Joe Paterno Rant

All the cool bloggers are doing it, and I want to be a cool blogger.

Ok, so Joe Paterno has an assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.  Turns out this assistant coach had a thing for diddling prepubescent boys at an annual charity event the coach ran for prepubescent boys.  One day many years ago Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant working with the team, saw Sandusky going down on a ten year-old boy in the showers.  He told Joe Paterno who fulfilled the minimum of what he was supposed to do by reporting it to the university’s president.  McQueary would go on to become the receivers coach at Penn State.

Everybody’s jumping on Joe Paterno, and rightfully so.  The son of a bitch enabled Sandusky to pursue more victims rather than take a chance at harming his reputation.  But I want to comment on McQueary, which nobody seems to be doing.  How the hell do you see something like that and walk away?  How are you not in the shower forcibly separating Sandusky from his victim and then dragging his ass to the police yourself?  How do you then get hired as the receivers coach and manage to work beside that sick fuck every day for years knowing what’s going on?  This guy is not a hero for doing what he did, he’s a failure for what he did not to do.

As for Paterno, every single quote I hear from him in the media is “Let’s pray for this and that.”  Prayer isn’t enough, Joe, especially when you had the chance and the obligation to actually do something. Although, I think I might have found a partial explanation for Paterno giving unspoken license to Sandusky.

“Joe is a devout Catholic.”

Perhaps he’s just emulating the leaders of his church.  “Oh, this is horrible!”  *enable*

This whole situation stinks.  As PZ said of Paterno and his piety this morning…

When you’re at the very bottom of a pit, when you’ve failed egregiously at basic human decency, there’s always that one last recourse for the scoundrel and coward: turn to Jesus and hope that piety will buoy your reputation up a little bit. It’s sad, too, that it often seems to work with that credulous majority.

Religion makes no one better, but it’s a damn fine shield if you’re looking to escape culpability.

And now since we’re all good and depressed, here’s a video (skip to 5:57 for the part that cleanses my pallet).

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Jenesa

    I could understand someone being so shocked and confused that at first they don’t know what to do and just walk away. However, once he had some time to process what happened there’s no excuse for not calling the police immediately. By sitting next to him for years and doing nothing about it, it turns from a scared not sure what to do to a grown adult making a conscious decision to allow children to be raped

  • Karl

    Right on, J.T. When something like this happens, it calls me back to the idea that I’ve always held (which is surprisingly controversial): I don’t judge you by “the kind of person you are on the inside” (whatever the hell that means) or “what’s in your heart” (whatever that means. No, I judge you be what you do. That is the only objective, empirical, fact-based way to judge anyone, IMHO.

    Easy enough in principle, but how do you apply this idea to acts of omission? Some state have “Good Samaritan” laws under which a person who witnesses another in peril, who is reasonably well-situated to act without substantial risk to themselves to prevent grave harm to another, can be held criminally liable for failing to act. See Seinfeld final episode. This would see to open up a whole can of worms as far as personal sovereignty versus the greater good. An interesting discussion perhaps for another time.

    What I would like to see, at the very least, is universal condemnation of Paterno, and especially McQueary, for their cowardice and indifference. I’m not seeing that. Instead I’m seeing a bunch of privileged assholes rioting because their school’s football program may suffer. Instead I’m seeing talking heads agonizing over Paterno’s “legacy”. It’s more than sad. It’s outrageous.

  • keith

    Good for you for calling out McQueary. Sure, the guy had his job to think about, but he is morally responsible for letting the rape of a 10 year old occur, and for allowing Sandusky to continue his predatory sexual assaults.

  • Glodson

    A thing to point out: McQueary was 28 at the time. When the story first broke, I believed that McQueary was much younger, like early, early 20′s. I had this belief partially because McQueary called his own father after witnessing the rape.

    And then the next morning was when they went to Paterno. So fuck McQueary and his dad.

    Oh, and it should be noted that Paterno had to know that Sandusky was accused of this thing before. I’ve read one report were charges were filed, but never went anywhere, in 1998. I’ve also heard there might have been allegations dating back to 1994. So Paterno had to know of this, and likely McQueary as well. Oh, and Sandusky was told to stop showering with little boys. In 19-fucking-98.

    And guess who was at the Penn State campus despite retiring in 1998? Sandusky. Sorry, JT, there is one error in your blog. McQueary didn’t work with Sandusky in 2002, or since. Sandusky left in 1998. But McQueary had to have seen him often in the subsequent years as Sandusky was a mainstay on campus, even maintained an office there.

    Did you know that Sandusky had a charity that helped under-privileged youths and there’s been allegations on how he used that organization as well? The entirity of the Penn State Football program seems to have been enabling this monster for nearly two decades(if the 1994 allegation report is accurate) by turning a blind eye.

  • BenSix

    How the hell do you see something like that and walk away? How are you not in the shower forcibly separating Sandusky from his victim and then dragging his ass to the police yourself?

    Oh, come on now, it’s not as if he was a 6 foot, 240lb football player against a 58-year-old…

    What? Oh, hang on…

    Yes, that’s precisely what he was. Why didn’t he? I guess the notion of authority can intimidate people as surely as a physical threat.

  • Otrame

    He didn’t do anything because he wanted a job there and knew that the shit that would fly would end, among other things, his career there. He had just enough decency to try to move the problem to Paterno and then washed his hands. I’m sure he told himself that Sandusky not being able to bring boys to the showers meant he couldn’t rape them anymore so everything was okay.

    He’s a fucking coward and despicable human being and having his name dragged out like this is what he deserves.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant working with the team, saw Sandusky going down on a ten year-old boy in the showers.

    Eh? The versions I’ve read seem to agree that he saw “anal sex” (not technically incompatible with “going down”, but how could our wonderful press corps pass up a chance to titillate with descriptions of anilingus?) as the form of rape Sandusky practiced.