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Nittany Lions king of the scandal jungle

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  November 8, 2011 09:15 PM

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joe-paterno-ap.jpgLet's not make the Joe Paterno/Penn State mess any more complicated than it has to be.

The team's former defensive coordinator was, ahem, allegedly, ahem, sexually assaulting children inside the school's football facilities. Mike McQueary, a student assistant (now a wide receivers coach), witnessed one attack in 2002, told his dad, and then told Joe Paterno. Neither McQueary nor Paterno called the cops. JoePa instead dialed up his athletic director. You know, chain of command. What's the chain of command to report a crime against a helpless child? Pick up the phone. Dial 9-1-1. Tell your pal to call his lawyer and get the hell off campus. Nope, not JoePa. A single call to the police from from a legend like Paterno himself back in 2002 might have saved multiple boys from the same fate. JoePa didn't assault anyone. He just didn't stop it from happening when he could have. He wanted to quit at the end of season. Not good enough. He (along with McQueary) should have been fired days ago. Good riddance.

(Update at 10:45 p.m.: Kudos to the Penn State Board of Trustees for dismissing Paterno and the school's president Wednesday night. But what took so long? And those "reporters" in the press conference asking questions about Paterno's "dignity" and the students protesting the Board's decision on the PSU campus were simply a disgrace. Paterno's delusion in ignoring what was going on his watch was matched by his delusion in thinking he could stick around until the end of the season.)

Jerry Sandusky -- the brains behind "Linebacker U" -- stuck around for another nine years after Paterno and others learned of this alleged sexual attack on a 10-year-old boy in the shower and was still working out on campus last week. Instead of being at Penn State, Sandusky should have been in the state pen. Sandusky (allegedly) sexually assaulted at least eight boys -- some on the Penn State campus -- while running a youth program from 1994 to 2009.

JoePa knew enough. Most successful major college football coaches are also massive, obsessive control freaks. They claim responsibility for the players, the plays, their assistants, the team's reputation and, in their minds, everything else. Players' lives are micromanaged down to the buffet line. At the Penn State level, football is a university unto itself. And no coach epitomized the all-knowing, omniscient, benevolent dictator more than Paterno. He came to power before Gaddafi, Mubarak or Saddam Hussein. Paterno's 46-year reign began during LBJ's presidency and was pre-dated only by the rise of Castro and Whitey Bulger.

His supporters were equally defiant - as hundreds of cheering fans turned out at JoePa's house Tuesday night to rally 'round the coach. His players applauded after Wednesday's retirement announcement. Paterno said he was "absolutely devastated" by the case. JoePa, 84, who makes about $1 million a year, then added he hoped the team could finish its season with "dignity and determination."

Let me help you there, Joe. There is no dignity here. This is just another reason why you can't put too much faith in any coach or player. They're not heroes, just humans. Paterno and Penn State boasted a spotless program for decades. Now, Miami, Florida, Ohio State, USC and Auburn are all West Point compared to this place.

"It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more." JoePa added. That line ought to help with next year's recruits. What parent would now want to send their kid to play anywhere near State College? Paterno, his coaches and administrators were trusted adults left to help mold young men. The program is like a religion in the Keystone State. But one of their own allegedly molested young boys and the organization -- from the top down -- covered it up. Sound familiar? Maybe Paterno can get an office in the Vatican right next to Cardinal Law's after his retirement.

Good luck to the author of Paterno's obit. You'll have to get "winningest coach of all time." "accommodated an alleged child molester," and "lost it in about 2003" all in the same sentence.

Paterno is a human cliché. Hollywood central casting's image of the old-school football coach. Check out some of these quotes attributed to Paterno:

  • "Act like you expect to get into the end zone."
  • "Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good."
  • "Publicity is like poison. It doesn't hurt unless you swallow it."
  • "Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person's control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control. If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually. People who put excellence in the first place have the patience to end up with success. An additional burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he is threatened by the success of others and he resents real excellence. In contrast, the person that is fascinated by quality is excited when he sees it in others.”

Rubbish. Where was the moral leadership here?

Too bad he never said: "Hello, police. I think my former defensive coordinator is raping little boys in our showers. Please investigate." Or how about: "I apologize. I quit now. Forgive me." That should do it.

His legacy? No longer relevant. His replacement? Bring in Jim Tressel to clean things up. The crimes and perversion that reportedly occurred are incomprehensible. Judge for yourself. Read at your own risk. The contents are sickening, graphic and brutal.

Paterno was Penn State football. Now the name of the game in Miserable Valley is (allegedly) covering up systematic (alleged) child sexual abuse. Time to puke. Paterno's exit doesn't change that at all.

This might be the ugliest sports story since the death of Len Bias. There isn't an athletic scandal north of segregation that has showcased humanity's sinister side quite like what the Nittany Lions did with this (alleged) cover-up and defacto allowance of Sandusky's (alleged) atrocities. It's certainly the worse college football scandal ever. The victims were disadvantaged children. Completely helpless. Unforgivable.

Still unsure about this? Check out what the mothers of the alleged victims have to say.

Paterno and coaches like him have too much power on and off the field. He wasn't above the law. He was the law. Keep it in house. Too big to fail. Some "father figure." The only accountability until the grand jury's report was a win-and-loss record, bowl bids and the $53 million profit the Penn State program made last year. Big-time college sports are already a joke, but this was the ultimate punch line.

Give me fried chicken and beer any day.

Don't forget to join us right here for our weekly Patriots in-game fan chat Sunday against the Jets. We'll get it started at 8 p.m. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

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