Saturday, November 12, 2011

Penn State of Mind

What allegedly happened at Penn State in ’98 and ’02 is the definition of disgusting. Any crime committed against children cannot be tolerated. And the man who allegedly committed these atrocities is going to pay the price, believe me. His name is Jerry Sandusky. He is a former defensive coach with the college’s football team. He is a very sick man who will never see the light of day again.

This scandal has brought the abrupt and shameful end to Head Coach Joe Paterno’s 61-year run with the team. And the school’s president was booted out just as fast. I'm fine with that. As for the assistant coach (McQueary) who saw Sandusky in the shower with a child in ’02, he's been put on leave, under the threat of death. Keep in mind, Paterno and this assistant coach did nothing 'legally' wrong. Morally, yes, that can be debated, but they are not the executioners of these crimes. Remember that.

Which leads me to my first problem with the Penn State story.

Paterno should’ve been out 15-20 years ago. It's the school's fault for letting an old man play the part of Head Coach for so long. In fact, it's now the school's fault Paterno has to face this humiliation and the media blitz of this legacy-ruining event on the brink of senility. An 84-yr-old man cannot run a major football program. Imagine what you would get away with at work if your direct boss had been born during the Depression. We know what they were getting away with at Penn State. Don’t try telling me that a man who doesn’t wear a headset on the sidelines is doing any real coaching. He doesn’t even stand on the sidelines. He sits upstairs in the press box. Translation: He’s a figure head. Should’ve been gone 15-20 years ago, but he wasn't ready yet. Get real.

That’s what happens when you build statues for people, compare them to Gods in little places like Happy Valley. When this assistant coach saw Sandusky in the shower in '02, he didn’t go to the police, he went to God. And in Happy Valley God is an old man named Joe Pa, who hasn't actually coached a lick since '94, and shouldn've been asked to handle that then as 'Boss.'

For those who think Paterno, the local DA, and Penn State powers were covering up what was happening, protecting Jerry Sandusky, you are insane. There is no way anyone would risk the reputation of the school, the standing of a football program, and their own backsides, to cover up for an assistant coach. If Paterno knew what was happening when Sandusky was still on his staff, he would’ve put the professional and legal bullet in Sandusky himself. But guess what? Paterno didn't know because he was 75 years old, and the boss of Penn State Football the same way Uncle Junior was 'the boss' of the Soprano Family. Paterno found out way later, for the first time, after Sandusky was retired from the team. Then JoePa reported it to his superiors the same way it was reported to him. Legally, right. Morally, not enough. We get that. Same thing goes for the assistant coach that reported it to Paterno. The next day, Sandusky was kicked off Penn State’s campus, forever, the same way he was kicked out of his children’s charity when the allegations made it there.

Which leads me to my second problem with the Penn State story.

How much more false outrage do we have to endure through media mediums? There is no half-sane person who DOESN’T get why this is horrible. A bomb threat on game day? Good God. There were actually people who freaked out when Ashton Kutcher Tweeted that he was mad that Paterno was fired. So of course he had to issue a Tweeted rebuttal and blame the original Tweet on being in a ‘bubble’ with work and rescuing his marriage.

Some outlets called for the ending of the current football season. First of all there’s way too much money involved in doing that. Money rules. Don’t believe me? Turn on ESPN right now. Second, does anybody get the fact that every current Penn State player and student was like 8 years old when this happened, nowhere near Happy Valley? Why should they be punished and told their season's finished? As for the students themselves, one day they are rioting, flipping cars and trashing city streets for JoePa. The next day three coeds are crying their eyes out for the 'children,' on camera of course. Are we really supposed to believe any of these reactions from people who were in elementary school when this happened? It’s all starting to come off kind of false.

What do I mean by that? For example, did Matt Millen, who went to Penn State 25 years ago, and now covers college football for ESPN, have to cry on air this week? Brought to tears by the mere thought of those ‘poor kids.’ Doesn’t that sort of ring false to anyone else? A bit staged for effect? I mean if it’s all about the kids for ESPN, why is the Penn State football game being televised nationally on that network as I write this? I thought it was all about the kids. Oh wait, it’s about the kids AND making money in advertising and ratings. Thing is I don't need a talking head to tell me that rape against children is a bigger deal than defensive schemes, and say it like he just unveiled the cure for Cancer. Nobody is impressed or emotionally moved by that. Why? We already know that.

JoePa, the Penn State powers, and everyone involved with what allegedly happened, are going to pay the price for the rest of their lives. For not morally doing enough. And that's OK with me. The man who committed these acts, Jerry Sandusky, will die in prison, and the football program at Penn State will survive without any of them. Because, as important as victimized kids are to everyone in this country, making money and playing football probably ranks higher, and probably always will. Rest assured, there was no cover up in '98 or '02, no conspiracy, just a very sick, twisted old man, and a series of unfortunate decisions by the important people along the way.

In a daring move, US WEEKLY chose to ignore the whole Penn State scandal and focus on the important news: Kim being 'depressed and devastated' after her split with Kris. I don't know who actually has the right idea anymore.

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Brian Huba

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