Never let it be said that when it comes to allegations of child rape that Joe Paterno doesn’t allegedly do the absolute bare minimum he’s legally required to do. Today we see that Penn State is still putting Joe Paterno above the alleged child rape victims. Exactly why Paterno wasn’t simply escorted off campus for good while the investigation continues is pretty puzzling, especially since he wears no headset, carries no clipboard and generally does nothing on game day except wander the sidelines looking like a clueless lawn gnome in eyeglasses. Well, except for those times when he sits up in the booth looking like a clueless lawn gnome in eyeglasses.
Many of my readers are from overseas and they are often amazed at the things universities overlook when it comes to winning games. Let me take this opportunity to remind them that it isn’t all college sports that are like this – just NCAA Division One football and basketball. NAIA college sports and the NCAA’s lower divisions aren’t like this at all.
Anyway, with many talking heads in the sports world still talking gently about JoePa, let’s hope this doesn’t turn into a situation where they try to make Mike McQueary, the grad assistant who alerted JoePa about at least one of the incidents, the scapegoat. A few minutes ago on ESPN (Motto: We’re like People Magazine for athletes! ) the execrable Matt Millen was expressing more anger at McQueary than at Paterno for not calling the cops and/ or child services. He also claimed Paterno is “doing what he should be doing – concentrating on this Saturday’s game with Nebraska.” It seems Millen is as inept at weighing moral imperatives as he was at running the Detroit Lions years ago. Actually, Matt, JoePa should be sitting somewhere contemplating the potentially ruined lives that could have been saved if he had done more than just let his superior know what he had been told about Sandusky. Did it slip Joe’s mind to follow up on that incident? Call the cops, maybe?
Paterno had plenty of opportunities to leave gracefully over the past several years, years in which Sandusky was alleged to have continued abusing children, often in Penn State facilities. Any and all sympathy for Paterno is misplaced and should be directed toward the alleged victims and their families. So, let’s play a little game of “What Would JoePa Do?” based on his handling of this touchy situation making all the headlines.
1. You’re eating in a restaurant and see the diner at the next table produce a revolver and shoot the child dining with them. What would JoePa do? a) immediately call the cops b) discretely let the waiter know he should make a cleanup at the next table c) mumble “if that kid couldn’t dodge the bullet, he’d never make it on my football team”
2. You’re walking down the street and see a huge, hulking man kicking a prone homeless child. What would JoePa do? a) immediately call the cops b) do nothing and assure yourself that the kid probably had it coming c) ask the kicking man if he’d like to try out for a spot as your new punter
3. You’re minding your own business and you hear someone shouting out to you “I’m being raped! Why won’t you help me?” What would JoePa do? a) immediately call the cops b) indignantly say “I don’t appreciate a question like that” the way you’ve been doing at press conferences for years c) pretend you don’t hear them while continuing to write notes for your next public speaking appearance on morality and winning the right way
4. A grad assistant allegedly informs you that one of your assistant coaches and a man you’ve known for decades was seen molesting or raping a child. What would JoePa do? Oh, wait, we already seem to know what he would do in this case!
Try some of your own if you like! Anyway, I’ll leave you with the reminder that Paterno once regally announced that he “would not leave college football to the Jackie Sherrills and Barry Switzers”. Nope. He allegedly left it to the child molestors instead.