Ten November.

I think it’s fair to say that whatever damage was done to Penn State University in recent days by the adults in charge, the cherry on the sundae was placed by its student body, members of which poured into the streets of State College last night to proclaim their anger that Grampa Joe was fired.

And that cherry was extracted from the bottle of maraschinos by the assembled nitwits of the media, who seemingly gasped as one when the representative of the school’s board of trustees announced last night that they’d found a shred of decency in their souls and done not just the right thing, but the only thing they could do in these circumstances. The press conference didn’t have the professional setup of a presidential one, i.e., the questioners weren’t mic’d, and there was only one camera. So I’m going on admittedly imperfect information, but I detected a challenging note to many of the questions, with such phrases as “resign with dignity” emerging from the murk.

If nothing else, this week has been instructive in many ways. You want to know how these things happen? Now you know. It also gives me a new appreciation of Myles Brand, the Indiana University president who gave the boot to Bobby Knight way back when. While no rioting was involved,* it was hardly a popular move, especially outside the university. And when it comes to IU basketball, and Penn State football, and most other college sports, it’s mostly outside the university. Thanks again to Sherri, who found this excellent essay earlier in the week, with this key passage:

…this is why college football evokes such extreme emotion, and this is why schools work so damn hard and often take ethical shortcuts to forge themselves into football powers: If they are successful, then the game serves as the lifelong bond between alums and townspeople and the university, thereby guaranteeing the institution’s self-preservation through donations and season-ticket sales and infusions into the local economy. It is a crass calculus, when you put it that way, which is why there will always be skeptics and there will always be those of us for whom college football is (other than our own families) the purest emotional attachment of our adulthood, and there will always be some of us who bound between those two poles.

I wonder if anyone inside the Penn State bubble has a sense of how the story is playing outside, how agog the rest of the country is. Which seems as good a time as any to direct you to #1 Party School, a “This American Life” episode about the drinking culture at Penn State. Definitely worth a listen; seek out the “play” button and let it roll while you do other things. It has to be said that the behavior described therein is not confined to Penn State; the drinking culture on college campuses is similar across the country, but at its worst at big schools like Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, etc.

If you don’t have time for the whole hour, just listen to Act Four, in which the relationship between alcohol and college athletics is briefly examined. Graham Spanier makes an appearance, too.

So. Today is? November 10, 36 years after the cold-weather hurricane that brought down the Edmund Fitzgerald, and 35 after Gordon Lightfoot’s famous one-take recording of his song about it. Today’s cold-weather hurricane is taking place in the Bering Sea, where they’re expecting the equivalent of a Category 3 storm, only a lot colder. I wonder where Sarah Palin is spending November. Wasilla? Or Arizona?

So, conventional wisdom says Rick Perry is out of it. We’ll see. Was it over when what’s-his-name bombed that place, I can’t think of it. Oh, hell — it’s on the tip of my tongue.

So late already? Time to get moving. Happy Thursday.

EDIT: * I’ve just been handed a bulletin in the form of an email from a longtime correspondent, to wit:

There was rioting involved when Knight was fired.

I know, because I rioted, and saw Brand burned in effigy on the lawn of his presidential home….

Said correspondent is now a learned scholar working on his doctorate at a top-drawer university. There is hope for all those punks who turned over the TV truck last night. That is all.

Posted at 10:18 am in Current events |
 

80 responses to “Ten November.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

    To see students rioting in the street over the firing of a half-senile old man who aided and abetted the raping of a series of young boys by protecting his loyal assistant is nauseating. Don’t any of these young adults have little brothers or sisters near the same age as the victims of Jerry Sandusky? I wish each of those fuckwads had to spend a few hours alone in a shower with Sandusky.

    What a bunch of fucking idiots.

  2. Dexter said on November 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXFTG893daM
    Professor Irwin Perry

  3. Sue said on November 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    When my daughter was a senior in college, I remember her saying something about how she understood that one of the goals of requiring electives was to help students develop critical thinking skills but she was getting sick of them.
    For some reason that was the first thing I thought when I saw those Penn State kids demonstrating a mindless herd mentality in support of what amounts to a symbolic figurehead.

  4. Kirk said on November 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Part of the problem with the press conference was that some students sneaked in and, probably, were among the question-askers.

  5. Kim said on November 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Watching the Penn State kiddos riot is a lot like watching Rick Perry say “oops” – truly unbelievable.

    I have hope the kids will one day grow up and so will their point of view. Not so much for Perry or Cain for that matter.

  6. Deggjr said on November 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

    All speculation*, but my guess is that Penn State has been urging Paterno to retire for years. (No recruiting trips in five years? Head coaching from the press box?) As the rioting shows, Paterno could withstand the urging. He might have reneged on retiring at the end of the year. The trustees will never be in a stronger position than now.

    *”Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.”, hat tip to Peggy Noonan as printed by the Wall Street Journal.

  7. Dorothy said on November 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

    It could be, Kirk, that those students work at the Daily Collegian (as my daughter did for the 4 years she was there), the college newspaper, and had credentials to be there. No disrespect, but considering the circumstances I doubt anyone actually ‘sneaked in’ to that press conference.

    And yes, Deggjr, every year for at least 10 years the rumblings begin in the press and of course on line, stating that the man is too old to continue coaching. Hell, he was knocked over during a game on the sidelines about 2 or 3 years ago and broke a hip and he STILL wouldn’t step down. I think most people thought he’d have to die while still the coach – that would be the only way he’d be out of a job. For the record I think the school did the right and best thing by firing him and Spanier. But the student body should not be universally criticized for their adoration of the man. Forty-five years he’s been there – I’m only 9 years older than that! I hope in time they will all process what has happened, and they learn the facts of the case. Their devotion will surely be lessened if they listen with an open mind. But there are zealots everywhere and among them will be die-hard Paterno supporters who refuse to believe he did not act appropriately. I’m not one of them and neither is my daughter. She is deeply pained by all of this.

  8. Lex said on November 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The financial angle is particularly insidious in Happy Valley, where the economic impact of the football program on the community is estimated at $59 million per home game.

    But this is all far from over. It is likely that officials we haven’t yet heard about knew about Sandusky and did nothing, including, I have to think, some trustees. It is likely that Sandusky victimized far more than the eight boys we know about from the grand jury report, because that’s what serial pedophiles do.

    This tumor is metastasizing, and getting it out is going to be a bitch.

    Here’s what I want to know: Has Penn State yet reached out to the victims and their families? Offered them … oh, I don’t know, free counseling or something? Anything beyond (pardon me) lip service?

  9. brian stouder said on November 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

    My guess is this scandal won’t reach its conclusion until the Penn State football program is halted, disassembled, and rebuilt from the ground up. I would guess that a minimum would be forfeit the rest of this season, and drop out of next season.

    I understand that NCAA doesn’t have rules and penalties in place for programs that engage in protracted and serious criminal conspiracies and concurrent cover-ups (although I bet they will, before this is over).

    But indeed, forget about the survival of Penn State’s football program; the NCAA – and all the OTHER universities that want to see their money keep flowing – cannot help but go into survival-mode, themselves.

    Otherwise, it’s “..and the band played on”; and that will cost everyone else money

  10. Bitter Scribe said on November 10, 2011 at 11:29 am

    “Retire at the end of the season” my ass. Good for the trustees for finding their spines, although it’s a little late.

    Perry’s gaffe wasn’t the worst I’ve heard in a presidential debate. The winner and still champion is Gerald Ford in 1976 for “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” When challenged, he immediately doubled down on the stupid.

    Still, it’s a shame that Perry will sink because he couldn’t remember his idiotic ideas–not because they’re idiotic.

  11. maryinIN said on November 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Well, empires end, don’t they?

    Yes, I thought about Myles Brand as well, and how he did handle a situation that could have exploded. He was resolute and I’m sure he felt vindicated and vilified simultaneously. Of course, the aftermath has been difficult, but I think that’s the norm whenever there is a change in a long-held and pedestal-propped status quo. Getting the next few decisions right is very important, as IU found out.

    How long was the PA grand jury deliberating and how secret can these deliberations really be kept? Could the trustees have known rumors or facts and have been preparing ahead of the storm, or would they have been surprised just as suddenly as everyone else? That would affect how quickly they could respond to victims and families, although now it will all be lawyered up, I suppose. As for the firing, from what I read they had a letter of immediate resignation from Spanier and just had to accept it, but Paterno should not have wanted to finish the season, asking for that was his mistake. Can you imagine the sickening and ghoulish media/fan/observer debate swirling around any remaining games he would have participated in? They couldn’t have allowed that and he shouldn’t have dreamed to expect it.

    But, what will this all lead to? More painful revelations elsewhere, institutional reform, more protections for children, sports back in its proper place, or…nothing?

  12. velvet goldmine said on November 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    This is one of many times in which I can’t wrap my mind around a university community’s temper tantrum about fixing or eliminating some tradition that is clearly rancid at the core.

    I remember being stunned after the Texas A & M bonfire (excuse me, “Bonfire”) killed 12 people. There were practically riots over the announcement that Bonfire would be discontinued, or that Bonfire would at least be modified so that kids no longer had the opportunity to engineer massive piles of bone-crushing logs. What wet blankets those university officials were being, etc. The depressing part is that the alums pitched a louder fit than the students. People are still complaining about it.

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Aggies-honor-Bonfire-tragedy-victims-1732698.php

  13. maryinIN said on November 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Another thought. Accounts mentioned Penn State trying to get Paterno to resign on various occasions over the last few years. I wonder if those attempts had any connection to this coming down the road.

  14. maryinIN said on November 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

    My alma mater’s alums pitched fits over changing the name of the basketball team. And secretly, some large donor alums reportedly nixed the hiring of a lesbian as a department head or dean of something. Local indignation was about all I heard in either case.

  15. nancy said on November 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I was just thinking about that bonfire the other day, and did a little googling on it. I was amazed to learn that the original bonfire, while enormous, was more or less safe, as it was constructed like a giant teepee of logs, the way we might make a fire in a campsite, only bigger. But that wasn’t fabulous enough, so the newer practice was adopted, of building essentially a wedding cake out of logs bundled like pencils on end, higher than a multi-story building. Any fool could see that was a disaster waiting to happen, but when it did, the doubling down on lunacy was that much worse.

    I also recall our vile afternoon right-wing radio host, who appears here regularly in Brian Stouder’s comments (the lip-flapper), read a tribute to the dead students that made it sound like they’d died on a beach at Normandy, not in service to a stupid football ritual. He actually choked up, as I recall. Since then, I’ve started paying closer attention to the A&M graduates I meet along the way. They skew in that direction, alas.

    And I believe a bonfire is still held off-campus.

  16. Deborah said on November 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I listened to the This American Life segment that Nancy linked. It was depressing to hear about all of the drinking, the loud, obnoxious young people and the frat menace. A couple of weeks ago I listened to another archived segment about a young man who had been raped at an early age (8 years old or so as I recall) by the older son of friends of his parent’s, and how it effected him the rest of his life. He understandably contemplated killing the rapist when he found out where he lived many years later. But he finally came to some terms with the whole situation. Makes you shudder to think what the many young victims of Sandusky will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

  17. paddyo' said on November 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Nancy, Kirk @ 4 and Dorothy @ 7, re: the news conference gasps/outbursts . . .

    The annoying truth is that for some time now, most news conferences have been open to just about anybody. I don’t know the gatekeeping practice (or lack of) at Penn State. But having attended a lot of pressers over more than three decades of reporting, I found that very few ever required that I show some ID that I was a working reporter there to cover the event.

    At the same time, I saw those rooms begin to fill with more and more “civilians” — staff/friends/supporters on the periphery of whatever person/institution/news event was the subject of the press gaggle. This coincided, interestingly, with the shrinking press corps. I recall routinely being outnumbered by the non-journos. ** Not for big deals like this one, of course, nor for Columbine/Kobe/Matthew Shepard and any number of other media circuses I personally covered here in the West.

    But these gatherings have changed. At first, the non-journalists would sit silently. Before long, there were smatterings of applause, hisses, even cheers — not to mention questions from people who weren’t even reporters. But since most news conferences seem to happen on the turf of the target, that peanut gallery is what you get nowadays. It comes with the territory — THEIR territory. The non-journalists are moths, drawn to the flame of lights, cameras and notepads.

  18. Jolene said on November 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Though I’m sure there will be long-term consequences for at least some of Sandusky’s victims, it was interesting to see in the grand jury report how some of the boys managed to take themselves out of the situation. Seems like at least some of the kids had a pretty good instinct for self-preservation.

    Aside from my fascination w/ the views of Mrs. Sandusky (see end of previous thread), I am amazed by the intensity of the drive that compels people like Sandusky. When you think of all he had to lose–job, family, income, reputation, self-respect–and how he risked all that over and over again … I just have to shake my head. Human beings are really something.

  19. MichaelG said on November 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    You’re too gracious, Dexter, thank you. I didn’t know that show on the History Channel was coming up. I’ll look for reruns.

    Brian, I too had that cynical thought about things breaking just after Paterno became the “winningest coach”.

    What I want to know is if this so called firing has any downside for Paterno. Will he be Emeritus? Still have an office, a phone, a parking spot, all retirement pay and benefits? A seat in the press box? Will he be barred from practice? I wanna know more. My feeling is that he should be banished from campus.

    I’m sure we’ll see more victims when the law suits start flying. Penn State is going to pay for this big time.

  20. MichaelG said on November 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Somebody here at the office just pointed out that institutions that accept federal funds are obligated to report all instances of sexual misconduct to the feds.

  21. Jolene said on November 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Re Penn State students, there are 44,000 of them on the State College campus. Lots of room for diversity of opinion and action there.

  22. Julie Robinson said on November 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Lex and Deborah, that is exactly the point–the victims serve a life sentence. I know several people who were molested/raped as a child, and none have been able to live a normal life, despite years of therapy. It is one of the most heinous crimes, as recognized even by prison inmates who regularly beat up and kill child rapists.

    And Brian, I would like to believe Penn State’s program will suffer as you predict, but I think we will soon hear apologists talk about not punishing the innocent young men on the team. And the band will play on.

  23. Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I would wager the Saturday Penn State vs. Nebraska game is going to produce even more stupid behavior by the PSU faithful. Imagine 100,000-plus chanting for Joe Paterno or against the media or whatever. It will be an even larger black eye for the school than the riots.

    The Big Ten should do the right thing and cancel this game and the rest of the PSU games. Period. Do the right thing by the student athletes, yes, but Christ, how can the school even think about playing this game when the wounds are so fresh? Forfeit. Clean house in the athletic department –perhaps find some kind of independent investigator to go through the whole rotten mess– and start fresh with an entirely new staff.

    I’m still a bit stunned the trustees have not taken this action. The Penn State name and brand is toxic. The student body has been tarred by the rioting few as a feckless, selfish bunch of assholes more interested in the “legacy” of a sad old man than the mental and physical health of the rape victims. I would think the trustes would see nothing but the prospect of even more bad publicity by proceeding with the game.

    Yes, PSU will lose some considerable money –not nearly as much as the university will be paying to the victims of Jerry Sandusky– but isn’t the long-term view appropriate here?

  24. Dexter said on November 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Almost everybody has forgotten this tidbit:

    Los Angeles Times by Mike Hiserman

    “This definitely won’t make Wolverines fans any happier this morning, but Joe Paterno almost became head coach at Michigan four decades ago.

    Paterno recalled last week that he was offered the job by former Michigan athletic director Don Canham in 1968.

    When he turned it down, Michigan hired Bo Schembechler. “Once a year Don used to write me a letter and say, ‘Thanks!’ ” Paterno joked.”-END_

    This was written in 2009. See how the worm has turned? I can safely assume there are many Wolverines happy today that Joe Pa did not come to A2.

    Now…about twenty years this area I lived in was livid with rage. A young man babysat a baby girl. The baby ended up dead, raped…it was horrible.
    Finally, the man , who I recall as being a Jonathan Leggett, was sent away for a long time.
    During the trial and after, a new mindset seemed to prevail around here. The court page in the local paper began to fill with sex abuse charges. The laws were different then, and only the most heinous charges were taken to the Grand Jury. I cannot recall one case that was handed down…they all were handed up for trial or plea bargaining.
    Many offenders simply pleaded guilty for a plea and were sent away for four years or more. One particular case stands out in my memory: a man raped a seven year girl, and it was a rape in the old sense, penis in vagina, and the guy did seven years in the Ohio penal system.
    That was what kick-started the movement around here to lock up offenders. When I was a kid, I hardly ever saw cases like this in the papers, and now in 2011, the case numbers have dwindled remarkably. The punishments have increased dramatically, however, to wit, the woman in Angola, Indiana recently, getting twenty years. A few years ago , she might have gotten six months and a few years on paper.
    At least today, the public has been somewhat conditioned to listen to kids. It remains important to teach kids about good touches and bad touches, and to tell them to report any creep who approaches them for hugs or for anything.
    Today, I think about how terrible it is that these Sandusky victims had no one to listen to them, or they never had been educated to tell an authority about these violations of their persons.

  25. MarkH said on November 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    It’s going to get much worse, folks. This is out, citing the original source for the scandal, who wrote about it SIX MONTHS AGO. Sandusky may have been pimping his young victims at Second Mile. And EVERYONE KNEW, especially from the time Sandusky “retired”:

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=ycn-10407023

    Unbelievably sad.

  26. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I think I’ve got it. The NCAA can vacate the Penn State wins back to the day of the rape. I believe Bobby Bowden would look the other way on all sorts of offenses, but I don’t believe he’d have stood for child rape. The way to punish Paterno is to remove those wins from the record book. Coach Robinson would have done something. One way or another, Penn State football is dead as a doornail. What parent of a HS football player is going to let McQuearey in the door? Maybe Temple can beat they ass now, and they can stop whining in Happy Valley.

    Paddy’o: Like Jeff Guckert?

    edit: Building character, Paterno style. Coddled at Penn State, hustled out of trouble when he beat up a girlfriend.

  27. Peter said on November 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I still have a hard time writing this, but here goes:

    I do feel bad for the grad student who witnessed the assault. There are a lot of sanctimonious people on other sites who said that they would have taken care of the situation right then and there. Really? What if he had gone to the police? Would they have locked him up and thrown away the key? Or would they have “lost” key evidence? In Chicago this happens all the time – just ask the Kotschmanns.

    Did the grad student go to his dad and Paterno and say he couldn’t believe what happened? Or do you think he said “Coach, he’s at it again”. My vote is on the latter.

    THAT’s what got me mad. As Mr. Cain has demonstrated, a lot of things happen in private industry that get “taken care of”. Penn State makes a lot of money off of their college football program, and anything that would affect the program would have a huge financial impact. They could have sent Sandusky off to a psycho ward and wrote him a nice severence check, and they could have gone to the victims, apologize, and write a nice check for pain and suffering. Except everyone, from the president on down, was too greedy. A few more bucks for that luxury suite, that win no. 410, the chance for an assistant coaches job, that means so much more than a little kid being raped.

  28. MarkH said on November 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Here is Mike Madden’s orignal column from the Beaver County Times from April, 2011:

    http://www.timesonline.com/columnists/sports/mark_madden/madden-sandusky-a-state-secret/article_863d3c82-5e6f-11e0-9ae5-001a4bcf6878.html

  29. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Peter,

    I’m not sanctimonious in any fashion, but I’ll guarantee I would have intervened and let the chips fall afterward. I find it difficult to believe that anybody would have done differently. McQuearey was a grown man that shirked a clear responsibility. There is really no excuse.

    And Penn State does not “make money” off their college football program, they use the cash to fund other sports programs, primarily Title IX women’s programs. This is not a for profit situation like the National Restaurant and Koch Lackeys Association.

  30. Sherri said on November 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    The news conference would not have to have been infiltrated with students for their to have been people clamoring for “resign with dignity;” there were sportswriters over the last week who were talking about “rush to judgment” and all the good Paterno has done and how his legacy shouldn’t end like this. There were also plenty of sportswriters saying he should go now.

    I doubt it was a coincidence at all that the grand jury indictments came out just after Paterno broke the record and during a bye week for Penn State. Call it cynical, or call it smart; can you imagine how much more the campus would have been stirred up had the firing come before Paterno got the record?

    Myles Brand did finally stand up to Bobby Knight, who was unfortunately still young enough, and amazingly not too toxic, to get another job, this time at Texas Tech.

    I wonder about the Sandusky children. He and his wife couldn’t have kids of their own, so they adopted six children (5 of them boys), and fostered more.

  31. 4dbirds said on November 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    My hubby native of PA, is still giving Joepa the benefit of the doubt. The running joke in our house is that I’ve hated Joepa since he came out and publicly endorced GWH Bush. I felt it was wrong to use his position to take a politcal side. When hubby would watch a PS game, I’d tell him I hoped the team lost.

    I have two Texas Aggies in my family. My brother Paul was not in the Corps of Cadets as he was already a veteran who only wanted to get an engineering degree on his GI Bill. He went to work for Lockheed shortly after and has worked for them ever since. Politically he’s a moderate.

    My nephew Craig, the son of my other brother John is also a graduate and a member of the Corps. He went to Iraq as a young LT, got injured by an IED and decided that the army wasn’t for him. Politically he’s conservative but a nicer, outgoing, lovelier young man you’ll never meet.

  32. MarkH said on November 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I’m with Peter in his second graph. McQueary was in an impossible position. He didn’t walk in on a random scene involving someone he didn’t know on the street. That athletic facility was his second home. He saw someone he knew and respected in a familiar place in an unspeakable act. He had to process all of it immediately and couldn’t do it. Say what you will, Caliban, but without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, none of us know what we would have done RIGHT THERE. I’m trying not to judge a guy who would not have been in that situation if Sandusky had been booted and prosecuted in 1998.

    Caliban, I agree with your points about the disposition of college athletic dollars.

  33. Sherri said on November 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    A good opinion piece from Tom Boswell at WaPo, who gets that the important date is 1998, even more than 2002: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/joe-paterno-says-he-has-penn-states-best-interests-at-heart-but-sadly-his-actions-say-otherwise/2011/11/09/gIQAYwxf6M_story.html

  34. Bitter Scribe said on November 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I wonder about the Sandusky children. He and his wife couldn’t have kids of their own, so they adopted six children (5 of them boys), and fostered more.

    GAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

  35. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    If I saw a grown man raping a kid, my future employment, much less the sanctity of the location, would be the farthest thing from my mind. I would interrupt the vile behavior and smack the bastard’s head into the nearest wall. I fail to understand how there is time to consider my “situation” in that situation. I’d intervene, violently if necessary, and let chips fall wherever they might. At least I’d still be a man and a human being, instead of a toady and a weasel. This is fing obvious to me. I got shot once for intervening in what I perceived to be a grossly unfair fight in a restaurant parking lot. By the guy I was defending. It was a ricochet. Might not be right, but I’m not standing for abuse of the weak. So, yeah, I know exactly what I would have done if I saw a large, fit middle-aged man raping a ten-year-old. I would have beaten him bloody and, quite possibly, killed his disgraceful ass.

  36. MarkH said on November 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I’ll take you at your word, Caliban. I’m just sayin’…

  37. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Right, Mark. Wrong is simply wrong, and innocence is worth defending. Episodes of people being attacked with nobody coming to their aid are mystifying to me. How does anybody stand by when a fellow human being is in danger? I cannot understand that. When idiots at the beach get tossed on breakwaters by undertow and riptide, I always plunge in and pull them out. Maybe I have some wish to die trying to be a hero. Worse ways to go, I’m sure. Then again, I can swim stronger than any riptide or undertow. I am sure of it.

  38. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Herman, we hardly knew ye, thank the Lord:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/youre-so-cain-parody-mock_n_1080803.html

    Leaving Mittens? What a fucking joke?

  39. Kirk said on November 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Paddyo’ @17:
    You’re certainly right about press-conference contamination, and I inferred from the reporting on the tube last night that these weren’t student journalists they were talking about, but students who decided to wander in (and probably ask the whiny questions Nance referred to).

    Caliban @29:
    Penn State may not technically make a lot of money off football, but don’t kid yourself: Football is an enormous driver of fundraising for non-athletic programs of all kinds across all the big-time football universities. Money for new buildings, research and you-name-it comes in at a rate directly proportional to the success of the football team at these schools.

  40. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    For everybody going to see the new Clint/Leonardo movie.

    edit: Of course that is true, Kirk. Is that supposed to be a bad thing. My point originally was that the idea that bloodsuckers, aside from Cam Newton and Reggie Bush, are profiting from college football is pretty much asinine, and, I’d say, biased against jocks, who are actually intelligent in the same proportion as everybody else.

  41. Dorothy said on November 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    God forbid if I ever came upon a scene like McQueary did, but my gut tells me I’d feel like my eyes had suddenly caught fire, and then I’d scream “STOP THAT! WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?” and then run to push the aggressor away. In a million years I can’t imagine any other reaction coming from me.

  42. KLG said on November 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    McQueary was 28 years old. He saw a grown man raping a 5th-grader, and called his daddy. There are no extenuating circumstances under these conditions. When this season is over, so will be his career. And deservedly so. Sorry.

    This will continue to play itself out, and 1998 is indeed the most important date. Someone will have to answer for Sandusky’s “retirement” at the peak of his career. The Archbishop has lost all credibility, and things are only going to get worse.

  43. mark said on November 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Regardless of anyone’s anecdotal experience, it is not true that victims of sexual abuse are incapable of living “normal lives” thereafter. This is a stereotype that can further “victimize” the victims. How any child will respond, long term, to extreme trauma, whether inflicted criminally or by accident, is highly unpredictable and impacted by many variables. They will almost certainly be “changed” by the abuse, but most still have the capacity, with varying degrees of support and asistance, to lead lives that can ultimately be described as normal, happy and fulfilling. Abuse victims are not uniformly lost causes, destined to be abnormal.

  44. KLG said on November 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    True but irrelevant.

  45. paddyo' said on November 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Another fine take from the hometown trenches of State College, PA, by that Grantland.com writer that Sherri introduced us to and Nance mentioned above in today’s posting . . .

  46. John G. Wallace said on November 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    This is a little fishy too:

    The DA who didn’t charge Sandusky has been missing since 2005 and was recently declared legally dead.

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45243142/ns/sports-college_football/

    “Ray Gricar’s car was found the next day in a Lewisburg parking lot and his laptop, sans hard drive, was found in the Susquehanna River, according to the Patriot-News.”

  47. mark said on November 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    KLG-

    Irrelevant to Penn State, Paterno, etc., but not to the assertion earlier about sex abuse victims not being able to “lead normal lives.” My present work is with an agency that serves children, a considerable percentage of whom are victims of sexual and/or physical abuse. With support and treatment, most of them will be able to live fulfilling, rewarding lives, and suggestions to the contrary are harmful to efforts to address the damage that has been done to them.

  48. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    And where is the hagiographer Brent Hamburglar? Brent loved Coach Paterno. In a strange as shit way.

    John G. That is starting to sound like Clinton conspiracy theory.

    Meantime, will somebody please direct TV talking heads to cancel the word allegations in their discussion of Herman Cain? If you get shitcanned and your former employer doles out nearly $100grand in hush money, and you can’t recall any of the details, you were a serial abuser and people have admitted it happened. So STFU.

  49. Maggie Jochild said on November 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I am a survivor of extended childhood sexual abuse at the hands of my brother, eight years older, who was a high school football hero, quarterback in the small Texas town where we lived (think “Friday Night Lights” and you’ve got it.) He was a bully, a vicious stalker and brutalizer of any kid of color, and got away with anything because of his football status. That was in the 60s. It is NOT coincidence.

    He also repeatedly raped my little brother, 11 years younger than him. He married and had three children, and I’m sure molested them. He volunteered in youth sports organizations, was always around kids. Pedophiles will always find a way to have access to children, and most of the time they won’t be caught. It’s not about gay or straight, though 98% of them identify as straight and the vast maority are married. It is its own sexual orientation, buried and only acted on if circumstances permit.

    It is deeply entertwined with our definitions of family, sexuality, and faith in American culture. Many of the beloved Biblical patriarchs fucked their daughters. Lot offered his up to a mob as safe passage out of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    In my 20s, I was part of the incest survivor movement which launched public awareness about child sexual abuse as the commonplace reality that it is. In fact, I may have been at ground zero for that movement. Here’s my reaction:

    (1) A 28-year-old man who witnesses child rape and does not move to stop it was sexually abused himself. The inability to react with normal outrage is learned.
    (2) If a coach feels safe raping children in a locker room, he has previously established that as a safe zone of predation. Which means not only had he done that there before, OTHERS KNEW ABOUT IT.
    (3) The odds that other coaches and personnel were involved in a network of rape and child pornography around him are extremely high. It is pernicious.
    (4) The perception of children as acceptable sexual objects is not actually theoretically distinct from the sexual objectification of women: It is about use and power imbalance, not a meeting of equals for an exchange of sexual pleasure. It is a natural byproduct of heterosexuality as it is practiced in our culture, the inability to imagine sexual desire without power imbalance at the core. (I.e., a do-er and a do-ee.) Passed on to us from the Greeks, but not the only human expression of eroticism.
    (5) Child sexual abuse is always learned. Predators were once predated upon. And every child (not all boys, let me assure you) who was raped by this coach and his friends is now at risk for becoming predators themselves as adults. Especially if they are not identified and given good treatment.
    (6) Organizations built on hierarchies and male domination as expressed by masculinity will always leak into sexual abuse at some point. Female conditioning does not lend itself to this particular damage. We tend not to become perpetrators in these overwhelming numbers (and I do NOT want to hear anecdotes about how your mommy was mean, deal with the big picture) but we do cover up and keep children from being helped, which keeps this pattern going on for generations. If we have been abused ourselves, most of us will choose an abuser as a husband and father.
    (7) To address the core problems and actually clean it up will involve going against the church, organized sports, our obsession with the military, and the definition of family.

    But some of us have started.

    P.S. Both my brothers are dead. My beloved little brother Bill would have been 53 today. He died early because he tried to stay in family relationship with my older brother, Craig, and did not follow my example of therapy and confrontation. Craig died choking on his own vomit during a seizure.

  50. moe99 said on November 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I asked a law professor who is an internationally recognized mental health expert about whether being raped as a child has a permanent effect on one. Here is his response:

    1. While there are almost always exceptions, the scar is there forever. Few can ever “overcome” it (I hate that word in this context, but u know what I mean)

    2. A statistically significant number of those so abused become abusers themselves. Not all do; not all abusers were abused. But the correlation is robust.

    3. Just as in the case of heterosexual rape, the impact is much more lasting and much more calamatous if the perp is family member or trusted figure. There is incontravertable evidence, by way of comparison, that there is a valid/reliable statistical correlation btwn the sexual abuse of women by relatives/trusted figures and the likelihood that that woman will later become so mentally ill that hospitalization is required (whereas there is no evidence that the type of sexual assault that everyone fears the most [the 7-11 parking lot at midnite] has any correlation w long lasting psychiatric disability.

  51. Julie Robinson said on November 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Mark, you are in denial.

    Maggie, thank you for sharing what you have learned from your own painful experiences and studies, especially on such a sad anniversary. I can only wish that you had had someone like yourself earlier in your life to intervene.

    Moe, I concur.

  52. Sue said on November 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    “With support and treatment, most of them will be able to live fulfilling, rewarding lives”
    Gotta find them, first.

  53. basset said on November 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I’m just trying to picture what would have happened if Bob Knight had walked into that shower room instead of the assistant.

  54. Deborah said on November 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Maggie, your point #2 is one that I have thought too, ” If a coach feels safe raping children in a locker room, he has previously established that as a safe zone of predation. Which means not only had he done that there before, OTHERS KNEW ABOUT IT.”

    It really made me wonder how much of this kind of thing goes on in athletics in general.

    edit: actually your point #3 is related to this too

  55. LAMary said on November 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    It seemed to widely known and accepted that one of the football coaches in the high school I attended was screwing cheerleaders in the locker room. The players thought it was funny. The coach favored the petite girls with big boobs, not the more athletic types.
    About 12 years after I graduated that same coach was fired very abruptly. I don’t know for what. I heard that students lined up in the hallways to taunt him as he left.

  56. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Spelling-impaired Bil Keane died. Good Lord, that pitiful cartoon gave pleasure to so many parodists. If you can’t spell your first name,how can you expect to be taken Syrianly? Idunno.

    http://www.urlesque.com/2010/01/25/scott-meets-family-circus/

    War on Christmas heats up.

    Thank God I made it through those hellish years of organized sports. Positing a relationship, causal or otherwise, between organized sports and abusive behavior is nonsense, no disrespect to Maggie, whose opinions I esteem.

    I do think jock-bashing is about as worthwhile as any other form of bashing. To some extent, I believe my participation in sports, organized and backyard, contributed to who I am. Taught me that a bully is an asshole that probably needs a kind word. Certainly taught me to stand up for the bullied. And the main thing I learned from organized sports is that everyone that invests effort deserves support and appreciation. Maybe that is just how my parents reared me.

    It is an actual fact that organized sports contributed immensely to furthering integration in American society. I’d say that is incontrovertible. I don’t disagree with most of what y’all are saying, but the idea that organized sports are somehow Petri dishes for breeding dysfunction, particulary sexual dysfunction, strikes me as hateful and vindictive. Greatest Little Leagu game I ever saw was my brother-in-law John pitching against a (gasp) girl in an All-Star game. Neither was hittable. Wrong team won in extra innings with both pitchers going all the way. John’s reaction? She was just better than I was. What a psychopath. Now he’s a talented architect and a stupendous painter. With a wife and kids, and shares a successful studio with his beloved partner. I’m fairly certain his sports background had something to do with his healthy attitude toward women. I hope my attitude toward his big sister did too.

    Blaming psychotic behavior on organizations that psychos belonged to is ridiculous. I’m an Eagle Scout. I’m not homophobic in the least, and I never went up the Texas Tower with a rifle to kill pigs. Charles Whitman did.

  57. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Basset, agreed. But calling him Bob instead of Bobby kind of gives you away. He would, of course, have done the same thing I would have, physically intervene. How would anybody not? Coach Knight may have gone to his car for the concealed firearm though, and blown the asshole’s brains out. And been found innocent in Bloomington, where it is impossible for him to be convicted of a crime.

    My feelings about Paterno go way back to when Penn State played a candy-ass schedule and the old mafia fart complained about being ranked behind Alabama in national polls. Whiner.

  58. moe99 said on November 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Maggie, thank you for your post. I note that Sandusky has 6 adopted children. I wonder if they were at risk during their childhood.

  59. Bitter Scribe said on November 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I don’t think Knight would have tolerated a child rapist on his staff. And I say that as somebody who can’t stand the man.

  60. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Moe, how many foster children did Marcus Bachmann house, on the government teat? I’m not asserting he’s a predator because he’s light in the loafers, either. Maggie, that is woeful. From my point of view, nobody aI ever played sports with would have abided such a dickhead. But attributing that behavior to organized sports makes no sense.

  61. mlberry said on November 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    This is the best thing I’ve read so far about the Penn State story:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/11/10/omelas-state-university/

  62. paddyo' said on November 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Agreed, mlb . . . and a LOT of us, tragically, are living in “Omelas” . . .

  63. Sherri said on November 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Bobby Knight, of the infamous “I think if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it” quote? Please, let’s not imagine him as hero.

  64. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Sherri, Anybody ever did?

  65. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Reading Maggie’s post, my impulse is to say I never knew anybody that suffered that sort of abuse. But how the hell do I know? I know I would have done something about it. I’m beside myself thinking about what might have been going on in our Pulte neighborhoods populated with J. Walter and FoMoCo uber-execs when I was a kid. Would explain a lot of behavior. Is it a ridiculous idea to think you should be able to fix everything that eve happened to kids?

  66. brian stouder said on November 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    beside myself thinking about what might have been going on in our Pulte neighborhoods populated with J. Walter and FoMoCo uber-execs when I was a kid.

    If you can believe the newest round of rumors (which I don’t – but at this point, who knows?), uber-donors to the university would get their turn with the little children, thanks to the uber-pimp Sandusky.

    The missing-and-presumed-dead DA? Don’t know what to think about that…but if the child-exploitation/pimping thing turns out to be true, I think some Merecedes motor cars (‘Occupied’ by distraught 1%-ers) running in garages on the good side of town will start being found.

  67. nancy said on November 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say the wealthy-donors pimping thing sounds a bit far-fetched. But there are almost certainly more people involved, and that school will be lucky to have the prestige of Miss Beulah’s Kollege of Beauty before this thing is over.

  68. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    nancy. Yeah, yeah but what I’m worried about is my happy childhood with invisible men on base.

  69. MarkH said on November 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Brian (and Nancy) —

    Go back up and read my post earlier in the day (#25) and the linked article. It was NOT wealthy PSU donors that got the favors, it was the backers of the Second Mile program for at-risk boys that Sandusky was in charge of. Mark Madden, who first broke the Sandusky story in the Beaver County Times made the rumor public, claiming evidence of this is growing and being investigated.

    EDIT – Correction. OK that story does say rich Penn State donors, But this one appears to be more specific to Second Mile:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/jerry-sandusky-donors-2011-11

    If true, Sandusky had a pretty fertile hunting camp for depravity.

  70. caliban said on November 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I’m not the impoitic polece, but Miss Beulah’s Kollege of Beauty? Let’s just make this a Friday movie with Ice Cube mumming. Sorry, but that seemed a little outrageous, and Miss Beulah ain’t been a white woman since forever, or at least Butterfly McAeen didn’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies. Poorly chosen in the midst of several thousands of well-chosen words. Everybody needs an editor.

  71. Dexter said on November 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    LaMary: I went to high school in the mid-sixties. In the neighboring town , the high school basketball coach raped a cheerleader and impregnated her.
    The girl was 16 and he was in his mid-thrities.
    His punishment was to move on down the road, son…he simply went to another high school in Indiana to coach, and to…?

  72. Deborah said on November 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I just read in the Trib online that Highland Park Highschool where the Penn State pres graduated in 1966 has removed a plaque honoring him as an alum and they scrubbed his name from their website which lists alums who have made good. The principal said that those who were honored should be role models.

  73. Sherri said on November 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    The pimping boys to wealthy donors feels far-fetched to me, though the whole thing would have seemed far-fetched to me a week ago. It seems to me that if real evidence existed of that, it would have been in the grand jury report as well.

  74. John G. Wallace said on November 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    As Sherri said in 73,”The pimping boys to wealthy donors feels far-fetched to me, though the whole thing would have seemed far-fetched to me a week ago. It seems to me that if real evidence existed of that, it would have been in the grand jury report as well.”

    That’s why I tossed out the missing prosecutor story. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that he was killed – perhaps for breaking a heroin ring as was originally thought. It’s equally possible he killed himself. I should have linked to the NY Times story on his absense:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/sports/ncaafootball/questions-on-sandusky-wrapped-in-2005-gricar-mystery.html

    Will we hear from victims – even THE victim. Will we hear from McQueary? He grew up there, could he have been someone’s victim? Again, it’s not outside the realm of things possible. This is going to get much more uncomfortable but based on commments here it is sparking a dialog. And Maggie, thank you!

  75. Sherri said on November 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I assume we’ll eventually hear from McQueary when he testifies, but right now, I don’t blame him for keeping a low profile. He hasn’t been fired (yet), but he’s not going to be at the game on Saturday because of multiple threats against him: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/11/penn_states_mike_mcqueary_wont.html

  76. Linda said on November 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    John, the “killing himself” or “disappearing himself” angle is intriguing, in light of this story, in which his computer was found after he disappeared–with the hard drive destroyed separately–and his home computer had searches for–how to destroy a hard drive. It’s like a movie that critics would blow off as too improbable.

  77. moe99 said on November 11, 2011 at 1:16 am

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2011/11/10/be-true-to-your-school/

    Caliban, this is a good description of the rah rah feel good head in the sand attitude towards sports that exists in colleges these days.

  78. Sherri said on November 11, 2011 at 1:54 am

    http://www.centredaily.com/2011/11/11/2982203/climate-of-secrecy-led-to-crumbling.html

    Image and secrecy were always important at Penn State.

  79. coozledad said on November 11, 2011 at 8:14 am

    They need to commence courts-martial up the chain of command, hang every perp who let this happen, and then get the fuck out of Afghanistan.
    These are your monsters, Republicans. They’re fed a steady diet of Limbaugh over the base intercoms and told by senior officers that they’re in a war for the “survival of Christianity”.
    It’s just a manifestation of the same cult of the holy cock that’s being discussed on this thread. What about this doesn’t resemble a death’s head squad leader smoking a cigarette while his legs dangle into a mass grave?
    Fuckers are coming home, too. Ought to be a shitload of fun.

  80. ROGirl said on November 11, 2011 at 8:29 am

    When I worked for an automotive supplier we had quality auditors come to our location every 6 months to assess our quality system. They were mostly decent people, but one guy came in for a day and as we sat chitchatting around the conference table during a break he was making some bigoted comments. I didn’t say anything about it. He was sent back to us 6 months later and made the same types of comments. This time I went to the manager who had been audited and told him I wanted to tell my boss about it. He didn’t want to rock the boat, but agreed to go with me when I told my boss. His division did well in the audit and he said he didn’t want to rock the boat, but we were paying the registrars for the audits, so it was up to us if we wanted to have another auditor. When I told my boss what the auditor had said he called our registrar and told them we didn’t want him to come back to our location. A few years later I heard from another auditor that the guy had left the company.