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Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Football power

It would be sad to think that top Penn State officials didn’t report suspected child sexual abuse because they feared the impact that action would have on their football program.

July 18, 2012

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The biggest question coming out of the horrible child sexual abuse situation involving an assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University is how this could have happened and gone on for so long without someone speaking up and demanding legal action and punishment.

The just-released report of the in-depth investigation tells how top university officials and legendary football coach Joe Paterno failed to act when they heard reports of child sexual abuse by a member of the football coaching staff.

Again, why didn’t any of these university leaders speak up or contact police?

An individual close to the situation said this sordid story demonstrates the importance of football to Penn State. In fact, although Penn State is looked upon as a good, solid university, it is recognized primarily for its football program, not its academic/research excellence. “For example,” this individual said, “why do you think Penn State was taken into the Big 10 Conference? It was for their football. It happens; look at the Nebraska move to the Big 10.”

Have college sports become this strong and important? Are they so influential that the college president, vice president and athletic director and one of the nation’s most outstanding football coaches all knew of the abuse situation and said nothing for fear it might damage the football program?

Many major college coaches display serious fault such as hot tempers, foul language, recruiting violations, physically abusing players and, unfortunately, cheating in their personal lives. But it is almost impossible to believe any coach would cover up the presence of a suspected pedophile on his coaching staff. According to the shocking report, the actions of the assistant coach covered a period of 14 years and involved a number of young boys. How could something like this go on at one of the nation’s most visible and storied college football programs?

Now the question is what is the NCAA going to do about it? What action will it take against Penn State and its athletic program? What will the Big 10 Conference do? For example, how will NCAA officials weigh punishments for recruiting violations against a coach molesting boys?

Could the actions of Penn State coach Paterno, assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley be the proverbial straws that break the camel’s back when it comes to this nation’s growing obsession with college sports?

Or will this sorry situation be forgotten within a short time because the most important thing on many college campuses is a winning athletic program — no matter the cost?

Comments

JustNoticed 1 year, 9 months ago

"Have college sports become this strong and important? Are they so influential that the college president, vice president and athletic director and one of the nation’s most outstanding football coaches all knew of the abuse situation and said nothing for fear it might damage the football program?"

That's a rhetorical question, right?

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Darrell Lea 1 year, 9 months ago

Frank Zappa, "It Can't Happen Here (excerpt)" 1965

"It can't happen here It can't happen here I'm telling you, my dear That it can't happen here Because I been checkin' it out, baby I checked it out a couple a times, And I'm telling you It can't happen here Oh darling, it's important that you believe me That it can't happen here"

"Who could imagine that they would freak out somewhere in Kansas..."

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Aileen Dingus 1 year, 9 months ago

"Again, why didn’t any of these university leaders speak up or contact police?"

One of the things that keeps coming to mind regarding this mess is Astronaut Frank Borman's testimony at the hearing following the fire of Apollo 1:


Senator Anderson: Then what caused the fire? Frank Borman: A failure of imagination. We’ve always known there was the possibility of fire in a spacecraft. But the fear was always that it would happen in space when you’re a 180 miles from terra firma and the nearest fire station. That was the worry. No ever imagined that it would happen on the ground. If anybody would have thought of it the test would have been classified as hazardous. But it wasn’t. We just didn’t think of it. Now who’s fault is that? Well, it’s North American’s fault. It’s NASA’s fault. It’s the fault of every person who ever worked on Apollo. It’s my fault — I didn’t think the test was hazardous. No one did. I wish to God we had.


What I mean is that so many people could have stopped this, but nobody imagined that Jerry Sandusky could have been such a monster. We all know that monsters walk among us, we all know that kids are vulnerable. But nobody imagined.

Jerry Sandusky interacted every day with law enforcement, health care officials, school officials, families, religious leaders... he was under investigation before the alleged 2001 incident (he was acquitted on that count) even occurred. Parents of Second Mile boys voiced their concern, coaches at the children's schools made reports, police were involved, even the state's Attorney General had his eye on Sandusky. But nobody did anything.

The people at Penn State surely shoulder some of this blame, I'm not disputing that, but to put it all squarely on them is to miss the larger picture- hundreds of people failed these children.

So what do we do now? Do we argue about a football program or do we educate people about child abuse? Do we fly banners saying to take down a statue or do we donate that money to charities like RAINN (Anti-sexual assault organization)? Do we write editorials wringing our hands about how awful Penn State is or do we look to our own communities to see what we can do better?

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goodcountrypeople 1 year, 9 months ago

KU officials, in contrast to Penn State, can be trusted to contact the police. In fact they pride themselves on beating the victims of their malfeasance to the punch. Thanks to the local conflict-of-interest power structure even the DA's and court( Most local lawyers and judges graduated from KU) can be trusted to play along with twwisted southern- justice plots to hide KU's crimes by blaming the workers and students who are the victims of them. In my experience, KU officials and the local law enforcement system are wickedly crooked and corrupt.

Forget any normal, civilized concept of due process. Everyone just tells you to shut up and threatens you with further legally sanctioned abuse if you do not. Everything according to stupid, backwoods authoritarian protocol has to go between the laughably unprofessional and dishonest lawyers. My A$$hat of a local KS attorney even had the gall to admit lawyers don't lie to each other," even though they may misrepresent their clients and lie to everyone else!

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goodcountrypeople 1 year, 9 months ago

A lot of evil stuff happens at universities, just like it does at KU, especially thanks to the ignorant, hidebound dishonest souls who run the KU HR department. Football sins are revealed more quickly than others-- just because it's a high-profile, money-making operation. The vast majority of faculty and staff at KU can be trusted to remain silent in the face of horrible wrongdoings and injustice. The abuse and bullying workers can face at KU is much worse than anything I've ever been subjected to before and the number of people who have the moral courage to stand up to it and speak out is far fewer--almost nonexistent.

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riverdrifter 1 year, 9 months ago

The Freeh report leaves the NCAA no choice: death penalty for Penn State. Total lack of institutional control.

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jaywalker 1 year, 9 months ago

BABBOY: "Hold on cowboy, do not throw the rope of the tree branch yet,"

I think I know what you were trying to say there. Too bad you didn't take your own advice.

Gimme a break. Freeh's no longer the head of the FBI, he was an independent investigator hired by Penn State. And his resume' is impeccable and extraordinary: FBI agent, assistant U.S. attorney, federal judge, and Director of the FBI for 8 years under Clinton and Bush. Pretending he's only doing it for the money, he's a political stooge, and that he HAD to find the coach and administration at fault in order to keep his job (which is over anyway) is pathetically moronic.

"The Freech report is not conclusive to me and just one biased (investigator making a name for himself is the bias) spin on the matter."

He has no ties to Penn State and he long ago "made a name for himself." The only 'bias' being displayed here is your's for Freeh, inexplicably.

He oversaw more than 400 interviews and compiled a 260+ page report after several months of investigating - yet your choice is to call him and his findings in question? Even while admitting: "I want to be clear that I have no idea what happened."????? Brilliant.

Early leader for worst post of the day.

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Carol Bowen 1 year, 9 months ago

What makes anyone think this is not happening in Lawrence?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

Penn St. should do what the University of San Francisco did with it's basketball program in the early '80s. When a major scandal came along, they shut the program down.

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Tracy Rogers 1 year, 9 months ago

Anyone who thinks that something went on at Penn State, and especially in the football complex, without Joe Paterno knowing is crazy. He had total control over everything at that University, including the president. To think this all went on for 14 years or whatever underneath his nose without him knowing is impossible. Hope he's burning in hell right now.

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KU_cynic 1 year, 9 months ago

"it would be sad to think that top Penn State officials didn’t report suspected child sexual abuse because they feared the impact that action would have on their football program."

How about "It IS sad to think."

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streetman 1 year, 9 months ago

Two thoughts: 1) Substitute "Catholic Church" in these articles for "Penn State," and the stories are almost identical. (Actually, the action of the church leaders was even more atrocious -- they simply moved their pediophiles to another church for new victims). Why not major editorial and legal clamors for the church leaders? 2) Not sure that sanctions by the NCAA should extend to criminal actions by school leaders and/or students -- schools/governments/regents and legal system should handle those. Should the NCAA have gotten involved with the ticket scandal at KU?

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Getaroom 1 year, 9 months ago

Institutionalized Abuse powered by years of The Catholic Church, not government. How to punish them? It is simple, they love power and money. Take it away. Use the NCCA death penalty, throw the book at them and let the powers that control football shrivel on the vine. It is way more than sad Paul, it is criminal and should be treated as such. This kind of behavior has become the rule not the exception. Impose the harshest penalties, it's the least they can do.

Always working "the government" into the conversation eh FHNC. How about private corporations acting as government through corporate money? Corporations are people too- right? That puts the spot light squarely where is belongs. Your kind of world, one run by the corporations, for the corporations, of the corporations. Gee, you must be a Corporation.

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BABBOY 1 year, 9 months ago

Hold on cowboy, do not throw the rope of the tree branch yet,

The investigation is not a finding of fact. It is not a day in court or even a second before a jury. It is investigation by guy who has made his living accepting political appointments. Louis Freeh was the head of the FBI. FBI guys are paid to get convictions. Freech is a political animal (which means he is probably a jerk in his own right). He knows that if he comes out and concludes anything other than Coach knew what was going on that he is on the chopping block as well.

I am guess the editorial board never read the report and just blindly accepted as the gospel on the matter. .

I had the pleasure (sarcasm) to listen to sports shock jocks yammer about on a talk show as I drove to Garden City. This was like the day or day after the thing came out and hit the press and media sources like ESPN was citing it as conclusive evidence on the issue (of course their goal is just to burn it and talk about it and the truth is of little relevance). That is long drive and there were no games on so I listened to for a little over an hour.

On idiot (Dino something) was arguing to hang the coach with some other moron (Zieglier or something) was arguing the report was vague.

The thing I remember is that the guy questioning the report had read it and guy supporting did not seem to have read it but may have glanced at it.

The guy who read the report said the whole conclusion that Coach knew was based on some vague emails. They read the emails on the talk show and at best they were indirect references. There were no direct smoking guy comments about the abuse or saying they would cover it up. From what they read, they were pretty vague emails and it like the Freech made some pretty big assumptions in getting where he got to and it was still pretty circumstantial. Maybe even strong circumstantial but not the conclusive determined conclusion the media is drumming this report to be.

I want to be clear that I have no idea what happened. I think it will become much clearer when the court trial take place of the Penn State officials that are still alive. I think then the truth has a chance to come out. I like everyone else am pretty pissed off about what happen.

But, I do not subscribe to foolish lynch mob mentality and I am not trusting of political appointees with agendas so before I jump on the "hang em" bandwagon I am going to wait and see what happens in court.....

The Freech report is not conclusive to me and just one biased (investigator making a name for himself is the bias) spin on the matter. I think the report is a CYA measure and everyone needs to wait to see what happens in court before they call for the hang man.

Of course, with the internet, talk shows, and current climate, responsible reporting is not going to happen cause the media believes its own BS ……

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 9 months ago

What do you expect? It's a government school.

Government schools and 'boys' are no different then Catholic Priests and 'boys'.

They both luv to play sports with them.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 9 months ago

"It would be sad to think that top Penn State officials didn’t report suspected child sexual abuse because they feared the impact that action would have on their football program.." This says it all, and yes, they did this to protect football and PSU's reputation. Not unusual, but very sad.

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ochocinco 1 year, 9 months ago

"Now the question is what is the NCAA going to do about it? What action will it take against Penn State and its athletic program?"

To use a British phrase, are you daft?

Since when is it the NCAA's job to enforce criminal law? Sandusky's homosexual pedophilia and the subsequent cover-up has nothing to do with ensuring fair-play and following the rules so that competition will be protected--which is the job of the NCAA.

Simply, the police and prosecuting attorneys are the ones responsible for the fate of those who "allegedly" covered up Sandusky, or at the very least turned a blind eye. But Penn State's athletic program broke no NCAA rules in this scenario. It shouldn't be that hard to see.

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