Sometimes, there is a gray area between right and wrong. Sometimes, when faced with a situation that requires a decision, the choice between doing the right thing doesn’t come easy.
This was not one of those times.
I am going to say right off the top that as it stands, we don’t know exactly what Joe Paterno did or didn’t know. But after reading the grand jury report, I’m going to say that if he did know the full extent of what was going on, there should have been no hesitation by him to make sure this ended up with the police and an arrest. That goes for all who were involved – from the grad assistant who reported it to Paterno, to the University President and anyone in between. There is no question what the right thing to do in this situation is. The fact that there was any hesitation from the G.A. on whether to report what he saw makes me sick. These men were in positions of authority with the power to right an unimaginable wrong, and they dropped the ball every step of the way. In my opinion, there is no doubt that all of these men should lose their jobs, and possibly face criminal charges.
But what strikes me as even more disgusting is how little of the fury is being directed at Jerry Sandusky, who is the center of these allegations. He is the one accused of committing the most heinous of crimes, and who should be the one feeling the vast majority of the rage that has been centered mostly on Paterno. There are no winners in this entire situation, but when a press conference is held to announce JoePa’s firing and not ONE “reporter” (more on why I put that in quotation marks later) even mentioned Sandusky’s name, you know something’s wrong.
Now, an explanation on why I put “reporters” in quotations earlier. The press conference to announce Paterno’s firing was one of the most hideous and unprofessional press events I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. What PR professional allows a press conference to get that out of hand? Their first mistake was allowing students in, knowing that there was little to no chance of their objectivity. But what struck me was that the professional journalists who were present were just as bad. Yelling out questions and accusations, making the decision look like a personal one, berating the Board of Trustees for their actions instead of reporting the news, and as I’ve said before, making the entire thing about Paterno instead of looking at the entire situation.
All in all, what is happening at Penn State right now is wrong on every level, and it is a situation full of people who failed to live up to the simple idea of right and wrong. They failed the victims over and over again, and will have to live with that the rest of their lives. And honestly, I have very little sympathy for them.