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Friday, July 13, 2012

Joe Paterno in an alternate universe
Posted by Jill | 9:21 PM
June 1998 (transcript), Alternate Universe:
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, Penn State alumni, students and faculty, and my players:

I have always tried to live my life according to what I believe to be universal tenets: Honesty. Decency. Empathy. Loyalty. I believe that in my time here on earth it is incumbent on me to honor my God, my family, my friends, and for over three decades, the Penn State community at large and the smaller community that is the football program.

Being able to mentor the fine young men who have passed through Penn State's football program over the years is an honor and a privilege in addition to being a huge responsibility. To be able to make a difference in the life of a young person is not just a gift we can give the young, but a gift they give us. And when those of us who have been blessed by this privilege abuse it, it is incumbent upon the rest of us to do whatever we have to in order to make things right.

It was recently brought to my attention by Athletic Director Tim Curley that Jerry Sandusky, a member of my staff and a man I have trusted for years, recently behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner with a young boy who participates in Mr. Sandusky's Second Mile program.

Jerry has been my friend, my colleague, and my confidant since 1969. That he could be capable of such things is beyond my comprehension. Nevertheless, the complaint against him is so heinous that I have had no choice but to involve law enforcement authorities outside the university and to let them decide what further actions, if any, to take.

There are those who will question my decision. This university benefits greatly from having one of the finest football programs in the country. When it becomes common knowledge after I leave you today that a member of my staff is suspected to have abused children, I expect to be vilified for damaging "the brand" of Penn State football.

I see it differently.

For me to NOT do what is right for the child Jer -- Mr. Sandusky -- is suspected of abusing would truly damage "the brand" -- and taint Penn State football for years to come.

As I said at the beginning of these words, the ability to help shape the young men of the Nittany Lions for their bright futures is an honor and a privilege. I will not allow anyone -- not even a close friend -- to soil that honor.

Even if you do not support my decision, if you do not support me, I hope you will continue to support this school's excellent football program. The fine young men who play on this field deserve no less.

Thank you.

But we do not live in an alternate universe. And Joe Paterno was not the man of honor for whom I wrote the words above. His sorry story is here in all its ugliness.

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Blogger Ahab said...
Paterno and other Penn State leaders let their moral laziness get the best of them. Had Paterno acted sooner, he could have prevented a lot of human suffering.

What I can't understand is why so many people still defend Paterno. He turned a blind eye to child abuse! It's reprehensible, no matter how much he did for Penn State.

Blogger Abu Scooter said...
There are those who will question my decision. ... I expect to be vilified for damaging "the brand" of Penn State football.


Joe Paterno could have taken a risk with a new defensive coordinator who was neither a pedophile nor a rapist. Maybe that successor would have turned out to be an on-field improvement over Sandusky, maybe not.

Such an act of courage would have led to a better result than what actually happened. Jerry Sandusky, under Paterno's protection, did a great job of vilifying the Penn State "brand," anyway.

Anonymous BNJ said...
Here's the thing I can't get past. Joe Paterno was *God*! He could have had Sandusky lynched from the goal posts by just saying the word, *and* recruited the best defensive coordinator in the world to replace him. All the more unforgivable that he didn't.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I defended Paterno before the Freeh report came out, because, it just seem ludicrous that he would want to suppress that kind of information. I mean, he could have rebuilt Penn State reputation. By suppressing the information, Penn state could lose its public funding. If that's the case, many many people are going to loose their job. That school and that town will disappear in 20-25 years no matter what kind of alumini support they get. Almost certinaly Joe Pa's legacy will almost be completely rewritten. Right now, over time, perhaps his image can be rebuilt. Loose public funding and that is never going to happen. Mind every single one of his accomplishments now comes into doubt as it rightly should.

I defended Joe, because I couldn't believe he was such a coward. He knew what the right choice was and didn't make it. A simple choice really, he didn't have to risk anything physical. Just an ethereal thing like reputation. Even that could've been salvaged. He could've said that he didn't know and people would've come in droves to defend him.

College Football...and now it's going to get even bigger...

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