Penn State scandal, JoePa and the football/college town complex

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by That Phat Hat, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    There's not much that I can say about the crimes themselves that hasn't already been said about the Jerry Sandusky case. The alleged crimes are horrible and horrific, the kind you wouldn't wish on your worst enemies.

    And I say "crimes" because the Penn State administrators acted criminally in simply hoping the problem would go away. Pedophiles are sick in a very true sense of the word, and it's up to the non-sick around them to stop them, because they aren't going to, and can't, stop themselves. To simply say, "Don't bring kids here, Jerry" just doesn't cut it. I doubt anyone disagrees on this.

    But I agree with Drew Magary that the venom directed at Joe Paterno is misguided, at least beyond an extent. Sure, he lacked the courage to do the right thin, and he was more interested in covering his ass than helping the kids. And that makes him no different from the rest of us - you just found out that your colleague of many, many years, someone you could consider taking over when you retire, someone you consider your friend is a monster, the first instinct is denial. Because accepting the fact means what you've believed to be true and your ability to judge people are shit.

    But we've been conditioned to believe that Joe Paterno, and old college football coaches in general, are great teachers, shapers of young men, and therefore credit them with shit they don't actually do and hold them to unreasonably high expectations. When the truth is, Paterno is just a good guy who did a lot for the game, his players and his university, but his ethics were always grounded in convenience.

    He should step down, but he only deserves about 60% of the vitriol he's getting right now. Not that it matters - his legacy is irreparably harmed. So much for the NCAA win record.

    And then there's the dynamics of the big college program in a small town (with its friendly police and media non-presence) that enables the culture of sheltering. Nobody means to allow sexual abuse to go on, obviously. But you can kinda see why a janitor and a graduate assistant may not want to necessarily march over to the police or the newspaper as soon as they witnessed Sandusky as soon as they saw what they saw - they have their own asses to cover. And nobody wants to be the guy who brings down Penn Sate football. So they think, "Ok, I'll tell Coach Paterno and he'll know what to do." It's what happens when an institution is so much bigger than the university and the town, and one guy is larger than life.

    To me, this isn't a Penn State problem or a Joe Paterno problem. It's a college football problem, a sports hero problem and a small town institution problem.

    In addition to Magary's piece on Deadspin, Michael Weinreb has a great personal piece on Grantland and Joe Posnanski, who happens to be embedded in State College writing Paterno's biography has a good piece in SI.com.


  2. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

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    Yup.

    Coaching at a highly competitive level involves misinformation and cynical decisions that are presented as being in "the interest of the kids," when in fact they are about the coach's interests 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Sometimes 5th.

    I don't think coaches are intrinsically bad people but it's a tough job to do with honor. Coaches are not my role model. I'd take Charles Barkley instead, thanks much.
  3. minerva

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    denial for 10+ years - with multiple incidents involving the guy?
    sorry, I don't buy it. 10 years is a lot of time to come to terms with the fact that they guy you trusting is a perv and a criminal. at a certain point, you have to do the right thing, no matter how difficult or inconvenient it might be - that's what's called moral fiber, character, etc. - you know, the shit that these guys preach on a daily basis.
    what a fricking hypocrite!
    it's one thing for a janitor in a small town who's afraid of losing his livelihood and being excommunicated from bringing down PSU football to not go to the police, but what is Paterno's excuse?? 10 years wasn't enough for him to come to terms with the fact that his friend is a creep, a perv, and a criminal? to the point the he doesn't follow up something this serious when he sees nothing being done by his superiors?
    no dude, Paterno is deserving of about 90% of the vitriol he's getting.
  4. Mr. Warmth

    Mr. Warmth BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    The fall of The Ohio State University amused me greatly.

    This, only moreso.

    If I found out one of my colleagues was molesting kids, I hope that I could find the strength to report it directly to the police and not beat his stupid ass to death.

    I don't think I have that strength.
    raza_rebel repped this.


  5. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Just heard on the radio that Paterno's noon press conference was cancelled. He earlier said he'd talk about the upcoming game with Nebraska as well as the scandal.

    Guess he knew he wouldn't get many questions about the Cornhuskers.

    Penn State is also damn lucky this is a home game.

    EDIT: it wasn't cancelled by Joe: it was cancelled by the PSU administration.
  6. minerva

    minerva Member+

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    I'm assuming you're implying that you don't think you would have the strength to report it to the police, and that your would beat his ass to death.
    the PSU administration apparently found the strength to do neither. they found the strength to sweep it under the rug and turn the other way.
  7. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    Earlier, they sent out a memo asking reporters not to ask any non-football related questions: http://deadspin.com/5857347/penn-st...bout-jerry-sandusky-at-todays-conference-call

    That wasn't going to work.
  8. nicephoras

    nicephoras BigSoccer Supporter

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    See, it's funny - as an Ohio State fan, that whole mess has me completely bemused. Tressell was clearly wrong for what he did and he deserved to get sacked, but man, what a stupid rule violation to cover up. From a rule perspective, he was wrong. And the internal administration was ********ed up (the AD should have resigned). But having your program go down because players traded trophies they won for tattoos? I'm perfectly OK with that "crime". It just speaks to the hypocrisy of the NCAA that despite all the revelations from the Miami scandal (massive payoffs from boosters, hookers), Jacory Harris played against Ohio State this fall while we had 5 starters suspended (and lost Pryor to the supplemental draft) because they traded rings for tattoos. As I said - yawn.
    Besides, I remember John Cooper's reign, which featured players being caught by campus police passed out in their cars after smoking crack, multiple violations of a much more serious nature and a complete lack of interest in character. But Cooper was only fired because he couldn't beat Michigan (in retrospect, amazing, given the talent he accumulated). College football's pretty ********ed up..........

    and these allegations don't help that. On another thread I said that Paterno should probably resign but that it's hard to deal with a situation where your friend for 30 years supposedly does something that you think is completely out of character for him. We can all hope for the strength to do better, but in all honesty I'm not sure that I could. I'd hope so, but it's hard to know.
  9. Mr. Warmth

    Mr. Warmth BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    Correct. I have no tolerance for predators and have no qualms about temporarily ignoring my opposition to the death penalty for them.

    No tortuous bullshit, just kill them. It's the same a shooting a coyote.

    Which is monumentally sad.
  10. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    Seriously. A guy can't trade his own stuff for money or goods and services? A guy can't get paid for scribbling his name on a souvenir football? But the campus bookstore can sell your jersey for $100? That's some ********ed up shit.

    I really hope college football dies a fast, painful death.
    Hypocrite, sure. But also human. Because when you think you know a guy, you also think you know yourself.

    If I were in his shoes, I *hope* I would do the right thing, but I don't know.
  11. superdave

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    I seem to recall Paterno cracking down on some problems with players in the program about 20 years ago and suffering from some bad years. Might have been pot smoking, or missing classes, something like that.

    Compare his reaction to that to this.

    BTW, Penn State has cancelled the JoePa press conference.
  12. minerva

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    which is pure bullshit. as far as Paterno is concerned, there is not legal process to work itself out. Paterno is not accused of a crime, and the only court room he will ever face regarding this situation is that of public opinion. and he, and PSU need to face it. this isn't going to help their cause. the school, and Paterno already look like shit as far as this scandal is concerned. hiding behind some legal process, that doesn't even exist for them isn't helping.
  13. minerva

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    he had over 10 years and repeated allegations to come to terms with the fact that his friend of 30 years was a scum bag and that he should do something about it.
    raza_rebel repped this.
  14. nicephoras

    nicephoras BigSoccer Supporter

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    He hadn't been at PSU for over a decade, I believe, and Paterno reported it to his bosses. If there's a moral lapse at my firm and I report it to the higher ups, it's not hard to take the view that "I've done my job". I'm not saying it's right, but we're all human.
  15. nicephoras

    nicephoras BigSoccer Supporter

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    It was a few very minor violation, and his bad years were mostly the result of his continuing problems in recruiting. Penn State hasn't been particularly good for over a decade now; at least not compared to what it was.
  16. minerva

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    yeah, and I don't think anyone is saying that Paterno had a legal obligation to report it to the police, especially since he didn't actually witness the alleged crime. and I guess from what you said in the related thread, even if he had witnessed it, he doesn't have a legal obligation to report it to the police, so long as he reports it to his boss. but still, from a moral stand point, given the nature of the crime, and what was at stake (ruined lives of children), I think both Paterno and PSU have failed miserably. yes, we're all human. but some humans are cowards, and some are men/women of character.
  17. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    Right. It smacks of an organization that's accustomed to a friendly press and a guy with a larger-than-life presence.
    That's really my point - the institutions around Paterno created an unrealistic caricature of a college football coach as this god-like figure.

    And I think most humans are cowardly when faced with a traumatic revelation where the two options are doing as little as possible and shielding oneself or doing something with potential risks.
  18. minerva

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    I don't think Paterno will be standing on the sidelines this weekend. I think this story is evolving faster than PSU can keep up with it. it's spinning out of control, and by Saturday, hell, probably by tomorrow, their position will be untenable.
  19. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

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    This needs repeating. We don't know what the University told Paterno after he reported it.
  20. cleansheetbsc

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  21. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    To be pedantic, he's been coaching from the booth this season.

    I'm guessing administrators had been thinking about a succession plan for a while anyway - this merely accelerates the process.
  22. Norsk Troll

    Norsk Troll Member+

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    There's where I disagree with you.

    I see no reason to shoot a coyote.


    Penn State, '89
  23. minerva

    minerva Member+

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    yes, but we also know that this guy was seen on campus on numerous occasions after the initial accusation. don't you think Paterno should have done a little follow-up? you know, moral obligation; not legal.
  24. Mr. Warmth

    Mr. Warmth BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    If what I've read is correct, he was sort of Coach Emeritus with an office on campus.

    If the University Police did nothing and he believed the GA wasn't lying, his next responsibility was to report it to the local police, and failing any traction there, the State Police.
  25. minerva

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    I think this is a point nicephoras has been alluding to in another thread. moral courage is much more difficult to come by than physical courage. most people would gladly fight someone to protect their loved-ones, or even take a bullet for them. but having the courage to do the right thing when it's not easy or convenient is a lot more difficult.

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