Saturday, November 12, 2011
Penn State: How Power and Greed Killed a Legacy
For decades, Penn State was the program that you looked at as the model of major college football. They were the program that won big most years, and did it the right way. They were a model of how the academic and athletic meld could work with great success.
Joe Paterno was the model of what a college football coach should be. He was the moral compass of the college game, the man that seemed to be the poster child for ethical standards in college sports and in life in general.
In many ways, that image was as solid as granite. Nobody ever questioned what Penn State was all about, even if you hated them, which for many years back in the day, I did, for no real reason in general. It was basically explained in the way that you just knew you didn't like lima beans. You just didn't like them. Respect, on the other hand, was unquestioned.
Last Saturday, November 5th, 2011, everything changed. Whether or not you were a Penn State fan, if you were a college football fan in general, everything that you ever though that you knew fell through the cracks. The world stopped spinning in any way that we could possibly understand when it was announced that former long time defensive assistant, defensive coordinator, and apparent head coach in waiting, Jerry Sandusky had been arrested after a grand jury investigation found enough evidence to charge Sandusky with 40 counts all in conjunction with sexual assaults on minors dating back over 10 years, with 8 known victims.
Jerry Sandusky had been using a charity that he founded in 1977, The Second Mile, to reel in young at risk boys that he could groom and violate for his own twisted, heinous sexual pleasures. All of those years in which it seemed that Sandusky was as upsatnding as his boss, Joe Paterno, were a lie. And it gets worse every day as new details emerge, and believe me when I say that we have not even scratched the surface of this investigation yet, and the deviant behavior could have been spread around by more parties than just Sandusky, as an ongoing journalistic investigation alleges that boys from The Second Mile charity had been pimped out by Sandusky to high profile, big money Penn State donors. It is also alleged that Penn State offered Sandusky a cover up in exchange for his immediate retirement in 1999 at the age of 55, meaning that the explanation of his being told that he was no longer Paterno's heir to the empire was probably always a lie.
There are many people to blame for everything that has happened to defenseless children in multiple counts in this case. All of the warning signs were ignored, possibly even blatantly. Once evrything was brought to light as far as what Sandusky's behavior was, they were ignored blantantly in an absolute manner. This is not alleged. This is fact, as it was brought out in the grand jury investigation.
After a week of careful study and assessment, I have isolated parties of blame, and what could have and should have been done in every case, by each individual. There are many villains in this tale, because as I am about to show you, power and greed were the driving forces in covering these heinous acts up. Let's take a look at who is to blame, and how this unwielding loyalty to Joe Paterno, and Paterno's own ego killed his legacy.
You don't need me to tell you about his record. You don't need me to tell you anything more about his age, and how everyone has felt about his impending departure to either retirement, or quite frankly, death. What you do need to know is that in all likelihood, Paterno knew everything that was going on in and around his program.
In 2002, it was brought to Paterno's attention by then grad assistant Mike McQueary that McQueary had witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a 10 year old boy in the assistant coaches shower. That was all that Paterno should have ever needed to have heard.
That being said, Paterno likely lied to investigators when he said that he was informed of what was only "inappropriate behavior, and horse play". What did Paterno need to hear after innapropriate, shower, Sandusky, naked, and ten year old to gauge the seriousness of the issue?
At that point, Paterno informed his AD, Tim Curley, who as we now know, buried it with he and Gary Schultz, the former head of Finance and Business, who the Penn State University Police Department fell under. We also now know that this was not the first time that Curley and Schultz had been made aware of these kinds of issues with Sandusky, but we'll get to that later.
Where this applies to Paterno in this particular instance, is that Paterno told Curley, and then he walked away from it. Paterno never brought it up again with anyone to the knowledge of those involved in the case. His persona in this is that he did what he should have done, and that was that. Besides, Sandusky was no longer a member of his staff, so it wasn't his problem. To quote Lee Corso, "not so fast my friend".
It is fairly apparent now, that when Sandusky was offered his retirement in 1999, he was informed by Paterno that he was no longer the heir apparent to Paterno's job. The reason for that was likely that Paterno had been made aware of Sandusky's behavior likely as early as 1998, when Sandusky was investigated over a six week period by both University and State College Police over his involvement with the individual now known in the Grand Jury Report as Victim 1.
There is no credible way that Paterno could ever have been completely insulated from a six week investigation into a member of his staff for something as incredulous as sexual assault on a minor. There is no credible way that Paterno could not have been included on this investigation at any time, whether or not he was questioned, as Schultz and Curley both had to have known themselves, as Schultz was running the campus police unit.
The fact now that Paterno denies any of this is laughable at best. The only way Paterno could credibly state that he had no knowledge of Sandusky's behavior was if he suddenly claimed that he is now suffering from dimentia, and I hardly think that this is the case.
The answer is simple. At Penn State there are two central rules, and there always have been. The first rule is to protect Paterno at all costs. The second rule is to protect Penn State at all costs. That is correct, I said that first comes Paterno, and then comes Penn State. Many believed, and they were wrong on so many counts, that there was no Penn State without Paterno. So therefore, Paterno himself came before the university. Paterno created an aura around himself over the years, and it was carefully crafted as to create this zone where nobody could question him. He entrenched himself in power so deeply that he even was instrumental in creating school policy. Not just football or athletic policy, but school political and academic policy. This is no a myth, as it is as true as the day is long.
Paterno had more power at Penn State than anyone, including the school president. There were some in the state that believed that Paterno had just about more power than anyone in the entire state of Pennsylvania, and they probably would not have been very far off. If Joe said it, it went, and that was that. Nobody wields that kind of power without knowing absolutely everything about anything that was going on of any importance.
In 2004, school administrators had decided that Paterno had reached his past freshness date and went to his house (one that is on University property, mind you), and asked him to resign. He kicked them out of his house, and they left, never to ask for his resignation again.
Paterno has invested millions of dollars into the university as well, so he made sure to become an investment that kept on paying dividends to the university. He brought in huge money in donations, and Penn State had become the third highest revenue program in college football behind only Texas and Notre Dame. In short, Paterno ensured his power by becoming a cash cow, one that was invaluable to university success. That kind of financial power brings a status of invincibility.
Paterno had come to believe that he was untouchable, and his program had become all powerful in his wake. Nothing was going to bleimish or slight his empire, and that is exactly what it was. Paterno, and those that answered to him in essence, would even bury sexual assault on children to keep his program from coming to harm.
Paterno was foolish in believing that he could bury this burden forever. The longer that Paterno tried to bury this, the more it became likely that the bomb was going to go off. Last Saturday, it finally went off right under his ass.
Paterno could have been the hero that so many always thought of him to be. Paterno could have dragged this case straight to the authorities as soon as he heard about it. He could have been the man that saved so many innocent kids from the depravities of Sandusky, but instead, he became Sandusky's enabler, and became a party to the enslavement of the dignity of children, yet another monster that was responsible in his very own way of their lost innocence. Paterno's greed for more success, more power, and more arrogance became his very own monster, and in the end, it destroyed everything good that Paterno had ever built.
In the end, Paterno is a pathetic and defeated figure. His ego was so large, his hunger for power so extreme, that he even attempted to craft his own way out of this by announcing his own terms for his departure via retirement at season's end. Once again, the Corsoism "not so fast sweetheart". The Board of Trustees stepped up to the plate, and much too late, became the only heroes on the day and announced that Paterno's greed would no longer be satiated on their watch, his thirst for power forceably quenched and satiated. He was relieved of his duties by phone, because quite frankly, they could no longer take the chances that they wouldn't be kicked out of "his house".
There was a time in the 1980's that Paterno had been offered the job as head coach of the New England Patriots on three different occasions. He didn't take the job because he "didn't want to leave college football in the hands of the Barry Switzer's and Jackie Sherrill's of the world". It turns out that in his own special way, he was probably just as bad as they were in the end.
At the end of the day, Sandusky is the main villain in all of this. It was he who defiled so many children in his day. He is the true face of evil, the beast that tore out the souls of at least 8 young boys over the course of decades. He was the devil encarnate. That being said, there was no Sandusky if there were no enablers, and of those there were plenty.
The truth is, Sandusky has probably collected way more than eight victims in his life. The average male sexual predator collects 107 victims in his lifetime. I am fairly guessing that Sandusky did not wake up one day and decide to start sexually violating young boys. It is more than likely something that goes far more in depth, and one can only hope that if there are other victims of his abuses, that they now gain the courage to come forward. They have been given the burden of protecting other children now from this undeniable bastard.
Sandusky's behaviors with all of his victims were consistent. It started with a hand on the leg of his passengers in his cars. It included, universally, wreslting around and sweating followed by "necessary showers" with his prey.
We all know the depraved acts now, as they are clearly painted in the grand jury report. THere is not much more than I can say than he betrayed anyone and everyone that ever came into his trust. He destroyed the bonds of decades worth of boys and men that had ever placed him on the dias of royalty that anyone associated with Penn State football gained access to.
As was portayed in the grand jury report, Sandusky was confronted twice by the mother of victim number 1. She was the only known mother that had the guts to go after the man that she knew had violated her son. She brought the police in on the investigation in 1998. The police heard him admit his showering with her son, and he stated that he wished he were dead. Funny...so do I.
Sandusky is the monster of monsters. He will hopefully rot in prison for the rest of his miserable life. I think most of us would be just fine with that. If you are not, you had better check yourself.
McQueary has spent his entire life in State College. He grew up there, went to high school there, played and started at QB for Penn State, and became a coach on the staff there. Those days are most certainly over.
In 2002, McQueary walked in on Jerry Sandusky raping a 10 year old child by means of anal sex. It was not mistaken as to what he saw, and that, as well, has been clearly documented in the grand jury report. What happened next perplexes most if not all of us.
McQueary did nothing. He did not attack Sandusky, as I know I would have done. He did not attempt to save the child from the horrors of anal rape. He simply left the room, even though he had clearly be seen by both. He called not the police, but his father. He went to daddy to tell him what to do. He was an adult. He should have known what to do. He should have taken care of the matter first personally, and then through the authorities. And even worse, after telling Paterno, not that night, but the next day, he never followed up. He never pressed the issue with anyone. He simply took whatever deal was offered to shut his miserable pussified mouth, and he walked away, becoming yet another potential enabler in Sandusky's behavior. Because McQueary did nothing that night, and never did anything from that point forward, he fell as well, and now is a villain in his own home. He bought into the greed and the power that became Penn State football, rather than doing the right thing. The worst part of all, is that from that horrible night in 2002 until just two weeks ago, he witnessed Sandusky continue to come onto the Penn State campus, and he never pressed or asked the important questions.
Spanier was the defacto school president, but we all know that he answered to his cash cow, Joe Paterno. Spanier had no real power, and he acted as the great enabler when he refused to force Sandusky off campus. He grinned and bore the responsibility of knowing that he had a known child molestor on his campus, and he did absolutely nothing to keep Sandusky off of the Penn State campus, and likely orchastrated any deals for the purpose of a cover up by his very title.
None of the issues that I reference above could have happened without his expressed concsent and signature at the end of the day. There is still protocol, even if Spanier was a defacto Paterno puppet. Spanier sat for 13 years....let that sink in....13 years, knowing that he had a violator in his midst, and he did nothing. Not one fucking thing to deal with this and take the responsibility with being a school president. One could argue that Spanier was insolated along with Paterno from any of this, and therefore had no knowledge. To that I say one word. IMPOSSIBLE!!!
Nobody rises to the position of school president and doesn't know when a member of his "team" is being investigated for six weeks for something as serious as sexual assault on a minor. The fact is that Spanier was not being responsible for his ship, and it destroyed him in the end. He should be in prison, but for a douche like Spanier, a likely lifetime ban from academia may be his prison, his own personal hell. Oh, how I hope so!
Curley, the AD at Penn State, was a central figure in the cover up, and along with Gary Schultz, will likely be going to prison. He certainly looks all Midwest morals and ethics, but in truth, Curly was as evil as anyone in all of this, regardless of what he may think about himself. What he did was inexcusable.
He had, on at least two seperate occasions, had information that placed Sandusky at the helm of a series of sexual acts of indecency performed on minors using facilities that he, again as a defact Paterno puppet, controlled as Athletic Director.
I would state that he said that he had no knowledge od the depth as to what was going on, but that is now cemented in fact as a very deep and twisted lie, created to first protect Paterno and his program, and secondly, to protect Penn State, in essence following the PSU rules that we spoke of earlier. He got caught, and then he got popped, and last week turned himself in, along with Gary Schultz, to the state police in Harrisburg.
Curly is every bit responsble for anything purpetrated upon those children as Sandusky was, because he absolutely buried it. He could have saved countless victims, but allowed there horror to exist. My only hope for Curly is that he gets to find out what it's like to be someone's bitch in prison, so that he knows how those kids felt everytime that his irresponsibilities allowed them to be raped by one of his employees. There is no doubt that he allowed this, and he covered it up, making him a central villain. May he rot in hell.
In The End
The Paterno legacy is dead. It is buried in the center of campus, and it was killed by the overwhelming desire not to save children, but to save its very self. Power, greed, and an unhealthy loyalty or fear of Paterno by his underlings led to its very demise.
At the end of the day, absolute power corrupts absolutely. No coach, on any level or sport, should ever wield the kinds of power that these people were allowed to wield. These are the dangers that things like this can happen, and that "responsible people" lose their way through the fog pf power and greed.
It happens everywhere, all of the time. In closing, I quote Matt Millen when he said, "if we can't protect our kids, than we are pathetic as a society". This was a massive failure on part of the people that should have been in place to make sure that none of this ever should have happened. You don't plan for it, and it's not in a book somewhere. You just don't let it happen. If it happens, you shut it down violently. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the rules of power and greed.