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Penn State Alum Reaction: McQueary & Paterno Must Go Now, Not 2012
"How bad is this going to get?" a friend texted me early Saturday morning regarding the child sex-abuse scandal which has completely shaken the entire Penn State family, not just individuals currently in and around State College, Pennsylvania. The answer I had then remains the same half a week later.
We just don't know.
What we do know is that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been accused of sexually assaulting up to at least eight underage boys over a time span of roughly a decade. It's been widely reported that number could increase to 20 in the near future, and several "in the know" individuals I spoke with on Tuesday told me that up to 30-40 individuals coming forward with claims against Sandusky would not be "shocking." We know that numerous high profile individuals at Penn State, including Joe Paterno, were made aware that Sandusky was, at the very least, showering with a minor at a school facility back in 2002. We know that areas of Penn State's campus are now essentially crime scenes, that PSU President Graham Spanier seems on his way out the door and that Paterno will reportedly retire at the end of the current college football season. It's what we don't know, however, which continues to haunt all members of the Penn State family.
It's no longer a secret that Penn State wide receivers coach Mike McQueary is the graduate assistant who told the grand jury that he witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a minor. A distraught McQueary immediately fled the area before eventually telling both his father and Joe Paterno about the incident. Sports talk personalities such as ESPN's Mike Golic and WFAN's Mike Francesa have loudly asked the same question I've wondered since late Saturday night. Why didn't McQueary immediately stop the abuse at the time? How could he leave that child with Sandusky?
Move forward to this weekend. How can McQueary possibly be on Penn State's sideline this weekend or ever again? I spent all day Tuesday listening to Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City sports talk radio. More than a small amount of fans see McQueary, who has not and likely will not be charged in the Sandusky case, as guilty of abandoning an endangered child. He is now and forever will be nothing more than a distraction, as well as a person who needs to take the fall for what went down.
The big news Wednesday morning is that Joe Paterno has decided to retire at the end of the current campaign. Paterno, like McQueary, did nothing wrong in the eyes of the law regarding the Sandusky case, and will not be charged. Anybody in or outside of the Penn State family claiming that Paterno did absolutely nothing wrong is, well, absolutely wrong. Paterno was made aware of Sandusky's actions back in 2002, yet the former defensive coordinator was seen on the Penn State campus while with a minor as recently as 2007. How is it possible that Sandusky was allowed anywhere near Paterno, the team's facilities or the Penn State campus in the past nine years? Some may argue that Paterno obviously can't know Sandusky's whereabouts at all times. While that may be true, Penn State football begins and ends with Joe Paterno whenever the team does well on the field. I'm as big a Joe Pa fan as you'll find, but the fact remains he could have done more regarding Sandusky, and he should have years ago.
Joe Paterno has done far more for the Pennsylvania State University than most know. Financial records likely don't show all Paterno has contributed to the university during his numerous decades at Penn State. Take your Penn State fan glasses off for just a second, and pretend that PSU is nothing more than a business. When you do so and then really examine the Sandusky case, you see that everybody involved, including Joe Paterno, must be held accountable. It's an absolutely heartbreaking end to a story which sadly will stain far more than one man's legacy.
I absolutely believe Paterno, McQueary and even others involved truly do love Penn State. In times like these, individuals prove that love with selfless actions. The best thing for everybody involved, including the players on the football team, the university and both Paterno and McQueary is for those two to walk away today, November 9, and not January 2012. Fall on your swords, guys, and help Penn State begin the healing process. I don't like it and I'm certainly not happy about it, but it's what must be done.
For more: Scandal shames Penn State forever
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