Only way for Penn State to Being the Healing Process, is for the Media to Go Away
It is now the beginning of week two of the soap opera involving Penn State and for the time being there's no end in sight. This week the stories have been about the Big 10 removing Joe Paterno's name from the Big 10 Championship Trophy, Bob Costas' interview with Jerry Sandusky, pressure for Nike to change the name of a building on its campus in Beaverton, Oregon, whether the scandal will tarnish Paterno's legacy, etc...
Yet, the question is how is Penn State ever going to heal if there's coverage on the scandal 24/7? The answer is they will not be able to until the media backs off. Each time a new report comes out it opens the wound again.
Due to this scandal the greatest coach in NCAA football history was fired and also an assistant coach needed to be put into protective custody! All because of the attention the media had placed on Penn State.
The story itself was a bombshell. A former assistant coach who worked with Paterno for more than two decades, Sandusky had been preying on young boys from a foundation that he created to help underprivledged kids.
Beginning in 2008 a police investigation into Sandusky took place and it wasn't until November 4th, 2011 that Sandusky was arrested. A timeline of important dates can be found here. Also, on November 5th, of 2011 the grand jury report was released and it brought the media cirus to Penn State.
In the report it outlined six victims of Sandusky and what was done to each victim. What brought the ire of the media was an event that was witnessed in 2002 by Mike McQueary who saw Sandusky in the shower with one of his victims.
After McQueary had witnessed that horrific event he called his father and he advised McQueary to report it to Paterno and he did the next day and Paterno then reported it to the Athletic Director, Tim Curley. In a perfect world Curley would have called the police and reported the incident, yet he didn't.
Going further into the report it states that it wasn't until a week and a half later that Curley and Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Gary Schultz and McQueary again stated what he saw to them and again the police were not called. Based on the testimonies it appears that both Schultz and Curley tried to cover it up.
During that time Sandusky was banned from having children on campus, yet that ban was unenforceable. So, Sandusky was still able to be on campus. Since the news broke there have been more victims who have come forward and it appears that Sandusky won't be a free man much longer.
It would seem that if an event such as this that the media would be focusing on Sandusky and the two involved with the attempted cover up. That didn't happen instead Paterno has been treated like he was the one who was abusing children and not too far behind him is McQueary.
Legally, Paterno has already been cleared. In a perfect world Curley would have called the police and an investigation would have been launced into Sandusky. Since, Curley did not do that it has fallen on what was Paterno's moral obligation or McQueary's for that matter?
It would be fair to assume that Penn State has policies in place for a matter like that and it makes a lot of sense that since Paterno is not the campus police in order to have the allegations investigated the Athletic Director would need to make that decision from that report and there was definitely enough evidence for him to have picked up the phone and brought in the police.
Can only imagine what would have happened if the police were called by Paterno and it turned out that it was all a lie. Paterno would have been fired on the spot for not following the policies set forth by Penn State.
One can argue that the protection of a child is more important than a job and that is definitely true. The only issue with that argument is that Paterno did not witness what happened, he had the report from McQueary and since Paterno wasn't the campus police he had no responsibility to investigate it, his responsibility was to report it to his supervisor and he did.
Last week Paterno held a press conference announcing he was going to retire at the end of this season. Unfortunately for Paterno he did not get the chance the Board of Trustees at Penn State decided to fire him, which was the wrong call.
Paterno didn't do anything wrong! He did what he supposed to do it was not his fault that there was a cover up and it definitely wasn't his fault that ESPN began broadcasting around the clock of what was going on.
So, the trustees took the easy way out and fired Paterno and if he had stayed for the rest of the season the media attention would continue.
As for McQueary it's hard to imagine what he walked in on and how he felt afterwards. It's easy to say he should have called 911 or at least attempted to protect the child and because he waited till the next day to report to Paterno he's being hounded by the media and has been threatend.
It's also easy to say what he should have done after witnessing it. Yet, it's not so easy to judge him for not calling the police and here's a couple of visual examples of why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7dfkZKjWSo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRPftyFAVbM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEBGg71BJoI&feature=related
Not only do those videos show a majority of people doing nothing all of them involve children from two that are kidnapping attempts and one that is violent. Unlike those who did not act in those examples in the videos, McQueary did act. If it was because he waited until the next day that makes it morally wrong? A day late is better than not doing anything at all or attempting to cover something up in this case.
Paterno became the scapegoat thanks to the media and during that time there was more attention on what was going to happen with Paterno's job then what was going to happen to Sandusky. The only reason for that is due to Paterno being symbolic with Penn State. Also, the media has made it seem like Paterno is the monster and yet Paterno wasn't the campus police, he wasn't the one who made a ban that could not be enforced and he certainly did not attempt to cover up what had happened.
With the Trustees not standing behind Paterno there will continue to be reports about Paterno having his name removed from the Big 10 Championship or Nike being pressured to remove his name from their campus, which will continue to put Penn State in the public eye, when in reality the media needs to move on and find another story or until a company like Nike stands up and sticks it right back to the media and refuses to give into the pressure of having Paterno's name removed.