My Thoughts on Joe Paterno

I don’t feel good about piling on to the media onslaught surrounding Penn State, but there’s a lot of hysteria flying around and some of it’s shit.

Please allow me to summarize the current scandal: A coach at Penn State has been accused of gut-wrenching numbers of child molestation charges. The worst part is that when he retired he was given permission to visit the football facilities but he was not allowed to bring children. (I got that last off sports radio, so it might be false.) If it’s true, however, it implies that the powers-that-be knew of the coach’s deep and intractable evil, and their response was to make sure they weren’t implicated later.

Joe Paterno, legendary coach, King of Happy Valley (where Penn State is located), has said he is shocked and wishes he had done more when he saw trouble signs. People are jumping all over his ass asking, “How could he have been so naïve? He must have known something!”

But that’s the killer with naïvety. In retrospect you do know. You realize that when you hear that someone in your employ is accused of doing something awful you don’t just kick it up to your boss and assume they will do the right thing. And if you’re an old-schooler living a sheltered life in a town called Happy Valley, It’s hard to picture the guy next to you as being purely evil. You can’t even imagine the crime, let alone believe your friend capable of it.

Someone in that organization knew. I don’t think it was Joe, and I think the administration wanted it that way. They knew Joe the old-schooler would not have let them cover things up. Now Joe’s been fired, and perhaps that will give others the awareness and strength to act when someone close to them is doing something wrong. Perhaps people will be able to see the evil now.

On the other hand, I’m disturbed at the amount of press focussed on what this will do to Paterno’s legacy at the expense of discussing what the (alleged) spawn of hell did to those poor kids. And look! I just added to that.

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