Career Calling

November 10, 2011

Career and Culpability

Filed under: Commentary — claycerny @ 12:43 am
Tags: , ,

Many sportswriters and commentators are mourning the fall of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.  In today’s New York Times, several articles recognized Paterno’s many achievements, how he ran a clean program, how his career should not end this way.  An editorial writer I often disagree with, Maureen Dowd, captures the story in a different frame – disgust and outrage.

In 2002, a graduate assistant told Paterno that he saw Jerry Sandusky, a former coach at the school, rape a ten year old boy in a locker room shower.  Paterno reported the incident to his boss Michael Curley, the school’s athletic director, who waited a week before telling Gary Schultz, a VP who supervised the school’s police department.  None of these people acted like a crime had been committed.  They handed off the hot potato and hoped the story would go away.

The public is outraged, and it should be.  Everyone involved should have acted differently.  The graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, could have tried to stop the attack.  At the least, he could have immediately called the police. Paterno and the administrators could have done what is right: Report a possible crime and support an investigation.  Instead, they all buried it.

I do not mourn the fall of Joe Paterno.  This story is not a tragedy.  Adults stood by and allowed a predator to hurt children.  Schultz and Curly have been indicted.  In a just world, Paterno and McQueary should also face justice.  They all protected someone whose actions were criminal.  Parterno’s success as a coach, someone who ran a “clean” program, does not absolve him from his complicity in Jerry Sandusky’s alleged serial attacks on children.  A great career does not mitigate an awful crime.


1 Comment »

  1. See Haugh in the Trib today too.,0,837895.column

    Comment by Bill Savage — November 10, 2011 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

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