Some PSU Talk

Posted: July 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 56 Comments »

I’ll put up an Eagles post a bit later on.  Right now the hot topic is Penn State and the Freeh report.  I know there are more than a few PSU fans among IB readers so I figured I’d share some thoughts.  Apologies in advance for the rambling nature of my thoughts.

The report says Joe Paterno did know about the 1998 incident, which he had denied.  Knowing about that incident and then the 2001 incident and not taking decisive action is about as damning as  it gets.  One incident should be enough, but you do have to factor in the standard reaction we’d all have if a friend was accused of something like that … “Him?  No way. I’ve known that guy x-amount of years.  He’s no sicko.  There must be some mistake.”

Two incidents?  Call the cops and immediately ban Jerry Sandusky from the campus.  To let him continue to come around is just baffling.  I don’t get that.

Basically it sounds like Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz were so concerned about protecting PSU’s image that they focused on that and not Sandusky’s actions or his victims.  What an absolute tragedy.  They had a chance to do the right thing, but no one had the courage to do it.  Sad.

People will want to talk about Paterno’s legacy.  We can’t know about that.  A legacy is partially driven by time.  Right now this case is all we can think about.  That might change in 10 or 20 years.  Or it might not.  Time will tell on that one.   I’m no Paterno apologist.  I’ve always been a bit uneasy with the JoePa worship.

Should Paterno’s statue be taken down?  I don’t have a definitive opinion on that.  What do you guys think?

What should the punishment be?  First, I would have to think that Spanier, Curley, and Schultz will be facing serious legal issues.  They could face civil lawsuits.  PSU will be sued big time and pay out some mega-bucks.  This goes beyond the NCAA.

Some have speculated that the football program should get the death penalty.  That would be ridiculous.  No player did anything wrong.  There was no cheating.  There was nothing that affected games or student behavior off the field.  This is about a sick man preying on children and then his bosses covering that up.

The NCAA won’t necessarily think logically on this so I can’t say the death penalty is off the table.  It should be.  Again, punishing the players makes no sense.  They did nothing … NOTHING … wrong.

The NCAA could ban PSU from going to bowls.  That would hurt the program/school financially.  The NCAA could let them go, but then donate all profits (or maybe just all the money period) to charities and/or victims.

One of the keys here is to try and have the punishment make some sense.  Sandusky is in prison.  Paterno is dead.  The other three officials are gone and have serious legal concerns.  The football staff is new.  The officials are new.  No one at the school needs to be punished.

I understand that the public wants to see PSU punished.  They will be.  I just hope that this isn’t a case where people come after the school for the sake of it.  I know that will happen a bit, but hope it is kept under control.  Yes, I’m a PSU fan, but I know there is a price to be paid for the behavior of the men at the top.  I just can’t stress this enough…they’re gone.  Don’t destroy the program for the sake of it.  That punishes the kids on the team, the current coaches, and the fans.  Accomplishes nothing.

The goal should be to have the program do something that benefits others.  The team could generate a lot of money for victims and/or charities.  Let some good come of this.

We’ll see what happens.  I have a feeling some dark days are ahead.

* * * * *

The other side of this…how do we feel as PSU fans?  Can I cheer for the team?  Can I enjoy 3 hours each Saturday or will I be overcome with some sense of guilt?

I don’t know.

I can’t imagine not being a PSU fan, but I’m not sure what this season will be like.  For now, I’m planning to watch the games and cheer for the team, but I might get an uneasy feeling in my gut in the season opener.  I might not be able to stay a PSU fan.

I hope I can.  I’ve cheered for the team for more than 30 years.  I have lots of great memories.  I just don’t know how I’ll feel when I go to watch a game.  Heck, I’ve got a knot in my stomach right now as I just sit and type this.  I can’t imagine not being a PSU fan, but then again…I never could have imagined PSU covering up a molestation scandal.  Certainly not Joe Paterno.

Why Joe, why?

* * * * *

Please share your thoughts.  Disagree all you want, but please keep the tone civil.  This is a hot button issue.  People can get very emotional with a topic like this.

56 Comments on “Some PSU Talk”

  1. 1 Dave_King said at 12:17 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I’m going to be an incoming freshman this year at University Park. Honestly, I was just so disappointed seeing this report. I had been making excuses for JoePa, but now it appears he was just as guilty as the rest of the brass in this case. It’s not going to affect me – I’ll still go to Penn State, go to classes, go to parties, go to football games, but I hope that the rest of the Penn State community and I will remember this and make the right decision if any of us ever get involved in a situation like this.

    Also, a writer named John Infante was pointing out on Twitter that he thought there was a possibility that the Department of Education might get involved, and that they could deny students who go to PSU from obtaining federal aid. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it seems grossly unfair to me.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 12:25 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I saw a Tweet about the DOE and that didn’t make sense to me. Why punish current students for crimes committed by school officials in the past?

  3. 3 Jack Waggoner said at 12:48 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    But if they don’t do something other than talk, what does that inactivity say about the organizations that are tasked with making sure this type of thing is no longer tolerated?

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 12:51 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Guys got fired. The 3 officials might be going to jail. The school will pay out tens of millions of dollars to victims. And that’s all non-NCAA stuff. No one is getting away with anything here.

  5. 5 Jack Waggoner said at 1:27 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    If the program and the school itself aren’t taken to account, doesn’t that only encourage more institutional cover-ups in the future? How do we send a message to all large institutions about at what point it is no longer OK to cover up criminal behavior?

  6. 6 Anders said at 3:11 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Should you punish all current students there went to PSU in good faith?

  7. 7 izzylangfan said at 12:53 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I don’t mean to excuse Penn State University in any way but what it did was exhibit the same organizational behavior that we see all the time. It is no different than the Catholic Church protecting its pedophile priests, the New Orleans Saints covering up their bounty program, (all the defensive players at least knew and do you really believe the owners and everyone in management didn’t), and the NFL itself justifying collusion and the lack of integrity in Saints bounty program investigation. In the end all the Saints players are going to get off, because as bad as the bounty program was, Roger Goodell and the NFL are worse. But Penn State did was what almost all organizations do: they put the organization first and they closed ranks.

    As to the punishment for Penn State it is the University not the football program that deserves the most punishment. Yes the pedophile criminal was in the program and Paterno did partake in the cover-up. But they did not violate recruiting or scholarship rules. Rather the whole University power structure was involved. One also must believe that some phone calls were lobbed in to powerful people (for example members of the Board of Trustees) for which we have no record. Most of the punishment should be imposed at the University level. Though some punishment at the football program level might be appropriate. Disgorgement of football revenue from the University for a couple of years sounds good to me. The punishment has got to be big enough so Universities will consider the effect of potential penalties when they are putting the University first – as they always will.

  8. 8 mkivland said at 12:59 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    They’re in a damn near impossible spot. Not punishing the football program and naysayers will say that you’re once again protecting the program over the horrible crimes. The innocent ‘current football players’ argument won’t work too well with these folks as they’ll say the innocent kids didn’t deserve to be victims either. Rock. Hard place. Don’t envy PSU’s position, the NCAA’s position, or current student-athletes position. I do think the punishment should be swift, harsh, and far-reaching. I would encourage them to be creative as I do think the University deserves to be absolutely hammered on this. Maybe not a death penalty per se, but damn near it.

    @8f02fda23feb430bef63f316e6e3b06a:disqus Just because a few organizations have acted in that manner when faced with a scandal doesn’t make it right or the status quo. I don’t think using the Catholic Church’s handling of child molestation as a defense is conducive to any argument, ever.

  9. 9 Jack Waggoner said at 1:09 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Same sort of institutional behavior at work. When the reputation of the institution becomes all-important, these cover-ups are probably inevitable. Who knows how many such things have been covered-up and are yet to be discovered at institutions all over the US and worldwide.

  10. 10 izzylangfan said at 1:32 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I did not defend the Catholic Church in any way. You need to read the entire post. What I might have said were that these actions while they are horrible they are also human. This is not to excuse them but to help craft a punishment that effectively addresses the human aspect so as to be an effective deterrent.

  11. 11 Jack Waggoner said at 1:40 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Indeed, the problem is in the culture. Being a “rat” in almost any group will get one “shunned”.

  12. 12 mkivland said at 7:01 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Wasn’t trying to say you were defending the Catholic church. If that’s what you inferred from my post then perhaps I worded it poorly. My main point as John Dalberg-Aston once said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” doesn’t make it right. Could you imagine what Joe Pa’s legacy would’ve been had he busted a 30 year friend on molestation? By no means an easy decision, but history would’ve shown him as a man of unwavering and iron-clad character.

    ….A pretty smart man once said “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 3:20 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    @ MKivland…this really is a tough spot for everyone. Dan Wetzel (a great writer) said on the radio earlier that the NCAA should just stay out of it and let the legal stuff happen. Some people will go to jail. All will be sued. PSU would be sued. Is taking 5 scholarships away going to change anything?

    Of course, Dan later said there’s no way that will happen. He thinks the NCAA will act based on public opinion rather than using logic. If so, not good for PSU.

  14. 14 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:31 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    i’m not a college fb fan at all, so i dont really care about PSU too much…
    that said, i really wouldnt want to watch their games every week just to hear everyone talk about it before, during, and after the game every week.

    we see it all the time in the NFL – like the ‘dream team’ thing. we heard about that one a thousand times a day. it made it hard to listen to eagles news, and that was pretty much insignificant compared to PSU! i can’t imagine the media firestorm that is going to happen each and every game….
    going to the games would probably still be ok, but trying to watch/listen from home could be rough…

  15. 15 Jack Waggoner said at 1:51 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    So the Browns took Josh Gordon with a 2nd rounder. To me, based on everything I’ve been hearing about him, that sounds ridiculously out of line.

  16. 16 Mac said at 2:52 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Quick, someone get on twitter and let Tom Heckert know where his marbles are! (my guess is that Howie Roseman stole them)

  17. 17 ACViking said at 2:39 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Re: What did Joe Know in 1998 and When did He Know it?


    Not to cut to fine a line here, but I think the “conventional wisdom” emerging in the media reports about what JoPa knew in 1998 may be more harsh than the investigative report actually supports.

    According to the report, none of the principals spoke to Louis Freeh and his investigators. Paterno has died and the remainder are in serious legal trouble.

    So Freeh’s report relies only contemporaneous notes and emails — and, consequently, his interpretation of what those notes and emails mean.

    Before going to the substance, just a couple of quick thoughts about the process and the evidence.

    1. Anyone who’s ever taken notes of a meeting and looked back at them after a substantial passage of time would have to agree that the notes sometimes can be less the clear and even ambiguous — especially if the author is unavailable to discuss them. Also, notes, by their very nature, are incomplete.

    2. Louie Freeh and his firm are being paid by the University. Speaking as someone who’s
    done internal investigations for large corporations, the goal
    generally is getting the facts to a target audience such as the US Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Congress, and — occasionally — the general public.

    Though left unspoken by the client, the investigating counsel knows the client wants all the facts out, but so that they’re presented — emphasized — in the best light given the purpose of the investigation.

    The typical investigation usually reveals “renegade” employees and suggests a handful of new procedures to prevent the same problem from occurring. Generally, though, problems that require full-throttled investigations by outside counsel do not happen again.


    A review of Freeh’s report on the evidence regarding what happened in 1998 shows that the higher-ups at PSU knew about *allegations* against Sandusky. JoPa was made aware of the allegations against a guy he considered his friend. Emails and notes show JoPa followed up periodically by asking high level administrators the status of the Sandusky situation.

    Eventually, the DA’s office refused to press charges. (An evaluation of the 11 year-old victim, right or wrong, left the DA’s office with enough doubts that no charges were filed.)

    And JoPa learned that no charges would be filed. At that point, I think a fair conclusion — from the incomplete record of notes and emails — is that Paterno’s concerns about Sandusky’s conduct were allayed.

    I’m not saying that is *actually* what happened. And I’m not part of the JoPa fantasy team.

    I’m just offering a cautionary note about the foundation for Freeh’s conclusions. Based on the evidence regarding the 1998 incident, I’d argue It’s not an unfair
    interpretation of the evidence through the eyes of a guy getting his
    information 2nd and 3rd hand from the PSU administration.

    And there may be subsequent evidence that shows JoPa knew or turned a blind eye.

    Regardless, as an institution Penn State failed these kids.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 3:12 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Interesting as always.

  19. 19 Mac said at 3:34 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    A truthful, and cautionary tale.

    Foolish is the man who simply takes the word of another, particularly when that “other” is attempting to make a profit off what he is telling you.

  20. 20 mkivland said at 7:20 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Completely agree with not taking Freeh report as concrete fact. My only contention with your post would be what if Joe knew prior to ’98, prior to recorded emails, and years before any 11 year old went to the police? It could go either way. Friends for 30+ years, Joe Pa may have been using the defense mechanism of repression to block out unwanted thoughts about his friend until it hit him in the face. Joe was in a tough spot. Hard to say if he’s a scapegoat or getting a break in the Freeh report.

  21. 21 Arby1 said at 9:01 PM on July 13th, 2012:

    “The typical investigation usually reveals “renegade” employees and
    suggests a handful of new procedures to prevent the same problem from
    occurring. Generally, though, problems that require full-throttled
    investigations by outside counsel do not happen again. So investigative
    reports sometimes are just for show.”
    Although given Freeh’s status as former head of the FBI, I think this report carries a lot of weight. Indeed, new state investigations and prosecutions are likely to be the outcome of it.

  22. 22 33% God said at 3:06 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Penn State helped Jerry Sandusky rape children. Say that over and over to yourself and you’ll probably find yourself supporting the harshest penalties out there. I am a Temple alum so perhaps these views are skewed by the bile Penn State inspires in me but their football program should be suspended for at least as long as Sandusky’s jail sentence. Now I too am not entirely comfortable with the punishing of innocent players, but you have to consider some points.

    The financial hammer is going to drop, that is for sure. We know that the education department is tinkering with the idea of suspending financial aide to Penn students in order to discourage school attendance and thus hit their pockets hard (which might also hurt class quality). Quite honestly that is stupid and convoluted. But the greater point to be realized is that there is no financial punishment that doesn’t also serve as a student punishment. In suspending the football program we’d be only affecting a small number of students, much smaller than any other punishment I can fathom. And we all know that the good players will find other schools to attend and pursue their football career without any cloud hanging over their head. Penn State will be publicly humiliated, given a financial hit that probably won’t be extensive and a message will be sent to the rest of the schools in the country. Plus, what a poetic way to shut down a place called Happy Vally.

  23. 23 TommyLawlor said at 3:17 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I think saying “Penn State helped Jerry Sandusky rape children” goes a bit far. That makes it sound like the whole school played some part in this. We’re talking about the silence of 4 people. That’s it.

    I do understand where you’re coming from. This was a terrible situation and there should be hell to pay. I just want to make sure that we’re not overly harsh on innocent people. If any of the 4 were still in place, that’d be completely different. They’re gone.

    The program does need some kind of general punishment, but I think suspending it for the length of the Sandusky sentence is overboard, by a lot.

  24. 24 Mac said at 3:41 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    The striking thing to me in the Freeh report was his pointing the finger at and making the board of trustees culpable. This is a case in which there wasn’t (evidently) enough of a balance of power to hold the 4 men who made the wrong call in check.

    Is the purpose of all this to correct a problem, or to dismantle an organization?

  25. 25 TommyLawlor said at 3:58 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Yeah, the BOT angle was interesting. I’m not sure what to make of that.

  26. 26 Mac said at 4:05 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    On a completely unrelated note, couldn’t figure out how to get my yahoo account to sync up with disqus so i created a disqus account.

  27. 27 MidnightGreenRider said at 7:36 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I have to agree with Tommy and take issue with these sentences:

    “Penn State helped Jerry Sandusky rape children. Say that over and over
    to yourself and you’ll probably find yourself supporting the harshest
    penalties out there.”

    That thinking is a bit generalist and ignores all the important details,
    such as layed out in ACViking’s post. For centuries people have
    recited slogans (and I know you’re not trying to create a slogan here)
    like this, saying them “over and over”, and used them for vigilante mob
    purposes. The results are always disastrous and it’s not in the spirit
    of true justice.

    There will be a lot of sound bytes that jive smoothly with the human ear
    and help people summarize what’s going on, but it’s extremely important
    to understand the reality underneath and to discuss it as truthfully as

    I agree with the rest of your post though.

  28. 28 Jack Waggoner said at 10:12 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I’m not looking for vigilante justice, but kids were raped here, and at high levels in the institution and all the way down there were failures to do a damn thing about it.

    One of the reasons for sanctions is not simply punishment but for deterrence. To shake things up so that everyone at all levels knows not to let it happen again.

    These types of sanctions are typically not fair.

    To avoid something unfair to the students and newcomers into the institution, I think Penn State needs to take it upon themselves to clean house, in a big way, and applying a standard a lot lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt” in assessing the evidence. If they knew or should have known this was happening, they should be gone. If they were in charge of someone who knew or should have known this was happening, they should be gone.

  29. 29 Septhinox said at 3:07 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    After today’s report was released, you have to bring down the statue. At least for now. He is the symbol of what happened as an enabler. For the near future, you won’t be able to say JoePa without thinking of the scandal. It needs to come down.

  30. 30 TommyLawlor said at 3:17 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Hard for me to argue with this.

  31. 31 MidnightGreenRider said at 7:38 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Ender Wiggins would argue with it.

  32. 32 Mac said at 3:13 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    As with any crime there are 2 factions at war: Justice and Forgiveness.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t read comments from any writer, blogger, or commenter about forgiveness. The problem is that the crime committed in this case is so heinous that even the most mild mannered soul is inclined to cry for justice because this is a clear cut case of innocent helpless victims being robbed of something almost everyone considers sacred and private. The crime is so extreme that even those who are inclined to champion forgiveness because of a moral or religious code find themselves wishing that someone would step up and make the perpetrator pay.

    I’m not here to advocate for Sandusky, Paterno, or anyone else who was involved in this debacle. But I do want to make anyone who is willing to read what I’ve written think about the lasting impact of his/her own decisions in how to react to things like this.

    We can talk about things like this till we’re blue in the face, and what impact does it have on the world? None.

    These boys lost something that no amount of money can help give them back. But what they do have is freedom. I am advocating making a real difference in the lives of children who are sex slaves around the world by making a donation to to help stop this kind of activity from happening in the future and to help work to free children who are in terrible conditions.

    I don’t have tons of money, but I am going to start the ball rolling by doing a $25 donation in honor of these young men who suffered at penn state to help change the lives of other children.

  33. 33 P_P_K said at 4:26 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Powerful writing, I respect your statement. As for justice, I believe we should allow the judicial system to go through its process. Let no man be above the law, and let the law dictate societal consequences.

    As for forgiveness, at this point, the harm is done. Now, we need to ask if healing is possible? If we believe so, how to heal? I think Sandusky has an opportunity to help himself, maybe others, and maybe even those poor kids by finally admitting what he did was wrong. Some many never forgive him, but I would imagine a sincere apology for the harm he has caused might go a long way for others.

  34. 34 Mac said at 4:40 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I absolutely agree. Some measure of remorse/regret and a sincere apology for his actions (which is quite different from what many folks do which is to give halfhearted apologies for getting caught) would be a good starting place for the healing of the young men who were wounded by Sandusky.

  35. 35 rage114 said at 3:32 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I agree that the death penalty is way too harsh. But beyond that, just about anything should be on the table.
    Remember, there will be civil suits as you mentioned but the NCAA will also be named, not just PSU.
    Should the statue come down? Tough one. But if you were to see a picture or statue of him, do you think of this trajedy or do you think of the great football years?

  36. 36 Mac said at 3:36 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    A balanced man would think of both in my opinion evil should not erase good, and it is not “good” to allow evil to do so.

  37. 37 lonfident said at 3:49 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I’m just numb hearing about Joe. I feel sick. He was a man I looked up to ever since I can remember. Of course his statue should be removed.

    While PSU should be penalized severely, the football program should not. I will always root for them. The team did nothing wrong at all. Despite everything, I’m still proud to say We Are Penn State.

  38. 38 P_P_K said at 4:31 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I grew up in Philly and area and, although I never liked the JoePa worship, I always had the sense he was a good guy who ran a straight program. Those feelings are gone. Like you say, the statue has to go.

    I agree that the program shoud not be penalized. Nor should the school. This punishes way too many people who had absolutely nothing to do with the abuse. I’ll bet the program ends up being damaged because of the cloud that’s going to hang over it for many years. There’s bound to be many promising athletes who are going to skip PSU and go other schools.

  39. 39 Elk Run said at 4:38 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    The analogy to the Catholic Church is not a good one. Pedophilia was occurring in every major diocese and was being covered up by bishops in each of these diocese with complicity by the entire clergy who knew these types of atrocities were occuring within their ranks. I know. I went to school with the man who became the biggest child molestor in the Philadelphia clergy and he too was being molested while in school. To make this stick, every dean of every school at PSU would have to been aware of Pedophilia occurring whithin his department with the complicity of the faculty. Clearly not the case. Paterno was the Head Football Coach. He reported what the knew to his superiors and left it in their hands. The fact that the DA investigated the charges and found them without merit is a very important piece as far as Paterno’s culpability. To say that an entire University is responsible for the act of a single individual is collective guilt and is a violation of the individual rights of every student, employee and faculty member of the University. It takes the heinious acts of a sick individual and compounds them a thoudsand fold. Let criminal and civil penalties be handled through the courts. All other punishments are reactions to public outcry.

  40. 40 izzylangfan said at 5:37 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I really don’t want to carry any analogy or example too far. And I agree with you that the whole of Penn State is not as culpable as the whole of the Catholic Church. But the organizational pressures that repeated themselves in diocese after diocese illustrates my point that putting the organization first and closing ranks is normal institutional behavior, however heinous. I think this strange ability to inflict pain on others when authoritarian (and what could be more authoritarian than the organization) pressure exerted on the inflictors is similar to what we saw in the Milgrim experiment. But in addition to inflicting pain on the victims of sexual abuse (really too mild a term when anal rape is the abuse) the University was defending the football program and one of their friends.

  41. 41 Arby1 said at 8:46 PM on July 13th, 2012:

    ” Paterno was the Head Football Coach. He reported what the knew to his superiors and left it in their hands.”
    That is true for the incident in 2001 but, sadly, not for the incident in 1998. In that case, he choose to bury it, according to the Freeh report.

  42. 42 CheesesteakWilly said at 5:21 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I think this should play out through the legal system. If there are individuals to be held accountable, they should be. But I don’t see a point in going after the university itself. The university is just an institution. It will only act as the individuals who run it direct it to. Additionally, it’s a state school. This is a huge hang up for me. As a PA resident, a portion of my tax dollars are paying the legal costs of PSU through this investigation. If a penalty is assessed on the university, as a state resident, I’m indirectly paying for it. I don’t think that solves anything. Let those who were involved be prosecuted as far as the law allows and let that investigation include any staff, administration and officials who may have been involved. They acted in a manner that allowed this to happen. The institution of PSU and the football program did not act. Therefore I think they should be left alone.

  43. 43 MidnightGreenRider said at 7:48 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I disagree. The organization is as much at fault as the individuals. Anyone who works in a large company / organization knows this. There are major influences that go beyond individuals: legal policies, compliance policies, employee education initiatives, company culture, reporting lines, all kinds of management structures, etc. Even external legal oversight. All of these have big impacts on day-to-day operations and influence the decisions people make, especially executives. I’d wager PSU could improve in many of these areas.

  44. 44 CampDracula said at 6:43 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    First, I’m the poster formally known as “Matt D.” I haven’t posted on this site since the Disqus switch for fear that everyone (i.e. my clients) will read what I write on Facebook. Is that true? If so, you’ll continue to not hear from me… That’s ok if it is. I just enjoy reading the articles and follow up discussion just fine.

    Second, I’m a mental health clinician who specializes in working with survivors of childhood physical and sexual abuse. When I saw this post, I panicked because I thought Tommy was going to go there and and fumble the subject like everyone else these days. Instead, I have been thoroughly impressed with Tommy’s sensitivity and everyone else’s. Kudos to you all. This was already one of my favorite sites, and it has somehow climbed even higher on my respect chart.

    Third, I have a twist I’d like to toss out there. Certainly, systematic issues (i.e. Penn St) can effect individuals (i.e. JoPa). The Lucifer Effect by Zimbardo is a great book on the subject, for anyone interested. Anyway, Penn St definitely deserves a great deal of blame here. But then we have to ask, “what about the system outside of Penn St?” Don’t we also have to ask about all of us and our country at large?

    For example, everyone is assuming that JoPa or someone else would have called the authorities and *POOF* everything would have been ok. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have faith that is the case. I can tell you first hand that the system is broken while many continue to be abused. Check out these sobering stats: Clearly abuse is happening all around us and we haven’t figured out how to stop it. Think about (a) the swine flu and how we all panicked (b) how much more prevalent and devastating abuse is and (c) how much less attention nation-wide abuse gets than the swine flu got (although the silver lining here is that Sandusky helped change that, I guess).

    Another way the system is broken: did you know that most insurance companies will give you extra therapy sessions for your run-of-the-mill depression (i.e. the common cold of the mental health world), but few will give you extra sessions for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (i.e. what many of those kids undoubtedly had)? Their logic is that depression is biologically based and PTSD isn’t- as if an insurance company could deny you full coverage for a car accident because you weren’t born with the injuries. It’s absolute lunacy and frankly, they make me WAAAAAYYYYYY more angry than anything JoPa did.

    Anyway, I could rant on and on. I guess my point here is that like JoPa, we are all witnesses to trauma effected by the broken systems around us. And frankly, I don’t like thinking about trauma because it is so terribly awful to do so. So in a way, it’s cool to empathize with what JoPa did. On the other hand, it’s also cool to call him and all of Penn St out. I just hope we are all doing so with upmost humility and introspection. On this board, I’ve seen that. I just wish I’d see more of that elsewhere…

  45. 45 CampDracula said at 7:01 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I don’t mean to be preachy. This subject is near and dear to my life’s work.

  46. 46 P_P_K said at 8:25 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    No worries. You wrote in a thoughtful and intelligent manner.

    I agree with you that the writing on this site, now more than ever, is intelligent and respectful. Very impressive, especially considering this is a sports blog.

    Keep up your important professional work.

  47. 47 Mac said at 9:39 AM on July 13th, 2012:

    Agree 100% with PPK… your post wasn’t preachy at all. As a society we have a lot of work to do. It is so much easier for most folks to point fingers at 4-5 guys and demonize them.

    It’s a shame (or a sham) that our new govt Insurance plan probably doesn’t include measures to force insurance companies to start doing the right thing and help kids get the counseling they need. Lack of proper healing (at least as I understand it) is one of the leading causes of future abuse.

    And please by all means correct any statements or assumptions I have made if I’m wrong. I’d like to be more knowledgeable.

  48. 48 CampDracula said at 11:31 AM on July 13th, 2012:

    I think you and others have been great.

    For what it’s worth, I look for explicit statements of empathy for the survivors, which is surprisingly absent from many analyses. So many other survivors (see the stats above) are out there, listening intently to everything they see and hear. For reasons too heavy to post on a sports blog, most feel like whatever happened to them was their fault. So explicit statements that it’s not their fault should be repeated over and over and over again.
    Figuring out the rest is trying to make sense of a very messy situation. As someone who works with this stuff every day, I can only say that I have more awareness of how messy and confusing and difficult the answers are.

  49. 49 Mac said at 2:17 PM on July 13th, 2012:

    Checked out the CDC article you provided. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t surprise me at all that so many people have had exceptionally difficult upbringings and traumatic events. Hopefully through awareness efforts of the few, our culture can change and empathy can become more common.

  50. 50 TommyLawlor said at 9:47 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Thank you very much for sharing.

  51. 51 CampDracula said at 11:46 AM on July 13th, 2012:

    Ha! I can’t tell it this is serious or if you’re ribbing me with a standard group therapy phrase. Either intended meaning scores points with me, FIY.

    Re: whether to root for Penn St. I’m actually a Penn St fan and I will continue to be. Yet I think it’s probably best if people cool it with the in-your-face Penn St pride for a bit. Now is not the time for that, as the most important message to send is one of solidarity with the survivors. What that looks like, I don’t know. (WE ARE… WITH YOU)

  52. 52 TommyLawlor said at 9:10 PM on July 13th, 2012:

    Legit comments. The world is a better place when people like you share info with those of us who don’t know these kinds of things.

  53. 53 Miami_Adam said at 2:37 PM on July 13th, 2012:

    I agree that the system is broken. Which isn’t? But I think the big point of the story (nationally, at least), is that Paterno was the most important and influential person in that entire county, if not the whole state. If Joe Shmo picks up the phone and calls the authorities, maybe nothing happens. But if Joe Paterno calls, the the whole machine gets going.

  54. 54 MidnightGreenRider said at 8:03 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    Tommy, I have a thought about rooting for the PSU team. It seems to me you have to practice what you preach.

    If the new players and new coaches don’t deserve to be punished…
    If they did nothing wrong…
    If the prosecutors should exercise restraint toward them…
    If the public should keep them separate from those who did wrong…

    …then so should you. Feeling guilty about them or not cheering for them would be like convicting them along with Sandusky. They deserve the presumption of innocence from you as much as from the legal system. The 2012 team will be a whole new collection of people…let them make their own mark.

  55. 55 TommyLawlor said at 10:43 PM on July 12th, 2012:

    I’m hoping my issues today will fade in the next 6 weeks and I can just watch the games. Can’t imagine Saturdays without PSU football, whether the team is crappy or not.

  56. 56 mfrey0118 said at 10:25 AM on July 14th, 2012:

    The sad part is most of the people in positions of power these days are just raging pedophiles. If Joe Paterno knew about multiple instances and did or said nothing and then lied about it over the last couple of months, he’s either complicit or a disgusting coward.

    If he didn’t know, then I won’t judge him.