I don’t know if there has been an uglier scandal in my lifetime in sports than Penn State. Not steroids in baseball. Not Michael Vick’s dogfighting. Not O.J. Not anything. The minute young children get involved, all bets are off. I put a lot of faith in former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s report. I don’t have a shred of doubt about its accuracy or fidelity. That being said, I think he was thorough enough to get to the truth, but not thorough enough to know all the facts. Calling out the four biggest names at Penn State as the people who failed in their duty is easy. It’s like in archery — it’s not hard to hit the targets up close. It’s the really far away targets that prove how good you are. The way I see it, anyone could have picked up the phone and called the authorities. Everyone had the capability to call 911. Someone should have called the police. Unfortunately, no one called.
We all have a civic duty to do what’s right when we see something or know of something going wrong. Sadly, in today’s society, we all would rather not get involved because we are worried about what we risk and what we, as individuals could lose. In this case, we all lost. Once innocent children who can’t defend themselves are harmed, we all lose. I just have a hard time letting go of the fact that if Mike McQueary or that janitor had picked up the phone and called the cops, the cover-up never happens. It’s really hard for me to be okay with the idea that just four people are the only ones who can get blamed for this. It’s easy to hate Joe Paterno here. The “mob mentality” says it’s what to do. It’s also convenient because he’s no longer alive. And that may be the best thing for him because I would hate to see him try to defend his legacy from here on out.
As for the statue of Paterno at Penn State, I say leave it up – BUT, move in inside of Beaver Stadium. That way if frames the background in which you see it and it is not an “in your face” kind of deal. If you want to see the statue, you can pay to see the statue by buying a ticket to your next Penn State game at Beaver Stadium.
Follow me on Twitter @MarkZinno