As of Thursday night, former Penn State quarterback Mike McQueary is still employed at his alma mater as wide receivers coach, a fact that seems to be infuriating just about everyone in the wake of the thorough house-cleaning among his superiors since Sunday night. The head coach, athletic director and university president were all out of a job by Wednesday night because of what they knew (or didn't bother to find out) about repeated sexual assaults against children by longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
What they did know, they knew because McQueary told them directly. What McQueary knew, he knew because (allegedly) he saw it with his own eyes in a locker room shower in 2002. Only McQueary had an opportunity to physically stop an assault and catch Sandusky red-handed, and he didn't. Nine years later, only he still has a job.
That was enough of a problem that new interim coach Tom Bradley suggested McQueary might swap his usual place on the sideline for the press box during Saturday's visit from Nebraska, for his own safety. By late Thursday evening, after a day of increasing press and corresponding vitriol focused in McQueary's direction, it had become such an overwhelming problem that the university decided it's too dangerous to allow McQueary to do that job anywhere in Beaver Stadium this weekend:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Due to multiple threats made against Assistant Coach Mike McQueary, the University has decided it would be in the best interest of all for Assistant Coach McQueary not to be in attendance at Saturday's Nebraska game.
The implication in the statement is that McQueary will be back for road trips at Ohio State and Wisconsin to close the regular season, a bowl game and the Big Ten championship game if the Lions hold on to the top spot in the Leaders Division. After that, the implication of everything that's happened over the last 48 hours is that the longest-tenured, most stable coaching staff in the country will be dismantled for its first transition to an outsider in 60 years, McQueary included.
In a case like this one, it's always important to remember that we don't know what we don't know: McQueary has been unable to give his side of the story even if he wanted to because of a grand jury investigation. Penn State's decision to keep him on while more tenured heads roll could have some legal basis, or could be based on mitigating circumstances that aren't part of the public record. But based on the facts as laid out by the Pennsylvania attorney general, a 6-foot-5 athlete in his late 20s who not only chooses not to intervene with a 58-year-old man in the process of abusing a boy, but continues to fail to intervene as the same man remains a fixture around the program for the better part of a decade is not a viable coach.
McQueary may have fulfilled his legal obligation by passing what he saw on to his boss, but he'll never be able to look his own players or recruits in the eye again and honestly say he's always looking out for their best interests. If public opinion is stacked so heavily against you that you no longer feel safe showing your face in your own stadium in your own hometown, you'll be lucky if you ever set foot on a major college field again.
More Penn State scandal coverage:
• PSU victims' lawyer: Firing Paterno was a mistake
• Pat Forde: Joe Paterno's firing prompts chaos, sadness at PSU
• Dan Wetzel: Process of healing begins for Penn State