I really didn't want to weigh in here, especially because I like to specialize in the absurd comment that is not to be taken seriously. But, since I know a lot more about this situation than any of you I feel compelled to weigh in. I warn you this may be a long post.
What is happening at PSU is that the media is selling a story of a widespread cover-up of pedophilia. The fact is that while there have no doubt been crimes of commission and omission, you are not being told the real story. Rather, the media and the grand jury is no different than anyone else in power—they want to make a name for themselves and fatten their wallets.
I'm not going to tell you that Joe Paterno is perfect or that, given hindsight, he couldn't have done things better. I will say that he has dedicated over fifty years of his life to PSU, that he's donated millions of his own dollars to the school, and that he has always tried his best to take the high road. Because of this the media, and the country in general is loving the hell out of seeing an octogenarian be disgraced. After a lifetime of trying his best to set a good example. It's ironic, this Charlie Sheen effect. Had Joe taken the low road all his life this wouldn't be as big a story.
The grand jury didn't find Joe guilty of any wrongdoing. That doesn't mean that he couldn't have done better. The grand jury statement said that it was hard to find any heroes in this story, but the ones that existed were in law enforcement. I don't mean to denigrate anyone in law enforcement but did you all know that the District Attorney had already investigated Sandusky? That the state police were involved in a sting operation wherein the mother of a victim confronted Sandusky while a state police officer hid in the house? Similarly, the PSU police investigated him as well but found insufficient evidence to prosecute him. Remember, this is a guy who was viewed for years as a hero in State College. He was Joe's right hand man for 35 years. In hindsight there were so many signs. Jerry adopted six kids and provided a foster home to dozens of kids. He started a home for "at risk" kids. (At risk of what, one might ask: At risk of getting raped by Jerry, obviously.) Dude named his autobiography "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story." Sure, we all look like buffoons now, but believe me, for years nobody suspected anything.
I know the AD, Tim Curley. We aren't friends, but my wife was his administrative assistant. I'll tell you a secret. He used to butt dial her and leave long messages of his private conversations with other ADs and bigshots. Tim Curley is, in my opinion, a disgustingly nice and honest person. He is the real-life incarnation of Richie Cunningham, IMO. The kind of guy that, when another man makes a saucy comment about a passing woman says "Hey, don't say that, that's someone's daughter, and besides you're married." And he's not kidding, as I would be when saying that.
Again, I'm not excusing these guys and I'm not defending them. I am saying that this story has taken on a life of it's own, like an Ibsen play, and you guys aren't getting the whole story. It goes way beyond PSU. It wasn't guys wanting to win football games so they are willing to let a pedophile coach. Mock if you want, but that isn't the culture at PSU. If it were, we'd have a better football team. Joe has cut a lot of truly great players who screwed up. The point is: this monster has gotten away with molesting kids for probably over 50 years, not since the late 90s. Along the way LOTS of people got a whiff of it. Many spoke out. The police were made aware. They investigated him. There is no conspiracy, there's just a lot of cracks and not enough communication. It reminds me of a flyball. The center and left fielder simultaneously call for it. Then they back off. Then the ball falls between them.
For my money, there is one guy (so far) in this story who was confronted with a clear moral imperative. The Graduate Assistant (then 28 year old) Mike McQuery, former starting quarterback and State College native walked in on Sandusky sodomizing a 10 year old boy. He made eye contact with both Sandusky and the victim, and they with him (according to his testimony). He proceeded to do nothing, leave the building, and call his father. The next day they decided to see the coach, who went to see Tim, who went to the president of PSU, who went to his right hand man Gary Schultz, who oversaw, among other things, the police department. Their investigation ended much as the DA's did, apparantly. Sure, you can say that Joe Paterno should have climbed to the top of the tallest building and shouted his accusations, but at what point is the onus on the police who were told? At what point is it on the grown man who didn't say "Hey, what are you doing?!" How about Jerry's wife? Nobody has blamed her. Do you suppose she was ignorant to his sickness all these years? How about the DA, who mysteriously disappeared? The university police? The state police? Remember, Jerry Sandusky hasn't been tried yet. No doubt by the time he is dozens of victims will come out of the woodwork. But they hadn't at the time. The sin would appear to be the fact that nobody from the university tried to contact the victim that Mike saw. How responsible is Joe for that? The police? The AD? Graham Spanier, the president?
I can't answer all those questions but I can well surmise this much: It's a hell of a lot easier, with hindsight, to blame these men. I'm sure that every single one of you would have stopped doing your job to start a potentially slanderous crusade against Jerry Sandusky. The media would have you believe that Joe, Tim, Graham, and everyone else at PSU got together and decided that they would rather protect their images than the safety of children. I'm saying that it wasn't like that. Sure, they could have done better. Mike McQuery could have done a lot better. In fact, from where I'm sitting he couldn't have done worse, short of joining in.
But don't paint Joe Paterno out to be callous egotist who decided to protect his own image at the expense of a child's life, because I know that isn't true. He might not be a saint, and he isn't perfect. Given the chance to do it over I'm sure he'd do things differently, but I'm equally sure that at the time he thought he was doing the right thing. The guy has given more time to this university than most of you have been alive. He's gone way above and beyond for most of that time and done so many good deeds that go unreported that you wouldn't believe. Now, with three games left in his career some are hell-bent on ruining his name. Why? For the VAST majority I contend the reason is because it makes them feel better about all the things they never accompished, and for the sheer joy of tearing someone down. It sure as hell isn't because it's going to help the victim's of Jerry Sandusky's crimes.