By now, every one is aware of the disgusting chain of events that have unfolded on Penn State’s campus over the last 13 years. And the one thought that keeps popping into my head and that is “if only”.
- If only back in 1998 when it was first brought to the attention of the university that the football team’s defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky exhibited deviant behavior, perhaps the police could have taken more action.
- If only we all really knew why Sandusky resigned in 1999 and started a children’s charity, maybe a number of children wouldn’t have fallen victim to this despicable human being.
- If only in 2002 when then-graduate assistant and former football player Mike McQueary saw a 10 year old boy being raped in the team’s locker room by Sandusky, he would have stopped it instead of running out.
- If only after reporting the incident to famed football coach Joe Paterno and seen that no action had been taken, he decided to call the police. After all at this point he now knew of at least two incidents.
- If only Joe Paterno did more than he was legally obligated to do by notifying it to his “superiors” and reported the incident to the police.
- If only those same superiors reported it.
- If only the school’s athletic director and vice president didn’t perjure themselves when questioned by a grand jury.
And on and on we go.
Well, if these incidents were reported than we know that others would not have suffered. We know that there would have been some type of criminal record that would have identified Sandusky as a pedophile. We know that upon conducting a background check, the charity and all of its high profile donors would not have supported this man.
Here’s the other thing we know. While Paterno is a legendary coach, he failed miserably to expose this entire series of events. Paterno was the king of Penn State, with more status and power than anyone at the university including the school’s president. He could have stopped this. But he didn’t. Nor did the cadre of individual’s listed above.
Paterno is probably not a bad man. He has been a great teacher who has touched the lives of many, both his students and the fans of Nittany Lions football. He is an icon. But, unfortunately this grave error has cost him a job that he has held since 1950. It has also brought shame and embarrassment to students, faculty and alumni, tarnishing an honorable university’s reputation.
And most importantly, it has caused at least nine kids to suffer unspeakable acts for which they might never 100% recover.
If Only . . .