People Who Don't Speak Up for the Innocent - Joe Paterno

I originally wrote this on January 22, 2012.  I took what at the time was an unpopular stance against Joe Paterno and other Penn State staffers and I was attacked for it.  That day I lost over 300 readers.  I was called names and I was told to "stick to what I know - babies and kitchens."   I didn't care.  I knew that someone had to say it and I wasn't afraid.  


Yesterday the the former head of the FBI, Louis Freeh, released his findings in the Sandusky case and they've said that without a doubt Joe Paterno and other officials at Penn State knew what was going on and they helped cover it up.  Those men were monsters.  They might not have touched the kids with their own hands, but what they did was almost worse.  They turned their backs and ignored them.  I hope they all rot in prison.            

Today was a quiet Sunday afternoon and I opened up my Facebook and noticed a trend of "RIP Joe Paterno" on a number of my friends' walls.

Of course I knew he'd died.  I don't live under a rock.  Every news outlet was reporting about his death.
And of course, I felt bad for his family that they'd lost him.

I don't follow sports, so I don't know anything about his legacy as the most winningest coach or what have you and I never went to Penn State.

I have read the glowing accounts of what a great coach he was and what a terrific ambassador he was for Penn State.  He was obviously a revered man who was well loved by his family and perfect strangers.

He came to my attention during the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.  All I know is that Paterno didn't go to the police when he should have and to me that outweighs all of his good deeds.

As a mother, nothing infuriates me more than to know that innocent children who needed protection at their most vulnerable time did not get it from a man they looked up to and admired.  I don't just blame Joe Paterno.  I blame the Penn State officials.  I blame Mike McQueary.   I blame anyone who puts profit over the welfare of the children they are entrusted with.

As far as I'm concerned he's not a hero in my book.  So I wrote a simple sentence on the Facebook page for this blog:  "Am I the only person who doesn't care Joe Paterno died?  My FB is blowing up with RIPs."

Who knew what a simple sentence could do to people?  Within an hour I had 256 comments about what I'd said.  Some were as simple as:  I agree to people hoping he's burning in hell to others calling for my throat to be punched for uttering the words "I don't care."

I obviously touched a nerve on this one.  Who knew?  Here's the thing.  He was old.  I'm sorry if he suffered.  I don't doubt he's missed by his family.  However, I do think he made a terrible error in judgment when he didn't report the abuse to the police.  I don't know why he didn't report it.  I really don't care what his excuses were.  He simply should have.

I don't wish ill of the dead, I'm just putting myself in the shoes of the parents of the children who were violated.  I am speaking out for them, because if I were one of them I would hope someone else would speak out for me.

100 comments:

Kathy A. said...

YES! Agree 100%. I'm sorry you were attacked online. Bravo for speaking up.

huntressd said...

Good for you!! I have no idea why people are so afraid the speak the truth just because someone has died!! What they were when they were alive is what they were once they've passed!! AND I agree 100% with your comments on speaking for the children and their families!! Sometimes the right thing is the unpopular thing!! Bravo for standing by your original thoughts!! We need more people to speak out!

Anonymous said...

If I had seen your comment that day, you would have GAINED me as a follower. I don't care if he won every game his teams ever played. I don't care if he built one of the biggest college sports franchises in the history of mankind. I don't care if he's nominated for Sainthood. You don't, NOT EVER, get where you are going on the pain,suffering, and agony of innocent children. An error in judgement? Hardly. I believe he exercised evil in the worse way possible.

colleen said...

I agreed with you then and still do now Jen. I grew up in PA, went to college and ran camps at a school not far from Penn State...and always hated the pompous can-do-no-wrong attitude of Penn State athletics. Thank you for speaking up then and for reminding us now. I'm disgusted that an institution my tax dollars paid for covered up such a heinous act against the most vulnerable.

Shelley in So. IL said...

I can't believe you lost readers over those comments. Seriously, there are a few chat forums I read that said much much harsher things and they are getting the internet equivalent of standing ovations.

And I totally agree with you. Sandusky, McQueary, Paterno and anyone else who knew about the abuse should be punished, often, for a very long time.

Krista Ennis said...

I didn't follow you then, but I probably would have liked you more if I'd read that because you weren't afraid to voice your opinion. I had the same thoughts and said so. I do know who Paterno was, have been a huge college football fan all my life. My husband and I were talking about if the same story had been uncovered about one of our beloved favorite coaches, and how we could not defend him or his actions. The day this story broke, we sat watching ESPN and couldn't believe they weren't covering it. As parents of young preteen boys ourselves, it made us disgusted and we knew then that "the program" was more important than the children. It will be interesting to see what happens to the PSU football program now. Had they come forward in the beginning, it surely could have recovered. But the fact that to make Sandusky "go away and retire", their thought was for him to start a program for middle school boys...the boys he targeted?? I hope all involved rot in hell.

clothespin said...

Totally agree with you. I am so NOT impressed with fame or political power or whatever a person might use to claim more importance on this earth than someone else. What I care about is actions and this guy failed in this arena. A persons character is not measured by the things that others see them do, but by the things that they do that no one ever knows about. Now we all know. Hopefully, this great tragedy will help motivate others who know things to do the right thing even if it is not easy at the time.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in PA and have a few friends who are Penn State alum. Apart from feeling horrible for the victims and their families (which trumps anything else in this situation), I also feel for the alum who had many happy memories of going to the games and being part of the whole entity. Their memories have been shat upon.

But I don't feel for the people who try to keep this delusion of venerating Joe Pa. There are just some things that can't be looked past. This is one of them.

Anonymous said...

I don't give a rat's ass about football, or honoring the legacy of anyone who has had anything do do with it. I have nothing against it, either.

That said: Shame on them for ignoring the abuse of those kids.

It's unfortunate that Joe Paterno didn't explain why/how this happened on his watch, before he died. But he did.

Drugstore Queen said...

I agree! While I'm sorry he passed away, what he did was inexcusable. It's probably a good thing he passed when he did. He'd be facing charges as well.

Anonymous said...

Jen:
I read your post in January, and could not agree with you more. I think they need to take it a step further at Penn and remove all icons of Joe P. He was a part of the lie and cover up. He chose football over preventing more victims and young boys from being hurt/abused. I was so disgusted when this story broke and still am. It seems like people have lost their compass on doing the right thing.

Crystal said...

Feels good to say, "told ya so" sometimes =) I felt the same way when this came out in the beginning of the "scandal". Legacy in sports means nothing if you can't shine morally. I feel for his family's grief and now shame.

Anonymous said...

Putting anyone on a pedestal is folly. These men (and probably a few women too) had multiple opportunities to do the right thing but didn't. Shame on them and those who want to defend the rationalization for not protecting those kids. What you wrote in January was spot on and I agreed then and now.

As a Catholic, I have been appalled by the child abuse scandals in our church. Joe Paterno was reportedly a practicing Catholic and would have seen the pain and wretched fallout over trying to "coverup" and protect pedophiles. He certainly knew better - they all did.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Kendra said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Whatever legacy Joe Paterno had, it was wiped out by his active participation in covering up such abuse. I do feel sorry for his family because I'm sure they mourn his passing and the stain this left on their family. Maybe it gives them a better understanding of what the family of the abused children feel.

Liza said...

Jenn, I felt the same way as you did and still do when this horrible scandal came to light. It's a shame we live in a society that is so obsessed with sports and its "heroes" that some of us allow that to cloud what any decent human being would realize: What these Penn state officials did was horrendous.

Domestic Goddess said...

Awesome.
And I remember that day you originally posted this...and I was floored by how many women defended him in outrage.
I don't care what school, what sport, whatever..someone should've stopped this.
Cowards.
I can only pray for peace somehow for the boys whose idols and mentors did this to them - whether by deed or by silence.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sista! They should all rot in hell!

Becki said...

Here here. I was just ranting about this same topic last night at dinner. I grew up in the Bear Bryant era at Alabama so I am well acquainted with what people thought of Joe Paterno. And none of that matters when a child (or in this case many children) are put in harm's way. I was saying this to my next door neighbor and he actually said, "Well we shouldn't forget what a great football coach he was." And I looked at him and said, "All of us need to protect children and he didn't. I don't care what kind of coach he was." Back when this all first came out and Joe Paterno said he didn't know things like this could happen and hadn't heard of it, I told my husband "Either he's an idiot or he's lying. And Paterno was no idiot." And now we see that he was lying. There need to be checks and balances in these big universities, but more importantly, we all need to be responsible for the children in this world.

Michelle S. said...

I agree with you too. I felt the same way at the time. I have no connection to Penn state other than we live in East Lansing at Michigan State University's campus and Penn State is part of our conference, so we heard a lot about Joe. All I knew was that someone of Joe's, well, power, would have known what was going on in his locker room and with his coaches. There is no way he wouldn't know. I'm so sorry that his quest for not hurting Penn State's name (an institution) was greater than not hurting CHILDREN. So so sad.

tiwimon said...

You have far more that will agree than won't I assure you, and I am right with you.

Paterno and the rest of those at the top that could and should have done something will forever be remembered as the most despicable of humans, those that knew or saw terrible wrongs done to innocent people, and most heart tugging of all, mere kids. Another group if individuals that put themselves before all others at whatever cost. [little do they know the price they will pay later...]

I think the worst though is assistant coach Mike McQueary, he walked in that shower room and saw and HEARD the horrible things this monster was doing and unless I failed in all this time to hear otherwise, this asshat walked back out instead of intervening right then and later reported it. You kidding me?!?!? Had I been in his place catching this kind of thing, I would have sure as the sun rises done something right then, on like Donkey King they say. Yet this McQueary fellow in an interview not long ago on a national morning show said he still aspires to coach others as a head coach one day. Oh Hell No! Just, well, hell no, he had a moment to stop a horrible act in progress on another human, a child, and he walked out, he is a traitor to the human race, and is not worthy of leading or coaching anyone.

Stand strong and tall is all I can say, have the resolve to continue speaking what needs to be said. I believe you are better to stay true and stand alone if you must than stand with cowards that live their life with passivity.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so here is the thing…..UNLESS you have any association with Penn State (you lived, worked, went to school there) then I am completely uninterested in your opinion on how my coach’s legacy should continue and IF Penn State football should continue. Do I miss my coach (whom I never met but is so much ingrained into who I am and how I identify myself)? Yes. Do I believe he should have done more 13 years ago? Absolutely, but for that time there was A LOT that so many within the University could have done. And where are the Penn State police in the Freeh report?! Seriously, the mother of victim #4 went to them, the psychologist of one of the victims went to them and NOTHING happened. Finally, for all those calling to take our Joe Pa statue down and to get rid of PSU football, back off. PSU football is going to be hurting for a while (seriously, are any strong recruits going to want to come here?), and unless you are a part of the PSU family- you can have NO IDEA what our coach means to us so whatever you think about my coach doesn’t mean anything and should have no bearing on his statue and legacy. I studied for hours every week in undergrad in the library the bears his name, it helped me get my Bachelor’s degree (double major) which led me to social work; to that I will always be grateful.

allison said...

I read your post when you originally posted it. I didn't blast you and I kept reading your posts because I was ok with having a difference in opinion (we line up on many of our viewpoints) and because I know that this is a terrible tragedy. Really, it is the worst kind of tragedy. However, I am a Penn State alum. I didn't idolize Joe Paterno, but at the same time, I know that he has done wonders for the school, donated millions back to it and to charities, and has taught many people many good things. Penn State as a university is what it is today because of him. I think I speak for many current and past Penn Staters when I say that we are extremely disappointed in the news from yesterday, and we kind of don't know how to deal with it. I think we wanted to believe that someone who supposedly had strong morals would never have done this, and we wanted evidence to prove otherwise. I think that many people have allegiance to their school and we reserve the right to have that too, because I for one worked very hard for my education. I understand the outrage because I am also disappointed, hurt and angry too. I just think that people are going to need some time to let this all sink in. It is hard to see people post things like "the University should be leveled" or "tear down the stadium" when you've seen what it is like for 100,000 people to be cheering for the same thing at the same time, and that isn't just about football - football is just where it all came together. I'm not asking for sympathy, because we are the last people that need sympathy in this tragedy, but I just thought I'd explain where some people are coming from (not the officials, but those who supported Joe Paterno), since they are part of this by default.

unchelled said...

If it weren't such an appalling subject, I would be amused by the number of people who "didn't see this coming a mile away". At what point do we get to punch people in the throat for their blind blissful ignorance? I ONLY came for the throat punching.

Not everyone deserves to be put on a pedestal. Not everyone is a hero. A hero is someone who makes the very difficult choice to do the right thing even when everyone else thinks or will think its a bad decision.

The idea that this man and a football organization's reputation were more important than the innocence snatched away by a quiet monster is astounding. These kids suffered at the hand of someone they trusted, a mentor, and that trust was used, abused, and thrown away just for some old creepy perv to get his rocks off.

If we as a society can not and will not protect our most vulnerable without reservation then we are dooming them to be always be victims. We are teaching our future generations that turning a blind eye to the suffering of others is a perfectly acceptable response because it does not affect us personally. I fear for the future of humanity. :(

Jen, you ARE a hero for standing by what is right when it wasn't the popular choice and not changing your view to placate the disgruntled reader. I, personally, applaud you for not persuaded by popular opinion when it matters most. Our kids and their future need a lot more people like you!

GurleyGirl said...

Anyone who defends this man has the same problem he has: putting sports above all other things. This is a problem, to varying degrees, throughout the sports world and especially in high school and college. I say this as a mother and a huge sports fan. I don't ever want my child to think he is better than others or that he deserves special treatment simply because he can throw a ball. We are creating a generation of entitlement across the board, and it shows itself in sports more than anywhere. A hero is not the person who scores the most points; it is the person who helps the most people

Anonymous said...

Bravo Jen! From my facebook: Adults who turn a blind eye to the welfare of innocent children deserve to rot in hell with the perpetrators.

A comment I was left: I don't understand how anyone can turn a blind eye to abuse.You share the blame if you know about it and don't report it.

And my reply to a comment that was left: They are more concerned with their own reputations and their own agendas. They worry more about what people will say or think about them. Believe me. I know first hand the child is the very last thing on their minds. Forgive my venom but I can not even wish them mercy and forgiveness. I hope they live and die in the same eternal hell they created for those children. I am heartbroken over these latest revelations.

My father was a pedophile and my mother's whole freaking family knew about it and no one did anything. Other than to get a little counseling from a catholic priest and then it was all swept under a rug. No one gave a damn about what my father did to my mother's little sister. And they did nothing to protect the other little girl - me. My own mother loved herself and her reputation more than she loved her own daughter. To this day they carry no shame for their actions.

May they ALL rot in hell. All of them. Every single one. I offer no mercy, no forgiveness. I pray desperately for those children. That they find a peace that remains elusive for me.

Teri said...

That's the thing about opinions. EVERYONE has one. And just because someone doesn't agree with your opinion, they stop reading your blog? Really? Jesus, it's not like you came to their house and took a crap on their lawn. If you did that to me, yes, I would probably stop reading your blog (after rubbing your nose in it). But people seem to agree or at least enjoy reading your opinion about mostly everything else, and if they don't agree with you on this one issue, is it really worth 'leaving you'? It's their loss, not yours, Jen.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's a mystery what happens in the afterlife, but I can only hope that his soul has some serious work to do and he's not resting peacefully just yet.

My Crafty Little Page said...

Let's not forget who helped JoePa become the "winningest" coach...Jerry Sandusky who was by his side for....how many years?

Anonymous said...

Can not believe he knew something was up since at least '98 and continued to allow that pedophile to use the penn state facilities to abuse boys in his "charity" program. Sick.

Anonymous said...

I feel exactly the same way as you do... well, other than I am a man so I don't know what it feels like to have boobs... yet. But, as far, as your sentiments behind this post... we are in agreement. AND, I LIKED Jo Pa... until this came out.

Many years ago, when Pope John Paul The Ass passed away I wrote a pretty heated essay on how much of an asshole he was and how the world whouldn't mourn over the loss of someone who, without a shred of doubt, massaged over the truth about the sexual abuse of children. Man, was I unpopular. I didn't just lose readers... I think I lost some family memembers, as well.

But, the truth is the truth...

Thanks for the post. Stand tall, you are right on this one!

senatorbrett.wordpress.com

Mary McDonough Smith said...

You don't even need to shine morally but you can't do harm. To put the "legacy" of a sports program above the welfare of a child is despicable. But I truly believe that what goes goes around comes around. Maybe not in this life but I like to think that the devil is enjoying a Joe Paterno BBQ in Hell.

Astrea said...

I agreed with you then and I agree with you now. Forget the people that attacked you in the comments then. Some of them might choose to accept the truth but there will be many that will continue to delude themselves because people are REALLY good at that.

(I know it's kind of petty of me to want to congratulate you for being vindicated for taking the stance you did then, but still...Feeling vindicated is an awesome thing.)

StephHC said...

Opinions are like assholes - everyone has them. Some people seem to talk out of their asshole instead of using their brain and mouths.
I totally agree with you. Especially after reading what the FBI found. The guy may have been able to coach a football team but he aided Sandusky. I hope Sandusky is getting in jail what he gave to those poor kids.

Anonymous said...

You know, things like this really piss me off...your neighbor saying that about him being a great coach. Part of his JOB as a coach was to mold young college age men into atheletes. That means part of his JOB is to set an example on how to be an upstanding human being. An upstanding human being does not overlook anyone, children, old people, 30 year olds, whatever being sexually abused! How would people have reacted if some HS principal or coach from any average school was caught covering this type of shit up? This type of shit is part of the reason that victims of rape/abuse do not speak up. These perpetrators have such power over them. All of them are bastards. I hope Sandusky drops his soap in prison, then he can see what it is really all about.

Anonymous said...

I have felt deeply saddened through this entire ordeal. I live in PA and come from a line of Penn State alum and have always loved Penn State football and Joe Pa. I feel hurt, let down, angry, and disappointed. I desperately wanted to still look at all the "good" Penn State and Joe have done without thinking about this scandal, but I can't. As an educator I am ashamed that it wasn't clear to these people and fellow educators that Sandusky's actions needed to be exposed. The fact that this was all covered up over a decade makes this so much worse.
So sad. I have difficulty explaining how deeply I feel this sadness.

BH

Catherine Dabels said...

I agree. Absolutely. 100%

colleen said...

Allison, this might be the post thoughtful perspective from a PSU alum that I've seen yet, and I can certainly understand that you're in mourning of the institution you valued so much as student, unknowing of the acts being covered up. I'm not a PSU fan (sorry, Pitt girl all the way), but I certainly don't think the school should be closed or the stadium leveled. That dishonors the students, alumni, faculty and staff who were always in the dark about this and worked very hard for the school to shine outside of just football. There are a lot of tough decisions the school will need to make and the football program has been discredited. But I draw the line at blaming others associated with the school who had no clue.

Cammie said...

I hope they tear down the shiny new statue of Joe Paterno. He does not deserve it. All the good he did....I bet the parents and those poor children would rather have their innocence back instead of "all the good he did"

Lauren said...

I agreed with you then and I agree with you now! It's your own blog. Say what you feel.

Heather said...

Good for you for speaking your mind and sticking to your guns. We live in a world with too many ignorant people. It's a shame you were attacked for your own opinion. I agree with you 100%.

MinerMishap said...

Let's not forget the thousands of rape cases that have been swept under the rug to protect athletes, coaches and universities. In my mind, what JoePa did and what countless other coaches and administrators have done is to make the actions of an athlete/coach acceptable as long as they are winning. Even grown women who speak up and talk about the crimes that are committed are turned into the "bitch", "whore" etc. who ratted out "our best player." I have heard comments like, "well looks like she put herself in that situation, maybe she'll think twice next time." This is a sad situation all around!

Zebsmom said...

Honor is not defined by what you do when everyone is looking, honor is about what you do when no one else is looking!

Kevin said...

Isn't that the old guy from UP?

RachelG said...

Amen to all of that. I applaud you for speaking out and I agree with you 100%. I have been angry about this situation since it came out, and I am sad to say that, in the end, it turned out to be the absolutely worse case scenario. It wasn't just a "we didn't know and we didn't ask", but a full scale coverup! Shame on them all! Speaking up for victims is always the right thing to do, especially in the face of power and influence.

Linda in TX said...

Jen - you are spot on. There is no excuse for ANYONE who even suspected that something was going on. No excuse whatsoever. Penn State treats child abuse just like the Catholic Church does. We used to be fine, upstanding Catholics and walked away from anything to do with the Church when we first read of their continued child abuse because that was the only way to express our anger - that, and never giving them any money ever again because that's the only thing the Church understands.

Penn State should be ashamed of everything and everyone associated with this horror. The horror that could have been stopped years and years ago. I don't care if you went to Penn State, played football there, thought Joe P. was the second coming - if it was your child, you'd feel very differently. Shame on the institution. Shame on everyone who knew, including Mrs. Paterno. There was no way for her not to know.

I'm a grandmother so I speak from years and years of age and experience. This could have been stopped immediately if anyone had grown a pair and done the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Just a point of clarification: the FBI didn't conduct an investigation or release any findings. Louis Freeh, former head of the FBI, conducted the investigation for Penn State.

Anonymous said...

The FBI didn't "find" anything. The investigation was conducted by former FBI chief Louis Freeh. But, yeah, what he found is just horrible.

Sherman said...

I've lived in PA all my life. Have never been to "happy valley". None of my three kids wanted to go to Penn State, coz it would have been like 1/2 of their graduating class there and they didn't want an extension of high school. Whatever. What I can definitely tell you that if you went there, you were definitely be drinking the Koolaid. Joe was God. They worshiped the ground he walked on, he could do no wrong. When he was fired, it was like handing Joe Pa his death sentence. The alumnae rebelled against the trustees and replaced some of them. It's a mess up there. They will never be the same. Joe f*cked up, plain and simple. I don't care if you "ran" that campus. A child was in danger and you didn't do a damn thing. Shame on you Joe and shame on your legacy.

mom2ashn3dogs said...

Aside from being sad and horrified about what happened to these innocent children, I am sad as an alumni too. I am glad someone articulated how it feels. It seems many of my fondest memories are tainted.

I did stand by JoePa originally (though NEVER attacked anyone for their opinion, I felt the opposite, I spent more time defending myself for standing by him--but I also do not live in PA any longer) simply because I could not fathom that he had anything to do with this. I didn't believe it. I knew there HAD to be more to the story. I'm so damn sad right now that it seems he did indeed help cover it up. My goodness, he was part of most of my memories (not him personally, but HIM if you know what I mean). For heavens sake, the library has an entire wing that he financed and was subsequently named after him, so he's even part of my memories of studying late into the night!

I am so sad for the children and families and so horrified that there was a cover up....and that it involved our beloved JoePa. I'm just sad. All around.

I know "Happy Valley" is a very sad valley after this report.

Anonymous said...

Are you freaking kidding me? Your JoePA is an accomplice to child rape and abuse. He should be in prison along with Sandusky.
Why should Paterno get to have a statue? A statue is an honor, and the last I checked a person who stood by and allowed children to be raped and abused for years has no honor. Fuck JoePa.

mom2ashn3dogs said...

VERY well said. As another alumni, I could not have said it better myself. I am very very sad, as I know many alums and current students are. It's definitely a sad day in Happy Valley but we WILL bounce back because we always do. We will be stronger.

MommaTara said...

Had it been someone of no importance, just a man down the street, no one would have cared that he died. However since he had such a huge career impact people are turning the cheek and mourning. No, I do not care for this man. Had these people who are mourning his death been the parents of the little boys that were touched and knew he saw it and knew it was happening and did nothing, I do not think they would be as forgiving as they are now.

Anonymous said...

Well said!!

Jess said...

Well being a participant in covering up the sexual abuse of children is something everyone has an opinion on not just people at Penn State. When your officials create a disgusting scandal on that level it is no longer a Penn State only issue, sorry.

Just because other people should have done more also doesn't have any relevance in this situation - them being guilty doesn't make your boy any less guilty.

Jeff Laws said...

My wife and I were talking about this last night. I think he did the right thing by reporting it to the school (although I think he should have called the cops) but once he saw nothing being done and it being covered up, he should have done more, a lot more. By doing nothing else, he tarnished his "legacy". To me, the most horrible thing the school did after covering it up, was to continue to let Sandusky on the campus. Putting more kids at risk. And how Paterno could continue to work with the man is beyond me. Knowing what he did, he should have been disgusted every time he saw him.

I read where this past fiscal year, Penn State had the 2nd highest all-time donations to the school. I would be embarrassed if that was my school. No way they get me money. I would have sent them a letter that said, here's the donation of $$$$$$ that I was going to give to you, instead it went to (name of child abuse program here). Signed with a big F you.

StephHC said...

Oops! My bad...that is what I get for just scanning the news.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the only people who defend Joe are Penn State Alumni. Yes, a lot of other people are responsible for the cover up, but none of them are on a pedestal and Joe was in position to take action.

I don't know about taking down the statue. But there certainly should be an asterisk welded to his forehead

Jen Piwtpitt said...

You're absolutely right. My oversight. I just corrected that. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

there is a interesting article on Fox Sports by Jason Whitlock. He contends that sexism had something to do with the cover up, that if more women were in the Penn St. heirarchy they would not have allowed this to happen. When I began reading the article I was not sure about his premise. But the more I read the more I think he may have a point. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts about this.

allison said...

Donations to the school are going to go back to the students in some way, who had nothing to do with the scandal. In addition, this includes donations to THON, for kids with cancer, which raised over $10 million in itself this year. As an alumni, I AM embarrassed even though I had nothing to do with it. I did not donate to the school, but I did donate to THON. In addition, there was a campaign to donate to RAINN for child abuse, which I also did. I think that many people who had nothing to do with it feel badly and are trying to show that Penn State is more than just a football program. We are more than the administrators who did these awful things. You've got to understand that most of the people who are silent right now are those good people, even alumni, who would give anything to change what happened in the past.

Lisa said...

I agree Jeff (above) and Jen! If people were loathe to have him arrested then AT LEAST FOR GOD'S SAKE fire the guy or give him an "early retirement" but to just allow him continued contact with kids was unconscionable and undeniably wrong! Yes I'm sure there are a lot of "good people" working at Penn State, and maybe Joe P. WAS one of them but remember "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing". I just wish they would've caught him years ago.

Anonymous said...

Football is a GAME people! An overpaid game at that. Messing with children is not a game, and is disgusting. I only hope that man had nightmares for not speaking up. What kind of morals do you have when you can't save a bunch of kids from something so horrible? RIP my ass!

All you talking about "memories" should be ashamed. What of those kids and their new memories? They will be scarred and in therapy for life! Quit being so damn selfish and think of those children!

Anonymous said...

Exactly! people are forgetting that these coaches were MENTORS and ROLE MODELS for these children, college football players, and assorted other individuals.

Mellissa Stanton said...

I commend you for speaking up on issues that are outside of the mommy world. I am more than just a mom and I am interested in what is going on outside of my 4 little walls that are just a speck of dust in the universe. There will always be those out there who don't agree with everything that someone else says, but I'm glad that I have sense enough to know that that will always be. Thank you for writing. I love reading your blog. Keep up the good work. You are more than a blogger, you are a journalist in my book.

Anonymous said...

You're in social work and have excuses for a man who supported repeated child rape? No wonder you post anonymously...
If you're a social worker, you must know about mandated reporting...every teacher, coach, therapist and social worker is a mandated reporter. Doesn't matter if the person is the President of the World, they perpetrate, we report. Might want to review that part of your social work education you got there at good ol' Penn State...or maybe that part was left out over there...

Anonymous said...

I'm a PSU alumni and I'm over Joe Pa. What he did was horrible. It sucks that my time at PSU is skewed now, but it is. He is not the person i thought he was when i was doing my undergrad there. I think i may have stood behind him through this if i didn't have my own kids now. But someone who hurts kids or lets others hurt children are monsters in my eyes. I don't care who they are or what legacy they've built. His greed was disgusting!

Briana said...

Good for you! I agree with you and am GLAD that you are saying what needs to be heard by so many PSU fans. :)

N8sGr8s said...

Absolutely. He is just as guilty as if he had done the acts himself. He is worse actually. He chose to ignore innocent children being hurt. People are saying that this incident should not take away all the good Joe Paterno did, but he did that all by himself the first time he turned his back on a child.

newbuffalomom said...

I live near Notre Dame. Same kind of mindset over here. There have been numerous "date rapes" and other activities that have been swept under the rug because the accused came from the football program. You know, the one that generates all that money.

JessN said...

In regards to Joe Pa--karma's a bitch. It's just too bad he's not here to answer for what he failed to do for those children.

Anonymous said...

Forget getting decent football players. Penn State will have a heck of a time getting decent students, period. Who wants to attend a college where the first thing everyone thinks of when they hear the name is "child rape." I mean ....dang, who wants that crap eveb on their resume. I wouldn't want a prospective employer to think "child rape" every time they looked at my resume. Penn State is done for a long... long time. I would imagine that some of the more distinguished professors will be looking to work elsewhere too for the same reasons.

Thanks Joe and friends..... Idiots. Nice job taking down one of the top colleges in the nation. It will only be a matter of time before it's Penn State Community College.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. The monsters that do this to children and the monsters who turn a blind eye deserve no mercy. My mother was a victim and didn't tell anyone until she was 50 years old. So much was taken from her and consequently from me and my siblings because she was in so much pain. I'm sorry that no one stood up for you when they should have. May you find your peace.

Unknown said...

This rather reminds me of how when Michael Jackson died we were all magically supposed to forget that he touched all those kids and just remember him for the genius that he is. I'm sorry for his family but he, in my book, was an evil man who allowed evil to happen under his watch. I have no sympathy for him whatsoever and I could care less that he died.

Katha Stuart said...

Far from bolting in January, I was first attracted to your blog by the "Elf on a Shelf," then this original post hooked me for good. You spoke the truth, I couldn't have agreed with you more, and was appalled at the vicious responses you received. I can only hope that some of the Penn State victims find your blog and other such pieces and see how much support they have.

Tazi-Kat said...

Winning is not just about your team record; it is about your personal record as well. As far as I am concerned, he was the LOSINGEST coach in Penn State history and a shame on their name!

The man was no Vince Lombardi!

Confessions of a PTO Mom said...

The man died so close to his retirement, too. Anyone wonder why? Guilt.

It blows my mind that people will still stand up for him, call him all sorts of wonderful things.

Wonderful is one thing he wasn't.

Anonymous said...

"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has allowed evil to triumph."

Kerry Rossow said...

This story makes me want to throw up. I have four small children and I pity the fool who hurts them or stands by. The image that really stabs is the image of the little boy when whathisshitforbrains walked in. The hope that someone would help him...and then, nothing. Jeezus.

Marcella said...

I read the full report in it's entirety and I'm so completely disturbed right now, I wish I hadn't read it.

http://l.yimg.com/dh/ap/default/120712/freeh_report_final_071212.pdf

If anyone defends Paterno or any of the players in the situation, educate yourself and READ IT YOURSELF.

My head is swimming...I can't even process all of the information. The University gave Sandusky abundance access to children by allowing him to continue his involvement in the organization "Second Mile" (supposedly his outreach to help disadvantaged youth) even AFTER they knew about his problem. They allowed him complete, unchaperoned access to the locker room facilities where he abused these children even AFTER several eyewitness accounts of inappropriate behavior...with only a slap on the wrist to stop bringing kids there.

And this is a school to be respected? McQuery's eyewitness account of nothing less then child rape was, in the old telephone game fashion, turned into a story about how they were simply wrestling/horseplay. Wtf!?!

What an amazing cover up...even down to the two personnel files on Sandusky being removed before the investigation. Everything about this report is horrible and all I can say is thank GOD the truth finally was revealed.

It doesn't matter to me all of the "amazing" things Paterno did in his career. After reading this, he had a direct hand in turning a blind eye and covering up all the things Sandusky did. How can an organization, a game of FOOTBALL, take precedence over the well being of children??? How do these people sleep at night???

Sorry if alumni and Penn State advocates are offended, but your school has lost complete credibility and I, personally, would be ashamed to be affiliated with it after reading this.

I had heard things here and there about the trial but hadn't been following it too close. Thanks for your insight Jen, your opinion was spot on.

Tassi said...

You said it sister - absolutely disgusting behaviour from a revered institution & a revered coach. If you don't stand up against child abuse then you are complicit. End of story.
Thanks for your insight & love you blog.

Kristin said...

My husband and I are PSU alumni. I grew up 30 minutes away from the college and PSU football really is a way of life in that area. As a teacher, and a human being, I'm horrified at what happened. Truly. Especially because that 2nd Mile program was toted at my elementary school when I was there in late 90s. Some very powerful men worked a little too hard to keep some nasty, disgraceful secrets.
HOWEVER, I am PROUD of where I came from and where I went to school. I still wear my PSU clothing with pride. Penn State alumni and the community are all mad and sad about what happened. There's a lot more to Penn State than football. I will never say I'm ashamed to have earned my degree from that university.
I'm not defending Paterno or the football program, but to say that I should be ashamed that I went to school there?? RIDICULOUS.

Marcella said...

Did you read the report? The cover up went all the way up to Penn State President, Senior VP and their Board of Directors. They all knew it was happening, Kristin. They did nothing. NOTHING. In fact, they practically placed these children in Sandusky's hands.

Did you read about Sandusky's retirement package? How he asked to continue to be involved with Second Mile and have full access to the locker rooms AFTER his employment ended? For the love of God, they granted it to him!! Fully knowing what he was doing!

The school had no safe-haven procedures in place for whistleblowers and didn't even have a CLUE what the Clery Act was.

Did you read about the janitors? How they couldn't tell anyone because it "would have been like turning in the President of the United States." Not even the janitors felt safe turning him in. Not even the school police department took any action! The football program and the school's reputation trumped the well being of CHILDREN. Even glorifying the coaches on their retirement!

I'm personally relieved I don't have a degree from PSU and I'm sorry you invested your money and education into a school that promoted child molestation for more than a decade.

I stand behind what I said.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder too if some of this was swept under the rug not only because of the fear of scandal, etc but also because these children were "nobodies"....just average kids from not powerful families. Obviously they thought they could get away with it forever. All of this to avoid scandal and the trashing of the name of PennState. Looks like they did not acquire that but quite the opposite. I don't know how all of these people can still stand by him and his program. It isn't like they couldn't have gotten rid of Sandusky and gotten another coach to replace him. If Paterno is such the great coach he is, surely he could have worked with another coach. It is disgusting.

Julia said...

I was a a victim of sex abuse at age 8. As an emotionally healthy adult who was forever changed by abuse and as a parent devoted to protecting my own children I say "Thank you. Thank you for taking a stand even though it was unpopular. Thank you for knowing the difference between what people think is important and what is truly important and truly lasting."

Kristin said...

You are entitled to your opinion. I would never try to convince you otherwise, which is why I didn't respond to your comment, but instead left my own.

To suggest that the alumni are guilty of something simply for attending the university where this occurred isn't right.

WE certainly didn't know it was happening, even if the higher-ups did. I'm sure that if it was widespread enough 8 years ago to where people wouldn't attend because of it, the media would've caught wind of it then.

I'm glad you think my tuition money supported child molestation. As if the innocent people of Penn State don't already feel bad enough.

I love Jen's blog and just wanted to give the opinion of an alumni.

I don't think that I am a bad person because I choose not to renounce my degree. My degree has nothing to do with Joe Paterno's football program.

Marcella said...

Where did I suggest the alumni was guilty of something? Where did I imply that you knew it was happening? Where did I say you were a bad person for going there or all alumni should renounce their degrees? Please do not put words in my mouth, that was not my message or opinion.

I am saying that had I went to Penn State, ::I:: would be ashamed and outraged towards the school that MY money was put towards an institution that allowed this behavior to continue.

You want to be proud and think Penn State is a great University? Well, who am I to try to persuade you otherwise? All I can say is how lucky for you that you didn't have a son that was sexually abused by Sandusky. I can only imagine how different your opinion would be today...

Erin said...

Oh God, isn't it a terrible thing to say you don't care that he died? I can't think of anything as bad as not caring about the ending of another human life. Well, maybe I can. You know, like maybe if you didn't care about little boys getting raped in your locker room. Puh-tay-to, Puh-tah-to I guess?

Abby said...

"A hero is not the person who scores the most points; it is the person who helps the most people" Bravo. This is marvelous.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 200% and couldn't figure out why anyone would be anything but revolted by all of those in authority at Penn State. I was met with a frosty facebook silence from some Penn in-laws. Well this is the mentality that will always allow the Gary Sanduskys to be guests at the party. Now he's where he is probably the victim. And I feel kind of sorry for him because that sort of base violence is so against what I want out of this world. I think when someone defends the likes of Paterno and company they are showing what they really are and if they don't like me anymore then good. I don't like them either.

Dan in Dallas said...

Screw the people that dropped you. And speaking ill of the dead? Why not? JoPa was a scumbag and not worthy of one iota pf praise he has received. His 'legacy' is a sham. He isn't an ambassador for anything....except maybe NAMBLA

AYo said...

I agree whole heartedly and have said it from the beginning. The other thing that upset me is that media attention wasn't on these guys a lot earlier! I know that one mom went to the Penn State police. I understand moms and dads also want to protect their children from additional potential trauma that attention would give. I do wonder what that does to victims though. I wonder if "moving on" really creates feelings of shame in these kids. If I were a mom, I'd have been standing outside Jerry Sandusky's home and charity with a sign until I was physically removed. Then I'd grant every media outlet an interview that asked. If you are the parent of a child who was molested and you don't ensure that the bastard that did it gets arrested you are also part of the problem!

Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

I've never understood the concept of just ignoring the wrong things someone did just because they happen to be dead. I felt the same way about Michael Jackson and Steve Irwin.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Jen. I agreed with you then and the more that comes out the more people should have all been as ballsy as you to call it as it is. Penn State football should be stopped, to not protect the innoncent children in the name of football should mean no more football for them. What a bunch of sick spineless bastards.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the men whose innocence was destroyed in the most despicable way possible will "bounce back," too.

i am a princess, yes i am said...

Amen, GurleyGirl!!!! As a mother of a son who will be going pro, I couldn't agree with you more

Neurotic Atty said...

Since you don't follow sports, I'm sure you didn't see "The Sports Reporters" on ESPN yesterday morning. Let me catch you up: They EVISCERATED Penn State, Spanier, Curley, Joe Pa, AND the Paterno family. And rightly so. I can't remember which reporter said this, but he put it best: Even now, the Paternos are more concerned with saving Joe Pa's legacy than anything else.

It's disgusting. Joe Pa knew as long ago as 1998, but he also knew that if it came out that his bestie, his heir apparent was diddling little boys in the team locker room, Penn State football would be forever marked by the abuse. So he kept quiet. He did what was best for HIM. Forget those little boys that he didn't know anyway. It was always all about him. I know you never followed Joe Pa, but even his refusal to retire all those years ago (when he had clearly lost his touch and wasn't even, really, able to call the plays anymore) was a sign of his singular focus and absolute selfishness. He's not hero or an idol. He's an example of self-serving stubborness, stubborness which in this case, led to the sexual abuse of children.

Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to you all those donations were given out of guilt? What about the children that suffered? All I see in your post is "me, me, me, the college," It is that kind of attitude that led others to keep their mouths shut, and turn the other way ie:Paterno

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person who finds it mighty convenient that not 3 months after all these allegations came out, JoePa conveniently died? He was a healthy up til then! If he was so loved and such a hero and legend, where was all the pomp and circumstance surrounding his funeral?? I think hes sitting on some secluded beach sipping a pina colada, watching Penn state crumble. Shame on all of them!

JAC said...

So you know where I am coming from here are some facts about me: I am a PSU alumnae. I had direct and indirect ties to the football program while I attended PSU in the late 90s. I currently work in higher education in another state. I wanted to wait to comment until the facts came out...

I feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion and have read the comment feed. I may not agree with every comment but I will not lash out at other people's opinions. Jen, much like it doesn't really bother me when someone's favorite singer/actor/sports hero dies that I don't know I don't expect others to be bothered when mine do. Your post will in no way make me not read your blog, in fact quite the opposite.

When it comes to Joepa I feel that he made a terrible error in judgement and that error is what he will be remembered for by most people. IMO it did take a toll on his health and was a contributing factor to his death but again that's only my opinion. As an alumni part of me wishes we could hear his side of the story even though deep down nothing he could say would ever be enough. As a Catholic I leave final judgement of his actions to God. I do want every other person named in that report to be tried by a jury of their peers as I would want Joepa to be if he were still alive. As a mother I want to punch every person who knew about this "in the throat" for every boy who was hurt.

I did not attend Penn State because of the football program. I attended Penn State because I was fortunate enough to live in a state with excellent state universities and chose Penn State. I wanted a big school where I had the chance to meet a new person every single day. I became involved in campus life, including THON, and quickly fell in love with PSU. I met Joepa a few times, shook his hand exchanged a few words. I was there when he donated millions to the library. I knew players injured both on and off the football field who didn't lose scholarships because Joe recruited them and made a promise to their parents that they would receive an education. That image of JoePa is blurred now, tainted. I have all the same emotions described by other alumni, sadness, disappointment, outrage, confusion. I am still a proud Penn State Alumni. I have my diploma displayed in my office and I still encourage students to attend. I still donate money to scholarship funds, THON, and to the department I graduated from. I am proud when I read about a research study or project that PSU is taking the lead on. I cheer for all the athletes, not just the football team. Yes, the university will suffer because of the actions of a few cowardly men. Yes, the university must pay its debts to the families it destroyed. I will continue to pray for all those families too. Some people may think I'm crazy but I think this scandal has brought more meaning to the now infamous WE ARE...PENN STATE. We stand together hoping for justice for the guilty and healing for the families.

-Bec said...

Absolutely agreed! I wrote a much longer, much more bratty article on the same today. What a mess.

http://lawfulcowgirl.blogspot.com/

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! DAY TWO!

Hey everyone, Happy Holidays!! As many of you know, eight years ago  I forgot to move my Elf on the Shelf . Since then I've been ...