Monday, March 12, 2012

Penn State trustees, Pa. governor issue self-serving whitewash on Paterno firing.

Both Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett and the Penn State trustees issued an expected self-serving and sanctimonious report to justify the firing of Joe Paterno in which they cited a "failure of leadership".

 It is both pathetic and not unexpected, that the trustees of an institution of higher learning have demonstrated both with their actions at the time and the report issued three months after the fact, that they either don't have the capacity to logically locate the open end of a paper bag, or that they will do anything to keep from admitting their own egregious cowardice and failures.

 The report is nothing less than a joke and a cover up since not only is there not a shred of logic attached to it, but it flies in the face of their own public statements at the time as to why they fired Paterno.

 In any court room in the country any statement by any witness that is more contemporaneous to the event they are testifying about will have more weight and will be considered to be more truthful and more accurate than a statement made about the same event four months later.

 In the case of Paterno, at the press conference in which they announced Paterno's firing, they said plainly and in so many words that it was the pressure applied by the news media in making what happened at Penn State a big story and the trustees inability to deal with it, that brought them to the conclusion that the best way to put an end to the media mob focusing on Penn State was to fire Paterno.

 It was putting an end to the media glare at Penn State, a glare mostly the result of self-serving motives by the media to create a big story which the Paterno name provided, that the trustees said all agreed was in the best interests of Penn State and so, displaying the kind of cowardice and disregard for principle and truth that a university is supposed to stand for, they fired Paterno for their own self-serving reasons because they not only couldn't stand the heat they wanted to get out of the kitchen as fast as they could.

 The fact that media attention was there and relentless only because of Paterno's status and that it was the Paterno name that rung up their cash registers and brought out the vultures to feed ( had exactly the same thing occurred at a different university with a football team run by an lesser known head coach it would have been a one day story), was besides the point. The fact that the media glare  had nothing whatsoever to do with children or child abuse as subsequent events have proved,  was also besides the point. It was the media attention that they admitted at the time they couldn't handle that was the impetus behind Paterno's firing, and this report which tries to say otherwise makes both Corbett, the Pennsylvania governor, and the trustees the worst kind of cowards and political hacks. Now they are trying to revise history and cover themselves by issuing a report saying the "real" reason they fired Paterno was for "lack of leadership". It is the psychologists term "projection",  which describes behavior which is characterized by a deep denial of ones own flaws and projected onto someone else that is the hallmark of the report.

 Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett proved it himself when two days ago he issued a statement taking a pot shot at Paterno when he said that Paterno "deserved to be fired" for" not following up".

 How self serving was it? For one thing Corbett had a heads up that the report was going to be released a few days later and so wanted to get in the first shot and Corbett is also one of the trustees that voted to fire Paterno in the first place.  So the idea that he would admit he and the other trustees were anything other than sanctimonious idiots for making a knee jerk reaction unsupported by facts  is beyond the realm of possibility. The second aspect that proves Corbett's statement was self-serving, is, who asked him? Who wanted or needed him to make any statement at all at this point, four months after the fact? Doesn't he have anything else to do as governor?  But when you are worried about covering your own backside, that's what takes precedence.

 To demonstrate, again and for the last time, just how dishonest and self-serving both Corbett, the trustees and the news media were then and now,  all the criticism of Paterno was based on one idea -- that  he "didn't do enough". But no one has ever said what "enough" was. No one who has ever criticized Paterno ever said with any specificity what it was he should have done that he didn't,  or what they would have done differently and why notifying the AD at Penn State of what he was told ( not witnessed himself) within 24 hours and then notifying the person whose job title was described by a trustee as "the head of Penn State police services" wasn't enough.

 Both Corbett and the trustees in their self-serving report tried to define it by saying that "not enough" and "failure of leadership" was defined as Paterno "not following up".

 To illustrate how preposterous and self-serving this conclusion is, consider this scenario:

Paterno informs Schultz the head of Penn State police services of McQueary's allegation, arranges a meeting with McQueary to report what he saw, then Schultz passes on the information to Penn State chief of detectives. Based on McQueary's eyewitness account Sandusky is arrested. The legal system plays out in whatever way it does and Sandusky is either acquitted or convicted. Ten years later in reviewing documents related to the case both Tom Corbett and the trustees realize that Joe Paterno,after reporting what he knew to Schultz and the AD, didn't make any follow up calls to the detectives  or prosecutors to check on whether or not they are doing their jobs,  but instead went back to his own job of coaching football. They decide since Paterno didnt follow up he should be fired.

 To take Corbett and the trustees at face value, that it was "not following up" which justifed the firing, they are essentially saying Paterno had to  be fired because the AD and Schultz  didn't do their jobs. According to the trustees, supposedly it was Paterno job and "moral responsibility"  to check on both of them and possibly even the detectives to make sure they were doing their jobs.

 Based on this, Corbett and the trustees are saying that every citizen of Pennsylvania who passes on any information at all regarding a possible crime to the police has a moral responsibility "to follow up" and make calls to the police to make sure they are doing their jobs.  If Corbett actually came out and said anything like that in so many words, if he tried to apply the same standard to every citizen of Pennsylvania that he is  applying to Joe Paterno, every  every police chief in Pennsylvania and every cop would want Corbett's head on a platter.

As for the news media who created the storm for their own self -serving and journalistically dishonest reasons,  further proof of media hypocrisy regarding the entire Paterno affair was on display two weeks ago in Philadelphia when Roman Catholic Monsignor William Lynn went on trial in a landmark case as the first church administrator indicted for failing to take action and report to authorities priests he had known were sexually abusing children in Philadelphia. Lynn tried to get the charges dismissed based on evidence that he had prepared a list of pedophile priests and gave the list to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua in 1994  who ordered the list destroyed. Lynn's defense is essentially  " I did what I was told"  and that he wasn't responsible for the list being destroyed. But prosecutors said they will show that Monsignor Lynn's purpose for creating the list was only to prepare for possible civil law suits against the church, not to weed out or report the predators, and that Lynn took no action himself nor did cardinal Bevilacqua,  to stop or report the sexual abuse of children to authorities, sexual abuse that he knew was going on since 1994.

 Monsignor Lynn's trial began on  Feb 29,2012. News of the opening day of the trial and the evidence against Lynn wasn't even mentioned on the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News, the same newspaper that put Joe Paterno's picture on the front page, someone who did report what he was told about possible abuse within 24 hours,with a banner headline, "Shame".  Yet a trial involving a 12 year cover up of child sexual abuse by a monsignor and cardinal of  the Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia and a failure to report the abuse to authorities for more than 12 years doesnt get a word on the front page.  So much  for the Daily News and their ideas of "moral responsibility".  What the Daily News cared about is that the name Joe Paterno sold more newspapers and attacking Paterno was "safe".

So who  really failed in their "moral responsibility" and "lack of leadership"?  Everyone who attacked Paterno, that's who. The news media, Tom Corbett,  and the Penn State trustees  who clearly lied in their report in an effort to rewrite history and get out from under the heat of Penn State students and alumi disgusted with them

 Given the recent success of exerting pressure on the sponsors of Rush Limbaugh's radio show to stop their advertising because of Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke,  people outraged by the Philadelphia Daily News, Corbett and the Penn State trustees could decide on a boycott of their own -- a boycott of advertisers of the Philadelphia Daily News until action is taken against the editors responsible for the Paterno "Shame" front page, and a boycott of donations to Penn State from outraged alumni until the trustees are replaced.   As for Tom Corbett, the best way to handle him is on election day.


Anonymous said...

I resent your Catholic bashing. You wouldn't dare pull this crap on Jews or Muslims. Shame on you.

Marc Rubin said...

"I resent your Catholic bashing. You wouldn't dare pull this crap on Jews or Muslims. Shame on you."

As far as I know Jews and Muslims are not responsible for the worst case of institutional child sexual abuse in human history and one that has clearly gone on for centuries and then has tried to cover it up. The shame goes to you and the church whose crimes you defend.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your indictment of the Catholic church. I suspect that Paterno's cover-up of Sandusky's pedophilia was connected to the fact that Paterno was a devout Catholic. Hell, Sandusky, Paterno, Curley, the whole miserable crew, were all Catholics. You nailed them.

Kim said...

You never disappoint! I knew you would have something to say about the Board's latest statement. Apparently throwing JoePa under the bus in November wasn't enough; they are now driving it back and forth over his memory and legacy. The failure of leadership lies entirely with the Board and Corbett, who had an opportunity to prosecute Sandusky in '98 but declined. When given a chance to arrest Sandusky in '08, he chose instead to convene a GJ which dragged the process out for another 3 years. I really wish the media would start pulling at this thread. Thanks again.

A grateful PSU alumna

Marc Rubin said...

"When given a chance to arrest Sandusky in '08, he chose instead to convene a GJ which dragged the process out for another 3 years. I really wish the media would start pulling at this thread. Thanks again."

the media will never pull at any threads because if they do, the threads will unravel and expose the media as having no clothes

Marc Rubin said...

"the whole miserable crew, were all Catholics. You nailed them."

The blame for the injustice to Paterno doesnt relate to rank and file Catholics most of whom are a lot higher up on the food chain than Catholic church heirarchy. The church scandal is a result of pedophile priests being accepted as part of church culture for centuries as evidenced by the fact that no one in the church heirarchy has been shocked by the relevations and, as documents have proved, the church puts its own welfare ahead of the welfare of people and has since the days of the Emperor Constantine.

My point with the Daily News is that reports of the Monsigor's trial where he is accused of actual serious crimes of not reporting abuse never made the front page which shows the rank hypocrisy of the paper.They attacked Paterno who actually reported abuse because it would sell papers and because they felt safe doing it.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for having the guts to point out that Jews and Muslims (and Protestants, I suppose, for that matter) have absolutely nothing to do with the Sandusky mess. I only wish that the media had your kind of courage to place the blame, as you do, where it belongs. It breaks my heart when the media calls it "The Penn State Scandal". Why can't they call it "The Catholic Scandal AT Penn State" and leave you, me and the other innocent Penn Staters out of it? Keep up the good fight. G-d bless you.

Brian said...

Great article. Spot on!

Anonymous said...

November 7, 2011: PA State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan says Paterno may have fulfilled his legal requirement to report suspected abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Noonan further says he questions "the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child."

With this comment, Noonan, appointed by Tom Corbett, in effect issued a "Permission Slip" for vigilantism in the State of Pennsylvania, ignoring both State and Federal Laws.

Bring on the Federal Investigation of the current PSU Board of Trustees, Gov Tom Corbett, and Frank Noonan, who were all privy to the specific details of allegations against Jerry Sandusky, yet jointly and collectively, failed to live up to each of their own "moral obligations".

And may Joe Paterno, the one guy who DID report, escalate, and follow up upon the alleged incident (which he did not witness) rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I've followed this story closely as an outsider and at first I was outraged at the joe paterno apologists... It was hard not to be outraged, and I do believe mr. Paterno should have done more. Still, you have done a good job in this post expressing the disgust I expect many people feel as an aftertaste to the media storm.

I've worked with and within higher Ed for many years, as did my father (a big collegiate sports guy) and I've learned that at the end of the day, the buck stops with a) the faculty and b) the board (the president has more than one boss and that is the trustees). Sadly my experiences in colleges have shown that there is always a fall guy. Usually the president escapes this role, but in this case it was clear that multiple public, beloved sacred cows needed to go.

I actually do not disagree with this decision and the mindless hero worship of the nittany kids mocked and undermined everything mr. Paterno stood for. I imagine he'd have wanted them to ask some questions, like, what happens in the chain of command at this institution? Who has pockets deep enough, or influence powerful enough, to bury an iconic coach? Is the board inept, corrupt, or bought and paid for in some way?

These questions have been raised somewhat, not answered in any way. I hope the passion of the psu community works towards opening the can of worms. From everything I have read--first in credulous disgust at mr. Paterno's actions, later wondering what was wrong with this picture--this community is best equipped to look under the rock, not just kick it. It would credit the institution to make tat happen and not try to forget, which is what everyone is doing now.