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Joe Paterno Dead
Old 01-22-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
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Joe Paterno Dead

Should be titled "Joe Paterno Dead" - hit the button too fast.

Disclaimer: Not a Penn State fan, but married to one.

I feel the main life lesson that Penn State students will come away with, is a very Orwellian one: No matter how much good you do for an institution, for however many years, it won't matter once it's politically expedient to dump you. (See Boxer the horse, "Animal Farm.")

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Old 01-22-2012, 09:46 AM   #2
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Right now I think Joe has bigger problems to deal with. I would guess that a death bed trumps Penn State.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:54 AM   #3
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Yup, I just looked at the news, didn't realize he was gone already.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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He was one of the greatest coaches in history without a doubt. What type of morals he had is greatly in question based on how he handled (or didn't handle) the Sandusky debacle.
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Old 01-22-2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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He was one of the greatest coaches in history without a doubt. What type of morals he had is greatly in question based on how he handled (or didn't handle) the Sandusky debacle.
As I heard on ESPN, Joe felt badly about how he handled the sexual abuse scandal, and said he really didn't know what to do, had never run into anything like that before, reported it to his superiors and thought it would be dealt with. I believe him. In his position one would think he would know better, but he was really old school. Reminds me of my father. Dad wouldn't have done anything different. That kind of stuff was way over his head. He just wasn't of the modern world. Not making excuses for Joe, but I can understand where he was coming from.

God rest his soul.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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As I heard on ESPN, Joe felt badly about how he handled the sexual abuse scandal, and said he really didn't know what to do, had never run into anything like that before, reported it to his superiors and thought it would be dealt with. I believe him. In his position one would think he would know better, but he was really old school. Reminds me of my father. Dad wouldn't have done anything different. That kind of stuff was way over his head. He just wasn't of the modern world. Not making excuses for Joe, but I can understand where he was coming from.
This is mostly how I see it. In recent years, there were some folks suggesting that the game had passed him by, that he was too "old school" to adapt to the modern game. As it turns out, "old school" on the field wasn't the downfall, but in being "old school" about how off-field issues that are very sensitive today are to be handled. Had this stuff happened 20-30 years before it actually did, I don't think many would fault JoePa for simply reporting it to his superiors and not directly intervening in a matter which (a) he didn't witness and (b) when there is established protocol for handling it.

These days, the incidents in question are considered sensitive, outrageous and serious enough that we throw "established protocol" out the window. But that wasn't largely in the upbringing of his generation. What he did was how many of his generation (old enough to remember WW2) were raised -- take it up the chain of command and let the appropriate authority handle it.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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I lost my respect for him when his inaction in the sex abuse scandal came to light.

I hope he rests in peace. I know many will miss him for all of the many good things he has done over a long life.
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Old 01-22-2012, 01:18 PM   #8
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Common sense says that when you witness or are aware of a crime, especially if it may be ongoing and people may be in danger, you call the police. You don't tell your boss about it and leave it at that. Because its a football team doesn't change anything.

I actually blame the witness more than I blame Paterno, but you cant tell me Paterno didn't know the right thing to do was call the police.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
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Common sense says that when you witness or are aware of a crime, especially if it may be ongoing and people may be in danger, you call the police. You don't tell your boss about it and leave it at that. Because its a football team doesn't change anything.

I actually blame the witness more than I blame Paterno, but you cant tell me Paterno didn't know the right thing to do was call the police.
This is exactly how I would expect people to respond. I'll put myself in the same position of what if. In mega corp, if I had witnessed something like that back when, I might have reacted the same as Joe did. If I had gone right to the police, there would have been hell to pay for not going to my superiors first. I would have followed up on it which Joe failed to do, but I doubt I would have reported it to the police first. Remember, I'm thinking back 24 years ago. And, I was brought up "old school". I understand and then again I don't.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:37 PM   #10
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I agree with this.

I think Joe's failure to act decisively in this was understandable, but still a failure.

I'm stunned that the lesson so many Penn students and Alumni are taking from this is "Joe got a raw deal".

Joe didn't get to coach his last football game because he was a leader in an organization that was complicit in the rape of children. Did Joe get a raw deal? Frankly, I don't really care.

What is important is trying to figure out why the organization failed in such a horrific manner, and to try to change the culture so that it doesn't fail that way again the future.

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As I heard on ESPN, Joe felt badly about how he handled the sexual abuse scandal, and said he really didn't know what to do, had never run into anything like that before, reported it to his superiors and thought it would be dealt with. I believe him. In his position one would think he would know better, but he was really old school. Reminds me of my father. Dad wouldn't have done anything different. That kind of stuff was way over his head. He just wasn't of the modern world. Not making excuses for Joe, but I can understand where he was coming from.

God rest his soul.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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What is important is trying to figure out why the organization failed in such a horrific manner, and to try to change the culture so that it doesn't fail that way again the future.
Ultimately, I think this is what it came down to. Most of his life and career were spent in an era which had a different culture. Joe Paterno may have been able to adapt to a changing game on the field when compared to the game of his younger days, but he failed to adapt "old school" ideals to very sensitive cultural and social issues of today. This is simply a crime for which we no longer accept "I was just following orders" as a justification for inaction. Maybe it was when he was younger and society was still in a structure WW2-era "chain of command" construct where "report it to your superiors and put the responsibility on them" was widely expected. Not today.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:06 PM   #12
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I can't believe how people give Paterno a pass - just because he was a successful football coach. And they call this a sex abuse scandal? Call it what it is - an alleged crime. And he had knowledge of it and did not tell the police. In my opinion, he is not much better than the perpetrator.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:12 PM   #13
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I can't believe how people give Paterno a pass - just because he was a successful football coach. And they call this a sex abuse scandal? Call it what it is - an alleged crime. And he had knowledge of it and did not tell the police. In my opinion, he is not much better than the perpetrator.
I don't see too many people giving him a "free" pass.

What I do see is many people acting like he has more responsibility than those he reported it to -- or more than the guy who WITNESSED it and neither called 911 nor beat the crap out of Sandusky to intervene with a crime IN PROGRESS.

Unfortunately, it seems like if one tries to point out how others are more responsible, the incorrect inference seems to be that one believes Joe is an innocent scapegoat. No, just that he is being blamed for this disproportionately to his share of the blame. By a wide margin.

Just because he's the most famous doesn't make him the most responsible. Those up the chain from him and didn't act are more responsible. Mike McQueary, who could have STOPPED it and instead ran home to daddy, is more responsible. It doesn't absolve Paterno of blame, but a sense of proportion would be nice for all those who would pee on his grave as if he were the main perp in all this.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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I can understand, to an extend, his comments that he didn't know what to do. BUT, that doesn't explain how he continued to let Sandusky have access to Penn State facilities, etc. That's just inexcusable.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:56 PM   #15
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I don't see too many people giving him a "free" pass.
Certainly thousands of Penn State fans did. They were cheering for him on his lawn.

I'm not saying that he is the sole or most responsible party. Certainly the witness is more responsible than Paterno. And the witness brought the issue to Paterno, and Paterno pushed it up the ladder at Penn State. But this isn't a campus hazing - its a crime. And crimes should be reported to the police - not your boss.
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:52 PM   #16
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As I heard on ESPN, Joe felt badly about how he handled the sexual abuse scandal, and said he really didn't know what to do, had never run into anything like that before, reported it to his superiors and thought it would be dealt with. I believe him. In his position one would think he would know better, but he was really old school. Reminds me of my father. Dad wouldn't have done anything different. That kind of stuff was way over his head. He just wasn't of the modern world. Not making excuses for Joe, but I can understand where he was coming from.

God rest his soul.
Well said.

Being a former social worker who dealt with families and sexually abused children for years, what I learned over time is that despite what adults know to be right and wrong - noone ever thinks they will be in the middle of something like this with someone they know. And when/if the day comes - they are rarely prepared to deal with it as well as they might wish or think.

Paterno did notify college authorities, including the Penn State police. What he didnt do was notify the State College police. It really is that simple. There is no indication he tried to hide anything or cover anything up.

Was that "passing the buck" and "burying his head in the sand"? I dont know - maybe. But he was a 75 year old man (at the time) who probably wasnt even sure something like this ever really happened. So he consulted with the people he thought he should - and was told they would take care of it. I read somewhere that he approached McQueary a few weeks later and asked him if he they (the administration) had spoken to him (McQueary) and was he okay with what they (the administration) were doing. McQueary said yes. That says to me Paterno wasn't really sure what was going on - only that McQueary had been really upset and wanted to be sure he felt he was being heard and not "brushed off". My guess is Joe thought, at the time, that he had handled it properly.

But, with all that said, positions of power and influence carry with them certain expectations and responsibilities, including the expectation that you are wiser than the average person and you dont make mistakes. And in this case, Paterno did. None of us will ever really know what he was thinking when he decided how to handle it - but each of us will judge him by our own opinions of what he was thinking.

Ultimately, I think it is sad if this is what he is remembered for. None of us would like our entire lives to be defined by the one big mistake we made - but I think sometimes that is the risk of greatness.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:17 PM   #17
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Well said.

Being a former social worker who dealt with families and sexually abused children for years, what I learned over time is that despite what adults know to be right and wrong - noone ever thinks they will be in the middle of something like this with someone they know. And when/if the day comes - they are rarely prepared to deal with it as well as they might wish or think.

Paterno did notify college authorities, including the Penn State police. What he didnt do was notify the State College police. It really is that simple. There is no indication he tried to hide anything or cover anything up.

Was that "passing the buck" and "burying his head in the sand"? I dont know - maybe. But he was a 75 year old man (at the time) who probably wasnt even sure something like this ever really happened. So he consulted with the people he thought he should - and was told they would take care of it. I read somewhere that he approached McQueary a few weeks later and asked him if he they (the administration) had spoken to him (McQueary) and was he okay with what they (the administration) were doing. McQueary said yes. That says to me Paterno wasn't really sure what was going on - only that McQueary had been really upset and wanted to be sure he felt he was being heard and not "brushed off". My guess is Joe thought, at the time, that he had handled it properly.

But, with all that said, positions of power and influence carry with them certain expectations and responsibilities, including the expectation that you are wiser than the average person and you dont make mistakes. And in this case, Paterno did. None of us will ever really know what he was thinking when he decided how to handle it - but each of us will judge him by our own opinions of what he was thinking.

Ultimately, I think it is sad if this is what he is remembered for. None of us would like our entire lives to be defined by the one big mistake we made - but I think sometimes that is the risk of greatness.
+1 Hindsight is 20/20 and Joe did do what he thought was appropriate at the time and thought that university officials were handling it but in hindsight we know what Joe did was insufficient. It is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback Ronstar.

It is unfortunate that such a long and distinguished career was tarnished by this Sandusky scandal. RIP Joe.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:26 PM   #18
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Well said.

Being a former social worker who dealt with families and sexually abused children for years, what I learned over time is that despite what adults know to be right and wrong - noone ever thinks they will be in the middle of something like this with someone they know. And when/if the day comes - they are rarely prepared to deal with it as well as they might wish or think.

Paterno did notify college authorities, including the Penn State police. What he didnt do was notify the State College police. It really is that simple. There is no indication he tried to hide anything or cover anything up.

Was that "passing the buck" and "burying his head in the sand"? I dont know - maybe. But he was a 75 year old man (at the time) who probably wasnt even sure something like this ever really happened. So he consulted with the people he thought he should - and was told they would take care of it. I read somewhere that he approached McQueary a few weeks later and asked him if he they (the administration) had spoken to him (McQueary) and was he okay with what they (the administration) were doing. McQueary said yes. That says to me Paterno wasn't really sure what was going on - only that McQueary had been really upset and wanted to be sure he felt he was being heard and not "brushed off". My guess is Joe thought, at the time, that he had handled it properly.

But, with all that said, positions of power and influence carry with them certain expectations and responsibilities, including the expectation that you are wiser than the average person and you dont make mistakes. And in this case, Paterno did. None of us will ever really know what he was thinking when he decided how to handle it - but each of us will judge him by our own opinions of what he was thinking.

Ultimately, I think it is sad if this is what he is remembered for. None of us would like our entire lives to be defined by the one big mistake we made - but I think sometimes that is the risk of greatness.
Nicely said KM. A balanced, level-headed analysis in the midst of a sensitive discussion.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #19
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I think Penn State did as much for Joe Paterno over his 46 years as head coach as he did for PSU.

Somewhere I read that the trustees, athletic director, president or some group at Penn State had tried to get Joe Paterno to retire several years ago, but he wouldn't agree. I've also read that until Jerry Sandusky's abrupt retirement in 1999, Sandusky was pegged to follow Paterno as head coach.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:51 PM   #20
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I've also read that until Jerry Sandusky's abrupt retirement in 1999, Sandusky was pegged to follow Paterno as head coach.
Can you remember at all where you read that? I'd like to search for that. Sounds like an interesting read.
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