The One Great Scorer is ready.

So, Joe Paterno is dead.

[Pause.]

He got off easy. He died surrounded by family and the echo chamber that allowed him to leave the world secure that even if he “wishes he’d done more,” what could he have done, anyway? He’s an old man. He’d never heard of that “rape and a man” thing. He’s olllld. Stop picking on him. He’s a national treasure and he lives in the same house he bought as a newlywed and he walks across campus and he endowed a library and he’s Joe Pa.

Trials, and investigations, and more probing questioning, might have turned up a few things that wouldn’t have gone over well. When you say you “wish you’d done more,” Mr. Paterno, when exactly did you reach that conclusion? In 2002, 2003, or last November?

When I heard the news this morning, I posted a tweet that said only, “JoePa beats the rap.” One of you who saw it replied at some length via Facebook. I’ll let you read it and tell me what you think:

One that was self-inflicted, and deeply deserved.

I don’t even pretend to be unbiased about this. I was sexually abused when I was a kid, and like this situation all of the adults who could have done something pretended that it didn’t happen. But that was in the 1970’s and what my family did was more or less the societal norm for the time. Yes, they should have had the backbone to confront it head on instead of letting me sort it out for myself at age ten, but they at least had that fig leaf of an excuse.

Paterno doesn’t get that pass. McQueary came to him in 2002 and told him he had seen Sandusky RAPING a boy in a Penn State locker room shower. Paterno was then 75 years old and he had never heard about molestation or even gay sex between consenting male adults? Like hell. You can’t spend one week, let alone five decades, in male team sports without getting a thorough description of how male-male sex works. To believe that Paterno was able to morally guide his teams for decades on drugs, cheating and sportsmanship but he didn’t know that some sick men like to stick their pee-pees in boy’s behinds (Paterno wanted to act like he was an infant on the subject so I’ll put it in terms he might have preferred) – is to be delusional. He knew what McQueary meant. You can not be a functioning adult – or a parent – and not be aware of child molesters and what they do.

Not acting on what McQueary reported was bad enough, but what was worse is that everyone – Paterno, McQueary, the AD and president – did not lift their eyes even a millimeter to see all of the other ways Sandusky could be destroying the lives of many boys. They knew he ran a home for troubled boys. They continued to allow him to run his youth football camps at Penn State. What were they thinking? That fucking a ten year-old in a semi-public place was a fluke? That just because he took extraordinary measures to have access to young boys it wouldn’t happen again?

They were wrong.

There are eight known victims of Jerry Sandusky, I guarantee there are a lot more who won’t come forward. Paterno, McQueary, and the PSU admins involved knew about this for at least nine years, possibly longer, and they did nothing. I suspect because they didn’t know how to stop Sandusky without killing themselves professionally and the football program, but their motives are irrelevant. They could have stopped a serial child molester, and all of them made a conscious decision not to. They didn’t rape those kids, they just made it possible for Sandusky to do it.

Since this broke I’ve heard a lot of sportswriters say that this was “difficult” because you had to consider Paterno record outside of covering up a molester in his program. I think that’s kind of the ultimate real-life “Otherwise, what did you think of the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” moment, and I think that moral character is defined when it’s tested.

But if you want to make that claim, then you also need to look at the reach of what Sandusky did and Paterno enabled.

I am exceptionally lucky. I didn’t turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with this and, most gratefully of all I didn’t become an abuser myself. For years I was terrified that I would this to a child someday. In my late 40’s, I have a good marriage to an amazing woman. I have friends, and I have peace.

But it wasn’t until my late 30’s that I stopped having flashbacks where I would taste his cock in my mouth. (I would apologize for the language but this was an assault. I need for you to feel it like a punch so you can understand what these kids will go through.) I went from being a kid who they wanted to bump up two grades to not caring. I became a clown and that was helpful in other ways, but it’s not going to get you into college. I learned how to deal with any problem I’d face on my own, at the expense of never making myself fully vulnerable to anyone. There’s nothing anyone can do to destroy me – because I won’t let you get that close. That’s how I’ve found peace.

Some of Sandusky’s victims won’t be as lucky. Thirty years from now some of them will be addicts, some will be alcoholics, some will be abusers and molesters themselves. The ones who are lucky will patch together something that works for them without hurting anyone else. It will get smaller in their mirrors but it will never fully disappear.

It may not be as personal for someone who hasn’t gone through this, but putting that aside I can’t understand how attachment to a college sports program can trump even an academic understanding of what molestation is and what it does to its victims, and how those two things should be prioritized. And I live in Bloomington freaking Indiana – I know something about iconic coaches, winning programs, and how people lose their shit when both end badly. But Bob Knight never hurled a flower pot at a kid, and Woody Hayes didn’t swing at a ten year-old. Is the infatuation with adults playing a children’s game so great that not even covering up for and enabling a molester doesn’t deserve a hearty “How fucking dare you?” If this doesn’t cross the line, what would?

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. And rot in hell, Joe.

That’s pretty powerful, don’t you think? We have a long history in our culture of not speaking ill of the recently dead, and I’m not so cross-eyed on this subject that I can’t see that Paterno did good things along the way, and not all of them in coaching football. I know we all hope we won’t be judged by the worst thing we’ve done in our lives, but I also agree with our commenter — character is defined when it’s tested. Paterno was tested, and failed. By failing, he almost certainly enabled Jerry Sandusky to abuse other boys. All the endowed libraries in the world won’t balance that scale.

Another writer says much the same thing.

I should say, finally, that I’m not smug about this. But I’m not blind, either. I only hope that when the chips are down, I’ll be able to do the right thing. It’s not easy for anyone.

[Pause.]

So, with that, some bloggage?

The great Emma Downs on a rift between bookselling brothers:

At one time, Sam and Joel Hyde were more than brothers. They were business partners, co-owners of Hyde Brothers Booksellers, the dusty, crowded and cozy used bookstore on Wells Street.

The partnership lasted 10 years and both Sam and Joel describe the parting as amicable. But it was also fraught with long discussions about what Sam owed Joel and vice versa. The process of divvying up the store’s inventory alone was a slow process, Sam says.

At one point, Joel asked Sam what he would pay for the paperbacks Joel was leaving behind.

“Nothing,” Sam said.

And the discussions would start all over again.

It’s a good read no matter where you’re from, but better if you’ve shopped at the original Hyde Brothers. Thanks for the find, Brian.

And with that, the week begins. Sorry to bum you out so early, but I’ve spent the last two hours reading nothing but apologias for kindly Grampa Joe. Not here you won’t.

Posted at 12:58 am in Current events |
 

50 responses to “The One Great Scorer is ready.”

  1. beb said on January 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Your friends comments about Joe Paterno should be engraved on his tombstone so all the world will remember that when he could have done something… he didn’t!

    There’s a fascinating tidbit on Slashdot.org this morning, about Megaupload.com. A few weeks ago Universal Music repeatedly make infringement claims to YouTube about a video that in fact was not infringing. There’s something of a history of music and movie companies abuse the DMCA over what is or isn’t infringing material, fair use of material and legitimate parody of copyrighted material. Megaupload files sue against Universal. Then last week the authorities raided the company and placed some employees in jail. Now the lawsuit has been dropped. Has the FBI become the lapdog of Universal music?

    There’s also a lot of buzz about the lavish lifestyle of the company’s founder. Well he made $42 million from the company, which offered a real service, rather than skimming profits from loans and investments like the banksters. No one is going on about the lavish lifestyles of the men who ruined the global economy. But this one guy with a semi-legal service — ooooo — he’s terrible.

  2. Deborah said on January 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

    When I think about my 10 year old self, how vulnerable I was I can’t fathom what it would have been like to have been sexually abused. I feel for those poor kids.

  3. BigHank53 said on January 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Joe Paterno has one last favor to do for Penn State, too: now that he’s dead, he can’t exactly issue a denial if he gets blamed for anything. Or everything.

  4. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

    That powerful piece should be required reading for all the JoePa sycophants. Thank you.

  5. Peter said on January 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Between him and Newt, my revulsion gauge is stuck on red.

    Well, you could of at least not let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Joe, but no, you had to have that interview.

    You’ll probably be put up in the senile wing, so say hi to Ronnie for us. And save a seat for Dick Cheney.

  6. Maggie Jochild said on January 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

    As someone victimized at the same age by a small-town football hero, I feel intense relief at your stand, Nancy. Even after decades of therapy and movement and, yes, forgiveness, I still need the world to be definitive on this issue: No excuses. We are surrounded by children to whom it is occurring right now, children you would not suspect of being targets, and adults who are enabling it because they do not want to face the change it will make to stand up against the actual, real exploitation of children. Being done by men who in other ways are “good”. It’s complicated, and grown-ups can deal with that complexity. We don’t have a choice, really.

  7. JWfromNJ said on January 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Thank you to your Facebook friend and thank you for sharing. Very powerful stuff. Your friend has been more fortunate than many other people in similar situations. If becoming a clown was the worst thing he did to cope those of us who hate and fear clowns and mimes too will survive. JK!

    I appreciated you jumping back into the last thread and cutting off the “Poor JoePa” stuff before it joined the rest of the moronic ramblings on the internet.

  8. Suzanne said on January 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

    While reading all the JoPa accolades about what a great coach he was, etc. except for that little stain on his record, I couldn’t help but think that Hitler did some great things for Germany, too, but…
    The saddest thing to me is that here is a guy who just couldn’t quit coaching. It defined him and he obviously lost all sight of everything else. I can believe that he didn’t know about male rape because he blinded himself to everything except what he needed to know to coach. Even as a devout Catholic (a term which is losing any meaning as Mrs. Gingrich is referred to as that quite often) hearing about molestation in church circles, he probably let it pass through as something that didn’t concern him so he didn’t even think about it.

  9. DellaDash said on January 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks Nancy and Commenter for the insight…painful but bracing.

  10. Icarus said on January 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I haven’t followed the Joe Pa scandal thoroughly and only know what I’ve been exposed to via the media and friend’s FB posts. I read something this morning however that says there are “distortions in what others were saying (i.e. “He DID go to the police — the head of the university police.” “McQueary DID NOT give him all of the sordid details.” “He DID follow up multiple times with McQueary.”) ”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-mckinnon/joe-paterno-dead_b_1222237.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

    what say everyone to that?

  11. adrianne said on January 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Nance, your FB friend said it all, and more, about Joe Pa’s denial. No matter what he did, he can’t be celebrated as a good guy. He’s not. He’s responsible for what happened to those kids.

  12. Sherri said on January 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Paterno’s “wished I’d done more” sounds like a non-apology apology, the old “well, if you’re really that offended, I guess I’ll say the words, but I don’t see how you think it’s my fault.” He chose to protect his reputation and his football program rather than a little boy, and ten years later, refused to take any responsibility for having done so.

  13. Jeff Borden said on January 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I feel the same way about Joe Paterno’s passing as I did when Kenneth Lay beat a long jail term by dying: The fucker got off lucky. As the Sandusky case proceeds, the depths of depravity that were ignored or covered up will produce a mighty stench in Happy Valley, but the figurehead under whom it all occurred will already be rotting in the ground.

    Whatever good Joe Paterno accomplished is completely, utterly negated by his inaction regarding Sandusky. I’d sandblast his name off every building if it were up to me.

    And so the Republican Party considers ritual seppuku by flirting with Naughty Newtie? Christ, Newticles ought to send cash money to Juan Williams and John King for ensuring his victory by serving as big honking media pinatas for him to swing at last week. I hate the staff-banging bastard, but even I blanched at the King question and its placement at the top of the debate. He floated a big, fat, hanging curve up there and Newticles knocked it into the upper deck.

    I doubt we’ll be lucky enough to get this weasel in November. His negatives are off the charts. . .I believe he may even be more unpopular than SheWho. . .so I figure the powers-that-be will pop a cap in his ass, figuratively, of course. But what if they can’t or don’t? You’d have this raving racist fuckball leading the Republican Party to a historic defeat of Mondalian or McGovernian proportions. Instead, we’ll probably get Willard the Windsock. He’ll lose. The GOP will decide he lost because he was not insanely right-wing enough and they’ll go even further off the reservation.

  14. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    This election is falling into a pattern. You generally don’t get top-tier opponents when a White House incumbent is running for re-election, because the really smart, viable guys figure it’s better to wait four years and not have to go up against an incumbent.

    I wonder if any of the people who are sticking up for Paterno ever asked themselves what it would be like if that 10-year-old in the shower was their son, nephew or brother. Somehow I doubt it.

  15. coozledad said on January 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Jeff Borden: Strangely, my first thought was Joe Paterno’s just decamped for the same Tahitian assisted living community where Ken Lay is currently digging up the felt on the pool tables with his cue, and dropping cigar ashes on the girls bringing him his mocktails.
    They ought to start listing cause of “death” as “potential grand jury investigation with broad subpeona powers”.

  16. Scout said on January 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Exactly, Jeff. I think the GOP needs its ass handed to it by running the guy the crazies it has courted are clamoring for. They need a resounding defeat on that basis before they can start the long haul back to sanity. Cause yeah, when Windy Willie loses to Obama, the crackers will all be screaming, ‘see? it’s because he was too liberal!’ So Go Newt, you may actually be able to serve the higher good for your country after all, just not in the way you think.

    Grandpa JoePa dodged a bullet by kicking off before his willingness to turn a blind eye was proven in court. All the apologists in the world can’t change the underlying moral issue here and I add my gratitude to your facebook friend and Maggie too for sharing their painful experiences in order to underline exactly why there is no slack to cut here.

  17. Bob (not Greene) said on January 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    This is totally off topic, but I wondered what people think of this decision by one of Chicago’s storied daily newspapers and whether you think this is a one off or the start of a new trend.

    http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/10174893-474/editorial-why-we-will-no-longer-endorse-in-elections.html

    Me? I think it’s a total cop out.

  18. Sherri said on January 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Icarus, Paterno did not go to the police by any definition of the police. He went to the athletic director, not the VP in charge of the campus police, which is what that article is trying to define as police. And he waited a day after McQueary came to him before doing that.

    Onion headline: Joe Paterno Dies in Hospital; Doctors Promise to Tell Their Superiors First Thing Tomorrow.

  19. alex said on January 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    …editorial-why-we-will-no-longer-endorse-in-elections.html

    Because we’ve fired so many staff there’s nobody left to write it. Besides, Chicagoans have never taken kindly to being told to vote Republican.

  20. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Alex: That, plus it may piss some people off, and God knows we can’t afford to do that.

  21. caliban said on January 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I see nothing wrong with people trying to point out the good things in Joe Paterno’s life. But what’s going on from his defenders at this point is the same kind of bullshit hagiography that overflowed the fortnight following the death of R. Raygun. Raygun was either a criminal malfeasor of US law during Iran-Contra, or he was an addled fool, already in the throes of dementia. One or the other. At this point, Joe’s best defense, in re: Sandusky, is diminished capacity.

    Bob, I’ve always hated the idea that people get to vote that would base decisions on newspaper endorsements.

  22. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve always thought that newspaper endorsements were more useful in local elections, ranging from school board up to about Congress. Having editors interview all the candidates and deliver a thoughtful endorsement was/is a potentially great service to the electorate, if it’s done right.

    Once you get into statewide and Presidential elections, though, most voters have enough information (or think they do) to make up their own minds.

  23. caliban said on January 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Truly obscene profit center for JP Morgan.

    Steven Tyler’s National Anthem rendition could get him arrested in the Midwest, I suppose, but it wasn’t Carl Lewis bad.

  24. Sue said on January 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I don’t care which candidate a newspaper endorses, but in my opinion newspapers are doing great journalistic work just by releasing the filmed editorial board interviews, because the interviewers appear to actually ask questions! And they expect answers! Obviously the MKE Journal Sentinel interview with Herman Cain is the primo national example, but a Green Bay editorial board interview with Ron Johnson (the shining light who replaced Russ Feingold) showed how awesomely unprepared he was to actually step out from behind his talking points and provide some substance.
    Of course Johnson got elected anyway, but still…

  25. Jolene said on January 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I’m inclined to think, too, that declining to endorse is a cop-out. I’m usually interested in the opinion of anyone who is arguing from generally accepted facts and who is willing to consider competing evidence. Most newspaper editorial boards meet those criteria, so I’d be interested in their argument.

    I agree that they’re probably not influential in elections for major offices, but have appreciated the guidance in local elections, on ballot measures, and such.

  26. nancy said on January 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I think the number our ed board used to toss around was 10,000 — the number of votes NATIONWIDE who might be significantly influenced by a newspaper endorsement. I like at least some endorsements, too, but there has to be proof brains are engaged. The DetNews recommended against a renewal of a sinking fund bond for our local schools, because it grew by a few pennies, literally a matter of $3 per year for a media-price home. Why? Because that’s a tax increase!

    The good news: It passed handily.

  27. caliban said on January 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    New Leonard Cohen album.

    For when the One Great Scorer comes
    To write against your name,
    He marks-not that you won or lost-
    But how you played the game.
    -Grantland Rice-

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    “Rot in hell” is something that I would not use in general, and if I did, I think I’d save it for Jerry Sandusky. An extended stay in Purgatory for JoePa, perhaps.

    Paterno, as I heard the interview, was not asking for sympathy. Not giving him any is eminently fair. To talk about him as if his role and enabling was so active as to deserve co-defendant status almost gives the molesters a free pass, and I’m puzzled by that. Paterno made crucial mistakes by a) staying on the job long after he was really doing it enough to have the title, and b) cultivating a persona that arguably made everyone anxious about delivering bad news to him (see the VP for student discipline’s story about Joe and football players who had earned consequences). Those lessons, specific and particular, are what we should be focusing on and learning from, not trying to conflate molestation with willful, and yes, culpable ignorance & obtuseness.

    Coaches shouldn’t coach into their dotage, nor should US senators stay in office past their sell-by date. Compare to Gabrielle Giffords, who once she became coherent & alert enough to realize the situation she was in, chose to honorably step down, with hopes we all share that she can take on a position of public responsibility again when she is fully capable of response. There’s the example to honor.

  29. caliban said on January 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Astounding 100 year old color photos of Russia, from before there was color film. If anybody understands how this worked, please explain. It’s something along the lines of 3-color TV projection guns, but these colors are incredible.

  30. del said on January 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I agree with Caliban in that “I see nothing wrong with people trying to point out the good things in Joe Paterno’s life. But what’s going on from his defenders at this point is [some]kind of bullshit hagiography.” And like someone noted upthread it was refreshing to see Nancy’s comments in one of those hagiography threads.

    I’ve followed the Penn State scandal closely. The article Icarus linked to was weak. Joe Paterno was a football coach. Period. I am aware of no greatness that he possessed – at all.

  31. 4dbirds said on January 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Here’s another one. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/22/1057341/-F**k-Joe-Paterno-(Updated)?via=siderec

  32. cosmo panzini said on January 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    So Joe Pa is gone and all the piss-ants are now weighing in on his culpability in the Jerry Sandusky business. Puhleeze. Let’s see, a guy comes to the coach and tells him “I just saw JS butt-fucking some kid in the shower.” Coach says, “Oh shit, I better cover this shit up,” or “Hmm, maybe somebody better look into this.” OK, could be either one. But what does the coach do? He reports it to someone. It doesn’t matter who, really, just someone. “Someone” happens to be head of security or something at PSU. Well damn, sure seems like the right call to me. But nooo, several years later, some self-appointed J-O’s decide that’s not enough. No, he should have gone to…who? His congressman? Judge Judy? WTF? However it was handled, it was done by the higher-ups at Penn State, who then turn around and make Paterno the patsy when the shit hits the fan. And when this whole thing is over, I believe, the allegations against Sandusky will turn out to be based on bullshit mostly. Edit: Just read the DailyKos link from 4dbirds. Whooaaa, some seriously deranged obsessive shit, that.

  33. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    And you know this how, Cosmo? Because little boys routinely lie about being fucked by grown men? I also like how you threw in that little “mostly” at the end. Meaning if Sandusky just fucked little boys a little bit, that’s not so bad?

    Piss off.

  34. cosmo panzini said on January 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    OK, Bitter Scribe, leave off the “mostly” at the end of that sentence. I’ll stand with the rest of it.

  35. nancy said on January 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    When someone witnesses a violent felony in the facility that you are, objectively, the sovereign ruler over, you don’t report it like it’s a leaky shower. You follow up. You ask what’s being done. And if nothing’s being done, you find out why.

    Paterno was at a vulnerable place in his career, the career he would hang onto for years like it was life itself. He made an objective decision to do the bare minimum and then, like a fart at a dinner party, he ignored it. The program was more valuable than a kid. This is a pattern that has played out again and again and again — when a powerful institution is threatened, it acts first to protect itself. The Pope was an old man, too. He did the same thing.

  36. JWfromNJ said on January 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Cosmo – You call the police, perhaps not by dialing 911, but at that point not the campus police either but the actual police who have jurisdiction for felonies. Or you call the county prosecutors office – although that might have led nowhere and there is a missing and presumably dead prosecutor. So perhaps 911 anyway and you file a report.
    Paterno served his own best interests and the best interests of the football program and the university but it was not the right call. How confusing is that? McQuaery should have called 911 so he’s just as guilty.

  37. baldheadeddork said on January 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Hi. I’m the Facebook friend.

    Thanks to everyone who has offered support, and to those like Joe TMMO who are thoughtfully skeptical.

    What I wrote was a recap of the events and how I responded to it all personally. I don’t think I stepped over the line with “rot in hell”, but that is just rhetoric. If I had any real pull in it, I would have had him live long enough to see the damage he _has_ done to his football program, PSU, and, of course, those kids. (In the order of things that were most important to him.) I wish Joe would have lived long enough to truly appreciate why he should have done more.

    Was Paterno’s role on the same level of Sandusky’s? I think it was close. Sandusky’s serial pedophilia is almost certainly rooted in his brain chemistry. That isn’t an excuse for what he did but pedophilia on that scale is the result of a mental illness, as much as a sociopath who becomes a serial killer. I can’t say this enough, having a mental illness is no excuse to sexually assault children and I want Sandusky to get a one-way ticket to the worst Pennsylvania has to offer. But Sandusky’s post-arraignment interviews make it clear he really doesn’t comprehend that it is deeply wrong to be attracted to children.

    What reason did Paterno have for his obliviousness? By the most generous read of the accounts to Paterno, he was told one of his former employees was sexually fondling a child in his locker room. Try to put yourself in that position and ask yourself not if or who you would call then – but what you would do one week, two weeks, a month later if nothing else had happened? This wasn’t like Sandusky had been caught using their copy machine. Paterno never went back to McQueary and asked if he had been contacted by the police, never called the police himself to find out if the administrator he spoke to had passed the word down to them. And I’m talking about Paterno, but the same goes for McQueary, Schultz, Curley and Spanier. They all told someone else, exactly once, and that was it. If they weren’t actively trying to cover it up, they achieved that end with their neglect once they did know.

    (Wait, they did take one step after making those calls to each another. They made Sandusky move his youth football camps to a PSU satellite campus.)

    I can not comprehend how anyone with the upper brain function to dress themselves can fail to follow up on this. How does Paterno not ask McQueary if the police have contacted him? How does he not call the campus police himself to check the status of their investigation? He is a leader of men, but when a former employee “fondles” a child in his workplace he makes two calls and that’s it? He’ll meet with subordinates to review in minute detail what happened in a game but he can’t muster any curiosity about this?

    So, long story long, yeah. I think Paterno’s inaction was on par with Sandusky’s actions because what Paterno did was a conscious decision. He decided something else was more important than pushing for a criminal investigation, that making Sandusky move his camp and banishing him from his facilities was punishment enough, or both. Call me cynical, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those actions would be the best for Paterno, too.

    But put that speculation on motive aside, if you want. Ask yourself, if one of the kids assaulted by Sandusky since 2002 was a member of your family – would you think Paterno had done enough? Would you give Paterno a pass if it was your kid?

  38. baldheadeddork said on January 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    And for the comic relief…

    I made the original post in a FB thread started by a friend who lives in Pennsylvania. (He posted that Paterno died of a broken heart, which helps explains my first line.)

    Here are some of the comments I got in his thread:

    “Joe Pa didn’t molest those children. He reported what he knew. Should he have drug Sandusky out and shot him too?? He did what he was supposed to. Nice of you to jump on your soapbox Brian in such an irrational manner. That man impacted more young men in such a positive manner than most can dream of. Quit holding so much hatred and pray for the people Sandusky hurt instead of bashing the innocent. Maybe you should use your experience and passion for good instead of bitching and being hateful. Be like Joe Pa!”

    Be. Like. JoePa.

    To the credit of my friend, he didn’t delete my reply even though it began with “Fuck you.”

    Next…

    “Joe Pa was a great man! He touched so many lives! He is everything you will never be. I put you in the same category as Sandusky. Trash! Do something about pedophiles instead of whining about your past and an innocent man who is dead.”

    Just…wow.

    “Wow! I’m not sure who you are, Brian, and no I didn’t read all that you wrote, but I did read that you just told someone’s DECEASED FATHER, HUSBAND, GRANDFATHER, MENTOR & HERO to rot in hell…It must be nice to be perfect! God is merciful and it’s people like you that give Chistians a bad name!”

    I’ll be sure to let my synagogue know. (And…we’re talking about molestation and I give Christians a bad name? Really?)

  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    For those who dislike Newt, personally or politically, this seven year old piece is still (I think) quite relevant, since I see no difference in Newt then and Candidate Gingrich now. But I had to post it to say to Brian Stouder, you gotta get to the last page of this. Trust me. You’ll delight in it.

    http://www.gq.com/news-politics/politics/200508/newt-gingrich-republican-gop-president-election

    BHD, thanks for your additional response. I think the larger issue with Paterno is, was, and should be that a very elderly man who’s barely keeping up to speed with daily events probably shouldn’t have been in a major leadership position ten years ago, let alone last September. And the true failure of leadership is the top dogs at Penn State who neither had the integrity to walk across campus and sit down with Joe and his wife in their house in 2005 or so and say “Mr. Paterno, let’s talk about your retirement,” and who were equally irresponsible to send a poor young junior staffer over in late 2011 with a piece of paper and a phone number so they could ask them to call and hear a late night voice say from a safe distance “we’re doing this for the good of the university.”

    Joe should have gone years ago, but there should have been a wide range of senior administrators who went into shame and exile over what’s come out, and they all appear to get to bury their guilt in Paterno’s coffin. I haven’t read “apologies” or even defenses of JoePa unless what I’m saying here qualifies, but I believe you and Nancy when you say they’re out there.

    I’m just wanting to say that I think he’s getting scapegoated to cover for a huge number of (I assume) men who are in administration who did know, did know more, and were more aware of what they were enabling. There’s supposedly an investigation going on, but I’m skeptical of any meaningful outcome even from the perspective of last week – and now they can tuck their promissory notes of repentance and confession into the casket as it’s winched into the grave.

  40. Sherri said on January 23, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Um, Jeff(tmmo), the president of PSU and the AD did walk over to Paterno’s house in 2004 and talk to him about retiring. He told them no, he wasn’t ready to. That same president lost his job the same day Paterno did. Paterno isn’t being scapegoated for the failures of others; he’s being blamed for his own lack of action.

  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Sherri, I didn’t know that. Thanks. I think they should have sucked it up and gone to talk to the chair of the BoT and sealed the deal in 2004, but if they did try, that’s somewhat to their credit. I’d still like to know more about that non-profit board’s knowledge and actions, too. It took lots of enabling to keep this guy out and around through decades of predatory behavior, and all I’m saying is that it just doesn’t ring true to make this all about Joe Paterno. And I’ve never rooted for Penn State in my life (or been to HV).

    I’ve reported suspected abuser/molesters more times than I care to reflect on, and have my own sad anger over the fact that you have to be braced for the fact that no one wants to hear it. Being proven right in the end is never any satisfaction, nor do you often get anyone saying “sorry I argued so much with you over dealing with those issues with the authorities.”

    And even then, you find out later you missed one, and it haunts you. As best as I know, I’m five for six, and yet that one I only learned about five years later, when a child testified in a different case about incidents that happened on property where I was responsible — that’s the one I keep thinking about. How could we have missed the signs when we caught others, and what can we do differently now and in the future?

    BHD is right, they are sick and don’t get it, and culpability is somehow a bit different. But fighting denial and willful blindness: I’m with you, sir, I just worry that too much moral equivalence will not help us get the blinders off people who work with youth and want to believe that it just doesn’t happen *here*, with my kind of people, in this sort of setting. The predators go, by compulsion or sick genius I don’t know, where children are. That’s the snake in the garden, and we have to be vigilant. In that, I suspect we’re entirely on the same page, just using different sticks to beat the grass with.

  42. brian stouder said on January 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Jeff, excellent Newt-link; and superb commentary regarding the ongoing Penn State debacle.

    Just this evening I was shown a photo of young-Newt, side-by-side with the Dwight Shrute character…which is probably unfair to the Dwight Shrute character…

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/office-actor-rainn-wilson-finally-admits-looks-newt-174532667.html

    Definitely worth a chuckle!

  43. Sherri said on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Jeff, the BoT wouldn’t have made Paterno retire. To many students and alumni, Joe Paterno was Penn State. There would have been a major alumni and student revolt had the BoT tried to force Paterno out, just like there was when they fired him.

  44. Dexter said on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I had hated Newt since 1994 until just recently. Now I hate Romney and Santorum and I am tolerating Newt, because he’s experienced and unlikely to have a neocon-influenced presidency ala Bush43.
    I have never voted for any repuggs and I never will, and I am just saying that Newt is killing in these debates, and he did again tonight. Bain Capital trumps Freddie Mac. Screw Romney.

  45. Jolene said on January 24, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Thanks for the link to the GQ article re Newt, Jeff. A good read and, as you say, as fresh now as it was when it was written.

    The key to understanding Newt, I think, is knowing that he comes from a family afflicted by bipolar disorder. His mother was bipolar, and I have rarely seen anyone display such clear evidence of hypo mania.* The grandiosity, the hyperverbalsm, and the idea-a-minute thinking all reflect a mind that is operating at the edge of reason.

    *Hypomania should br one word, and I really don’t understand why this editor allowed that formation in this sentence, but not in the one above.

  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 24, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Re: hypomania – if you’re on Twitter, you should check out GingrichIdeas. Yes, it’s a parody site, but the point is there on how easy his windmilling is to mock on the edge of plausibility.

  47. beb said on January 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    caliban@29: Early Technicolor[tm] worked the same way, three black and white images photographed through red, green and blue filtered lens and show, I believe through three projectors with red, green and blue filters. How the camera actually worked I don’t know. The simpliest idea would be to have a camera with a single roll of film, and three lens covered with different color filters on a disc in front of the box. Take a picture, advance the film, spin the disc and take a picture and repeat for the third color. But that’s just a guess.

    Not only is the brilliance of the colors in those pctures astonishing but so is the clarity and resolution. I’m not used to seeing anything that sharp from that far back in time.

  48. Deborah said on January 24, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I agree Beb and Caliban those photos are astonishing. Almost scary in thier clarity. I would love to see more.

  49. del said on January 24, 2012 at 11:03 am

    A postscript for JTMMO on Paterno. The President who sought Joe Paterno’s retirement and was rebuffed in 2004 had arrived at Penn State from Nebraska where he’d lost his job after locking horns with its living legend football coach, Tom Osborne.

    The reverence for football coaches – football coaches – is mind boggling to me.