When ‘Good” Men Do Nothing…

On Saturday while many college football fans were wading through the manufactured hype leading up to the supposed “Game of the Century” a news story involving former Penn State University defensive coordinator Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky seeped into the news feeds at the bottoms of our television screens. Sandusky was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a fifteen year time span. [i] Sandusky who was for a time considered legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s second in command ran a charity for at-risk youth called The Second Mile. On the surface Sandusky was a “good guy”. On the surface

Sandusky was caught in the shower, having sex with a 10 year old boy by a then graduate assistant now wide receivers coach Mike McQueary. McQueary reported what he saw to Joe Paterno, who in turn ran what he was told up the chain of command. Sandusky was let go by Penn State but in all of this no one thought to call the police. Although released by the school Sandusky still had access to Penn State facilities and continued to run The Second Mile.

In the eyes of the law Paterno and McQueary have been absolved of their actions because they actually filed reports with Penn State’s athletic director. I’m not going to waste words on the particulars of the story but my concern is in the moral details. When the hell did it become okay to report a felony to your superiors and not the police? McQueary should have stopped what he was witnessing and then immediately called the police. Tell your boss about what happened later. I’m at a loss due to the fact that no immediate legal action took place. What kind of men fail to protect children that they clearly see need protecting? The lack of action is disgusting.

I don’t have any more thoughts besides the obvious actions of the legal system.

Vaya con Dios.

[i]There are eight known victims. There very well could be more.


14 responses to “When ‘Good” Men Do Nothing…

  1. i agree with you. the failure to put these kids’ well being FIRST, instead of worrying about careers, is DISGUSTING!! Sandusky losing his job hardly makes up for the lives of those young boys who he ruined. the sh*t just makes me ill. people are unbelievable.

  2. The whole thing is totally disgusting. The folks who saw this and didn’t report it to the authorities are just as guilty as the abuser.
    I’d like to tie them all in a sack, and fling ’em into the Susquehanna.

    • I agree. The dude that saw it called his father instead of the cops. Who does that? Into the river they go.

      I also find it funny that as I get older I’m more “Where are the police?” than “F8ck the police!”

  3. Sandusky should’ve beat his ass. I don’t even understand how you witness that and continue to work side by side with that person. As my co-worker said…my eyes would’ve been bleeding. How do you let somebody’s child get taken advantage of like that?!!!

  4. Let’s start with the obvious. Sandusky is a sick man. But Penn State nor the people involved in this, are the first to try to deal with an issue internally. Maybe it seems more repugnant because we’re talking about children being abused. I could understand that.

    Obviously nothing will ever justify what Sandusky did, and maybe you can make a case that Paterno should have done more based on hindsight morality. But if I understand all the particulars, was there any reason to believe that the administrators would NOT go to the police with the information? At worst, Paterno and McQueary are guilty of attempting to work within the University to get that issue addressed.

    I know in hindisight the right answer is always clear and unambiguous, but we only get the benefit of it, AFTER the choices we make. This is not to minimize what happened to the children at all, it’s not even to exonerate Paterno or others, it’s to question whether or not we should rush to judge those who don’t go as far morally as WE think they should have gone AFTER the fact.

    • “But if I understand all the particulars, was there any reason to believe that the administrators would NOT go to the police with the information? ”

      I get what you’re saying DQ but there is now justification to be had. The particulars in this case was that a grown man was caught raping a child. Don’t tell your boss. Tell the authorities and your boss. I’m seldom a black and white guy but this situation is a black and white as there is.

      In this case I’m am judging. There were no unknown factors or this isn’t what it looks like sh*t. It was a minor being raped. Keeping his graduate assistant position or Paterno keeping his coaching job IS NOT worth letter Sandusky get away and continue working with more potential victims.

      McQueary, Paterno, and the admin dropped the ball.

  5. There’s no way for me to avoid sounding like a Joe Pa apologists here so I’ll just say what I believe.

    1. I am not a Joe Pa apologist. I think he’s a decent enough guy who’s probably coached 15 years too long, who will die shortly after he is forced to retire. Morbid but true. Football is the only thing keeping him alive.

    2. As Sundusky was no longer on Paterno’s coaching staff at the time the incident was reported, why was anyone reporting anything to Paterno? Why should anything be reported to Paterno? It’d be like reporting a suspected crime of a former employer to the CEO and then suggesting the CEO has a moral responsibility to report a crime he didn’t actually witness.

    3. Again I ask, is there any reason to believe or suspect that having given the information to your superiors that they WOULDN’T involve law enforcement? I don’t think there is. I have yet to work for any corporation where the protocol isn’t that employees report issues of any kind to either Human Resources or to a Functional Manager. Not to outside authorities, but through the chain of command IN the corporation. What Joe Paterno did was not alien at all to standard business practice (especially given that HE didn’t witness the incident himself) and there was no reason to believe it wouldn’t be forwarded to the authorities once he passed the information on.

    4. None of this is said to try to provide justification, justification has a moral component and thus is subjective. It’s perfectly ok for you to see it as unjustified, as long as you don’t assert that it is a fact that it’s unjustified. I am simply looking at context, and were actions truly unreasonable given what was known. The only ones whose actions seem unreasonable to me where the indicted administrators as they received the information with the expectation that they would elevate it further and they didn’t.

    • Let’s stop pretending that Joe Pa isn’t in charge of the athletic department at this school. If he wasn’t he would’ve been shown the door some time ago. He’s at the top of the food chain.

      1) The same thing happened to Woody Hayes and Paul Bryant. They’ve got to learn to let go.

      2) He wasn’t on the staff but he access to Penn State’s football facilities. Paterno’s facilities. Facilities where he was said to frequently bring these kids.

      ” Why should anything be reported to Paterno?”. In the words of Harry Truman the buck stops here. That’s why it was reported to Paterno.

      “It’d be like reporting a suspected crime of a former employer to the CEO and then suggesting the CEO has a moral responsibility to report a crime he didn’t actually witness.”

      If the crime occurred on company property then yes the CEO should know. As for moral responsibilities yes he has them. For the past several decades Paterno has considered himself a leader of men. This falls under those auspices. If you had a friend who f*cks little boys would you not report him.

      3) “Again I ask, is there any reason to believe or suspect that having given the information to your superiors that they WOULDN’T involve law enforcement?”

      Sure you assume they will but this isn’t Jim from accounting smacking Sue Ellen’s a** and making her feel uncomfortable. This is sexual assault/Pedophilia. What Joe Pa did wasn’t alien, but what of McQueary? Every company has procedures for incidents but child sodomy is a tad outside of the norm.

      4) I’ll agree with you partially the two administrators who caught the charges dropped the ball. This does not absolve the point of contact, McQueary or his boss, Paterno of anything. They failed. Morals aren’t legislated but neither is bad judgment.

      There ain’t no saints here DQ!

  6. I think sometimes we construe iconic to mean all powerful. Not the case. Paterno most certainly has clout but so did Woody Hayes at Ohio, so did Bobby Bowden at Florida State, hell even though he coached Basketball, no man was more an instituion to his institution than Bobby Knight, but not a single one of them was poltically bullet proof. So to suggest that he is in charge of the athletic department seems a bit exaggerated.

    Penn State’s facilities are Penn State’s facilities, not Joe Paterno’s. I know because he is iconic there’s a temptation to say this was his enterprise part and parcel, but that’s our projection, not reality.

    The buck stopped with Truman because he was President of the United States. Paterno is not the president of the University. The fact that he had superiors above him to whom he relayed the information about the alleged crimes demonstrates that.

    Regardless of how Joe Pa markets himself (or how others visualize him) ultimately the only thing he can be held accountable to are contractual and legal obligations – not the expectations of fans and/or critics, and not their respective moral compasses augmented with the benefit of hindsight.

    • Hayes, Knight, and others all had clout and are iconic. That clout ran out. Just like Joe Pa’s seemingly has.

      Don’t kid yourself Paterno IS Penn State Athletics. That is why the Buck stops with him. Those football facilities fall under his watch. He has been given leeway throughout his time there and he has to take the good and the bad.

      If the extra step (legal) step was taken when this initially happened hindsight wouldn’t be in play. It wasn’t, so it is.

      This isn’t an attack from a high horse. These of the thoughts of a guy who is shocked that the right thing wasn’t done. Steps were taken but they weren’t good enough.

  7. Gotta disagree Wu. Paterno is a big part of Penn State Athletics, but he is only JUST a part. If there is a problem with the women’s volleyball team academic standing, the matter will not end up on Joe Pa’s desk for adjudication. I mean does it honestly not feel like a reach or at least “death by association” taken to it’s most extreme to suggest that anything that happened in a Penn State facility was ultimately Joe Paterno’s responsibility? Even if the people involved were NOT a part of his program?

    I guess I just don’t understand the thought process here. If the AD had gone to the police, you would presumably have no problem with Paterno’s actions. But because the AD didn’t do HIS job, Paterno’s action are now morally compromised? How? He didn’t hide the allegations, he didn’t keep them to himself, he didn’t ignore them, he passed them on to his superiors to be addressed. It kinda feels like folks are judging the actions based on the results instead of just judging the action. Reasonable decisions can still lead to BAD results. It didn’t have to be a moral failing that causes it.

  8. I’m late as can be, but this is a good post.

    This whole situation is so disgusting. I understand DQ’s point, it’s just hard to sympathize with Paterno or anyone involved (McQueary included) when the crime was this serious. It’s not what was done that’s the issue, it’s what wasn’t done.

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