Taking The Blame

Jullian Passman For decades, the Penn State football program was a model for collegiate football. The school’s “great experiment” held players to high academic and moral standards.” In Happy Valley, the architect, Joe Paterno, was an icon. Paterno was a man who stood for hard work, ethical conduct, and being a principled citizen. His reputation was untarnished until recently when child abuse allegations surfaced involving his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky has been accused of abusing eight children over a ten-year period.  For ten years, many people either witnessed or heard about the horrific actions taking place on the Penn State campus. None of the witnesses however, reported the events to the police. In 1999, a mother reported sexual misconduct by Sandusky to university officials. Police were not informed.  In 2000, a janitor witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a child, he reported it to his advisor. Once again the police were not informed. In 2002, a graduate assistant working with the team, witnessed Sandusky abusing yet another child in the Penn State locker room. He told his father and head coach Joe Paterno. Paterno then proceeded to tell the Athletic Director and Vice President of the university about what he had heard, but police were not informed. In my opinion, Paterno partially did what he was supposed to do. Although he should have informed authorities, informing his boss was the next best thing he could have done. I am not excusing him from the scandal; however, he did at least attempt to resolve the problem, which was Jerry Sandusky. Even though Jerry Sandusky committed these horrible acts, the whole community, including Paterno is partially to blame for being silent about the matter.   On November 9th, head football coach Joe Paterno was fired along with President Graham Spainer. Most found it unfathomable that Paterno could know something so horrifying and not report it to authorities. However, Paterno is not the only one who should be blamed. The mother, janitor, assistant coach, athletic director, vice president, and countless others knew about the matter and didn’t report anything to the police. Along with Sandusky, Paterno became the face of the scandal to the nation. As a national figure, Paterno received the ire of the nation. While Paterno wasn’t innocent, the entire Penn State community let the children, student body and players down. However, I believe that the anger directed at Paterno should include all those who remained quiet during these horrendous events.]]>