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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Explaining the Penn State Scandal

Someone across the aisle from me on the train had his MP3 player up so loud that the music was audible for five or six rows around the guy. (What the hell does that sound like on the other side of the earphones?!) The conductor, as he came through collecting tickets, asked him to turn it down.

But imagine the guy had been looking at some porn while rubbing his crotch. It would have been a heck of a lot harder for the conductor to confront him.

And so I think it was at Penn State. If Sandusky had been caught, say, smoking a doobie in the locker room, it would have been handled right away. But what he was really caught doing... well that, that no one wanted to even think about, let alone confront. (Note: This is an explanation, not an excuse.)

11 comments:

  1. It is very easy to say, "this is what I would have done", but that is nonsense, because nobody knows until they are confronted with it personally. I imagine that the guy was entirely shocked and didn't really know what to do, especially considering that Penn State's football program had been his life from a relatively early age.

    When he came to his senses a little bit, he told Paterno. Peterno in turn, not knowing the validity of this statement went to his superiors with the information. Now, there are a lot of people saying that Paterno should have gone straight to the police. I don't necessarily agree with that based upon current information, because from what I know now, he was dealing with hearsay.

    Obviously, a lot more information can and probably will come out. But, it seems that people are making large jumps of opinion based upon little information. I always err on the side of innocence until proven otherwise.

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  2. Joseph, Paterno's initial reaction may have been OK. But he really ought to have followed up at some point.

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  3. I definitely agree with you there, but then again he may have done just that and been told that the investigation revealed nothing. That's the problem, we don't know all of those details, so anything in this regard is just opinion.

    Based upon the information that I know at this point, McQueary definitely should have gone to the police either initially (after he came to his senses) or after seeing nothing done. I have to presume Paterno's innocence until and unless I know that he took no further action. Even then, while it it certainly a moral question, I don't know that it constitutes a crime necessarily (because he didn't witness it himself).

    I can only deal with what I know. But, like I said, a lot of details will be coming forth, so I may change my mind in the future. I just think that it is often the case that people jump to conclusions before they have the facts.

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  4. "I definitely agree with you there, but then again he may have done just that and been told that the investigation revealed nothing. That's the problem, we don't know all of those details..."

    I think we *do* know he didn't follow up... because his own testimony here is that all he did was forward the report on. If he had followed up, he certainly would have told us by now, since his lack of follow up is forcing him to resign!

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  5. Well, thank you for that, I was not aware that he actually said that he didn't follow up. At this point I had only read news reports stating he hadn't followed up, but none actually quoted anybody involved as stating that.

    "If he had followed up, he certainly would have told us by now, since his lack of follow up is forcing him to resign"

    I know from past experience dealing with accusations (no, nothing to do with molestation) that I always kept my mouth shut, but that is just me. Now, his resignation I was not aware of, this must have come out sometime in the past few hours. Sorry, I have been busy the past few hours, is this resignation immediate or at the end of the season?

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  6. Well, Joseph, from what I have read, it's not the he said "I failed to follow up," but that he said, "I turned this over to university officials, and since he was no longer on my staff, I left it at that" -- and I think that was pretty much his official statement. In fact, today, in the news discussing his resignation, he was quoted as saying "I regret I didn't follow up on this."

    So, we have pretty good evidence he did nothing after the initial report. And given the child rapist was still running a camp for young children, he might have wanted to do so.

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  7. And Joseph, believe me, I'm not a Paterno hater -- I feel tremendous nostalgia for the guy, as he is a link to my childhood. I've tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the fact is, he just didn't follow up when he should have.

    In fact, my post today was an attempt to explain how someone who I think *was* a basically decent guy failed here -- we are habitually inclined to avoid thinking about the "really icky," and Paterno failed in this way as many of us might. That doesn't excuse the failure, but may help explain it.

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  8. To be honest, I didn't even know who he was until this story came out (I am not into sports). But, I keep hearing or reading people say that he should go to prison.

    I thank you for filling in the gaps that I had on this case, I am certainly not all knowing, so it does help to have others around more attuned to it than me. Should he have done certain things? Certainly. But, I don't think that constitutes a crime. And, this has nothing to do with my being a libertarian, it has to do with the fact that he was not there, he only heard about it from somebody else.

    With the information that I have thanks to you I am comfortable with resignation, firing, being looked down upon, outcast, whatever. Prison? no.

    This is obviously a very touchy subject given its nature, but what is your opinion with regard to people's calls for Paterno to be tried? If you don't want to answer, that's cool.

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  9. "Should he have done certain things? Certainly. But, I don't think that constitutes a crime."

    Very few people I have read think Paterno acted criminally in this case. From what I know, I think he did not.

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  10. I am glad to hear that.

    Yes, there are only a few in the MSM calling for that now (the exception being talk radio). I was thinking more along the lines of what I hear from co-workers and such. Granted, we work in vastly different industries and probably have vastly dissimilar associates, but I am sure that you've heard some calling for that.

    Thanks again for filling in those details.

    Anyhow, sorry for being a comment-hog. I'll let you have your comments section back. :)

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  11. Certainly one of those cases that demonstrates how putting off action can make things worse for virtually everyone concerned.

    I feel bad for feeling bad for Paterno in light of the truly horrible things that allegedly happened to Sandusky's victims, but how can you help it? 62 years at Penn State, an American legend ... and now this is what he'll be remembered for.

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