Hey Penn State – You’re Missing the Point

January 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

“This is not Penn State. This is ‘the Sandusky scandal.'”

This quote by Penn State President Rodney Erickson made me see red.  He offered this lame defense of the university’s “see no evil; hear no evil” approach to the Jerry Sandusky’s situation. It came at one of three town hall meetings he was holding with alumni in an attempt to return to Happy Valley.  To quote AP reporter MaryClaire Dale, “…the 650 alumni in attendance for the sometimes heated 90-minute session didn’t receive him well.” And that’s probably because neither they nor Erickson continue to miss the central point of the scandal – that no one in authority stopped it.

Most of the meeting focused on how storied Coach Joe Paterno was fired. How, not WHY.  If I understand this correctly, many of the folks in that room seemed to overlook the two parts of the scandal.  Part I was, of course, Sandusky’s ongoing acts of child sexual abuse.  Part II (and the one makes Part I into a Penn State issue) was the ongoing ability of everyone around Sandusky, including Paterno, to turn a blind-eye to these acts.

Paterno may be the Godfather of Football and a heck of a winning coach, but he was quietly complicit in letting Sandusky continue to ruin young boys’ lives.  So, please, Penn State administration and Penn State alumni, stop talking about the pain caused by the way Paterno was fired.  Stop asking Erickson and the trustees to apologize to Paterno.  Instead, ask yourself how the University is going to change its culture from one in which football can do no wrong to one in which it’s everyone’s job to do the right thing.

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