Bigger than Watergate.
That was my take on the Penn State story when I met up with some friends last night. I’m a few hours east of the university, so needless to say, the responses I elicited weren’t smiley ones. But I wasn’t reaction hunting, and hyperbole ain’t my thing. I really believe it. And when I was finished with my point for point, I’d made a case enough that it allowed me to keep my face intact.
Paterno was a brilliant, calculating boss who held court over a minor league equivalent football team, with cheerleaders and mascots helping to distinguish it from Sundays. Everything else runs lock step: From the brand culture it perpetuates to the face painted sycophants who believe the game matters more than life’s details.
A few things to consider as far as those details are concerned . . .
–The Huffington Post ran a piece on the disappearance of a Pennsylvania DA involved in the Sandusky allegations back in the day. I’m not saying there is a link, but the very fact it gives us pause tells you how far reaching this cover up has been.
– We’ve accepted Paterno as a distracted old codger. But the truth is, he was omniscient; his tentacles were everywhere. Read this McCallum piece from back in ’99. I’m not damning McCallum for writing such a glowing piece on Sandusky, not at all. Hey, we ALL agreed with it at the time. It’s just interesting to read Sandusky and Millen explain what a micro manager Paterno truly was.
– The “Penn State Way” bears no discernible contrast to other big time programs. Illusion is going to be a big word in this criminal trial. And PSU crafted a doozy.
– Paterno saying “I should have done more” may not be enough to nail him on criminal charges. But civilly, that statement will cost his estate and the university a LOT of money. And in a related story, PSU tuition costs predicted to spike in a few years time despite (because of) scandal. . .
– Penn State is bowl eligible. Umm, which bowl . . . wants them?
– National writers I read and respect greatly went about framing yesterday’s game as the start of a “healing process”. I have a real problem with that. It’s an under rug swept kind of mentality which birthed this scandal to begin with.
– As it happens, the Penn State crowd has a White Stripes chant I was not aware of until yesterday. Check out the lyrics, and then tell me that’s not creepy.
– There are rumblings that the University may decide to shut down its football program for a couple years, before the NCAA gets its hands on it. Dammit if Paterno’s example isn’t steering the ship, even now. It’s a disingenuous move by people who see the handwriting on the wall.
– And it won’t work. My prediction is the program will be sanctioned by the NCAA, Penn State’s self imposed exile notwithstanding. How can it NOT be? Imagine the prospect of this Penn State football program playing for the national title next year. How would that work?
– “Rush to Judgement”? That’s what I, and anyone who utters an unfriendly word against Paterno is accused of. Well, here’s the thing. No district attorney would bring a case against this deified institution unless the evidence was overwhelming, lest he commit career suicide. Read the twenty three pages, I have.
I admit I had a vested interest in the result of yesterday’s game between Nebraska and Penn State. The Huskers did a great service to those of us who have been victims of sexual abuse. Their win helped to quiet a raging storm of misguided souls who know not what they are rooting for. A Nebraska win meant there would be no celebrations. It meant quiet. A quiet we struggle to gain every single day of our adult lives.
A win by the home team, that would have been hard to take.