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Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

Posted on: November 12th, 2011 by Ashley

Nobody’s perfect. That is obvious from the “long list of missed opportunities” to intervene in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. It took 15 years before former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was finally arrested. All along the way, people could have done something. The timeline is laid out in the indictment: See the video.

When an assistant told head coach Joe Paterno he had seen Sandusky sexually assaulting a ten year old boy in the shower, Paterno passed along the information to his superior, the athletic director. The AD and another school official are also under indictment now for allegedly covering up the incident. Paterno was not charged because he “met the bare legal requirement.” The question now is, did he do enough?

Joe Paterno is beloved at Penn State. He coached there for 60 years, the last 46 as head coach. He amassed more wins than any other major college football coach. But in the end, the Penn State board of trustees wouldn’t allow him to coach the final three games of the season. He was fired in a phone call.

  • Did Paterno get a raw deal? Some students and supporters seem to think so. They showed their support outside his home the night he was fired. Some also got rowdy in State College, throwing rocks and overturning a TV news van. What do you think?
  • What is your true responsibility when you see something that isn’t right? Is it enough to follow the letter of the law? Or is it your responsibility to personally intervene as soon as possible?
  • Have you ever seen something and kept quiet, because you didn’t want to get involved?
  • It’s been suggested that the cult of the locker room had something to do with how this case played out. It’s similar to the “blue line” among police — a code of protecting their own. How does one do the right thing and not end up as a turncoat?