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“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
When one attempts to wrap their head around the tragic and disturbing events surrounding Penn State it’s nearly impossible not be repulsed and disappointed in fellow man.
The actions of Jerry Sandusky are vile. He is not a man, but a monster, a monster that used his power to take advantage of the powerless. He used the youthful innocence of his victims against them. There is no forgiveness for such a horrid act. Sandusky is unquestionably at the root of this calamitous scandal and the one deserving of fierce punishment, but unfortunately he is not the only person to blame.
Former Oklahoma University and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer, in an interview with the Oklahoman newspaper said,
“Having been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew that this was a secret that was kept secret. Everyone on that [staff] had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time.”
He’s right. People knew. People were aware and stood by. It all starts with McQueary.
Mike McQueary, who rightfully was placed on administrative leave Friday, is a key contributor to this entire ordeal. He saw Sandusky rape a 10-year-old boy (Victim two in the grand jury report) in the showers at the Lash Football Building at Penn State in 2002. He did nothing to stop the disgusting act. Instead he went home to speak with his father and the next day brought the information to then head football coach Joe Paterno.
Paterno a day later then informed Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curly that McQueary, then a graduate assistant, had witnessed Sandusky being involved in an inappropriate act in the showers with a young boy. A week and a half later McQueary met with Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz to discuss the events.
After a few weeks passed McQueary was contacted by Curley and informed that Sandusky’s keys to the locker room had been taken and the incident was reported to Sandusky’s charity The Second Mile.
No police informed? No authorities contacted? No further investigation? Typical questions most people would ask after seeing such a terrible activity occur in front of their own eyes. Evidently McQueary had no such questions and remained with Penn State thereafter. In fact, it was the very next year (2003) that McQueary became a full time coach.
It is exceptionally suspicious to think that someone could continue to work for an institution that all but allowed a man to get away with committing one of the worst crimes imaginable.
McQueary, Paterno, Curley and Shultz all had the power to do more. They all had the power to prevent pure evil from occurring. No man, no institution is bigger than the rights and safety of our children, yet these men stood hidden in the shadows supporting corruption and anarchy.
Curley and Shultz both stepped down after being arraigned on charges of perjury. Also, Paterno has since been relieved of his duties as head football coach.
In 1998, Sandusky was accused of sexual abuse of a child, before McQueary and the negligence of Penn State officials ever happened. Sandusky was accused, but nothing ever came of it. The case was thrown out and Sandusky was untouched. In 1999 Sandusky retired.
In the grand jury report, Victim four reports that in May, 1999 Sandusky was “emotionally upset after having a meeting with Joe Paterno in which Paterno told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State which preceded Sandusky’s retirement.” Was this the beginning of the cover up? Did Paterno know of the accusations and decide all that was necessary was to no longer allow Sandusky to be his successor?
In 2005 Ray Gricar, the district attorney who didn’t file charges against Sandusky went missing. In 2011, he was declared legally dead. His computer was found in a river with the hard drive removed. When the hard drive was finally discovered in that same river it had been destroyed. How convenient is all that for Mr. Jerry Sandusky?
Steven Turchetta was an assistant principal and head football coach at the high school attended by Victim one in the grand jury report. He testified that he often called a Second Mile student out of class to see Sandusky. He knew of students being alone with Sandusky. He described Sandusky as being controlling, clingy and needy in his relationships with students. Turchetta also states that the behavior was “suspicious.”
Eventually Victim one’s mother called the school to report sexual assault by Sandusky. The report was sent to the authorities as mandated by law. Let me repeat that, as mandated by law.
It should have never gotten to that point. It should have never advanced past the incident in 2002. It has become quite clear that those who did nothing are as responsible for these filthy crimes as the man who perpetrated them.
This was more than football. This was more than sport. This was a case of moral obligation. This was a case of human decency. Young lives could have been protected, saved.
The way a number of men remained silent enabled more foul and lewd behavior to continue. There is no way to accurately describe how pathetic and disheartening this all truly is.
There is a statue of Joe Paterno, arguably the greatest collegiate football coach to ever live standing outside of Beaver Stadium. Behind the statue is a three-sided stone wall. The left section reads,
“Joseph Vincent Paterno: Educator, Coach, Humanitarian.”
In the middle portion of this wall it reads,
“They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.”
Sadly, today none of those things are true. The lack of action among Paterno and others now leaves Penn State with a black mark, a scar that may never diminish.
On his way Paterno said he wishes he had done more. We all do Joe, we all do.
Follow Brian Moller on Twitter: @Brian_Moller