story now, the team rallying around their beleaguered coach to win the big game against their rival.

I'm sickened by the thought of that inevitable narrative.

The curtain is down on your tenure, JoePa.

Turn out the lights.

Go home.

Be thankful you're not going to jail.


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