Penn State Students Care More About Their Coach Than The Rape Of Children
Penn State University, which in the throws of a sexual abuse scandal, endured a riot last night instigated by their students. After their beloved football coach Joe Paterno was fired, the students reacted by flipping over fans and taking down light poles. AlthoughÂ Joe Paterno is not the one being accused of sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15 year period, he did protect the man who did.
In 2002, a graduate student named Mike McQueary witnessed former coach assistant Jerry Sandusky raping a boy in the football showers. Joe, the admired coach, then did a despicable thing. He “redirected” the graduate student to the athletic director, Tim Curley, rather than the police, which exhibits a severe lack of character for anyone but especially a university employee. With the college president’s permission, the athletic director and vice president Gary Schultz all decided against reporting the incident to the police — a measure that could have prevented future sexual assaults on young boys.
The four men then decided that the best course of action would be just to ban Sandusky from bringing children from his children’s charity, Second Mile, to the football buildings. That’s it. Sandusky had retired from coaching in 1999, but he retained all access to the schoolâ€™s athletic facilities. He also hosted a summer camp for boys from 2002 to 2008.
These four men proverbially looked the other way for years after they had more than an inkling that Sandusky was a danger to children; they had an eyewitness.
Considering Joe Paterno’s role in such a lowly coverup and the protection of a child rapist, he deserves quite a bit more than the loss of his job. But the students of Penn State see the whole story differenly, claiming that their “legend” coach was compromised through not fault of his own. These comments alone from students at the riots reveal how they feel their coach was “tarnished” :
â€œI think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for JoePa going down,â€ said a freshman, Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed that Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities by telling university authorities about an accusation that Mr. Sandusky assaulted a boy in a university shower in 2002.
â€œWe got rowdy, and we got maced,â€ Jeff Heim, 19, said rubbing his red, teary eyes. â€œBut make no mistake, the board started this riot by firing our coach. They tarnished a legend.â€
â€œItâ€™s not fair,â€[ Justin Muir, 20, a junior studying hotel and restaurant management] said hurling a white ribbon. â€œThe board is an embarrassment to our school and a disservice to the student population.â€
The only person who tarnished anything were those four Penn State employees who refrained from reporting the assault to the authorities. And no, meeting your “legal and moral responsibilities” is not fulfilled when notifying the police is actively avoided. The football coaches and athletic directors involved are the profound embarrassment to Penn State, not the board who reacted responsibly to the coverup. And the only “disservice” here is clearly to the families of these young boys who were raped.
Those flipping over cars and holding up signs should consider how their “legend” football coach considered careers before the abuse of children. That effort alone makes him not responsible for the crimes, but an strong factor in their perpetuation.