Penn St. falling short in almost every way

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

By now only people who have been living under a rock have not heard the news coming out of University Park, Pa.

The sordid and sickening tale of what is alleged to have occurred at Penn State is something that makes everyone pause.

How a man could do something like what is alleged to have taken place is beyond me. The molestation that is outlined in the grand jury indictment is something that should sicken anyone who reads it. That the athletics department at PSU chose to turn a blind eye is disturbing.

I had a chance to listen to some of the Bob Costas NBC interview with Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach at Penn State who is alleged to have committed these crimes. What struck me the most about the conversation was the sense of reasoning and indecision that comes from someone who doesn’t understand what they have done is so abjectly evil.

During the interview, Sandusky was repeatedly confronted with eye witness accounts of having allegedly seen him engage in acts that are by any definition of the word, horrid.

Just for the sake of argument, assuming that the only thing that might have occurred is Sandusky taking a shower with children that were as young as 8-9 years old at the time, how was this behavior even considered appropriate? It obviously was OK with members of the administration at the university.

That Sandusky was simply told not to do it at university facilities is a sickening fact of this case. No one bothered to say that this kind of thing was wrong, period. Just wrong as long as Nittany Lion honor wasn’t involved.

Costas, at one point, after mentioning the 40-count indictment that faces Sandusky, asked what he had to say. Sandusky of course protested his innocence.

When further pressed for a proclamation of complete innocence, Sandusky attempted to equivocate his behavior.

Trying to shake off what is alleged to have occurred as locker room behavior if both people were of consenting age would be a stretch in my opinion.

Saying that “horsing around” with children when he was, in some cases, 50 years older than them, and completely naked in a shower with them is mind blowing in its unbelievable nature. That no one in the administration thought this was a reportable offense to law enforcement officials, frankly, amazes me. In all honesty, I’m most surprised that more people haven’t lost their job over this incident.

Certainly the misplaced outrage over former head football coach Joe Paterno’s dismissal has been alarming to see. When an arrest wasn’t made after Paterno reported the incident up the chain of command, he should have driven the eye witness that came to him to the police station himself.

By pretending that he had done all that he could in that situation is a bit insulting. Some students and alumni think that PSU’s dismissal of Paterno was to harsh scares me just as much as the actions of the administration to cover up the mess.

How could anyone think that by turning a blind eye to the situation that somehow Paterno didn’t deserve a measure of punishment in all of this?

Apparently, the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis had it right all along when he famously said “Just win baby.” Somehow in the culture of big money in big time college sports, it has become permissible for people to lie or cover up virtually anything in the pursuit of a Bowl Championship Series title.

Some will say that this had nothing to do with sports and money but I think that at its core, the problem starts when we as a society can turn our backs on the most vulnerable in life. Perish the thought that it might inconvenience the football team, making it harder for the university to keep generating revenue.

Finally, the last nail in the coffin containing what little decency might still exist at Penn State is the reaction of people to how the board of trustees have handled the situation.

Everyone has been lauding them for moving swiftly and decisively to dismiss those who are clearly guilty of covering up this situation.

What else were they supposed to do? That people want to celebrate the board for taking the only course of action that was responsible and decent in this situation amazes me. The next time I properly brake at a stop light I expect everyone in the vicinity to stand up and applaud my moral rectitude.

To say this incident at Penn State has been a complete nightmare for everyone involved is like calling the sinking of the Titanic a minor boating accident. I just hope that everyone takes away the most important lesson. Expect better from your leaders. Don’t excuse this lack of decency that some seem to be chalking up to be just another sign of the times we live in.