16 November 2011

More On Paterno

There appears to be a development in the PSU case and, since I addressed it earlier, I feel that it behooves me to address it again.  Apparently, Mike McQueary did stop the alleged rape and talk to the police about the incident:

In an email to friends and former teammates that surfaced Monday evening, Mike McQueary claimed that he put a stop to the alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy by Jerry Sandusky in 2002.
In this email, obtained by the Allentown Morning Call, McQueary, who played football at Penn State and was an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions until being placed on paid administrative leave last week, tells a former classmate that he “did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police” after allegedly witnessing Sandusky sodomizing the boy in a shower located in the school’s football building. (HT: Vox Day)

Assuming this is true, which I do, I need to retract my statement from my earlier post.  Specifically, I stated that:
I’m unsure why they felt that he couldn’t serve out the season, per the terms of his resignation, but the decision to fire him after he submitted his resignation smacks of revenge—like the administration feels slighted somehow that he stayed on after they wanted to fire him—especially in light of how the unfortunately-named McQueary managed to keep his job even though he witnessed the alleged rape and didn't report it to the police.

I was wrong about McQueary.

Anyhow, this new revelation should strengthen my case that the media has been entirely unfair to Paterno, as has PSU.  It is my contention that Paterno met his moral obligations by reporting the alleged crime to university officials.  Because he would have heard the information secondhand, and because he is not in charge of investigating or prosecuting crime, the only thing he could rightly do would be tell those who were in charge of such things about the alleged crime.  But, if McQueary stopped the crime and told the police, then there was little more Paterno could have done.

If, as some have asserted, Paterno deserves the blame for the failure of those below, then he also deserves praise when they do things right.  Since McQueary stopped the crime and reported it to the police, then Paterno deserves praise for employing such a morally astute man.  Paterno does not deserve vilification.  If the crime was stopped and prevented, what more could Paterno have done, short of being a locker room bouncer?

On a slightly related note, does the media’s frenetic desire to blame Paterno with a failure to act instead of, say, the police, smell a bit like a coverup?  It’s been nine years since the alleged incident and no victim has come forward.  During that time, the police have not arrested Sandusky, in spite of the media more or less proclaiming the case air tight, which begs the question:  are the police incompetent, are they evil, are they lazy, or is there no case?  It’s been nine years since the police have been apprised of the incident, and yet no arrests have been made.  There might be an innocuous reason for this, but I tend to doubt it.

UPDATE:  Ulysses has a little bit more to say on the matter at Hidden Leaves.


  1. The newest McQueary revelation does change the dynamic, but I stand by my hyperbole. I should clarify that I don't think Paterno should be stripped of on-field accolades or his legacy. I do still think the firing was just as I long for a return to mores which state that we are morally compelled to continue to fight for a desired outcome, in this case an earlier end to Sandusky, and Paterno did not use his gravity to achieve that goal. On that point, we still disagree about Paterno and his moral obligations.

    On the other hand, the inaction by police shows how deep the rot can be when it comes to college football. As a big college football fan, I sit in the stands of my team many Saturdays, I hate that the win/loss record so often trumps right and wrong. Police coverups, administrative coverups, communities looking the other way. It's a nasty state of affairs.


  2. @ulysses- I think the firing was more out of spite then a way to demonstrate commitment to purging the rot, but that's simply speculation. Paterno still should have left, just not in that manner.

    I don't have any issue with your claim that he should have used his gravity to achieve an earlier end to Sandusky. I'm just not certain that he would have been able to do as much as most would think. After all, the rot spreads far beyond his authority (to at least the cops and Paterno's bosses, apparently). Basically, Paterno could have done more, but that's guarantee that the results would have been different. As such, I don't feel as compelled to roast the guy.