A Journal Entry from July of 2012: Joe Paterno’s Choices

The following is an unedited journal entry from my personal journal that I just read. It appears I never finished my thoughts on this, but, I was intrigued by my line of thinking at the time….Read if you want to.

Friday, July 13, 2012

 

                This morning on my way into work, I was listening to ESPN Radio/ Mike and Mike in the Morning as I usually do. They were talking about the new report on Penn State U and how much covering up Joe Pa and the rest of the Officials did during the Sandusky years. I was trying to imagine how I, as a Georgia fan, would feel if all of this mess had happened in Athens. Say with Vince Dooley and Erk Russell. I try to imagine the reaction. Would it be any different from the PSU fans and Alum? What would I expect my University to do? Would I expect them to take down every reminder of Vince Dooley on the campus.? I know I would be furious. I would be embarrassed. I would be ashamed. I would be furious.

                College football is a big business. A business run by men, and fueled by boys. By kids. It is a kid’s game after all. A game that eight year olds play. A game that is loved across all demographics and generations.  A game that can incite riots, and cause grown men to cry. But, a business nonetheless. I read that the only sport that generates more revenue than college football, is professional football.

                In looking at it as a business, one may choose to side with Joe Pa’s choice to keep all of this mess “in house”. His choice to not go public, or to the police. His choice to protect the business.

                I don’t agree with that. Jerry Sandusky is a pedophile. He is a rapist. He is a child molester. There is no excuse, no plausible reason, even for a business, that child molestation or rape should become secondary to the reputation of a business. Or in this case, a University and its football program.  The choices that were made by Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Graham Spanier, and most of all, eye-witness Mike McQueary,  after being made aware that Sandusky was a child molester, only prove to me that the welfare of these innocent children took a backseat to the welfare of PSU’s football program.  Hell, it wasn’t even a backseat. It wasn’t even in the damned vehicle.

                Do I think Paterno’s statue should be torn down? Well, surprisingly, no I do not. Just because a portion of history is ugly, doesn’t mean we ignore it. Paterno’s teams accomplished a lot. He was a phenomenal football coach and he was a great man. He was a loving husband and a good father by all accounts. Joe was also a human. A human that made a very horrible mistake in judgment concerning his Defensive Coordinator. A human that chose the best interests of his football program and his University over the welfare of raped children. Removing his statue from the stadium changes none of the above.

                I would be more at ease with something different. Something to acknowledge the errors made by PSU Officials. A disclaimer of sorts.  Something posted at the stadium acknowledging the victims. The boys that suffered because of those mistakes that were made.  Instead of hiding the statue, how about PSU acknowledge those it refused to acknowledge and protect before?

                The man on ESPN Radio brought up some of the following;

Ty Cobb is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ty Cobb was a bigot, a racist, and a complete piece of shit as a human being. But he was a phenomenal baseball player. And he remains in the HOF.

Hiroshima was a horrible point in WWII. The resulting loss of life and the inhumanity of our decision to drop those bombs irrefutable. But it ended the war.  We don’t ignore it as though it didn’t happen.

Mark McGwire deserves to be in the HOF as well. He took PEDs. He admitted it. But a shot off Decadron does not make you capable of turning on a 102 mph fastball. His ability to make contact with the baseball was amazing. His knowledge of the swing, the stance, etc. has earned him a job as a hitting coach. He too, made a shit decision. But he too, was a phenomenal baseball player. We shouldn’t ignore that, based on his choices.

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2 thoughts on “A Journal Entry from July of 2012: Joe Paterno’s Choices

  1. I’m sure you know by now that Jo did what he was supposed to do and all he could, there were shortcomings from many people. I also hope you know that this doesn’t just happen in University’s, but Hospitals, anything with a big name. It doesn’t make it right and I do not agree but it happens much more often than people think and sadly when big things like this happen and come out – the little people watching (like you and me for example, ) don’t seem to learn much.

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    • Of course, it happens all over. I think my point (it’s been so long ago, I can’t recall really) was just that the “business” of College Football tends to skew morality in otherwise good, decent, people. And that is true for ANY business I suppose. People will turn a blind eye for the greater good, so to speak, instead of doing what they know in their heart of hearts to be the right thing.

      Liked by 1 person

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