Friday, July 13, 2012
The Worst Thing Ever
"It is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequence of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university-Spanier, Schulz, Paterno and Curley-repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from authorities, the university's board of trustees, the Penn State community and the community at large."
Hon. Louis Freeh in the press conference about his report on the Penn State scandal
Bad publicity. They failed to turn over a child molester because they feared bad pub. All those little boys, most of them from troubled backgrounds to begin with, were violated because those who knew failed to turn Jerry Sandusky over to law enforcement before the turn of the century.
Last night I ran into one of my Miracle League kids and her Dad at the store. K gave me a big hug around my waist. K has a communication disorder. She would make the perfect victim as would many of those kids. And I am ever mindful of the almost sacred trust that is reposed in me by the parents, the League and the system every Saturday that I go out to Miracle League field.
So, here is the the thing that I cannot reconcile, that I cannot wrap my mind around.
Why, for Christ's sake, did nobody report seeing Jerry Sandusky after hours in the shower with a child? On what planet in the known universe is this behavior not excruciatingly suspicious?
They were afraid of bad publicity. All those poor little terrified boys.
I'm going to go out on a limb here. But it's my limb. It is my guess that the child abuse scandals at both Penn State and in the Roman Catholic Church would have been less likely if there had been women in positions of power in both institutions. If for no other reason than women have the babies around here. I don't know of any woman in my life that would not have thrown herself between Sandusky and that little boy in the shower. And if a woman had been in charge at Penn State when the news of his squirrelly behavior hit her desk, my best guess is that the sounds of sirens would have followed shortly thereafter.
Bad publicity. All those poor little boys.
Joe Paterno wrote a letter that was not published until recently. He said that the scandal is not properly understood as a "football scandal." To which I say, "Stay dead, Joe."
Here is a simple way to look at it. If the coach is running the Athletic Department and/or the school it is what the NCAA refers to as a "lack of institutional control." We do not know but we may strongly infer that the Athletic Director decided not to turn Sandusky over @ 2003 or so after speaking to Joe Paterno. And they failed to follow the law and conspired to keep these criminal acts quiet for fear of bad publicity which we may also infer would work a disadvantage in recruiting.
"You sure you want to go play there Son? Kids get fucked in the shower there. We don't allow that kinda shit here at Northwestern."
Yeah. I can totally see that.
But you know what? It doesn't matter.
The men mention in Judge Freeh's report, men at the highest level of authority at Penn State, suborned criminal acts despicably committed upon innocent children to save the program. No, it's not Dave Bliss paying players at Baylor. It's not Jim Tressel looking the other way at Ohio State's players were selling memorabilia. It's not Miami and Oklahoma being, well, Miami and Oklahoma. It is not the usual violations that the NCAA selectively enforces.
This one is off the charts. It is the worst thing ever in the long and occasionally tawdry history of Division I football. It is beyond the patina of hypocrisy that allows those who know better to suspend disbelief on Saturday in order to pretend that most of these guys are really student-athletes.
It is the Worst. Thing. Ever. And it was allowed to happen due to a lack of institutional control. Seems pretty simple to my admittedly simple mind.
All of those poor little boys. Sacrificed because powerful men thought bad PR was even worse than the rape of a child. Penn State has forfeited the right to participate in football for the foreseeable future.
And if the NCAA, or the Big Ten, or both, don't step in, then we really will know what's more important.