Nuking JoePa’s legacy

Bottom line:  Paterno lied until the end about what he knew.  Which means he chose to sit on his hands and cover his ass while a known pedophile abused kids on the Penn State campus.

“The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno’s,” the report said. “At the very least, Mr. Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing another child into the Lasch Building.”

But, hey, at least the all time coaching wins record is safe.

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UPDATE:  And here’s your early leader in the clubhouse in the Please, Just Shut The Hell Up Tournament.

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94 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment

94 responses to “Nuking JoePa’s legacy

  1. Doug

    It blows my mind that anyone, even the most diehard PSU fans, can still give a rat’s ass about Paterno’s legacy at this point. That’s been decided, and all that’s left for their university to do is write check after check after check to the victims until their endowment has been reduced to rubble.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, JoePa did all sorts of good for the university. Look what it’s amounted to.

  2. Objective Bama Fan

    Do you think the death penalty is on the table for Penn State? This is not just some rogue booster that paid players ala SMU.

    • D.N. Nation

      It shouldn’t be, IMO.

      The taxpayers of the State of Pennsylvania should demand a complete and thorough scrubbing of the entire athletic department. The firings and resignations should not have stopped with what happened.

      If they don’t do that, well, their moral failings aren’t up for the NCAA to weigh in on. It is what it is.

    • AmpedDawg

      Yes. One or two years at least. I personally don’t see how they don’t. This makes SMU looks like child’s play. President, Vice-President, AD, and head football coach conspiring to keep the information silent? Which allowed it to continue for years and years? Apparently the stuff that they got from the janitors was just sickening. One, a Korean War veteran, said that what he saw Sandusky doing to a young boy was the worst thing that he has ever seen in his entire life. They made a conscious decision to cover up the most abhorrent acts imaginable to protect the school, the program, and their own asses. This conduct is so criminally and morally reprehensible that I can’t see how the NCAA can do anything else. JoePa’s only lucky that he passed and didn’t wind up having to spend his last years in prison like the other three guys are likely going to have to do.

    • fetch

      Not only is it on the table, but if these allegations prove to be true, the DP may not be enough. This would be lack of institutional control taken to the highest order! Shielding an offender to get wins…much worse than anything SMU did.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Well, what would you and the guys posting above and below have the NCAA do to Penn State? I personally have a problem with punishing kids in a program now and the coaches in the program now because of the actions of a pervert years ago and of a HC and Administration that covered up what he did. Punish the bastards who acted wrongfully but not an entire respected academic institution, its student body and athletes who WEREN’T EVEN THERE AND HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

        • AlphaDawg

          Those kids would be able to transfer and play immediatly if the DP was applied.

        • Will (the other one)

          A 10 year football death penalty would be a better suited response than what will likely happen if the NCAA doesn’t act: the athletic department gets hit with, and loses, so many civil suits it has no money for any sports.
          Plus, all the cover-ups were in the interest of protecting the “greatness” of the football program, so the football program needs to take the brunt of the retribution.

          • rocksalt

            I don’t see how those two options are mutually exclusive. If I were a parent/victim, the DP wouldn’t relieve my pain or make me whole one iota.

      • TrboDawg

        I would think that the PSU situation illustrates COMPLETE institutional control…

    • sniffer

      Objective, I have wondered myself how the NCAA would respond. There’s no issues of eligibility with players (don’t think), no improper recruiting implications to be seen. I wonder if the Baylor basketball horrorship can spread any light. As I remember, the NCAA came down hard on Baylor. Not apples to apples, but neither case has the typical sports/atheletics related issues.

    • Patrick

      It’s a little scary to me that many people’s first reaction is what kind of punishment PSU should get on the field.

      Given the choice between all the administrators going to jail or PSU getting the death penalty, i think there are crazy college football fans out there who would actually choose the death penalty….just to satisfy their personal schadenfreude of seeing a competitor’s football program decline. And that’s disturbing.

      I think the motivations of calling for the death penalty have less to do with punishing guilty and more to do with reveling in another’s downfall. Which is all fine and fun with SMU, Tatgate, Camgate, etc…….but by all means, I don’t think we should elevate college football to be any part of this horror.

      • Biggus Rickus

        As this is a college football blog and not a criminal justice blog, focusing on the football side of things is totally rational. As to the reason they should get the death penalty, it would be an effort to destroy a culture that allowed a head football coach to have the run of a University. It would also send a message to any other Universities in danger of giving a coach that kind of power.

        However, if it was a choice between people going to jail over this and PSU’s football program getting the death penalty, I’m fairly certain everyone here would rather see the bad men go to jail. Fortunately, it’s not an either/or proposition.

        • Biggus Dickus

          PSU should get the death penalty to “destroy a culture that allowed a head football coach to have the run of a University.” Do you mean like Bama, bro?

          • Biggus Rickus

            Kinda. So far they’re not covering for pederasts at Bama, though.

            • Biggus Dickus

              The seeds for the same kind of coverup of wrongdoing, whatever that wrongdoing may be, certainly seem to be present at Bama just like they were at Penn state. If the object is to “destroy the culture” that leads to such things shouldn’t someone look into the deification of Saban at Bama and the over centralization of power in the Athletic Department at that school before some really bad stuff happens there, too?

              • Biggus Rickus

                Yes, I think Bama’s is a poisonous culture that should be blown up. However, as it stands they haven’t been shown to have done anything wrong that would allow an outside agency to do so.

                • Biggus Dickus

                  That we know of yet. And if something did happen would anybody ever find out given the tight control Saban has there. Remember, PSU covered this up for years and the only reason it came to light was a couple of journalists who wouldn’t let go of the thing. Do you really see that happening in the state of Alabama?

  3. D.N. Nation

    Here’s a question, obviously rooted in small concerns, but- How long will it take y’all to be able to watch a Penn State game without feeling disgusted?

    I really don’t know for me.

  4. Billy Mumphrey

    Anything that makes Auburn’s transgressions look quaint is just sad. I hope Jo Pa is remembered for what he is: a self-serving SOB with little regard for anything beyond his legacy.

  5. Derek

    My answer to Millen is “yes, it does.”. When you protect your reputation by insulating a child sex abuser, that which you were protecting is lost.

    • This is my reaction as well. How out of touch are you to think covering up – essentially condoning – this abhorrent behavior does not outweigh some “good” he did in his lifetime?

    • Joe

      As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. Ecl. 10:1

  6. WarD Eagle

    He made a mistake?

    Apparently none of Millen’s children were raped by Sandusky.

    I wonder if Millen wouldn’t mind letting Sandusky rape his children as long as PSU gets the win.

    • gastr1

      As long as there are other good acts out there. You know, like, buy the kids a few books and such and the raping is really not so bad.

  7. DawgPhan

    you know…he made a mistake, like that time you left the gate open and the dog got out…or you didnt check the date on the milk before you made your coffee…you know a little oppsie…

    • Yeah… He didn’t make a mistake. He made a DECISION to do nothing about the possibility that the most disgusting acts thinkable were happening on his watch, at his facilities, by one of his closest friends. He deserves nothing but shame, and no football glory can dilute the pain and torture that were enabled by his DECISION. I mean, I really do feel bad for the team and the fans, but only a little bit.

      And when we talk about Death Penalties, I think that the phrase should be enforced in it’s most literal of definitions.

  8. D.N. Nation

    “He made a mistake. Does that discount all the positives he did over 50 years?”

    Yes.

    • Joe

      Quoted this above, apparently Solomon agrees with you:

      As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. Eccl. 10:1

  9. Normaltown Mike

    I’m curious as to what the NCAA angle is in this? I thought their mission was to protect amateur athletics on college campi. As bad as this was (and only a murder coverup would’ve been worse) did it compromise the NCAA mission?

    I’m not complaining that they’ve done this investigation, but is this their purview or are they piling on for the sake of looking good?

    • AmpedDawg

      The NCAA hasn’t made an investigation. The Freeh Report was commissioned as a special independent investigation by the Board of Trustees of Penn State University. The NCAA hasn’t done anything yet.

    • DawgPhan

      I dont think that their mission ends at protecting athletes…they have always talked about a failure to monitor and report. It also directly involves multiple coaches and staff within the athletic department. Hard to say that this isnt a football problem when all the players are football people.

      • Hackerdog

        I have seen another source argue that there’s not much the NCAA can do. The molestation is a criminal matter that doesn’t involve any players.

        This is obviously worse than Tressel playing ineligible players. But that was an NCAA infraction.

        I think this will ultimately come down to PSU and whether the Paterno camp wins against the non-Paterno camp. I will say that, if something like this came out against someone like Vince Dooley (as a UGA hypothetical) I would want his name scrubbed from the history books.

    • sniffer

      ..”(and only a murder coverup would’ve been worse”.. Baylor would like a word with you..

  10. The Bruce

    I, for one, am sick to death of the “made a mistake” line of defense for anything any public figure does wrong, athletes in particular.
    A mistake is putting on socks that don’t match or burning your toast in the morning. Knowing that something is morally wrong and deciding to do it anyway is not a f***ing “mistake.” And if JoePa didn’t know that THIS was wrong, then exactly what the hell WOULD he define as “wrong”?

  11. HVL Dawg

    Senator,

    You were a very early voice of clarity on this. You boldly called for powerful administrators to face prison before anyone else in the media seemed to fully understood the gravity.

    It looks like Matt Millen still doesn’t understand what happened.

    Way to go and thanks.

    • Tronan

      I think Millen understands what happened, he just thinks winning football games outweighs letting a pedophile rape little boys.

      One can only hope Millen finds himself jobless by the end of the day.

      • stoopnagle

        Actually, I think Millen is just a sentimental idiot. He can grasp his hero/mentor could be so terribly wrong in his actions.

  12. Derek

    On a practical note can we claim the 1982 national title now?

  13. hassan

    How in the hell did Bobby Bowden suddenly look like the more upstanding coach of the two?!?

  14. Rossdawg

    I would like to see them vacate every post-1998 win JoPa had.

  15. cube

    “He made a mistake.”

    A mistake. Nice subtle attempt to try to condense it all down into a single incident.

    • WFdawg

      You and Bruce are right. “Made a mistake” is a reprehensible euphemism for Paterno’s conduct, both in terms of its extent and severity. Millen has utterly come unmoored from any sense of perspective here.

  16. Hobnail_Boot

    Would you say JoePa shit his pants?

    Metaphorically speaking, of course.

  17. Heathbar09

    Takes 50 years to build a reputation and a couple of months to tear it down. Damn straight the “mistake” he made discounts every positive he has ever done.

  18. K-Dawg

    I wonder if any of the current dbs can help out at UGA. They are going to need a place to play. Can we also get the National Championship trophy that those criminal won sent to us. I’ll take the title with an *.

  19. OKDawg

    As if the years of turning his head wasn’t horrible enough for someone like Millen to acknowledge, what about the fact that JoePa continued to allow Sandusky access to the facilities AFTER his retirement? Take away his keys!!! Tell security to keep him away!!! Anything!!! I’m dumbstruck by this part of the story – and all of it is impossible to comprehend. Did he have no soul?

  20. Scorpio Jones, III

    Paterno is one of the reasons no college coach will be allowed to hang around till they are legends ever again.

    Every bowl win gives them a little more power. I am most certainly not defending Mike Adams in any way shape manner or form, but he’s what you get when you open yourself to a scourging as we did following Jan Kemp.

    I don’t understand what possible business the NCAA has sticking their noses into what clearly to me is outside their purview, but that probably won’t stop them.

    If you think Paterno was the only coach who had the power to cover up something like this you are dreaming.

    The egregious nature of the problem makes it easy to ignore the obvious message that is going out to every college president with a big time sports program to deal with….”get control, get it now, don’t ever let go of it.”

    University presidents helped create this atmosphere by taking the safe, easy way out….and the tail wagged the dog.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      And to reply to myself, Joe Paterno came up with a defense few other coaches in this precarious position can emulate….he died.

      Best thing Joe did in years.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        You raise an interesting point SJ. I am beginning to think that the timing of JoePa’s death is a little too convenient. Strange coincidence don’t you think? This happens and almost immediately JoePa is diagnosed with cancer and dies?

        • Scott

          What are you implying? That he committed suicide? That he was murdered?

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I’m not implying anything. It just seems a little too convenient is all. I don’t think murder is likely as that would be investigated by authorities but taking poison and having a cover story of cancer seems doable. You would have to have the cooperation of doctors to pull it off, though. Does anybody know if JoePa was cremated?

    • AmpedDawg

      I would agree with the sentiments of many people who know the NCAA inner workings better than I do that if this was just Jerry Sandusky then they might not get involved but it is a tough case to make that the Sandusky vile crimes were tied to the athletic program in a way that opened the school up to NCAA sanctions. I think that what the emails that have been released show, and what was concluded by the Freeh Report, is that while there existed a chain of command, it could be manipulated by the football coach to the detriment of the program, the university, and the NCAA as a whole. To me the Freeh Report gives the NCAA a stepping stone to get involved even if we might be talking a new precedent in the Loss of Institutional Control arena.

      • Hackerdog

        The problem is that, in my limited understanding, Lack of Institutional Control is a charge in conjunction with NCAA infractions. If a coach is paying players (NCAA infraction) and his superiors know it and do nothing, then the NCAA can add the Lack of Institutional Control charge.

        This case doesn’t involve any NCAA infractions. Child molestation is certainly more serious and disgusting than paying players, or players accepting benefits. But, it’s not an NCAA infraction.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Not saying any of the above is wrong or even not justified. However, the folks who actually run the NCAA…that would be the college presidents, would be toppling over a very slippery slope if they allowed a sports governing body to involve itself it what clearly is an administrational issue and not in the scope of the NCAA’s mandate.

          And, since I spent a long, long time toiling in the trenches of the newspaper business, I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to the two or three local reporters and the owners of their papers who kept after this story for all the years it took to finally get national attention focused.

          They, by God, finished the damn drill.

        • AmpedDawg

          Sorry. I didn’t really expand on what I was saying in the last sentence about a new “precedent” with LOIC. You are correct in that in the past LOIC has been a charge in conjunction with other NCAA violations. Where I was going was the possibility of the NCAA going a new direction and using abuse of power by the football coach, the cover ups that went from the football program all the way to the highest individual officer of the university as a whole, the breaking of laws (perjury), the disregard for criminal laws by all parties for the purpose of protecting the reputations of the coach, the program, and the university, etc. show a complete and total LOIC and punish them for that. Let’s face it…the NCAA hasn’t been shy in the past by setting new precedent in the way it does things.

        • Macallanlover

          Your point is causing me to re-think my position. I have been listening to hours of this today on satellite radio as I drove and felt if you have the DP arrow in your quiver at all, this is the best example of when it should be used. I also felt if any situation was an example of a “lack of institutional control”, this would also be it. So I was comfortable the right move would be to remove PSU football from the campus. Now, I am thinking the NCAA may not have that authority at all. It may have to be a self-imposed penalty by the University themselves and I lack confidence they will step up to the issue.

          The “gray area” which could justify NCAA intervention is the damage to the CFB “product”. This entire mess (lack of action, not the base crimes themselves) was the result of the desire to protect Penn State football’s reputation, and that of its leader. PSU also hosted numerous camps for young people because it was an NCAA D1 program. Gets a little fuzzy, but I agree with you, it probably violates no specific regulation.

          I just know it doesn’t seem right to let the program continue to exist. There is no way to watch a PSU football game, or hear the Paterno name, without this whole tasteless scandal coming to mind. Perhaps they should dissolve the scholarship athlete program for football and compete with Ivy League schools, or DIII teams as true student athletes.

          • Hackerdog

            I agree that it doesn’t seem right. But I would be really nervous giving Mark Emmert essentially unlimited power to police college campuses for teams violating NCAA rules, or not violating them.

            If every charge of emerging from an alley is met by a call from an NCAA investigator, then I don’t want that toothpaste getting out of the tube.

            I would prefer to leave the mess for PSU, the local authorities, and the state of Pennsylvania to solve.

    • sniffer

      Scorpio, its already happened at Alabama and the legend grows every day

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Sniffy….if you mean the tail at Bama is wagging the elephant, of course, but there are many, many more than just Bama….many more.

        In fact I would postulate that any of this could have happened at any number of big time football schools you could name. The difference at Ohio State, for instance, is that there was no child abuse involved (if you don’t consider men in their late teens and early 20’s children, otherwise all the elements are present.

  21. Dog in Fla

    This just in from Detroit on “the early leader in the clubhouse”: Matt Millan’s positive vibes for Joe should be treated in equal measure to that of Elon’s sympathy for the Cardinal

    https://twitter.com/elongreen/status/216224187344371712

  22. Scott

    Now that the evidence has been gathered and the report released, I will have to own up to my prior mistake in vehemently defending JoePa on this board.

    I apologize to the Senator and everyone else I attacked on here.

    It is pretty clear now from the report that Paterno did participate in covering up for Sandusky, thus enabling Sandusky to further perpetrate more crimes. guess it was the email about the meeting that finally did it for me. It was an immoral and unethical act.

    Why did JoePa do it.? I don’t think it was entirely to protect against bad publicity for PSU or to cover for an old friend. I still think the fact that it was “male on male” abuse played a role. There is a stigma, especially among Joe Pa’s generation, attached to gay sex abuse and its just not spoken about except in whispers. What happened at PSU in my mind is similar to the scandals that have rocked the the Catholic Church. The powers in charge just stuck their head in the sand, were in massive denial, and seemed to magically think the problem would go away. I bet if the PSU victims had been young girls, this story would have ended differently.

    • ChicagoDawg

      Well done. It is a sad and tragic deal on so many levels.

      I can’t claim credit for it nor can remember where I heard it, but this quote sums up Paterno’s actions (cowardice) the best….. “when should have done the most, he chose to do the least.” Sandusky chose to prey on the most vulnerable kids possible, kids he was supposed to be helping with his foundation, and he was enabled by powerful men who could have stood in the breach for these boys.

    • Believe me, I take no pleasure in being right about this.

      And your Catholic Church comparison is an apt one.

  23. Rebar

    This just makes me appreciate Mark Richt all the more. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t happen on his watch.

    • Biggus Rickus

      In fairness, Paterno fans would have said the same thing before all of this came out.

      • Rebar

        That is true, but Coach Richt has shown no hesitation in the case of Crowell (#1 back) and Mett in sending them down the road. Coach Richt has shown that integrity is part of his make up.

        • Biggus Rickus

          I agree. I’m just saying that we never really know.

          • Biggus Dickus

            As you correctly point out bro, I am certain that nobody at Penn State save those involved would have ever suspected that their longtime DC was a child molesting pervert. If a UGA HC had decided to hire Sandusky as our DC, well I hate to even think about it. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.

  24. stokedaboutUGA

    I do not believe this is really a NCAA issue. It obviously opens a few more legal doors, criminal and civil. But as a football fan I am more interested in seeing what actions the PSU trustees take.

  25. shane#1

    All power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is a criminal matter, I don’t see the NCAA being involved at all. Besides, they would probably screw it up anyway.

  26. mike

    Penn State University and its trustee should immediately impose a mandatory 5 year ban to its football program. In conjunction, they should fine the athletic department all the profit made by the athletic program in 2011. Unfortunately, it will not be enough as this will pale in comparison to the final criminal and civil settlement costs which should reach a staggering $200-300 million range. Hang on folks. You are going to see how bad bad can get.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I’m not as certain as you are about that. The University may be able to distance itself legally from the activities of, Sandusky, Paterno, the AD, the President, etc. Respondeat Superior (the concept that the employer is responsible for the actions of its employees for civil liability purposes) has limits. There have been cases in Georgia, one for example, where a telephone repairman raped a woman yet the telephone company was let off the hook because that activity was outside the scope of the repairman’s employment. I haven’t researched Pa law but that argument, for legal purposes, possibly exists there.

    • Biggus Rickus

      The problem for them is that they’ll probably need the football revenue to cover the court settlements. So unless the NCAA steps in, which while unprecedented in this kind of case (as if this kind of case could possibly have a precedent) would not be the first time the NCAA has made up enforcement rules on the fly, Penn State football will exist for the foreseeable future.

    • Scott

      I can’t see any scenario where football is banned. PSU has already been through a lot. And football is what makes that town. The games are what bring in alums and drives donations. The school and community would be terribly harmed if a football ban were imposed. It sounds like you want PSU to shutter its doors.

      As far as the settlements go, there might significant insurance through Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Assn. Insurance Co, which is in litigation with PSU over the extent of its responsibility for coverage. I imagine PSU and its carrier will reach a settlement as to the amount of contribution. Penn State also has general and professional liability insurance. The university said it expects its general liability and directors and officers insurance policies to cover the defense claims brought against the school, its officers, employees and trustees, The figures you throw out seem high, but i guess it depends on the number of victims and the strength of their individual cases. I can’t see PSU paying more than $50-75 million out of its own coffers for settlements, and the legal defense costs will be entirely covered by insurance.

  27. Dawgfan Will

    Two thoughts:

    1) The idea of even the most devoted Penn State fan defending Paterno’s legacy now baffles me. As I said when news of this first leaked, if Mark Richt (whom I venerate at a level some would say is unhealthy), was ever revealed to have engaged in similar inaction, I would have just as negative an opinion of him as I do of Paterno now.

    2) As far as the NCAA getting involved is concerned, I agree with others above that this is out of their purview. However, I think this could easily open the door for an intense NCAA investigation into Penn State’s institutional control (or lack thereof) in another way. The e-mails referenced in the Freeh Report indicate that these men wanted to handle this “in-house.” To me, the logical question would be: if they wanted to handle a child molester in this manner, what other infractions (including criminal and non-criminal student-athlete infractions) might they have handled similarly in the past four decades? I don’t really see how the NCAA can’t look into it; hell, they went after AJ Green for a matter that was revealed by circumstances unrelated to his infraction.

  28. A mistake is a one time, spur of the moment type thing. This was a choice Paterno, and others that had knowledge, made every single day since at least 2001. Any day during that 11 year period one of them could have said, you know what this is wrong, I am no longer going to allow this man to be around children knowing what I know. None of them did. No ammount of good deeds in a lifetime can make up for that.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      That’s very well said…you are right, this was a conscious decision, made over time.

  29. Vacate

    The NCAA should vacate every win since 1998. If ever that punishment fit a NCAA situation, this is it. Paterno loses his name in the record book. Wasn’t that what drove all this in the first place? The courts can handle the rest.

  30. Thank you, Senator, for fielding some tough shit as honestly as possible. Yet again, this board proves to be the best for thinking out the toughest stuff possible. You should really hand it to yourself.

    I feel like I should try to say something really smart on my own blog. But I really just don’t have it in me to even try.

    I grew up in Alabama, and my grandfather was a huge JoePa fan. He went to ‘Bama, and he had seen PSU vs. ‘Bama in those epic games, ‘Bama vs. PSU in the late seventies. I remember several football Saturdays when I was a young guy, listening to him talking about how much of a great guy Joe Pa was. I’m sure many of us have memories like that.

    I only hope these guys fry. If the NCAA doesn’t figure out a way to give these fuckers the last knock, there’s just no justice. There’s really just nothing else to say about the situation. Just a foul and disgusting episode that shows how bad humanity can get. I hate saying that, it seems dramatic, but in this case, it’s mild.

    To think we were arguing about oversigning last summer.

    • Macallanlover

      I have to admit I was among those who disliked Paterno when he was whining aabout his rankings in the 60s and early 70s while playing a cupcake schedule but still admired him regarding his “seemingly” doing things right. All that has gone with the wind over the past 9 months. The judgements we now know he made on something this significant tells me there was much being swept under the rug in Happy Valley. This isn’t a tainted reputation, this is a permanent stain on Paterno and the university.

  31. Faulkner

    Leaders and legends rings hollow doesn’t it?